Hunting seasons are upon us in Idaho with opening day for general archery season starting on Sunday. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready for your fall hunting adventures.
— New this fall, the pheasant stocking program has been expanded in Southeast Idaho to include the Portneuf Wildlife Management Area south of Pocatello near Inkom. This makes two WMAs in the Southeast Region at which pheasant hunters will be able to pursue their quarry, the other being Sterling WMA near Aberdeen which has been traditionally stocked for years. More information about this expanded stocking program will be coming soon.
— Also new this fall is an opportunity for 50 hunters to pursue tundra swans in Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai counties. The season runs from Oct. 19 through Dec. 31. Tags went on sale on Aug. 1 and are sold out. If you were successful in buying a swan tag, check out Fish and Game’s swan hunting orientation course, which can be found online at idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/swan/course. This experimental hunt will provide a hunting opportunity for swans for at least three years. After that period, the hunt could become a continued opportunity for swan hunters upon approval by the Pacific Flyway Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
— The big game hunting outlook in the Southeast Region should be similar to last fall. A detailed hunting forecast will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.
— The results for the second controlled hunt application period are not out yet, but will be soon. Any tags leftover from the second drawing will be sold first-come, first-served on Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. Leftover tags can be purchased online, at any license vendor, or at any Idaho Fish and Game regional office.
— Remember, if you have a tag you wish to exchange, don’t wait too long. Once a season has started for the hunt for which you have your tag, exchanging that tag is not possible.
— Figuring out where to hunt is one of the biggest hurdles new hunters face, and Idaho Fish and Game has produced a three-part video tutorial to help guide hunters through the process of finding a place to hunt big game. The series will be featured on Fish and Game’s recently-launched website, gohuntidaho.org, which contains a wealth of information for hunters.
— Hunter education will continue to be offered online through the end of the year without the in-person field day requirement. Bowhunter education is also offered online. For access to online courses, visit idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/education. No regular in-person hunter or bowhunter education classes are being offered at this time, however, the Southeast Region is preparing to offer an in-person trapper education class this fall.
— Those who like to hunt wild turkey should take note that Unit 71 has been added to the list of units in the Southeast Region for either-sex general turkey season, and the season has been extended. This general turkey season is for units 71, 73, 74, 75, 77, and 78 and runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 30.
— Ever wonder what the most common hunting violations are? Check out this list, and make sure you don’t make one of these mistakes in the field this year.
• Wrong class license: It is unlawful for any person to purchase and possess a license of the wrong class. This is commonly individuals who are not residents of Idaho purchasing Idaho resident licenses.
• Possession/transportation of big game without evidence of sex: Failure to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the carcass, largest portion of meat if boned or hide for mountain lion, black bear and wolf.
• Unlawful take: It is the hunter’s responsibility to know the season open and close dates, hunt area boundaries, which species and sex may be taken, authorized methods of take such as archery, muzzleloader and any weapon hunt, and what license, tag and/or permit is required.
• Violate Forest Service road/area closures: The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management establish designated routes in Idaho’s National Forests and BLM lands. Please pay attention to the current Motorized Vehicle Use Maps for the areas you hunt.
• Hunt without a tag or with an invalid tag: It is the hunter’s responsibility to know the species and sex their tag is valid for, whether the tag is for a controlled hunt or a general hunt, which zone and dates the elk tag is valid for and hunt area boundaries.
Hopefully this information helps gets you both prepared and excited for your upcoming fall adventures. Don’t forget to check out the current Idaho seasons and rules brochures for your hunts this fall and winter. Brochures are available at license vendors and online at idfg.idaho.gov.