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Proposed tag changes to moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat hunts in Idaho for 2019/2020

Proposed Idaho moose bighorn sheep and mountain goat tag changes

Jump to: Idaho Moose Idaho Bighorn Sheep Idaho Mountain Goat

Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) is accepting comments from hunters on several proposed changes to moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat tag numbers for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Several hunts have been eliminated, plus some new opportunities have opened up. But overall, moose will see a reduction in tags, bighorn sheep will see a tag increase and mountain goat will see a tag decrease.

How will this impact you?

This has the potential to greatly impact the Draw Odds in the state of Idaho. Even with the addition of several hunts, losing hunts has the potential to greatly impact where people apply. A lot of the decrease in hunting opportunity stems from big game populations changes, decreased harvest success, and disease.

Idaho proposed tag changes in terms of percent change

  • Bull moose - a reduction of 19.88% of tags
  • Cow moose - a reduction of 45.59% of tags
  • Rocky bighorn sheep - an increase of 12.16% of tags
  • California bighorn rams - a reduction of 19.05% of tags
  • Mountain goat - a reduction of 10.42% of tags

Remaining open houses will be at the following dates and places: 

  • Dec. 27, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pocatello, Southeast Regional Office, 1345 Barton Road.
  • Jan. 2, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ponderay Events Center, 401 Bonner Mall Way, Suite E

Fish and Game will host open houses where those interested can visit with local wildlife biologists about the proposals and provide their comments. Comments can also be mailed to: 2019-2020 Big Game MSG Season Proposals, PO Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. All comments will be presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission prior to setting the seasons at their meeting in Boise, Idaho on January 24, 2019. Links to comment online are below each species section after the tables.



Idaho Moose Proposed Changes

IDFG is proposing reductions in moose tags, primarily in the Panhandle and Southeast Idaho. These reductions are in response to long-term declines in harvest success in the Panhandle region and a decline in the number of moose observed during aerial surveys in Southeast Idaho.

The changes are listed below in these categories:

  • Antlered any weapon
    • Reduction of 133 bull moose tags, from 669 to 536 total tags
  • Antlerless any weapon
    • Reduction of 62 antlerless moose tags, from 136 to 74 total tags
  • Hunt Area Descriptions

Antlered moose changes

Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
1-1 30 to 15 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 15
1-1 10 to 5 Oct. 1-Oct. 14 Reduce tags by 5
1-1 10 to 5 Nov. 1-Nov.14 Reduce tags by 5
1-2 20 to 10 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 10
1-2 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
1-3 10 to 5 Sept. 15 to Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 5
2 20 to 15 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 5
2 15 to 10 Oct. 1-Oct. 14 Reduce tags by 5
2 15 to 10  Nov. 1-Nov. 14 Reduce tags by 5
3 15 to 10 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 5
3 10 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
4 20 to 10 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 10
4 10 to 5 Nov. 1-Nov. 14 Reduce tags by 5
5 15 to 10 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 5
5 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
6 20 to 15 Sept. 15-Dec. 1 Reduce tags by 5
6 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
7 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
9 5 to 0 Eliminate  Eliminate antlered hunt
Notes on the above units: Reduced success rates indicate a declining quality hunting experience. Proposed decrease in tag levels will increase the quality hunting experience through time. Additionally, consistent low success rates and a declining mean antler spread indicate a lack of bull moose recruitment. The population will not be able to sustain harvest at current levels.
Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
8 10 to 8 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2
8A 10 to 8 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2
Notes on the above units: Moose have been declining in the Clearwater Region for the last 20 years. The driver(s) of these population declines are not well understood. As recently as 2004 IDFG offered 262 moose tags in the Clearwater Region. Since 2014 IDFG have offered only 94 tags. Units 8 and 8A have historically been different. In 2004 these were growing populations and represented population expansion areas. However, IDFG has recently detected calf and yearling mortalities due to winter ticks, 5 poaching cases, and other potential causes of the decline occurring in Units 8 and 8A. These factors resulted in the current recommendation to reduce moose tags.
44* 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Expand hunt area, see Hunt
Area description below
Note on the above unit: Hunt area change will make resident moose throughout the Silver Creek Valley available during hunting season.
54 1 to 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Increase tags by 2
Note on the above unit: Information indicates a healthy, and possibly increasing, moose herd capable of supporting additional harvest.
55* 5 to 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2 and change hunt area,
see Hunt Area description below
Note on the above unit: emove Unit 56 from the hunt boundary to create a new hunt. Information indicates a healthy, and possibly increasing, moose herd capable of supporting 3 tags in Units 55 and 57.
56 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 NEW HUNT
Splitting Unit 56 from Unit 55 and 57 to
provide a new opportunity, see
Hunt Area description below
Note on the above unit: Information indicates a healthy, and possibly increasing, moose herd capable of supporting 3 tags in Unit 56.
63 2 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlered hunt
Note on the above unit: Very few bull moose in the unit.
66A 10 to 7  Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 3
Note on the above unit: Reduce tag numbers in response to decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
76-1 10 to 7 Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 3
Note on the above unit: Reduce tag numbers in response to decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
76-2 7 to 5  Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2
Note on the above unit: Reduce tag numbers in response to decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
76-3 7 to 5  Aug. 30-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2
Note on the above unit: Reduce tag numbers in response to decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.

