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 - 25 of 39 questions

Q: What Baits ARE legal to use for trapping in idaho?

If it is unlawful to use any part of a DOMESTIC or WILD origin game bird, big game, upland game, game fish, protected nongame wildlife, unprotected wildlife, or predatory wildlife for bait in trapping furbearing animals, then what CAN i use? a gold fish? no its domestic! A mouse? no its unprotected wildlife! A butterfly? no its unprotected wildlife . . . etc. PLEASE HELP ME!

A: 

Domestic or wild origin game animal refers to any game species whether it is raised in captivity (like a pheasant or elk) or is a wild animal that you have meat for.  You can use fish that are not game fish in Idaho, furbearer meat, chicken, beef, pig, etc. (they are not game animals in Idaho), lure, scent, etc..

answered 1/20/2016

Q: Hiking with dogs in Ada & Canyon Counties

Where can I hike with my dogs in Ada and Canyon Counties without encountering traps and snares?

A: 

Traps and snares can be legally set on federal, state, and private land.  Many of the IDFG Wildlife Mangement Areas do not allow trapping during the pheasant season but allow hunting and there are many dogs and hunters on these properties during the fall and early winter.  Public land is open to all legal hunting and trapping through much of the winter and there are no real set aside locations except for some possible city, state, or county parks and properties.  You would have to check those individually.  In order to reduce the chances of your dogs getting caught in a trap, we advise that you check out the videos on our website on how to recognize and avoid trap sets, and how to release your dog from a trap at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=141

answered 12/12/2015

Q: Why the different ages for the different youth hunts?

Why do we have different ages for youth hunts? Turkey youth hunt is age 10 to 15.. Age for pheasant and waterfowl youth hunts is age 10 to15. Big game hunts are age 10 to 17. Why don't we put all youth hunts at ages 10 to 17?

A: 

Thank you for the question.
The Department put together a team last winter to look at these types of rules and will be making a recommendation to simplify and make youth hunting opportunities more consistent. These rules will need to be approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and be approved through the legislative process before they are enacted. Thank you.

answered 10/8/2015

Q: Shooting across WMA roads...?! Legal or not?

Greetings, hunting rules explicitly read "It is Unlawful To: Shoot from or across the traveled portion, shoulders or embankments of any road maintained by any government entity."
I purpose to short-range and pheasant hunt in the Ft. Boise WMA. Yet ,this "rule"/ makes it impossible for me to harvest game which is on the other side of "the traveled portion, shoulders or embankments of any road maintained by any government entity," as there are over 20 miles of road in this WMA.
How then are we to lawfully hunt in such "confined" areas surrounded by so many roads?

A: 

No, it is not legal to shoot across a road on the WMA. However, if you check out the WMA Map at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wma/ , you may note that many of the "roads" you observe on Fort Boise WMA are actually designated as walking trails.  You should be able to hunt the area without shooting across a public road.

answered 10/5/2015

Q: Quail hunting on Wildlife Management areas.

Can you hunt Quail on the Wildlife Management Areas during the entire quail season, or do you need to wait for the Pheasant season to start? If you are able to hunt earlier do you need to have a Pheasant Permit on the area prior to Pheasant season?

A: 

Quail can be hunted on the WMAs as long as the quail season is open. A pheasant permit is only needed on a WMA that pheasants are released on and only if you are hunting pheasants.

answered 9/17/2015

Q: Can youth hunters (under 17) for upland game bird on WMAs harvest the same limits as adults? Or does the youth harvest count against the adult's WMA permit?

If an adult (WMA permit holder) and youth hunter hunt pheasant on a WMA, can they harvest 2 birds each or 2 birds total?

A: 

When an adult WMA Upland Game Permit holder and a youth hunter (under 17 years old) pursue pheasants on a WMA where pheasants are stocked, each hunter may harvest two (2) cock pheasants. 
When a pheasant is reduced to possession, the adult must immediately:
- validate their permit by entering the harvest date and location in non-erasable ink,
- and remove a notch from the permit for each pheasant taken.

answered 11/27/2014

Q: Is it legal to ship a pheasant to a taxidermist that is out of state?

I am a beginning taxidermist and would like to obtain specimens for practice. Where can I find out which animals are legal for me to ship/ receive.

