As of Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Idaho Fish and Game is extending the deadline to exchange tags for some early elk hunts that are about to start, or have already started, in the Panhandle, Clearwater and McCall areas that have large land closures due to wildfires.
Fish and Game will not refund tags, but hunters who bought the following tags have until Sept. 11 to decide if they want to keep their tags, exchange them for a different elk tag, or turn in their tags for a receipt they can redeem at no cost for another tag later this year. Tags can only be exchanged at regional offices, but hunters choosing the receipt option can redeem it for a tag at any Fish and Game license vendor.
Elk tags eligible are:
• Panhandle Zone A and B.
• Lolo Zone A tags
• Dworshak Zone A and B.
• Elk City Zone A and B.
• McCall Zone A.
Elk hunters who have the above tags and want a receipt can also mail their tags to any regional Fish and Game office, which must be postmarked by Sept. 11. After hunters get the receipt, they can redeem it for any general season elk tag, except elk zones where tag quotas are in place and the quota is already sold out.
Some of the above hunts will have already opened by Sept.11, which typically means hunters would have to decide whether to exchange their tags prior to the beginning of the hunt.
With large land closures affecting those hunts, Fish and Game officials wanted to allow those elk hunters as much time as possible to make informed decisions.
Hunters still have the option of exchanging other tags at any Fish and Game regional office, but they must do so before their hunt starts.
All hunters should consider that fire conditions can change quickly with favorable weather and forests can reopen. Fire season tends to taper off by mid-September and is usually over by mid-October when most any-weapon hunts start.
Fish and Game officials are monitoring the fire situation throughout the state and will consider changes on a limited basis, where necessary, to ensure hunters are treated fairly.
Hunters can get current fire information at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fire.
Fish and Game’s standard policy is to not change hunts or rules due to fire closures because entire hunting units are rarely closed, and fire restriction rarely lasts through the entire hunting season.
But this is an unusual fire season, particularly in the Panhandle and Clearwater areas that are experiencing the worst fire season since the 1920s.