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‘Restrictive’ seasons set: Upland bird hunting dates announced

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved a restrictive season for sage grouse.

The 2014 season will run from Sept. 20 – Sept. 26, with a daily bag limit of one bird, and a possession limit of two birds.

Sage grouse, whose range includes much of southern Idaho, are proposed for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Consideration is primarily due to habitat loss from wildfire, human infrastructure and invasive plants like cheat grass. Sage grouse experts have determined that carefully regulated hunting is not a primary threat to populations. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game closely monitors sage grouse annually to ensure hunting will not compromise the population.

Current sage grouse lek data indicate that many populations can be hunted at the "restrictive" level. IDFG follows guidelines that allow the flexibility to consider local issues of concern, such as insufficient data, isolated populations, or impacts of wildfire and West Nile virus.

The 2014 season will take place in most of the same areas as last year’s hunt with the exception of a new closure in the Greater Curlew Valley, which covers most of Power and Oneida counties, and a portion of Cassia County. Male sage grouse leks in this area have declined 53 percent since 2011.

The Sage grouse Seasons and Rules brochures, including a map of areas open to sage grouse hunting, will be available soon at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices, and on Fish and Game’s website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

Applications for controlled hunts due

The application period for the second drawing for deer, elk and pronghorn remains open through Friday Aug. 15. The application fee is $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents for each species.

The drawing will be held around Aug. 20. Any leftover tags from the second drawing will go on sale Aug. 25.

For a list of available tags, see http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/tags/seconddraw

Hunters can apply for the drawing at any license vendor in the state, online at https://id.outdoorcentral.us or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

The 2014 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure is online at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/

Duck, goose hunters get 107 days

Idaho waterfowl hunters will enjoy a 107-day season for ducks and Canada geese, under the following schedule:

Youth waterfowl season runs Sept. 27-28 statewide.

For zoned hunts, North Central Idaho’s season dates are as follows: ducks open Oct. 11-Jan. 23; scaup open Nov. 1-Jan. 23; Canada geese open Oct. 11-Jan. 23; white-fronted geese open Oct. 11-Jan. 23; white geese Oct. 11-Jan. 23.

Daily bag limit for ducks will be seven with the following exceptions: not more than two female mallards; not more than three scaup; not more than two redheads; not more than two pintails; not more than one canvasback.

Daily bag limits for geese are as follows: four canada geese, 10 white-fronted geese and 20 white geese.

Season and rules brochures will be available by mid-September at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and on Fish and Game’s website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

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