Friday, October 9, 2009

Hunters head to the hills this weekend

Deer season opens across most of Idaho on Saturday

Express Staff Writer

Randy Carroll poses with a mule deer north of Galena Summit. Photo by

The annual fall deer hunt begins this weekend in both the Wood River Valley and across most regions of Idaho.

The popular hunt is set to commence at daybreak on Saturday, Oct. 10. It extends through Oct. 31 throughout the Wood River Valley and surrounding mountains.

Elsewhere in Idaho, the length of the deer hunt varies region by region. Hunters should check the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's 2009 big game rules brochure for more detailed information.

Fish and Game officials say last year's mild winter and good deer survival should translate into good prospects for local hunters.

"The deer population should be good this year," said Regan Berkley, Magic Valley Regional Wildlife Biologist for Fish and Game.

To hunt in Idaho during the regular deer season, resident hunters must have a valid 2009 hunting license as well as a resident deer tag. A resident hunting license costs $12.75 and resident deer tag $19.75.

Fish and Game officials expect that many of the deer hunters who head out this weekend may also be carrying wolf tags. With more hunters in the woods, the rate of wolf harvest in the state is likely to increase.

As of Thursday morning, Idaho hunters had reported killing 32 wolves statewide. That includes two wolves—one a member of the valley's Phantom Hill pack that was shot in Eagle Creek—that have been killed by hunters in the state's Southern Mountains Wolf Zone. The limit in the large zone, which extends east from the Wood River Valley all the way to the Idaho-Montana border, is 10 wolves. The statewide limit is 220 wolves.

Fish and Game officials are encouraging deer hunters to pick up a free copy of the department's backcountry game meat-care guide. The guide is available at Fish and Game offices and license vendors.

Fish and Game law enforcement officials are also asking hunters or other members of the public to report any poaching or suspicious activities they encounter or hear while out in the woods this fall. According to the department, most serious poaching cases are cracked only with the help of hunters or others who report the crimes.

Anyone with information about a wildlife crime may call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at (800) 632-5999, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous. People witnessing poaching may also contact the nearest Fish and Game office or local law enforcement officials. The phone number for Fish and Game's Magic Valley regional office is (208) 324-4359.

Jason Kauffman:

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