As of Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Most of the major big game hunting seasons are now over. Successful or not, hunters are already starting to think about next season.
So are we at Fish and Game.
Idaho Fish and Game is encouraging everyone who purchased a deer, elk or pronghorn tag to report the results of their 2013 big game hunts as soon as possible. As always, sooner is better. The information contained in the reports is critical to the (soon to begin) season setting process.
Reporting by phone – 877-268-9365 – or online is required, either 10 days after a deer, elk or pronghorn is harvested or 10 days following the end of the last season for which a tag is valid.
Fish and Game would prefer to receive the data in the very near future. Information collected later in 2014 is included in final figures, but it is not available in time for the important season setting process which starts in February.
Hunters who do not report within 10 days of the close of the season may get a phone call. The caller will ask the same questions that are in the online report and completion of the call will meet the mandatory report requirements. These phone calls are conducted in December and January to fill the gaps in reports not filed by hunters. It is an expensive process for Fish and Game, but it is worthwhile to get accurate harvest estimates. Hunters who file, won’t get the phone calls.
The final hunter report statistics, combined with mid-winter aerial flight data, are used to develop proposed seasons for the following year starting in February. Public meetings are held in early March when hunters review and comment on the season proposals. Big game season recommendations are completed by March and rules brochures are printed by May. Harvest estimates are available on the Fish and Game website in time for the controlled hunt application period in early June.
The “mandatory hunter report” is required only for deer, elk and pronghorn. About 230,000 tags for deer, elk and pronghorn were sold. To date, 33 percent have been reported.