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Idaho Commission okays 2010 big game seasons

From the Idaho Fish and Game Commission

-- The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has adopted big game seasons for 2010 with few changes.

New this year were 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.

On March 18, 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 will result in a 6.5 percent reduction, and a B tag cap will result in a 14 percent reduction from the average annual sales.

The second year of the phased-in Sawtooth zone A and B tag caps will increase the cap there to 75 percent of the proposed reduction for both.

Smoky Mountain A tag cap will result in a 10 percent reduction. The Salmon zone B tag cap will mean a 19.8 percent reduction.

Elk population surveys show nine elk zone 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 Aug. 15-30 and adding new unlimited controlled hunts from Sept. 10-24.

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

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