 

Antlerless moose changes

Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
2 20 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
3 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
5 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
Note on the above units: Past antlerless tag levels were intended to reduce the moose population due to frequent moose/vehicle collisions, property damage, and the need to move moose from urban settings. That has been accomplished, thus the recommendation to eliminate the hunts. Additionally, observational information points towards a declining population that cannot sustain antlerless harvest.
8 6 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
8A 6 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
Note on the above units: Moose have been declining in the Clearwater Region for the last 20 years. The driver(s) of these population declines are not well understood. As recently as 2004 IDFG offered 262 moose tags in the Clearwater Region. Since 2014 IDFG have offered only 94 tags. Units 8 and 8A have historically been different. In 2004 these were growing populations and represented population expansion areas. However, IDFG has recently detected calf and yearling mortalities due to winter ticks, 5 poaching cases, and other potential causes of the decline occurring in Units 8 and 8A. These factors resulted in the current recommendation to eliminate antlerless moose tags.
66A 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
Note on the above unit: Eliminate hunt in response to 56% decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
71 5 to 3 Oct. 15-Nov. 23 Reduce tags by 2
Note on the above unit: Reduce tag numbers in response to decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
76-4 10 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
Note on the above unit: Eliminate hunt in response to 56% decline detected during the 2018 aerial survey.
75-1 5 Oct. 15-Nov. 23 NEW HUNT
77 3 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
78 5 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate antlerless hunt
Note on the above units: In the Bear River units (75, 77, and 78) IDFG are proposing a reduction of 3 antlerless tags as well as dissolving the 3 separate hunt areas into one hunt area that includes all 3 units with 5 antlerless tags. This will allow antlerless tag holders to hunt moose over a larger area and concentrate where moose are available, as opposed to forcing harvest in smaller geographic areas.

Proposed changes to moose hunt area descriptions for 2019-2020

  • Unit 44 — That portion of Unit 44 east of the Fairfield-Couch Summit-Five Points Road and all of Units 48, 49, and 52.
  • Unit 55 — All of Units 55, 56 and 57.
  • Unit 56 — All of Unit 56.
  • Unit 75-1 — All of Units 75, 77, and 78.

Comment on the moose proposal here

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Idaho Bighorn Sheep Proposed Changes

IDFG is proposing increases in some Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunts in response to an increase in the number of mature rams observed in recent counts. IDFG is also proposing a change in Units 20A and 26, and a new hunt in Unit 51-1. Minor reductions are proposed in the number of California bighorn sheep tags.

