Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions. We post here answers to questions we're being asked frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office. Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered" date.

Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 questions

Q: Fort Boise snow geese?

There are certain sections of fort Boise that are not specified as closed from Feb 1st to March 10th. Can you hunt these areas for snow geese? I've heard of people hunting these open areas.

A: 

The central portion of Fort Boise WMA is closed from February 1 – July 31 for waterfowl nesting. Remaining areas of the WMA are still open to public access, but the hunting of white-fronted and light geese (Blue, Ross’s, and Snow) on any portion of the WMA is not allowed after January 31st.
On page 10 of the Idaho 2015 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules, under Closures, it states: “In the Southwest Region, Fort Boise and Payette River WMAs and that portion of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area south of Highway 18, and the Snake River Islands Unit of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge will be closed February 1 – March 10 2016.”
The ponds at Fort Boise WMA are a primary roosting area for snow geese as they pass through our region on the spring migration. Shooting them where they roost would just induce them find somewhere else to roost. This would not only provide a very limited hunting opportunity, but would deny the opportunity for hundreds of wildlife viewers to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of geese at Fort Boise heading out to or returning from daily feeding forays.  Providing a place for snow geese to roost keeps them in the general vicinity at least, so local fields can continue to offer hunting opportunity.   
Areas of Roswell Wildlife Habitat Area north of Highway 18 are open to light goose hunting.  The harvested grain in those fields can provide a hunting opportunity when they feed there. 
For a map of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area, go to the Idaho Fish and Game website (fishandgame.idaho.gov) and search “Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area map” to download a copy.

answered 2/3/2016

Q: Snow Goose Conservation Season

I would like to know why the spring season ends so early? This year and years past, the birds only move into the area I hunt in good numbers the last week of season, if then. Does the framework given by the Feds allow you to extend the season longer or shift dates later?

A: 

Because snow geese are migratory game birds, the federal governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, under the authorities of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, are ultimately responsible for their protection and conservation in North America. In the United States, this responsibility has largely been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Pacific Flyway Council cooperates with the USFWS to develop regulations for migratory birds in the United States west of the Continental Divide. Both organizations consider the welfare of migratory bird populations first, and then public demands for recreation and subsistence harvest, and other uses.
The USFWS sets migratory game bird hunting regulations by establishing the frameworks, or outside limits, for season lengths, bag limits, and areas for migratory game bird hunting. The total length of the light (Snow and Ross’s) goose season cannot exceed 107 days. The existing framework established by the USFWS currently allows for light goose hunting until 10 March in the Pacific Flyway; therefore, the March 10 closure is the latest date allowed as per the Federal Framework.  Furthermore, the most recent (2013) Pacific Flyway Management Plan for Western Arctic Population Lesser Snow Geese states the following:
“Seek an overabundant designation for WAP lesser snow geese and implementation of Conservation Order seasons in Canada and the United States, or implementation of direct control on the primary breeding colony on Banks Island if the 2013 photo inventory indicates population growth.”
The 2013 Banks Island photo inventory did NOT indicate population growth. As a result, an “overabundant” designation has not been sought in the Pacific Flyway to date. However, a banding program was initiated on Banks Island during July 2015 and has been funded through 2019. Results from this work will help to better inform light goose management in the Pacific Flyway in the future. 
It is important to note that snow goose seasons in the Pacific Flyway are not similar to the “Conservation" seasons in the Midwest. Snow geese in the Central and Mississippi flyways are from the Mid-continent breeding population, and have been designated as “overabundant” due to extensive damage to their arctic tundra breeding grounds.
In an effort to provide hunting opportunity for snow geese in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will continue to recommend a light goose season that closes as late as possible under the Federal Framework.
 

answered 7/19/2015

Q: Spring Snow Goose Season

As a new Snow Goose hunter, I find the short spring season length hard to understand. Often times, large groups of Snow Geese do not arrive in Delta, Utah until late February, causing their arrival in Idaho to often not occur until early March, giving dedicated Snow Goose hunters only one good week of hunting until we watch the season close down right as large numbers are pouring through the state. Through my research, every seems to be crying out for a cut-down on these bird's population, as they are causing massive damage in the Tundra. Other states give hunters opportunities to hunt Snow's all the way through April, giving everyone a great opportunity to pursue some great hunting. My question is, why does Idaho offer such a limited Spring Snow Goose opportunity and what could a sportsman such as myself do to voice my desire for a change that would benefit all of our waterfowl hunters and the breeding grounds of many other species. Thank you.

