Hunts opening Saturday in the Owyhees unlikely to change
With controlled deer and pronghorns hunts opening in Unit 40 in portions of Owyhee County Saturday, Aug. 15, Idaho Fish and Game is monitoring the Soda Fire, but not closing or altering hunts at this time, nor expecting to in the immediate future.
Like all wildfires, situations with the Soda Fire in Owyhee County can change quickly, but the fire is burning mostly in the northwest portion of the unit, leaving much of the south and eastern portions open for hunting.
There are road closures in Owyhee County affecting access into the unit, and updates on the fire and road situation are available on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# under “Soda Fire.”
The Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office issued road closures on Aug. 13 for all roads leading into the Silver City area, except for fire-fighting activity and residents. The closure affects the Silver City, Trout Creek and Cow Creek roads. Upper Reynolds Creek Road is also closed, along with Jump Creek recreation sites and all trailheads from Silver City to Jump Creek. Trail closures are in effect on the Owyhee Front Range.
As of Aug. 14, the following roads are open and provide access to the western, eastern and southern portions of Unit 40: Flint Creek/Triangle Road, Mud Flat Road, Poison Creek Road, Shoofly Road, Sinker Creek Road and Collett Road.
Fish and Game has two hunts scheduled to open Saturday, Aug. 15.
A mule deer hunt involving 50 hunters opens for all of Unit 40 and runs through Sept. 30.
“There’s still a bunch of area available and really good deer country accessible that hasn’t burned,” said Scott Reinecker, Fish and Game’s Southwest Region supervisor.
He also noted the fire could be out and roads reopened before the hunts ends on Sept. 30.
An archery pronghorn hunt also opens Saturday and runs until Aug. 30 involving 200 hunters, but is open for units 40, 41 and 42 and only a small portion of that hunt is likely to be affected.
Typically, Idaho Fish and Game does not close hunts or alter season dates in response to fire restrictions. Most fires are not large enough to affect an entire hunting unit.
Hunters affected by a fire closure can either adjust their hunt plans (timing, location), or exchange controlled hunts for general tags in a different area. The exchange must take place before the season begins.