A: 

Hello,
I am the Chief of Enforcement for Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  Please contact us so we can send you a packet of information regarding your question.  208-334-3736
For your reference please review Chapter 6, Title 36, Idaho Code.  http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title36/T36.htm
I also recommend reviewing Chapter 5, Title 36, Idaho Code.
Idaho Administrative Code has rules governing the importation, possession, release, sale, or salvage of Wildlife.  http://adminrules.idaho.gov/rules/current/13/0110.pdf
300.RECOVERY, POSSESSION AND SALE OF WILDLIFE PARTS.01. Wildlife Legally Killed. a. The possession, sale and purchase of wildlife or parts of wildlife that have been legally killed is lawful except as provided below and as provided in Chapter 5, Title 36, Idaho Code. i. The edible flesh of wildlife classified as big game animals, upland game animals, game birds, migratory birds, or rattlesnakes taken from the wild may not be purchased, bartered or sold. ii. The edible flesh of wildlife classified as game fish or crustacea that are taken from the wild may not be purchased, bartered or sold except as provided in Idaho Code Sections 36-501 and 36-801 through 36-805 and rules promulgated pursuant thereto. iii. The annual sale by holders of a valid Idaho hunting, trapping or combination hunting and fishing license of up to six (6) skins of legally taken rattlesnakes is lawful pursuant to IDAPA 13.01.06, “Classification and Protection of Wildlife,” Subsection 300.02 and Subsection 100.06 of this rule. b. A written statement showing the taker’s name, address, license and tag numbers, date and location of kill, signed by the taker, must be provided to the buyer of any black bear or mountain lion head, hide or parts (except tanned hides finished into rugs or mounts). A copy of the sales statement must be forwarded by the buyer to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game within ten (10) days after such sale. A department CE-50, Statement of Sale/Purchase of Wildlife Parts, may be used in lieu of a sales statement. c. Persons possessing a taxidermist or fur buyer license shall keep a record for two (2) years from the date the wildlife was received for mounting or preservation, furbearers purchased and raw black bear skins, raw mountain lion skins or parts of black bears or mountain lions purchased. Records may be written or retained on media other than paper and must comply with standards set forth in Section 9-328, Idaho Code. Copies of sales statements as per Subsection 300.01.b. satisfy provisions of this rule. 

answered 11/22/2014

Q: As a non-resident what do I need to hunt upland birds?

As a non resident who only wants to hunt upland birds, can I just purchase a small game hunting license?

A: 

Yes. However, the small game hunting license is not valid for the first five (5) days of the pheasant season. To hunt the first five days of the pheasant season, you would need to purchase the nonresident hunting license.

answered 10/22/2014

Q: Waterfowl Shooting Hours On Pheasant-Stocked WMAs

I am trying to find out if the 10 AM shooting hours start time during pheasant season on WMAs where pheasants are stocked applies to all hunters on the WMA. In the regs, the rule seems to be ambiguously written, and not limited to pheasant hunters.
"Note to Hunters on Wildlife Management Areas: During the pheasant season, including the youth pheasant season, shooting hours begin at 10 a.m. on the Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Montour, Niagara Springs, Payette River and Sterling Wildlife Management Areas. Everywhere else in the state, shooting hours start one-half hour before sunrise."
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67
"Shooting hours begin at 10:00 a.m. on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour and Payette River Wildlife Management Areas."
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=327

A: 

The 10 a.m. rules applies only to Upland bird hunters on WMA's where pheasants are stocked.  Upland game birds shall not be taken before 10 a.m. on Fort Boise, C .J.Strike, Montour, Niagara Springs, Payette River and Sterling WMAs, during the pheasant season.  Waterfowl hunters can hunt before 10 a.m. on these WMAs if waterfowl hunting is allowed. 

answered 10/20/2014

Q: Non resident hunting license for upland birds

Since i already purchased a non resident hunting license for deer this season, do i need to purchase a separate small game license as well? if i don't need to purchase a small game, would it be valid for the first 5 days?

A: 

If you possess a big game hunting license, it also covers upland game bird. With the big game hunting license there is not a waiting period on the pheasant season.

answered 10/7/2014

A: 

It depends.  If you plan to hunt pheasants on one of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where pheasants are stocked, you will need a WMA Upland Game/Pheasant Permit. These are $23.75 for residents and $51.75 for nonresidents.  Each Permit allows the take of six pheasants.  If you do not plan to hunt a WMA where pheasants are stocked, all you need is a Hunting License.  You can find more information on pheasant hunting on and off WMAs on pages 14-15 of the upland game regulations: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandBird.pdfand http:/....

answered 9/14/2014

Q: Non-resident chukar hunting

I am planning a trip to Idaho to hunt chukar from October 18 thru October 20, 2014. I will be purchasing a 3-day small game non-resident license. Am I able to hunt chukar on these dates even though it coincides with the first 5 days of pheasant season?