A: 

Because snow geese are migratory game birds, the federal governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, under the authorities of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, are ultimately responsible for their protection and conservation in North America. In the United States, this responsibility has largely been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Pacific Flyway Council cooperates with the USFWS to develop regulations for migratory birds in the United States west of the Continental Divide. Both organizations consider the welfare of migratory bird populations first, and then public demands for recreation and subsistence harvest, and other uses.
The USFWS sets migratory game bird hunting regulations by establishing the frameworks, or outside limits, for season lengths, bag limits, and areas for migratory game bird hunting. The total length of the light (Snow and Ross’s) goose season cannot exceed 107 days. The existing framework established by the USFWS currently allows for light goose hunting until 10 March in the Pacific Flyway; therefore, the March 10 closure is the latest date allowed as per the Federal Framework.  Furthermore, the most recent (2013) Pacific Flyway Management Plan for Western Arctic Population Lesser Snow Geese states the following:
“Seek an overabundant designation for WAP lesser snow geese and implementation of Conservation Order seasons in Canada and the United States, or implementation of direct control on the primary breeding colony on Banks Island if the 2013 photo inventory indicates population growth.”
The 2013 Banks Island photo inventory did NOT indicate population growth. As a result, an “overabundant” designation has not been sought in the Pacific Flyway to date. However, a banding program was initiated on Banks Island during July 2015 and has been funded through 2019. Results from this work will help to better inform light goose management in the Pacific Flyway in the future. 
It is important to note that snow goose seasons in the Pacific Flyway are not similar to the “Conservation" seasons in the Midwest. Snow geese in the Central and Mississippi flyways are from the Mid-continent breeding population, and have been designated as “overabundant” due to extensive damage to their arctic tundra breeding grounds.
In an effort to provide hunting opportunity for snow geese in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will continue to recommend a light goose season that closes as late as possible under the Federal Framework.
 

answered 2/20/2015

Q: Migratory Bird Validation

I heard that we did not need the Migratory Bird Validation anymore on our licenses to hunt goose. Is this true?

A: 

No. Any person hunting migratory birds needs the validation.

answered 1/13/2015

Q: Goose bowhunting in city limits

Is it legal to hunt geese with a bow within city limits on private property?

A: 

It is legal to hunt geese with bow, however to hunt them within city limits requires you to check with the city in question.

answered 12/17/2014

Q: Selling of waterfowl mount

What are the laws on the selling of a taxidermied Canadian goose? I have a large mount of a fox and goose in a large glass case that was given to me 20 years ago, I am thinking of getting rid of it and wasn't to know what laws or permits I may need to sell it?

A: 

Individuals can not sell migratory waterfowl mounts or otherwise under the Migratory Bird Act.  A couple narrow exceptions exist only for properly marked captive-reared waterfowl:
These include:
Taxidermist w/ Federal permit may sell mounts of properly marked captive-reared waterfowl.  50 CFR 21.24(c)(2)
Holder of a Waterfowl Sale and Disposal permit may sell properly marked captive-reared waterfowl.  50 CFR 21.25(a)
Anyone may sell properly marked captive-reared Mallard ducks without a permit.  50 CFR 21.13
-Definition of properly marked is at 50 CFR 21.13(b), and states that before the bird is 6 weeks old, it must be marked in one of the following ways:  hind toe clipped from r. foot, pinioning of a wing, banding with a seamless metal band, or tattoo on one foot.
You can sale the mount, but not with the goose. 
 

answered 11/28/2014

Q: Guided goose hunts

I understand Idaho is a non guide waterfowl state. How can four flyway.com advertise guided goose and duck hunts on private land. Guiding is guiding from my perspective.

