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Hot summer will affect hunting season in Idaho

Pocatello

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EastIdahoNews.com file photo

DRIGGS — September is here, and so is bow season, with the rest of the hunting season soon to follow.

What are the prospects for this year?

Our partners, Teton Valley News checked in with Rob Howe, from Idaho Fish and Game.

“With how dry it’s been, hunting near water will be more effective for people,” he said. “The animals will be more stressed going into the season.”

That could mean skittish animals, although Howe was clear that the population was still pretty healthy.

“Most deer and elk who made it to adulthood are doing pretty good,” he said. “A high yearling survival rate is the biggest factor to population recruitment.”

But the dry weather did do damage, particularly through an unusually active fire season.

According to Howe, the Henry’s Creek fire burnt through the favored winter range for most deer and elk in the area.

“That area is where they go during the winter,” he said. “We’ll help them the best we can… but it is going to be a hard winter for them this season.”

Idaho Fish and Game is already planning a major rehabilitation effort in the area to restore the habitat as much as possible to its previous form.

That effort involves volunteers.

“People interested in helping out should call the regional office,” said Howe. “They can also sign up online.”

To sign up, volunteers can go to https://idfg.idaho.gov/volunteer/tex-creek-fire

elk

EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Volunteers can expect to be helping collect native seeds or distributing them in the areas affected by the fire.

The fire has also impacted which areas may be closed to hunting.

For information on closures, Howe pointed to the US Forest Service.

“Basically the feds manage the land, but the state manages the animals on the land,” he said. “For land use restrictions, look up the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management… For hunting restrictions, look at Fish and Game.”

People concerned with other people breaking game restrictions are encouraged to get in touch.

“Inevitably, I’ll get contacted two weeks after an incident occurs,” said Howe. “Be good witnesses… [and] be safe if you think you are witnessing a crime.”

Howe elaborated on what it means to be a good witness.

“Almost everybody can shoot video and take pictures on their phone. All the crime fighting tools are wrapped up in your phone,” he said. “The other side of the coin are the people that don’t have a full grasp of what goes on with hunting, but think they see something illegal, and try to take the law into their own hands. They could be breaking the law themselves.”

Idaho Fish and Game’s Citizens Against Poaching, CAP, program is active again this year.

The program rewards citizens who turn in poachers. According to Idaho Rod and Reel, over $400,000 in rewards have been paid to callers.

The CAP toll-free number is 1-800-632-5999 for violations within Idaho. The information given is relayed to Department of Fish and Game officials. Callers can also choose to remain anonymous.

This article was originally published by Teton Valley News. It is used here with permission.

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