A: 

Yes, you can still hunt chukars during the first five days of the pheasant season.  The code only specifies pheasant.  Here is a copied and pasted section from 36-407:
(e)  Nonresident Small Game Hunting License. A license issued only to a person twelve (12) years of age or older, entitling the person to hunt upland game birds (to include turkeys), migratory game birds, upland game animals, huntable furbearing animals, and unprotected and predatory wildlife of this state. A person holding this license shall purchase the appropriate required tags and permits, and may not hunt pheasants in an area during the first five (5) days of the pheasant season in that area. A license of this type may be had upon payment of a fee as specified in section 36-416, Idaho Code.

answered 9/12/2014

Q: Can a .44 magnum pistol be used to hunt pheasant w/shot loads?

Provide as many specifics as you can to help better answer your question. Please omit personal information in this area.

A: 

No.  A handgun is not considered a shotgun even though you would be shooting shot in the cartridge.  The law reads unlawful method of take: with a trap, snare, net, crossbow, or firearms EXCEPT a shotgun using shells not exceeding three and one-half (3-1/2) inches maximum length, slingshot, hand-held or thrown missiles, EXCEPT forest grouse. Forest grouse shall not be taken with a trap, snare, net, or crossbow. 

answered 4/7/2014

Q: Burned Desert [Replanting habitat burned in the Dietrich area]

Why don't you guys replant or recreate the pheasant, sage grouse, and partridge habitat that was burned outside of Hunt and Dietrich.

A: 

Idaho Department Fish and Game's efforts to assist with fire rehab efforts are coordinated with private, state, and federal landowners/managers.  Usually rehab efforts happen during the first 3 years following a wildlfire.  During that period federal agencies have funding available for stabilizing burned areas, and it is also the most opportune time to try and establish desired vegetation prior to less desirasble vegetation gaining a foothold and then having a competitve advantage over plants that are seeded in the future.
If the burned lands in the Hunt and Dietrich areas are on public lands, such as BLM or IDL, you can contact those agencies to see what options are available to rehab them.  If it is on private lands, the landowner can contact the local NRCS, or you can contact IDFG at the Magic Valley Regional Office in Jerome.  IDFG has some funding available via our HIP program for improving upland bird habitat on privately owned properties.  

answered 3/11/2014

Q: Why aren't there Pheasant farms around Jerome anymore. The birds need help!

Why aren't there many pheasant farms around Jerome? There used to be? What happened? We need to reopen some.

A: 

The bottom line is, releasing pen-raised pheasants does not help the wild population.  Game farm pheasants are too distant from their wild relatives to survive - they don’t have the survival skills that wild birds have to avoid traffic, find food, and hide from predators.  The Department studied this very subject and found releasing game-farm pheasants did not survive long enough to reproduce in sufficient numbers to make a difference.  The most efficient use of pen-reared birds is releasing them before the gun during the hunting season.  It all boils down to not enough adequate habitat to even support wild birds like the numbers we had in Idaho during the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s.  Farming practices have changed and not enough idle ground is available for secure nesting from hay swathers, burning of ditches, and predators.  Pheasants need habitat 365 days a year and no less.  Releasing pen-raised birds into an already limited environment will not bring back the birds.  Money spent on habitat is a long-term solution but needs to be widespread as is done in the mid-West where pheasant numbers reached an all-time high in 2009, surpassing even the golden years of the 60’s.

answered 3/10/2014

Q: Roswell Marsh

Do I need to purchase a WMA sticker to hunt pheasant at the Roswell Marsh area?

A: 

No.  Pheasants are not planted there so the WMA permit is not required.
Hunting for pheasants on the nine Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) listed below requires a WMA Upland Game Bird Permit. The WMA Permit allows the take of six pheasants.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game releases pheasants at nine WMAs in southern Idaho. Any person 17 years old or older must have a valid WMA Upland Game Bird Permit in possession while hunting pheasants at the following WMAs:
Fort BoisePayette RiverMontour C.J. Strike Sterling Market Lake Mud Lake Cartier SloughNiagara Springs
Season information is online at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandWMA.pdf (and on page 15 of the Upland Game Book).  Hunting hours are listed on page 18 of the same book.

answered 3/3/2014

Q: There are not very many WILD PHEASANTS. Why is the daily limit still 3 ?