A: 

You are correct.  There is a moratorium on outfitted waterfowl hunts for licensed outfitters and only those outfitters grandfathered can continue doing so.  However, in 2013 Idaho law was changed to allow private land outfitting/guiding without a license.  Here is the specific language from Idaho Code 36-2103 (2): A person who obtains permission to outfit or guide on private property from the property owner is required to be licensed as an outfitter or guide unless the terms of a written agreement with the property owner do not require licensure.  So, on private property it is for the landowner to determine licensure requirements for his/her property.

answered 11/4/2014

Q: Goose pit blinds

Is there any restriction against using pit blinds for goose hunting on private property?

A: 

Pit blinds on private property are legal.  
It is against the law to take migratory birds from a sink box (a low floating device having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the survase of the water).

answered 8/18/2014

Q: Volunteering for goose and duck banding

I'm 13 years old I would like to help banding ducks and geese in eastern idaho region. If so when and were. My names kinnen shaw, thank you very much.

A: 

These opportunities are not available to sign up for online currently.
To find volunteer opportunities such as you describe, please contact your local regional office: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/offices/?getPage=170

answered 5/17/2014

Q: Can you hunt Canadian Geese on Lake Lowell Refuge during the regular waterfowl season?

Can you hunt canadian geese on Lake Lowell Refuge during the regular waterfowl season? I always thought you could only hunt ducks, coots and upland game. If geese can not be harvested on this US Fish and Wildlife refuge why is there a picuture of two hunters holding a dead goose. This could send the wrong message.
Check out this link http://www.fws.gov/deerflat/recreation/hunting.html

A: 

According to their website there are two different "units" in the refuge..the Lake Lowell unit where goose hunting is prohibited and the Snake River unit where it is permitted.
Please refer to the brochure you have listed (http://www.fws.gov/deerflat/recreation/hunting.html) or call the refuge for more information.

answered 1/28/2014

Q: What are the rules regarding set up and removal of non-electronic duck or goose decoys on private land?

Are the rules stating decoys must be set up and taken down within two hours of the start/stop of the daily hunting hours applicable to private land hunting? Or can you leave the decoys up for days at a time if hunting on private land?

A: 

Sorry for the delay in responding.  The rule is specific to Idaho Fish and Game lands only.  There is no such rule for other public or private lands.

answered 1/5/2014

Q: Nuisance Goose Abatement

Is the running of dogs at places like Ann Morrison park opening up the dog owners to fines or penalties if the dog catches a goose and harms it? We, at Idaho Bird Control, purposely haze geese without the use of dogs and/or live falconry because we didn't want to deal with that happening.

A: 

I am not aware of any reports of waterfowl being injured or killed in Ann Morrison park or any other city park.
Dogs running at large is controlled by local, municipal or county ordinances. The owner of a dog taking waterfowl in Anne Morrison Park is no more nor no less liable for that take, under the US Migratory Bird Treaty Act, than a dog on or off leash would be in an area without leash laws. Please contact your local US Fish and Wildlife Service office for potential penalties for unlawful take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

answered 11/1/2013

Q: Who sets the bag limits for ducks? Are bag limits state controlled or federal? Who would I contact to affect change regarding bag limits for ducks?

