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Surprise!

January 21, 2012 - 3:53pm -- idfg-vosborn

It was the second day of cow season and my dad had already shot his elk so we were trying to get mine. My dad's friend Nick told us to walk this one trail that was really steep. We got about 45 mintutes in when my dad had to use the "outhouse," so I was sitting there waiting when I saw two cows. I didn't say anything to my dad cause I thought it would be funny. I was aiming gettting ready to shoot when I just happened to look over and I saw his huge swaying rack. I repositioned myself and just let it rip. The next thing I know my dad is freaking out and well you can see the picture for the rest. But let me tell you one thing, I had only taken one animal before and that was a deer. This was huge for me. When we got phone service I called everyone on my contact list... Idaho is just the best. No questions asked! - Joshua Hutchinson

Patience pays off.

January 21, 2012 - 3:27pm -- idfg-vosborn

Having moved to Idaho in 2004, I struggled for seven previous seasons to figure out where and how to hunt the wide open and steep spaces of Idaho. Along the way we started to figure out where and how, filling a few bull and buck general season tags. Having our sights set on something big we religiously put in for controlled deer tags and I was drawn in my eighth try for a late 32 buck tag. My oldest son Justin had this tag in 09' and harvested a wonderful 192" buck. I went into this season with the hopes of finding something comparable. I took off 2 full weeks from work and was prepared to hunt hard the entire time to fullfill a lifetime dream of a big mule deer. Well on only my third full day of hunting, my good friend Roland helped me glass up this buck at a mile a way. After an hour stalk my 44 years of waiting was over. It isn't as big as my son's but I don't mind.
- Brian Kondeff

My first buck!

January 21, 2012 - 3:13pm -- idfg-vosborn

My first buck! I was really lucky to draw a late buck tag for unit 48 in 2011. The bucks were rutting hard and the conditions were perfect. Using the natural contour of the land I was able to stay out of sight and out of the wind to sneak up to 25 yards. He was with 12-13 does and two other bucks. This was the most exciting hunt of my life! Thanks Fish and Game for preserving our wildlife so that hunters like me can enjoy the great state of Idaho!
- Matt Sloan

What a great feeling.

January 21, 2012 - 1:31pm -- idfg-vosborn

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

Helpful Map Web sites for Hunters

October 6, 2011 - 9:44am -- idfg-jhayden

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. http://kcearth.kcgov.us/map/default.html.  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 http://www.idcounties.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={DA621DF6-70BE-4437-BE02-B1431FDA93CA} for a list of county websites.  Good luck.

North Idaho Bears and 2011 Huckleberry Crop

October 6, 2011 - 9:35am -- idfg-jhayden

About 50 of you responded with an opinion on the huckleberry crop this year – THANKS!  I got results back from several parts of Idaho, and some from Washington as well.  Looking just at the Idaho Panhandle, individual experiences ranged all the way from “A” to “F” grade.  When it was all said and done, as a group you rated the 2011 huck crop as a C minus.  Not particularly good, but not totally out of whack either.  Units 1, 4 and 4A stand out with the poorest crops this year (in general), while Unit 5 was the only unit to get a B average:

Overall C-
1 D+
2 C-
3 C+
4 D+
4A D
5 B
6 C
7 C
9 C

 

Bears do just fine with serviceberries, buffalo berries, raspberries, elderberries, etc., but huckleberries are key.  In poor huck years, several things happen the next winter:

  • Cubs (and some yearlings) survive poorly in the den that winter.  In real bad years, very few cubs will make it and we’ll lose most of an age class.  We can track this for years from the ages of harvested bears (we get the age from that tooth we swipe from you by counting the rings just like a tree).
  • Few new cubs are born the next year.  Female bears generally have to reach 100 lbs before their body will allow them to have cubs, and you’d be surprised at how many come up short of that in poor berry years.  It’s not surprising to lose most of this age class as well after a bad berry year.
  • The second year’s cub crop can also be affected a bit by poor female body condition.  Often we’ll see a reduction here as well, even though another year has gone by.  It seems that some females can’t recuperate in just one summer and birth rates can still be somewhat lower that second year.

The population dynamics of bears depends a lot on the amount of available food.  In Idaho, the means berries to a large degree.  Our bears are relatively small, and reproductive rates are slow.  In the eastern US, adult bears are substantially larger.  There, they have plenty of berries, but they also have a lot of “hard mast” and in particular acorns and beechnuts.  These are packed with oils (calories) and bears there can put on weight fast.  We can’t compete with that, but then again….they don’t get to live out here!

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