There are just a few areas where there are lots of wild Pheasants but over all not many WILD Pheasants . Why , WHY ? is the daily bag limit THREE ? It should be two or really zero . The number of wild birds is pathetic.

A: 

We still do pheasant surveys across the state and one of the factors we evaluate are sex ratios (number of males versus females) of the birds we observe.  Statewide, the ratio of male to female pheasants indicates adequate numbers of males to breed females.  Literature suggests, that if you have one male pheasant per 7 females pheasants, nearly all females will be bred.
 
That's why we still allow the harvest of 3 male pheasants per hunter.  In theory, it should have no impact on the reproducing part (females) of the pheasant population.
 
F08

answered 1/8/2014

Q: What permits are required for hunting and fishing “contests” and “derbies” in Idaho?

Anyone participating in a hunting or fishing event in Idaho must comply with Idaho fishing and hunting licensing requirements.  All event participants must have proper licenses, tags and permits for the activity.  All participants must also comply with seasons, harvest limits, and other rules established by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for the activity.  Idaho requirements for hunting, trapping, and fishing are summarized in rule brochures available on-line and where licenses are sold. 
Depending on the nature of the event and where event activities occur, there may be additional requirements. 
At the request of anglers who had concerns with crowding and fishery management, many years ago the Commission adopted additional rules to apply to certain types of organized fishing events.  So if you plan to have an organized fishing event, please check fishing rules to see if you need a permit from IDFG.  Organizations and individuals do not need additional permits from IDFG to organize a general hunting event (such as those where hunters compete for prizes based on animals harvested) or to otherwise provide awards to hunters.
Please check with landowners for any event activities you plan to have on private lands.  Federal land managers, like the Forest Service and BLM, and  the Idaho Department of Lands have permit requirements for certain events conducted on lands they manage, so you should check with those agencies to see if your event requires a permit.  IDFG owns a relatively small amount of land in Idaho and requires permits for certain types of events on IDFG property.  IDFG does not require any permits for hunters who participate in general hunting contests (like “big buck” contests), where participants hunt on a wide range of properties; however, IDFG may require a permit for an event focused on IDFG-owned lands (like a group pheasant hunt planned for a specific Wildlife Management Area).

A: 

Anyone participating in a hunting or fishing event in Idaho must comply with Idaho fishing and hunting licensing requirements.  All event participants must have proper licenses, tags and permits for the activity.  All participants must also comply with seasons, harvest limits, and other rules established by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for the activity.  Idaho requirements for hunting, trapping, and fishing are summarized in rule brochures available on-line and where licenses are sold. 
Depending on the nature of the event and where event activities occur, there may be additional requirements. 
At the request of anglers who had concerns with crowding and fishery management, many years ago the Commission adopted additional rules to apply to certain types of organized fishing events.  So if you plan to have an organized fishing event, please check fishing rules to see if you need a permit from IDFG.  Organizations and individuals do not need additional permits from IDFG to organize a general hunting event (such as those where hunters compete for prizes based on animals harvested) or to otherwise provide awards to hunters.
Please check with landowners for any event activities you plan to have on private lands.  Federal land managers, like the Forest Service and BLM, and  the Idaho Department of Lands have permit requirements for certain events conducted on lands they manage, so you should check with those agencies to see if your event requires a permit.  IDFG owns a relatively small amount of land in Idaho and requires permits for certain types of events on IDFG property.  IDFG does not require any permits for hunters who participate in general hunting contests (like “big buck” contests), where participants hunt on a wide range of properties; however, IDFG may require a permit for an event focused on IDFG-owned lands (like a group pheasant hunt planned for a specific Wildlife Management Area).

answered 12/26/2013

A: 

Yes, nothing in Idaho Code, Law or rule prohibits you from carrying a firearm. In fact Idaho Code 36-401 (g) states:
Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit citizens of the United States who are residents of the state of Idaho from carrying arms for the protection of life and property.

answered 12/21/2013

A: 

We don't publish the release dates because they are not always the same, and because it will reduce crowding if not everyone knows.  The WMA managers try to mix it up some on timing and location to spread out harvest.  We cannot stock more than once or twice a week because it is so expensive.  Each bird costs the Dept. $17.  However, on some WMAs, not all pheasants are shot when they are released and continue to provide opportunity for those willing to hunt the thicker cover.  On release days, some hunters are guessing correctly, and some may be calling their friends.  Most hunters rush to the normal release sites and it can be very crowded.  There is no perfect system that we have developed, but it provides a very valuable opportunity for many hunters that would otherwise not be able to find pheasant hunting on their own.  We believe that publishing the release dates would only exacerbate the situation.  Thanks for your comment.

