What a great feeling.

I have hunted with my best friend and hunting partner Robert Moore for the past 15 yrs. The more hiking we do, the more exploring we do, the more game we seem to find! You're only limited by your own physical ability. Ditch the ATV's and hike the wilderness Idaho has to provide. You will see more game! Climb of 2600 feet up to 9800 feet in Unit 50. What a great feeling.
- Tom Matus

Comments Sought on Upland Game, Furbearer Seasons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comments on proposed changes to the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 upland game and furbearer seasons. 

Interested hunters are encouraged to attend one of the regional open house meetings. So far three meetings have been set. Others will be announced as they are arranged.

  • Clearwater Region: 208-799-5010
    • Wednesday, December 21 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Clearwater Region office, 3316 16th Street in Lewiston. 
  • Southwest Region: Nampa – 208-465-8465
    • Wednesday, January 4 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Southwest Region office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, Nampa.
  • Upper Snake Region: 208-525-7290
    • Wednesday, January 4 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Upper Snake Region office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls.


Some ideas that will be considered include:

  • Moving upland game bird seasons to the third Saturday in September.
  • Increasing the chukar/gray partridge bag limit back up to 8 each.
  • Increasing possession limits to three times the daily bag limit.
  • Reductions in fall turkey hunting in the Southeast and Southwest regions.
  • Increasing otter quotas in the Panhandle, Clearwater and Southeast regions.
  • A few changes to areas open or closed to beaver trapping in the Clearwater and Magic Valley Regions.

Anyone unable to attend the open house may submit comments online, by mail to Upland Game Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707, or by contacting regional wildlife managers.

To comment on upland game proposals go to:

To comment on furbearer proposals go to:

The deadline for submitting comments is January 6.

All written comments will be summarized and presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for consideration before seasons are set.

Applications open for Extra Antlerless Deer Hunts!

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be offering two extra antlerless deer controlled hunt opportunities during December in a portion of Unit 45 near the area of the Blair Fire.

The hunts have been established to reduce herd numbers prior to winter to help ease pressure on remaining habitat, minimize deer collisions on nearby roadways, and alleviate some depredations on private croplands. 

The first controlled hunt will occur December 1 - 14, while the second will occur December 20-31. Both hunts will have 250 tags for antlerless deer only. These tags represent an extra deer hunting opportunity; hunters who already hunted or harvested this fall are eligible to apply for these hunts. 

Interested hunters will need to apply by November 18 at any Fish and Game license vendor, by calling 1-800-55HUNT5, or on the Internet at

For more information, please contact Idaho Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Regional Office at 324-4359.

Upland game bird reports are rolling in...


Forest grouse seasons have been open since late August and all other species opened on October 1. 

Most hunters have reported that forest grouse population are 'spotty' and locally abundant. 

Both the sage- and sharp-tailed grouse seasons are now closed.  Most hunters reported that populations were down from 2010 levels across the range.

Chukar, gray partridge and quail hunters seem to be faring much better.  Hunters in the Southwest Region have reported seeing healthy populations of birds.  Of the wings that have been turned in thus far, many are juveniles; suggesting that production was good this past spring/summer.  Many hunters have reported seeing 'small' birds which would suggest there were some late hatches.  Reports from the Southeast Region are that gray partridge numbers are down from 2010 levels when they were quite abundant.  I have not heard any reports from the Clearwater, Magic Valley or Salmon regions yet.

Happy hunting!

Panhandle Check Station Results

Elk Harvest
Frankly, I’m not a big fan of check stations.  They’re spot checks at a single location and there are a lot of factors that influence the data other than the size of the elk herd.  (That’s why I do like the mid-winter flight data, even though it’s a lot more expensive.)

We’ve run two stations pretty regularly since 1974 (a few scattered before that as well).  Hunting seasons have changed a lot, so I truncated the data at 1991 in the graphs below.  That’s the year we moved from a September either sex opener, to a standard October 10th bull opener.  You could probably make a decent argument that the graphs should only go back to 1998, when we started the A/B tag system.

So, in VERY general terms, bull elk success rates are looking decent at both check stations, and hunter participation has been declining through both stations since about 1992:

I gave up on trying to make comparisons for cow harvest.  Sometimes the cow season opened on a Friday, sometimes on a Saturday; sometimes it was 7 days long, sometimes 3, etc.  That analysis will just have to wait for the report card data to come in.

Wolf Harvest
From October 1-24, 2009, hunters took 7 wolves in the Idaho Panhandle.  Hunters have taken 9 wolves during this same period this year.  We also had an earlier opener this year (August 30th) with 6 wolves taken prior to October 1.  If we follow the same pattern of harvest as 2009, we would have a final hunter harvest of about 40 wolves.  In general terms, this would take care of most, if not all of the expected reproductive increase.  Trapping should result in a decrease in the Panhandle’s wolf population.

Helpful Map Web sites for Hunters

I wanted to look up the boundaries on some state land the other day and went to the Kootenai County website.  It’s a dang good site for those of us wanting to know who owns what land.  Basically, just go to the Kootenai County website.  Click on the layers button (to the right of the green i) and make sure at least the parcel polygon layer is checked.  Zoom into whatever are you want to look at.  The thin blue lines are outlines of property boundaries.  Now you can click on the blue i and click on any of those parcels.  The program should bring up land ownership in a box on the right.  A lot more here, and I’ll leave it to you to explore.  Good site.

Most (not all) counties have their own website and it’s a toss of the dice whether you can easily find maps and land ownership.  None of the other 4 Panhandle Counties had wonderful sites (Bonner County was ok.)  If you want to see what’s available in your own hunting area, go to{DA621DF6-70BE-4437-BE02-B1431FDA93CA} for a list of county websites.  Good luck.