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 111 questions


Price Lock is a win-win for you and Idaho Fish and Game. You are keeping your costs to fish, hunt and trap among the lowest in the West, and you are providing consistent funding for wildlife conservation, management and enforcement. In short, with Price Lock you are investing in Idaho’s fish and wildlife – making sure it is there next time you go hunting and fishing.

answered 6/23/2017


In banner years for returning steelhead, Fish and Game often bring adult hatchery steelhead to the Boise River to create an additional fishing opportunity. This generally happens in mid-November, depending on the counts and timing of steelhead returning to the trap at Hells Canyon Dam.

answered 5/3/2016

Q: Bobcat

Why isn't there a limit on harvesting bobcat, like other game animals?


Bobcats are classified as a furbearing animal.  Furbearers include bobcat, fox, marten, mink, muskrat, beaver, otter, lynx, fisher, and badger.  Of these, lynx and fisher are fully protected with no legal harvest, and otters have a quota.  Lynx are listed as threatened and wolverine are listed as protected non game.   None of the other furbearers have quotas or limits except a few controlled hunts for beaver.  Fur trapping effort fluctuates with fur prices as much as anything.  When fur prices are up, people tend to trap more.  When they are down, people trap less.  License sale fluctuates with fur prices as well.  Bobcat harvest fluctuates with fur prices and they have gone through several cycles over the last few decades and so have bobcat populations.  Recent high harvest has declined likely a result of fur prices declining and reduced trapping pressure.  We continue to monitor annual harvest and survey trappers to identify any concerns for bobcat and other furbearer populations.

answered 4/26/2016

Q: Poisoning Squirrels

Is it legal to put rat poison outside for the purpose of killing squirrels in Boise?


Rat poison is very lethal and there are restrictions and guidelines for its use.  Rat poison does not only kill rats but everything that injests it including dogs, cats, squirrels, birds that eat squirrels, raccoons, skunks, deer, songbirds, and anything else that might injest the pellets.  Your best bet for killing unwanted squirrels would be to live trap them and euthanize, then properly dispose of them.  Fox squirrels are the big reddish ones found in town and they are not protected.  However, placing rat poison anywhere that is not closely monitored and restricted will lead to unwanted mortality of protected species and neighbors pets, and that is illegal.

answered 4/20/2016

Q: How can I find prev. years trapping lic purcase? Was a trapping licence required in the early 80's?

With the new trapping course possibly being put on trappers I was wondering when I purchased my first trapping lic. I used to trap back in the early 80"s then joined the service but when retired I started trapping again.


Thank you for your question.
Trapping licenses were required in the 1980's. Unfortunately we do not have license purchase history for the 1980's.

answered 4/17/2016

Q: Do I need a trappers license to trap rats?

I getting some pack rats at my work location, do I need a trapping license to trap out these rats?


No you do not.  Thanks for asking!

answered 4/11/2016

Q: Understanding the meaning of "Taking" big game animals

I have not been able to find a clear definition of what "Taking" means for birds, animals, fish etc. I would assume it means the same thing as harvesting or killing or trapping or catching the animal as opposed to the act of just hunting or fishing?


"Take" is defined in statute (Idaho Code 36-202(i)).
""Take" means hunt, pursue, catch, capture, shoot, fish, seine, trap, kill, or possess or any attempt to so do."

answered 2/3/2016

Q: Shed Hunting: can I use an antler trap?

I was wondering if there are any restrictions using baited antler traps in the Boise foothills? This is a simple antler trap using a salt lick or any other bait, that is surrounded with stretched out bungee cords to drop the antlers that might still be on any deer trying to get at the bait. I've seen them before but wanted to know if they were legal in the state.


Antler traps are legal as long as the animal is not harmed by the "trap".
If placing an antler trap on public ground, check with the land management agency, they may have restrictions on placing items that are left unattended.
One word of caution, if using bait to attract animals to the antler trap, it is unlawful to use bait to attract wildlife (turkey, deer, elk etc.) and then hunt them.

answered 1/29/2016

Q: Does Fish and Game consider trapping Steelhead for Boise River from Riggins instead of Hells Canyon?

I have fished Hells Canyon for years, it is remote, quiet and a beautiful place to fish for this prized fish, every year extra steel head are trapped in addition to the hatchery needs to plant the Boise River as well as other locations. I know this is to sell tags but the fish put in these systems are at best caught for only a couple days, myself and many of my friends see a huge decrease in fishing as hundreds of these fish are removed from Hells Canyon, has fish and game ever considered sharing the pain and trapping a portion of these fish from the Salmon river?


