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Idaho commission adopts big game seasons

From the Idaho Fish and Game Commission

-- New this year for the 2010 big game seasons adopted by the Fish and Game Commission are caps on some elk tags, allowing youth hunters to hunt in both A and B tag elk hunts and easing black bear and mountain lion hunts in some units to include electronic calls and increased bag limits.

Commissioners adopted the new seasons as proposed, except they opted to drop senior hunts in units 31, 40 and 41. They agreed to review senior hunts.

A new Lolo zone A tag cap at 404 will result in a 6.5 percent reduction, and a B tag cap at 1,088 will result in a 14 percent reduction from the average annual sales.

In the second year of the phased-in Sawtooth zone caps, A tags went from 1342 in 2009 to 953 for 2010 and B tags were reduced from 2382 in 2009 to 1954 for 2010.

The Smoky Mountain zone A tag cap of 726 will result in a 10 percent reduction.

The Salmon zone B tag cap at 2,507 will mean a 19.8 percent reduction.

Elk population surveys show nine elk zones are above management objectives, 13 are meeting objectives and seven are below objectives.

Good mule deer survival this year will translate into more permits in some hunts. Nearly all adult females survived, and biologists expect fawn survival to be at least 70 percent. These are the best survival rates since close monitoring of survival began in 1998.

Commissioners approved a proposal to allow electronic calls to hunt black bears and mountain lions in the Lolo and Selway elk management zones. They also extended the mountain lion season to June 30 in the Lolo and Selway zones, and increased the bag limit to two lions in the Lolo zone.

Commissioners also approved changes to three pronghorn controlled hunts in the Magic Valley. Hunts in units 40, 41 and 42, in 45 and 52, and in 46 and 47 will be split into controlled hunts from August 15 through 30 and new unlimited controlled hunts added from September 10 through 24.

Additional changes will be noted in the 2010 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure expected to be available in mid-April. The big game controlled hunt application period begins May 1.

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