Idaho Fish and Game Commission Tuesday, March 24, adopted big game seasons as recommended by Fish and Game biologists, with a few last minute changes in response to public comments.
Commissioners adopted hunting season dates on wolves statewide, pending removal of wolves in Idaho from the endangered species list, expected to take effect later this spring. The seasons would be the same as proposed last year, except seasons would be extended in the Lolo and Sawtooth zones to run from September 1 through March 31.
The seasons would run from September 15 through December 31 in the Selway and Middle Fork zones, and elsewhere from October 1 through December 31.
Commissioners would set harvest quotas in August. Meanwhile, Fish and Game will respond aggressively to chronic depredation.
Other seasons changes include capping elk tags in two elk zones; reduced general deer opportunities for white-tail deer in northern Idaho and mule deer in southern Idaho; changing general pronghorn archery season to unlimited controlled hunts; and increased opportunities for senior and disabled hunters.
State big game populations, like the nation’s economy, are going through a period of correction, some planned some not, former big game manager Brad Compton told commissioners Tuesday.
Under the seasons adopted by the commission, A and B tags in the Sawtooth Elk Management Zone and A tags in the Diamond Creek Zone will be capped. A and B tags already are capped in the Selway and Middle Fork zones, and B tags already are capped in the Dworshak, Lolo and Elk City zones.
The new caps will be phased in over three years. In the first year, A tags will be reduced by 15 percent in the Diamond Creek Zone; A tags will be reduced by 37 percent and B tags will be reduced by 27 percent in the Sawtooth Zone.
Other season changes are:
Deer, controlled hunts:
8 percent reduction in antlered hunts.
4 percent reduction in antlerless hunts.
Deer, general seasons:
26 day reduction in northern Idaho seasons.
7 day reduction in southern Idaho seasons.
Elk, controlled hunts:
2 percent increase in antlered hunts.
7 percent reduction in antlerless hunts.
Elk, general season hunts:
27 day reduction in antlerless hunts.
45 day reduction in antlered hunts.
Black bear season extended in the Clearwater Region units 14, 15 and 18.