Yes, we have considered many options for how we operate the steelhead trapping and translocation program as it seems to receive an inordinate amount of scrutiny. For Idaho's share, we try to find a balance between meeting broodstock needs, and providing harvest opportunity downstream of Hells Canyon and in other locations. Currently, we purposefully delay the opening date of the Hells Canyon trap to meet the needs of fishermen downstream of Hells Canyon. After November 1, we usually begin trapping efforts to capture fish for the Boise River. As for the notion that we are doing this simply to sell tags and that translocated fish only last a couple of days, I don't agree. We operate the translocation program to provide a unique fishery to a large number of people that might not find the time to travel to do so. Plus, this program reminds people of what was once in the Boise River and other systems that no longer provide anadromous fishing opportunity. Sure, the fact that these anglers buy tags is a bonus, but it certainly is not the reason why we choose to provide this fishery. As for residence time, it is true that a lot of the harvest and effort occur within the first few days. However, we see steelhead-related fishing effort for several weeks after the last stocking event and stocked steelhead live for several months after being translocated. Last weekend, we received a report of one angler catching 2 steelhead in the Boise River in one day, around three months post translocation. These reports are not uncommon. As for utilizing Salmon River fish, I don't see that this option is feasible.  As you probably know, almost Salmon River trapping locations are located much farther upstream and steelhead do not begin to show up at the facilities until the spring at which time they are in much worse condition to the point that translocating wouldn't provide decent fisheries.     

answered 1/22/2016

Q: Trespass Law

Can you please go into detail on how to tell if land is enclosed. For instance there are many 3-4 strand barbwire fences that run through public land and then into private, what type of fences would deem land to be enclosed?


I assume by enclosed you are refering to closed off for public access or trespass. Fence locations or type of fencing really has nothing to do with idaho trespass law.  The law states:
No person may enter private land to hunt, fish or trap without permission if the land is:
OR posted with no trespassing  or similar signage every 660 feet or at all reasonable access points
OR posted with 100 square inches of high visibility orange paint every 660 feet or all reasonable access points
OR posted with high visibility orange paint on the top 18 inches of a metal fence post every 660 feet or all reasonable access points
OR posted with signs where a public road enters and leaves property through or along which the public has a right-of-way
I suggest you read the full statute which can be found on page 96 of the 2015 & 2016 big game seasons and rules booklet.

answered 12/29/2015

Q: Can i have more than one name on a trap tag?

My son and myself are planning on trapping together. As he is 12 years old and lives at home so we have same address, are we allowed to have both our names on the trap tag instead of putting two tags on the trap? The reason is if only one of us is checking traps that it will have our name on it. Another choice would be if only one of us has our name on the trap, could someone else that is a licensed trapper check our trap if they were in possession of a written note saying that the owner of the traps allows them to do so? The reason is not just for me and my son but if something happened where it was not possible to check the trap it would still be done by someone. I found nothing on this subject when reviewing the manual.
Allan Szews


On page 47 of the furbearer regulations in the section entitled "removing trapped animals of another" it states: No person shall remove wildlife from the trap or snare of another except licensed trappers with written permission from the owner.  In other words, so long as your name or your son's name (if he is licensed) is on the trap, and you both have written permission for each other to check the traps, then you are legal.  Please carry the permission with your license in case you are checked by an officer.

answered 12/17/2015

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?


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:

answered 12/12/2015

Q: What is the difference between bait and an attractor?

Is bait (as defined in Idaho's “Furbearer – Methods of Take/Rules”) and an attractor synonymous? In other words, can the non edible part(s), such as a hide, fur, or feather, of a non game animal be used an a attractor for trapping Coyote? And, lastly, is there any case law dealing with the difference between the two?


‘Bait’ for trapping purposes is defined as any animal parts; except bleached bones or liquid scent.
You also cannot use for bait or scent, any part of a domestic or wild origin game bird, big game animal, upland
game animal, game fish, or protected nongame wildlife;  Although there isn't a definition for attractor or attractant in the rules, it is commonly considered a scent such as pheromones for attracting animals.  However, some trappers frequently use shiney or reflective and mobile objects or feathers to attract bobcats.  These may be considered attractants even though they are not scents.  You therefore can use parts of domestic farm animals such as hair, fur, or feather as bait or attractant but they have to meet the placement rule of not being visible from above and or 30 feet from a trap.

answered 11/23/2015

Q: What are trap identification numbers?

