Clearwater Proposals for 2013 Big Game Seasons

Clearwater Region

White-tailed Deer
- Muzzleloader-Only Either-Sex Controlled WTD Deer Hunts in Units 8A and 10A: Open on 10/10 (instead of the current 12/2); season of 10/10 to 12/14.
Justification: The restrictive nature of these hunts has led to low hunter interest (particularly in 8A).  Increasing the length (to overlap the general season dates in addition to the 12/2-12/14 timeframe) should make these hunts more attractive/less restrictive.

White-tailed Deer and Mule Deer
- Extra Antlerless Deer Controlled Hunt 11AX:  Remove that portion of Unit 14 that was included in the 11AX hunt.
Justification:  Because depredation complaints are low in this portion of the hunt, it is no longer necessary to include Unit 14 as deer numbers are at an acceptable number in this portion of the hunt.
- Extra Antlerless Deer Controlled Hunt (Youth Only):  Create a new controlled hunt opportunity for either an extra antlerless white-tailed or mule deer on all private non-corporate timber lands within the Clearwater Region for youth with 200 tags.
Justification:  To provide additional youth opportunity and hopefully gain access to some small acreage parcels with traditionally difficult access on an abundant resource.

Palouse Zone:  
- Add 4 days to B-tag either-sex season so that it always includes a Saturday and Sunday. 
Justification: Expand B-tag antlerless opportunity.
- Reduce 8X elk hunt tag level from 100 tags to 55 tags (-45).
Justification: Reduce late season antlerless harvest during the January controlled hunt and shift emphasis towards site-specific depredation hunts.

Hells Canyon Zone:  Controlled Hunts ONLY.  Aerial surveys for elk in Units 11, 13 and 18 have just been completed and the data analyzed.  A proposed reduction in the numbers of bull elk tags in Unit 11 is based on declining numbers of bulls estimated from the survey.  Continued increases in cow elk densities in the zone necessitate proposals to increase antlerless tag numbers.
Unit 11:
- Move opening of controlled bull elk hunt 11-1 to begin 9 days later on Oct 10 and close Nov 3 with 80 permits.  Eliminate the late bull hunt in 11-1 that ran Nov 1 - Nov 24 (-71 permits).
- Reduce permits in the Aug 1 – Sept 30 either sex elk controlled hunt in Hunt Area 11-2 from 20 to 10 permits.  This hunt area includes the private land portion of Unit 11 and is designed to address depredation problems.  
Justification: These proposals are designed to reduce bull vulnerability and harvest since current recruitment is insufficient to sustain current harvest levels.
- Restructure antlerless elk hunting opportunity by creating a new hunt (for a total of three sequential antlerless hunts) in Hunt Area 11-1 for 150 antlerless elk permits that opens on Oct 1 and closes Oct 9.  Continue with current Oct 10 - Oct 24 antlerless hunt with 200 permits and Nov 10 - Nov 24 antlerless hunt with 175 permits. 
Justification: These proposals are designed to increase cow harvest to address high cow densities and low calf recruitment.
Unit 13:
- Add 100 permits to Unit 13 antlerless elk hunt (from 150 to 250).
Justification: This proposal is intended to maintain current population and recruitment levels to prevent low calf recruitment problems.
Unit 18:
- Restructure antlerless elk hunting opportunity in Unit 18 to increase harvest.  Maintain current unit-wide cow hunt (225 permits), and open two extra antlerless elk hunts with 150 permits each on the Snake River side of the Unit (Oct 10 – Nov 3 and Nov 4 – Nov 30).  Also add a new antlerless elk controlled hunt on the Salmon River side of the Unit with 50 permits (Dec 1 – Dec 31).
Justification: These proposals are designed to increase cow harvest to address high cow densities and low calf recruitment.

Elk City Zone: 
Unit 14: - Create a controlled hunt in that portion of Unit 14 being removed from the deer hunt from August 1 – September 15 (15 tags) and reduce the December hunt tags from 75 to 60.  Justification:  With increased elk complaints and depredations in that portion of Unit 14, this controlled hunt would replace depredation hunts that were used to address damage caused by this specific elk herd.

Black Bear
- No changes proposed.

Mountain Lion
- No changes proposed.

Gray Wolf
- Offer a wolf trapping season on private land only in Units 13 and 18 from November 15 to March 15.
Justification:  Considerable potential for conflicts between wolves and livestock exists in these units.  Offering a trapping season and directing trappers to problem areas will help address this issue.