Briefly

Arthur Blank

Fish and Game seeks info on poached deer near Harpster

HARPSTER — A large-bodied white-tailed buck was shot and only its head removed near milepost 14 of State Highway 13 along the South Fork of the Clearwater River near here Nov. 15, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The agency is asking anyone who may have seen people wading in the river there at that time, a vehicle parked there for a prolonged period or anyone who has information about the alleged poaching to pass on the information to via the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline at (800) 632-5999.

Comment sought on IDFG changes to upland game, furbearer regs

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials are seeking public comments on proposed changes to the 2020 and 2021 upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons.

Proposed changes to seasons include adding units 7 and 9 to the list of units open to general turkey hunting seasons — spring and fall, expanding special unit turkey tag use to all units in the Panhandle Region and extending the fall turkey general hunting season end date from Dec. 31 to Jan. 31 in the Panhandle Region.

They are also proposing to create archery-only upland game animal/bird seasons in Farragut State Park/Wildlife Management Area to run concurrent with an archery whitetail deer season there and an archery-only spring turkey hunt at the park.

A change to the furbearer season would extend the closure of the river otter trapping season from March 15-31 in the Clearwater, Southwest, Magic Valley, Southeast, Upper Snake and Salmon regions.

A complete listing of proposed changes by region is available at idfg.idaho.gov/comment.

People can also comment on the proposals at an open house meeting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the agency’s Clearwater Regional office in Lewiston. All comments received will be summarized and presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for consideration before seasons are set at its Jan. 23 meeting in Boise.

Turkey hunts in Idaho have expanded as population has grown

While hunting wild turkeys in the fall often takes a back seat to big game, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, pursuing the elusive birds in autumn has its advantages, according to a news release from the Idaho department of Fish and Game.

General fall turkey seasons are open through the end of December in parts of the Clearwater Region.

“Hunting turkeys in the fall can be just as exciting as in the spring,” said Jeff Knetter, Fish and Game upland game and migratory game bird program manager at Boise.

The general season in the Clearwater Region runs through Dec. 31 in management units 8, 8A, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18. Either sex may be harvested during the fall seasons, and the daily bag limit varies by unit.

Hunters must have a valid Idaho hunting license and a general or extra tag.

More information is available by reviewing pages 18-28 of the 2018-19 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules booklet available at all Fish and Game offices, license vendors and online at idfg.idaho.gov/rules/upland.

Fall turkey hunts in Idaho have expanded over the years as turkey populations have increased. In northern Idaho, turkeys are widespread and abundant, especially where there are fields or other open country adjacent to timbered lands. Quality hunting can be found on both public and private lands, and finding a place to hunt can be as easy as looking at a map or asking a landowner for permission.

“Many landowners will welcome hunters because they want turkey flocks reduced on their lands,” Knetter said. “But it’s critical hunters always ask for permission first, and if allowed to hunt, always follow the landowner’s wishes.”

According to the news release, the basic fall hunting strategy is to find and break up a flock, scattering them in all directions. Hunters then wait as near as possible to the spot where the flock was first encountered. Younger birds will usually return within an hour, while an old gobbler may take three to four hours.

“It’s an entirely different hunting experience in the fall, but the sounds and sight of dozens of turkeys returning to you from all directions can be as exciting as calling one in during the spring,” Knetter said.

Pet owners warned about trapping devies employed in wilderness

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is reminding pet owners that fur trapping seasons are open during late fall and winter, and pets running off leash could risk having their toes pinched — or worse — by traps and snares intended for wildlife.

According to a news release from the agency, traps and snares are rarely encountered by bird hunters or hikers, but pets can be attracted to them. People who allow their dogs to roam should be prepared to act quickly if this occurs. Most traps and snares are simple in design and easy to operate. Some of the larger foothold and body-gripping traps can be challenging, because they require more effort to open.

Idaho Fish and Game provides information on how to spot and avoid traps, and what to do if a pet gets caught. Both videos and brochure are available at bit.ly/2XRbglU.

Trappers are advised to avoid conflicts by closely following all rules and regulations, including not setting traps close to popular trails, trailheads or areas people frequent. Trappers are also encouraged to post warning signs near their traplines to inform recreationists that traps or snares are in the area.

The signs can be downloaded and printed from the Fish and Game Department’s website.

Schweitzer Mountain ski resort isn’t waiting for Mother Nature

SANDPOINT — Schweitzer Mountain Resort will kick off its ski season with man-made snow today, despite Mother Nature’s slow approach to winter.

“Natural snow coverage is thin,” said Schweitzer Marketing Manager Dig Chrismer. “But thanks to Schweitzer’s snow-making system, the recent cold temps and our desire to get out there, we will be open daily for skiing and snowboarding starting today.

The resort plans to operate seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with limited terrain and services available.

At this time, only the Basin Express Quad will be in operation, serving one groomed run — Midway. Beginner terrain will not be open.

More information about Schweitzer’s hours of operation, latest weather conditions, and other details is available by visiting www.schweitzer.com.

Catch-and-release steelhead tournament scheduled Saturday

HELLER BAR — The Clearwater Chapter of the Idaho River Community Alliance will hold a catch-and-release steelhead tournament here Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The winner of the Hells Canyon Steelhead Roundup will be decided by total inches of fish caught. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in the adult male, adult female and kids 14 and younger categories. There will also be a prize for the biggest sucker caught.

People can enter fish caught from the Snake, Grande Ronde and Salmon rivers. Prizes include multiple guided fishing trips around the Pacific Northwest, an over under shotgun, muzzleloader and a .22 rifle.

The cost to enter is $40 for adults and $25 for kids for those who register in advance and $50 and $30 for those who sign up at the Heller Bar boat ramp between 6:30 and 8 a.m. Preregistration can be completed at bit.ly/2QUUwbS. More details are available on the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ClearwaterCIRCA/.

Awards, raffles and a free barbecue will be held after the derby in a heated tent in the Heller Bar parking lot.

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