Do trap identification numbers change every few years for the same trapper or is it a lifetime number? also are these public information if I found a trap with an i.d. Number on it can I find out who it belongs to or a list of licensed trappers in the area or state?


Trapping ID is issued to each trapper for life and is unique to that trapper.  Although we have the trapper's name associated with the tag number, we are not allowed by law to give that name and contact information out to the public. If you found a legal trap it is unlawful to remove the trap or interfere with the lawful trap set.  However, you may contact IDFG at your regional office and ask them to contact the trapper and the trapper may then contact you if you have a concern.  The trapper is not obligated to contact you.  If you found a trap that was set illegally, you should contact IDFG and let us make the contact with the trapper.  Trapping rules and regulations along with videos on how to avoid traps and release your pet from a trap can be found on our website at: .   If you have any further questions please contact your closest fish and game office.

answered 11/20/2015


Another 150 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, November 19, 2015, the last of two planned stocking efforts prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.  In years past, as many as 900 steelhead made the road trip from Hells Canyon Dam to the Boise River, but this year's below-average steelhead return means only about 300 fish will be coming to the Boise River this fall. The fish will be stocked at four locations along the Boise River, including Glenwood Bridge, just below the Broadway Avenue Bridge behind Boise State University, at Parkcenter Bridge and at Barber Park. Anglers should note that no stocking will take place at Americana Bridge due to construction at that location. Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit, good for 20 fish. Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling. All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin (the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin). Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water. Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 20 for the fall season. The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Company-owned and funded Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. For more information regarding the Boise River steelhead release, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465 or check the department's web site at:  

answered 11/18/2015

Q: crawfish trapping specifics

I know how jugging works in Idaho, but is it legal to use a jug to hold your crawfish traps off the bottom while still maintaining the 48 hour trap checking rule?


There are no prohibitions in IDAPA rule or Idaho code on having your trap suspended from/off of  the bottom.

answered 10/8/2015

Q: Boise and steelhead

Do the numbers look good enough for a Boise river stock?


At this time, it is too early to tell whether there will be steelhead transferred to the Boise River. Normally, the Oxbow Hatchery trap is opened in late October, but that is dependent on the water temperatures in the Snake River. Once the water temperture comes down where fish can be safely trapped and moved to Oxbow Hatchery, the numbers of steelhead available will become clear. It will likely be early November before we know for sure whether there will be enough steelhead to meet brood stock needs and provide fish to the Boise River. In years when we see average run numbers of steelhead returning, we typically make at least one plant to the Boise River. In good years, there may be as many as three plants. Right now it is just too early to tell what the season will look like for the Boise River. 

answered 10/8/2015

Q: Do you have to have a trapping license to trap coyotes?

Is a trapping license required to trap coyotes?


You must have a trapping license to trap coyotes in Idaho.  This species can be trapped all year long and there is not a limit on the harvest amount.

answered 9/20/2015

Q: Bow hunting licenses

Since I am of the age of 65, I can purchase a combination at a reduce price. Why is it not available for a bow license, not a tag. If the state offers a
a lower price for a senior license, why can't they offer it to a bow hunter for the age of 65 and older?


I want to thank you for taking the time to write about the tag and permit fees paid by those holding senior licenses. 
The Department of Fish and Game does not receive any financial support from the state’s general fund. Therefore, the funding for Idaho’s fish and wildlife programs comes solely from you and other anglers and hunters through your purchase of fishing and hunting licenses, tags and permits. The fees collected through the sale of licenses, tags, and permits goes to pay for habitat improvement, population management, Wildlife Management Areas, hundreds of fishing and boating access sites, millions of fish stocked into some of your favorite fishing spots, conservation enforcement and much more.
In 1998, the Idaho State Code was changed to reduce the age requirements for the senior combination license from age 70 to age 65 as long as the individual had domiciled in Idaho for the prior 5 years. Along with this change, the Idaho Code was also changed to reference the items that holders of a Junior, Senior or Disabled American Veteran licenses could purchase at a discount. These items were deer, elk, bear and turkey tags. Below is the Statute.
36-409.  Game tags -- Permits -- Fees -- Penalty. (a) Resident Game Tags. A resident who has obtained authorization to hunt, as provided in section 36-401, Idaho Code, or has purchased or obtained a license to hunt, as provided in section 36-406, Idaho Code, upon payment of the fees provided herein shall be eligible to receive a resident game tag to hunt and kill a moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion, bear, wolf, sandhill crane or turkey in accordance with the laws of this state and rules promulgated by the commission; provided further, that any person who holds a senior resident combination license or any person who holds a junior combination or hunting license or any disabled American veteran who holds a disabled combination license, may be issued a bear, deer, elk, or turkey tag for a fee as specified in section 36-416, Idaho Code; provided further, that resident game tags may be issued only to those persons who meet residency requirements of subsection (s) of section 36-202, Idaho Code. In the event an emergency is declared to open a season to protect private property as provided in section 36-106(e)6.(B), Idaho Code, the affected landowner or his designee shall be eligible to receive a resident deer, elk or antelope tag without charge; provided further, that resident game tags may be issued only to persons who qualify as residents pursuant to section 36-202, Idaho Code.
In the last legislative session, the residency requirements to obtain a senior license was lowered from 5 years to 6 months.
The Department appreciates your support and commitment to help us ensure that Idaho's wildlife will be there for our kids and grandkids to enjoy tomorrow. Please contact us again if you have any additional questions.