answered 11/26/2013

Q: Lack of Pheasant in the Fort Boise WMA

I am an Idaho bird hunter, Like many of us who enjoy pheasant hunting, I have used the Fort Boise WMA for pheasant hunts over the past seven seasons. There was a time when a three hour trip through the fields of the WMA would yield a bird or two, give my dog a good workout and provide an exciting hunt.
Not anymore. It seems there has been a serious cutback on birds released. Where Saturday used to be the best day of the week, there is now a silence, no shotguns blasting, no pheasants squawking. A few more shutouts and the WMA begins to lose its shine.
What is puzzling to me and to others who share in my disappointment is how easy it would be to provide a better hunt for those who purchase permits. I would gladly pay twenty dollars more for a permit knowing birds would be dropped on popular days, ie., Saturday and Sunday. But to pay the current rate of $23.75 and not see or hear one bird in three trips to the WMA doesn't quite cut it.
Please try to improve this whole process. It would be such a joy to once again have productive hunts in the WMA and to see more hunters, knowing their hunt will be productive, take advantage of this wonderful recreational resource. It would be a shame to see the WMA lose its support of the bird hunters.

A: 

Sorry to hear you didn't have better hunting.  We stocked 3500 pheasants at Fort Boise this last season, which is more than any other WMA in the region. Of the 22 separate releases, ten were done on Fridays throughout the season, which was assumed to provide some opportunity on Saturday as well.  Next year we can try shifting some of that to Saturdays.  Having Saturday (or any other day) as predictable day of birds releases creates both a crowding and safety issue, however, so we try to vary the days somewhat. 
As far as your willingness to pay more, I'm sure we could use the help, but all fee increases are tied to legislative approval, and they didn't approve any increases in revenue this year.  Right now, each permit covers the cost of a little over one pheasant, so buying more birds at even an increased fee would still result in lost revenue, so we try to balance hunter interest in the program with what we can responsibly afford to budget to provide the opportunity. 

answered 11/3/2013

Q: Pheasant Stocking on WMA

Just a question are Pheasants being stocked on the WMA or have they been furloughed? We went out Saturday and didn't hear any shots with full parking lots that seems odd.

A: 

The Department continues to stock nine Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) with pheasants each fall.  Because the price of pheasants increased in 2013, the number of pheasants stocked has decreased a bit .  That being said, there are still good opportunities out there.  Some of the most successful WMA pheasant hunters like to hunt the thick patches of cover that provide shelter for those birds that did not get harvested on the day of release.  For a complete list of stocking locations and schedules, please see the following link: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=275.  

answered 10/28/2013

Q: Can I have a long gun when I m archery hunting I also have a wolf tag and if so do I need hunter orange

Can I carry a long gun when archery hunting season for elk I also have a wolf tag

A: 

There are no prohibitions in Fish and Game Code preventing you from carrying a firearm while archery hunting. Idaho does not require the wearing of hunter orange to hunt game, except: all upland game bird and upland game animal hunters are required to wear visible hunter orange (a minimum of 36 square inches) above the waist during the pheasant season when hunting on WMA's where pheasants are stocked (see upland game brochure).

answered 6/30/2013

Q: I understand deer can be hunted in the Fort Boise WMA. How does one get a tag for this?

I understand deer can be hunted in the Fort Boise WMA. How does one get a tag for this?

A: 

Fort Boise WMA is in Unit 38 and only requires that you buy a regular deer tag and hunt within the season.  It is a short-range weapon hunt.  There are not that many deer on the WMA and it is a preferred pheasant and waterfowl hunting area, but deer hunting is allowed.

answered 4/9/2013

A: 

No.
No person shall take upland game birds [including turkeys]:
- From one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. Upland game shall not be taken before 10 a.m. on Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Montour and Payette River WMAs, during the pheasant season. Turkeys shall not be taken from sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
- With a trap, snare, net, crossbow, slingshot, hand-held or thrown missiles, firearms except a shotgun using shells not exceeding 3 ½ inches maximum length, except forest grouse. Forest grouse shall not be taken with a trap, snare, net or crossbow.
- From any watercraft.
- By the use or aid of any electronic call.
- By the aid of baiting. Bait is defined as any substance placed to attract game.

answered 3/8/2013