I know that the bag limit is related to a time period, usually a day. What I don't understand is how the possession limit works. Suppose a hunter has filed his bag limit for grouse (four birds) on October 25, but already had five grouse at home in the freezer. The possession limit for grouse is eight birds. Is there a violation because the total in the freezer now is nine birds?
The Idaho legal definition for "possession limit" is:
"Possession limit" means the maximum limit in number or amount of wildlife which may be lawfully in the possession of any person. "Possession limit" shall apply to wildlife being in possession while in the field or being transported to final place of consumption or storage.
Therefore, if the forest grouse limit is 4 birds a day (daily bag limit) and a possession limit of 12 birds, you can harvest no more than 4 birds in a day, regardless if you take them home, eat them, or give them away.
However, after a three day hunt away from home, you could have up to 12 birds in your possession (on your person, in your cooler, your vehicle or camper) as you travel home.
If you can hunt close to home and return home each day with 4 birds, you could have have 16 birds in your home freezer after a 4th day of hunting. Your possession limit only applies while you are in transit or away from the final place of storage or consumption.
If you are hunting away from home for 4 days, you could harvest up to 16 birds (4 each day), however, you would need to bring a dutch oven and eat some so that you were never in possession of more than your possession limit (4 on the first day, 8 on the second, 12 on the third and every day following). Remeber though, no matter how many you cook up in the ducth oven, you can not harvest more than 4 a day.
Finally, Idaho's possession limit does not apply to federally protected migratory birds (ducks, geese, doves, etc). Federal possession limits do apply to home storage for these species.