answered 9/16/2015

Q: Non-resident trapping

As a Michigan resident, may I trap Bobcats and / or wolves ? I understand I would have to take the wolf trapping course.


Our recipricol agreement with other states allows you to trap for a species in Idaho so long as your state allows nonresidents to trap for the same species in your state.  If Michigan allows NR trappers to trap bobcat then you can trap bobcats in Idaho.  The limit would be what your state allows NR trappers to keep in Michigan.  The only exceptions are for wolves.  NR trappers are allowed to trap wolves in Idaho so long as they have taken the Idaho wolf trapping class, regardless of if the NR state of residence allows wolf trapping or not.

answered 8/25/2015

Q: Do i need to attend a trapping class to get a trapping license?

Do i need to take a general class in order to trap in Idaho other than the wolf trapping class?


We do recommend that trappers take a trapping course to learn important skills such as avoiding non-target catch, best management practices, ethics and responsibilities. Our trapping course includes both classroom time taught by a trapper and outdoor trap setting skills.
A trapping course is not required in Idaho.

answered 8/10/2015

Q: If you want to trap in a different state after moving ang had a trapping license in the previous state?

What is u want to trapp in a state that u just moved to and u had a license in the previous state


In Idaho, you can participate in trapping by purchasing a trapping license and following all rules and regulations.

answered 7/27/2015

Q: south fork salmon river quota

Is there a salmon quota set for the south fork salmon river? and if so what is it so far?


The estimated quota for the South Fork Salmon is changing every day as more fish arrive over Bonneville and Lower Granite dams. The current estimate is that the quota will be in the range of 1,000-1,500 salmon. Much of the run is still migrating up through the lower river system, so estimating the quota with certainty can be difficult. 
Fishing is not yet open on the river, so none of the quota has been harvested. Fishing opens this Friday the 19th. There have already been several hundress salmon collected at the South Fork trap, so there are already fish in the river. I would expect fishing to be good this weekend given the current conditions and numbers of fish in the river. 
Good luck!

answered 6/16/2015

Q: I'm not catching any crayfish

I've seen them walking on rocks, but when I set my traps, I only catch 0-1 crawfish. I'm using 3 traps, and I've been setting them in shallow, rocky areas. I've been trying to catch a lot since mid-may this year.
What bait should I use? I'm setting them in by Banbury, but I'm not sure if location has an effect on the productivity of crayfish. I need your expertise on how to catch them!


Crayfish are found in rocky areas where they have cover from predators (fish, birds, etc.).  The best baits are chicken liver, fish entrails or other waste meat.  Soak your trap along the rocky shore for several hours (over-night).
What I've found to work well is a small can of cat food.  Just punch several holes in the can with a drill or a "spud bar."  Suspend the bait in the center of the trap with wire.  You can also wrap other baits in mesh material and suspend it in the trap but the crayfish are effective at pulling the bait out of the material.  Cans of tuna fish also work will but they are a little more expensive than cat food.

answered 6/14/2015

Q: Chinook hatchery returns

Will they be updating the hatchery returns this year here on the website?


The short answer is yes.  Hatcheries are starting to trap chinook salmon and we are finalizing our website content and procedures for updating the trapping numbers.
As of May 7, Rapid River had trapped 7 adipse fin clipped adult chinook salmon and Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery (on the Clearwater) had trapped 2 adipose fin clipped adults.
Browse to the hatchery returns.

answered 5/8/2015