Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Hunters affected by national forest lands closed because of wildfires in the Magic Valley Region have the option to exchange their Smoky Mountain Zone elk A-tag.
As the fire slows, more of the Smoky Mountain Zone - game management units 43, 44 and 48 - is being opened. Only a small percentage of units 43 and 48 were affected; much of the fire is in Unit 44, which is not open for the archery portion of the A-tag elk hunt.
The archery A-tag season for elk in the Smoky Mountain Zone begins August 30. Hunters may exchange Smoky Mountain Zone elk tags for another zone at any Idaho Fish and Game office before August 30.
Other hunts affected by the closure area include a controlled deer hunt in Unit 44 that opens on September 15, and controlled bull elk hunts that open September 25. Several additional hunts open in October. Fish and Game will continue to monitor access restrictions and fire boundaries in those areas as those hunts draw nearer.
Fish and Game has a number of options for hunters whose hunting access is severely restricted by wildfires or closures, including exchanging controlled hunt tags for general season tags, rain checks for the following year, and in some cases refunds.
As fire and closure boundaries change, Fish and Game will determine which of these options are appropriate to different hunts and will publicize those options at least 10 days before the hunts' opening date.
For more information about upcoming hunts, contact the Fish and Game Magic Valley office at 208-324-4359.
Hunters, anglers and other backcountry travelers are advised to check with U.S. Forest Service ranger district offices or county sheriffs' offices before heading out. For fire updates go to: http://www.inciweb.org/state/13/.
For additional fire information check the Hunt Planner Map Center at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/mapcenter/, and at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/maps/realtime/fire/.