Everyone was very frustrated last weekend during the youth duck/goose hunt. The drake mallards were so inmature that they looked like hens. They were impossible to tell from hens in the air. Only when we reduced them to posession could we tell (often with difficulty) if they were hens or really inmature drakes. This led to kids being frustrated because they couldn't shoot the ducks coming into decoy and concern from the adults that bag limits might be exceeded. If we are, through the youth hunt program, attempting to engage young people and get them excited about hunting, then frustrating them is counter productive. A simple solution would be to have the same 7-duck bag limit during the two-day youth waterfowl hunt, but make the change that it can be ANY 7 ducks. So, I am asking you who, specifically, I can contact to express my concern about this matter. Thanks.
Brian Reynolds

A: 

Setting waterfowl seasons is a cooperative effort among state and federal agencies.  The United States and Canada are divided into four flyways: the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific.  Idaho is in the Pacific Flyway.  For each flyway, a framework is set for each hunting season and is the same for each state in the flyway.  The framework establishes the maximum length of the waterfowl hunting season between the Saturday nearest September 24 and the last Sunday in January, and establishes the framework for bag limits.
Once the framework is established, states are then able to modify their seasons accordingly.  A state can be more restrictive than the federal framework, but a state cannot choose a season that is more liberal.  For example, Idaho cannot choose to have a youth waterfowl bag limit of any seven birds as you proposed as it would be considered more liberal than the federal framework.  
The timing of the youth hunt could be modified.  If this is somthing you are interested in pursuing, please contact your local Fish and Game Commissioner.  You can locate your Commissioner's contact information at the following link: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=183.

answered 9/30/2013

A: 

Area 3 is the following counties--Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette and Twin Falls and Washington .
Please contact the Southwest Region office for information.  Their phone number is 208-465-8465.

answered 1/25/2013

Q: Thought I read in the regs that you can take a goose with the weapons you can take a turkey with.

Cannot find it but I thought that I read in the regulations that you can take a goose with any weapon it is leagal for a turkey.
Meaning with a bow. Is that right?

A: 

The actual federal regulations state the following:
It is against the law to take migratory game birds:
• With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than a 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
• With any shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.

answered 12/14/2012

A: 

When this season was first established, the IDFG took a long, hard look at when snow geese were arriving in Idaho during spring to determine whether or not it would make sense to have a season.  The framework for light goose hunting ends on March 10, so if snow geese arrived after March 10, there was no point in having a season.  Light goose hunting in the Pacific Flyway, which includes Idaho, cannot occur after March 10.  In the end, the IDFG decided not to open a season in most of eastern Idaho because geese typically did not start arriving until after March 10.  If we notice that snow geese begin to arrive in eastern Idaho earlier in future years, this is something we may have to revisit.
 

answered 10/8/2012

Q: Shot gun plugs

Are plugs required for up land game birds or just migratory birds such as doves and waterfowl?

A: 

During the general waterfowl season, shotguns must not be capable of holding more than 3 shells. However, during a light goose season that occurs in Feb adn March, a plug is not required. Also a plug is not required for upland game birds.

answered 8/20/2012

Q: Canadian Geese Menace?

Is anything being done to try to better control the seemingly huge population of Canadian Geese? Not only are they a menace and health risk at my workplace in East Boise, but they invade my horse pasture in Robie Creek eating new grass and defecating everywhere. It seems to be getting worse and worse every year. I believe many of them never leave and have become year round residents. I've tried several things to repel them, coyote decoys, dog chasing, etc., but nothing seems to work. It's getting ridiculously annoying to the extent they were on top of the buildings at work crapping down the side of the windows as I came in this morning. How about increasing seasons or bag limits? I've heard limits are set in Canada, but many of the geese here never get that far north. Is anyone aware of the state of things in this area?

A: 

Canada geese are protected as migratory birds by the federal government and season framework is regulated by them.  However, we do have some leeway in how the rules are set in Idaho under their umbrella, and we have maximum allowable harvest opportunity in the area.  The problem with urban geese is that they find any open green grass near water and try to make a go of it.  I too have geese at my house and pasture.  There are city ordinances preventing shooting in city limits.  We banded several hundred geese in the parks to identify what percentage are resident vs. transient, and about 95% of the geese in Boise in winter come from other locations. 
 
