Hunters: Time to file your harvest reports

BOISE — Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials are reminding big game hunters to fill out their hunter harvest reports.

Only about 25 percent of hunters have filed their reports, according to a news release from the agency. The department has a goal of having all reports filed by Dec. 31.

Harvest reports can be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2Lg9lRm or by calling (877) 268-9365. The phone option is available 24 hours per day and seven days per week. Those who call are asked to have their hunting tag numbers available.

Meeting to discuss whitetail numbers set

OROFINO — The group Northern Idaho Whitetails Forever will have a 9:30 a.m. meeting at Orofino High School’s gymnasium here Saturday to discuss the state of whitetail populations in northern Idaho and the group’s proposed changes in hunting units 1 through 16.

Earlier this year the group successfully lobbied the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to shorten the whitetail season in Unit 10A and to forbid hunters from using extra nonresident tags in the unit. The season that once closed on Dec. 1 was changed to close on Nov. 20 this fall. Group members believe whitetail populations, particularly the number of mature bucks, have declined because of their vulnerability to hunting during the rut when whitetails mate.

IDFG biologists launch deer and elk surveys

BOISE — Wildlife biologists with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have started to conduct annual wildlife deer and elk surveys throughout the state.

Disturbance to the animals is kept to a minimum, generally less than a few minutes.

“People may see and hear low-flying helicopters in Idaho’s outdoors throughout the winter,” said biologist Bret Stansberry of Salmon. “While we understand that some hunts will be in progress, we will do our best to temporarily avoid areas where we observe people.”

Each flight will cover a portion of the hunt unit being surveyed and will take three to eight hours to complete, depending on weather conditions. While some surveys have started, others will be conducted between January and March. Each survey is estimated to take approximately one to four weeks in each management area. In addition, the department will also capture and collar hundreds of mule deer and elk in hunt units throughout the state. Crews will then monitor the collared animals to get a better idea of herd survival throughout winter and early spring.

The information, together with the flight survey data, will be used to determine the overall health of Idaho’s mule deer and elk herds, which plays a critical role in determining future big game hunting seasons.

Sportsmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday

Bob Dice, manager of the Blue Mountain Wildlife Area, will be the guest speaker at the Asotin County Sportsmen Association meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Four Square Church, 2377 Appleside Blvd., in the Clarkston Heights. The public is invited to attend the meeting.

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