Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Deer hunters report mixed success

Valley hunters experience 17 percent success on opening weekend

Express Staff Writer

Mule deer hunters in southern Idaho enjoyed a 24 percent harvest success for the opening weekend of the general hunting season, Idaho Fish and Game officials reported. The figures are based on data obtained at Fish and Game check stations.

In the agency's Magic Valley region, Unit 43 had the highest success rate for general buck hunts, a Fish and Game news release states. Of the 390 hunters interviewed, 88 harvested bucks, for a 22.6 percent success rate.

Success rates were about 17 percent in units 48 and 49, which cover the west and east halves of the Wood River Valley, respectively.

"Overall, I felt the opening weekend of deer season was successful," said Regan Berkley, Magic Valley Region Wildlife Biologist. "The weather was not as hot and dry as we've had the last several years and hunters were seeing lots of deer."

Hunter success was apparently lower in controlled hunts in the Magic Valley region. Fish and Game biologists attribute this lower success rate to the wintry weather that blanketed the region over the opening weekend. For units 44, 45, 52, 54 and 55, hunters had an 18.3 percent success rate, a decrease of 10 percent from 2006 figures.

Elsewhere, hunter success was high in controlled antlerless hunts. Hunters in units 43, 48, and 49 experienced a 58.9 percent success rate.

Berkley said hunters are seeing the benefits of an overall increase in regional deer populations.

"During the past several years, fawn survival has been high, resulting in increased deer populations in most Magic Valley units," she said.

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