Geese are trying to find places to nest right now and are desperate.  They likely will not be sticking around these locations if they cannot find decent nesting locations or are harassed.  Harassing must be done non lethally outside of the hunting season without a permit (recently, someone shot a goose with a nail gun and that is illegal).  Dogs work best but must be used consistently.  Also, there are chemical repellents available through online sources.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service can issue kill permits for depredation and nuisance reasons, but certain criteria likely will have to be met.  The parks are oiling eggs to reduce the number of new geese in the parks this year under permit by the USFWS.  Geese cannot be moved successfully so repellents, reducing reproduction, or lethal removal is necessary. 
 
I understand the challenges with urban geese but the responses are limited, may not always be successful, and require consistent efforts.  The good news is that many managers are finding that with consistent efforts using dogs and repellents, the numbers of geese in their area can be reduced.  Good luck.
 

answered 4/2/2012

Q: Why not open Roswell WMA and Ft. Boise WMA to snow goose hunting?

The closure of these public WMA's to snow goose hunting means that only hunters who know farmers in the area, or those who are wealthy enough to lease those farms for hunting can participate in the spring hunt. I am very concerned about situations like this that are turning our sport into a rich man's game, and limiting the ability of the average hunter to participate. Thank you!

A: 

Answer: Everything in wildlife management involves some compromise, with the goal of optimizing the solution for the greatest overall achievement in multiple conflicting goals.  So it is with snow goose seasons. 
 
The ponds at Fort Boise WMA are a primary roosting area for snow geese as they pass through our region on the spring migration. If you look at a map of the WMA, however, you can see that the ponds on which they roost are within the area closed annually from February 1 through July 31 for nesting season for all of the other birds that depend on the area for habitat. The same is true for the marsh area of Roswell Marsh Habitat Area south of Highway 18.
 
Just because there are lots of geese flying in and out of the ponds still does not mean that would be a good place to hunt them.  Snow geese are typically hunted over a large number of decoys in agricultural fields. You hunt them where they feed. This is a highly variable activity, and flocks often use a field only once.  The key to success is to scout well, and line up as many landowners as possible before the season.
 
Shooting them where they roost would just induce them find somewhere else to roost. This would not only provide a very limited hunting opportunity, but would deny the opportunity for hundreds of wildlife viewers to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of geese at Fort Boise heading out to or returning from daily feeding forays.  Providing a place for snow geese to roost keeps them in the general vicinity at least, so local fields can continue to offer hunting opportunity.  
 
Areas of Roswell Wildlife Habitat Area north of Highway 18 are open to light goose hunting.  The harvested grain in those fields can provide a hunting opportunity when they feed there.   
 
 
 

answered 3/22/2012

A: 

There is already a season on white-fronted geese or ‘specks’ in southwest Idaho.  White-fronted geese are dark geese and have the same season framework as Canada geese (another dark goose).  Pacific Flyway states like Idaho have a season framework that includes 107 days for dark goose hunting.  In southwest Idaho in 2011-2012, the season ran from October 15 to January 27.  In order to accommodate hunting beyond these dates into February or March, days would have to be removed from the regular season. 

answered 2/25/2012

A: 

The regulations for Spring Goose Hunts are available online.  The Spring Goose Hunts are primarily a private land hunting opportunity because geese are typically found feeding in agricultural fields. For more information please contact the Southeast Region at (208) 232-4703.

answered 2/9/2012

A: 

Dove hunting, which begins September 1, requires a federal migratory bird permit ($1.50). The $15 federal waterfowl permit (required for duck and goose hunting) is not required to hunt doves. The $1.50 permit is required for hunting doves, sandhill cranes, ducks and geese.IDFG

answered 8/29/2004

A: 

Duck and goose season both open October 7. Limits are the same as last year. The special youth season will be Sept. 23 and 24. A licensed hunter over 18 must accompany each kid, and the oldsters can't hunt, just help and teach. Getting the duck book printed is about the toughest deadline each year. The Commission has to set the seasons at the August meeting because the federal framework must be in place prior to setting seasons. Then staff has to typeset the book and get it to the printer. The printer's due date this year was August 25, the day the Commission met. Having missed that date, there is a delay in printing. It should be at license vendors by the last week of September.

answered 9/14/2000