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How do I report deer hunting days in a short-range only unit?

Filling out my on-line hunt report for general deer season. The questionnaire asks about hunting in the centerfire (including shotgun) season, and in the archery ONLY or muzzleloader ONLY seasons. I hunted for two days in units that are restricted to short-range weapons only (during the general season); so they don't really fall in the centerfire season, and don't fit the definition of archery or muzzleloader ONLY hunts. Both of these units contain areas that are controlled hunt only and short-range only. There are no general, any-weapon seasons for these units. One concern is that by reporting hunting days in them without having a controlled hunt tag, I could open myself up to a perceived violation of the rules. On the other hand, I believe that the days should be reported to increase the accuracy of the statistical reports. So how are the days supposed to be reported?

Answer

Thank you for your question about filing your hunter report for your deer tag. We try to keep the reporting forms as simple as possible, short and sweet. But sometimes, it is TOO short.  Sometimes we wish we had put more instructions on the online forms. Maybe next year.

--If you hunted with rifle or shotgun, put your information in the “center-fire” section.

--If you hunted with archery or with muzzleloader, it goes in those specific sections. There is not a separate form for shotgun or for short-range weapons as a separate category.

The same form is used for both general and controlled tags, and sometimes this is confusing. General or controlled, it goes on the same form.  So in your case, hunting in a general short-range only season, your days hunting with shotgun will still be filed under “center-fire”. 

We have records for each tag purchased by hunters, what kind of hunt it was for, which areas are legal, which animals, and using what weapons. We can usually figure out what was meant in each report.

We really appreciate having the hunters file their reports, either online or by phone. The sooner the better. It is a very large project. In 2013, there were about 230,000 tags sold for deer, elk, and pronghorn. About 89,000 reports have been filed so far, up to 3000 per day.  Reminder postcards were mailed to hunters in November who had not yet filed, and some will get phone calls from us in December or January. These data are used to calculate the harvest estimates for 1400 different hunts (600 controlled hunts plus general hunts in 99 game management units by 3 weapon types and 4 species). 

File your reports here, for deer, elk, and pronghorn:     http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=106