Idaho Fish and Game Commission set 2013 sage grouse and waterfowl seasons this week.
The sage grouse season is similar to last year’s hunting season, with restricted hunting.
The seven-day season runs Sept. 21-27 with a one-bird daily limit and a two-bird possession limit open in the following areas:
Butte, Camas, Cassia, Clark, Fremont, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lemhi, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Power and Teton counties; Bannock County west of Interstate 15; Bingham County west of Interstate 15; Blaine County, except within the Salmon River drainage; Bonneville County west of Interstate 15 and north of U.S. 26; Custer County, except within the Salmon River drainage upstream from and including Valley Creek;Oneida County west of Interstate 15;Owyhee County west of the Bruneau River; and Twin Falls County east of U.S. 93.
Closed areas are:
Eastern Owyhee County and western Twin Falls County, which continue to be affected by the 2007 Murphy Complex Fire; east Idaho Uplands area in the southeastern part of the state east of Interstate 15 and south of U.S. 26, because of a lack of long-term data; Washington County and Adams County, Payette and Gem counties (this isolated population has been closed to hunting since 1984); and Elmore County, because of a lack of long term data, 2012 fires and no known active leks south of U.S. 20.
Any person hunting sage- or sharp-tailed grouse must have a valid Idaho hunting license with a sage or sharp-tailed grouse permit validation at $4.75.
Hunters should be aware that sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse occur in the same areas in South-Central and Eastern Idaho. Hunting season for these species do not overlap. The sharp-tailed grouse hunting season is Oct. 1-31.
Sage-grouse is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Candidate species are under state management and hunting is legal. Idaho Fish and Game closely monitors sage-grouse populations annually.
The commission also set waterfowl seasons of 105 days and a two-day youth hunt, along with some changes in goose seasons and limits.
The waterfowl season would open with a two-day youth hunt on Sept. 28 and 29 for licensed youths aged 10 to 15.
Duck and Canada goose seasons in the area around the American Falls Reservoir run from Oct. 5 to Jan. 17, with scaup seasons from Oct. 26 to Jan. 17. In the rest of the state run from Oct. 12 to Jan. 24, with scaup seasons from Nov. 2 to Jan. 24.
The daily bag limit is seven ducks – but no more than two female mallards, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails and two canvasbacks and four Canada geese.
This year, the white-fronted goose season was separated from Canada geese to accommodate white-fronted goose hunting opportunities in the southwest part of the state.
In the southwest area, white-fronted geese will be open Nov. 11 to Feb. 23, with the light goose season open from Nov. 26 to March 10. During the time the white-fronted goose and light-goose seasons occur at the same time, the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns would not be allowed.
Elsewhere, the white-fronted goose season around the American Falls Reservoir runs from Oct. 5-Jan. 17, and in the rest of the state from Oct. 12-Jan. 24. The daily bag limit is six white fronted geese.
For light geese – snow and Ross’s geese – there are four zones:
- Zone 1, Oct. 5-Jan. 17.
- Zone 2, Oct. 29-Jan. 17 and from Feb. 15-March 10.
- Zone 3, Nov. 26-March 10.
- Zone 4, Oct. 12-Jan. 24.
The daily bag limit is 20 light geese, increased from 10 last year.
For light geese, zones 1 and 2 are in the area around American Falls Reservoir, including the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Bannock County and parts of Bingham, Caribou and Power counties; zone 3 is the Southwest and part of the Magic Valley; and zone 4 is the rest of the state.
Duck hunting along the Snake River – File photo by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman