From the Idaho Fish and Game Department
-- The Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted several changes to current hunting rules during its July 22-23 meeting in McCall.
Changes will be submitted in the 2010 session of the Idaho Legislature, and, if approved, would go into effect in fall hunting seasons that year. None of the changes affect hunting in 2009 seasons.
The changes concern methods, not seasons or bag limits, which the commission sets in March.
Some items the commission acted on were minor language changes aimed at aligning commission actions and Idaho codes, but several changes proposed by Fish and Game have captured the attention of hunters. The commission rejected a proposal to allow lighted nocks on arrows used in archery hunting. Lighted nocks would have been the first electronic devices permitted in Idaho archery hunting seasons.
All other changes proposed by Fish and Game were approved.
If the changes make it all the way through the legislative process, hunters in 2010 would be permitted for the first time to make use of leashed blood-trailing dogs to track wounded big game animals. The rule would permit using one blood-trailing dog controlled by leash during lawful hunting hours and within 72 hours of hitting a big game animal to track the wounded animal and aid in recovery.
Handguns would be permitted in short range-only hunts. The rules would allow the use of handguns that fire straight-walled cartridges not originally developed for rifles. Handguns would still not be permitted in muzzleloader-only or archery-only seasons.
Motorized vehicle restrictions would go into effect in Units 66A and 76 in eastern Idaho, as requested by hunters there. Mule deer and elk populations in those units do not meet Fish and Game objectives and these restrictions are aimed at boosting buck and bull survival as well as reducing conflicts between users.
Salt would not be permitted for baiting bears in the fall. Fish and Game enforcement officers have been concerned that using salt for that purpose can lead to violations of the prohibition on baiting deer and elk with salt.
The commission allowed leftover controlled hunt permits for hunts ending in August to be made available immediately over-the-counter after the first controlled hunt drawing. Leftover permits, which go into a second drawing held in August, have not been available in time for those early hunts.