The changes are listed below in the following categories:

  • Rocky Mountain bighorn rams
    • Total tag count changed from 74 to 83
  • California bighorn rams
    • Total tag count changed from 21 to 17
  • Hunt Area Descriptions

Rocky Mountain bighorn ram changes

Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
11* 1 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 Remove units 13 and 18 from hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
Notes on the above units: The IDFG Bighorn Sheep Management Plan recommends hunting sheep in populations with more than 100 animals. Tag levels are set so that harvest is less than 20% mature rams. Twenty-seven (27) bighorn sheep were counted during the spring 2018 survey in Unit 13. Unit 18 has few sheep. No current data is available, but during a 2013 survey, only 5 sheep were detected in the unit. These levels are well below the 100 sheep guideline. There were only 4 mature rams counted in Unit 13. Consequently, harvesting just 1 ram would exceed 20% of the mature rams in the population. Genetic and radio-collar data shows that the Unit 13 and 18 bighorn sheep are isolated from the Unit 11 population. This means that Unit 11 is a separate population and does not contribute sheep to Units 13 and 18. These sheep populations have been plagued by significant pneumonia-driven adult die-offs and intermittent poor lamb survival. Current populations are well below highs of 45 total sheep in Unit 13 (2000) and 87 in Unit 18 (1982). In 2017 both Unit 11 hunters harvested rams in Unit 13.
Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
20A 2 to 3 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 Increase tags by 1, change in hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
26 4 to 3 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 Reduce tags by 1
Remove portion of Unit 20A from hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
Notes on the above units: Bighorn sheep numbers in unit 26 are slightly lower than historic levels. During the last few surveys, 13 to 18 mature rams have been observed. The IDFG Bighorn Sheep Management Plan suggests ram harvest should not exceed 20% of mature rams. In Unit 26, harvest should not exceed 4 rams per year. In Unit 20A, both hunters have harvested sheep in most years. Recent surveys indicate over 100 sheep in the eastern portion of Unit 20A. Our proposal accomplishes several goals: Reduces tag numbers in Unit 26 to keep harvest under 20% of mature rams, but results in no overall reduction in tag numbers, as one tag is added to the 20A hunt. Better distributes hunters to align tags and hunter numbers with sheep numbers. Surveys indicate more sheep in Unit 20A than in Unit 26. However, tag numbers and hunting pressure have been greater in Unit 26 than in Unit 20A. Provides hunters with better access into the 20A hunt area: the expanded area is closer to the Soldier Bar airstrip. Aligns hunts with herd movements and populations. Data suggests the Unit 26 sheep are a somewhat distinct herd from sheep in Unit 20A.
Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
36A 2 to 4 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 Increase tags by 2
Note on the above unit: 2017 survey had 32 total rams (25 mature rams). The Bighorn Sheep Management Plan indicates the opportunity for an increase in tags.
37 4 to 5 Aug. 30-Sept. 20 Increase tags by 1
37 4 to 5 Sept. 21-Oct. 13 Increase tags by 1
Note on the above unit: 2016 survey had 93 total rams (61 mature rams). The Bighorn Sheep Management Plan indicates the opportunity for an increase in tags.
37A 2 to 4 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 Increase tags by 2
Note on the above unit: 2018 survey had 51 total rams (22 mature rams). The Bighorn Sheep Management Plan indicates the opportunity for an increase in tags.
51-1 2 Aug. 30-Oct. 13 NEW HUNT
New hunt opportunity, see Hunt Area description below.
Note on the above unit: 2018 mountain goat flight resulted in the incidental sighting of 24 rams (14 mature rams). The Bighorn Sheep Management Plan indicates an opportunity for tags.

 

California bighorn ram changes

Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
46-1* 3 to 2 Aug. 30-Oct. 8 Reduce tags by 1
Notes on the above units: Confirmed respiratory disease and low lamb and mature ram numbers.
Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
54 1 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate hunt
54 2 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate hunt
Notes on the above units: Currently unaware of any mature rams in this Hunt Area.
Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
55* 2 Aug. 30-Oct. 8 Add Unit 54 to hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
Note on the above unit: Including Unit 54 in the Hunt Area boundary would allow for the harvest of transient rams into Unit 54.

Note: Hunt number 7007, in unit 46-2, was eliminated in 2018.

Proposed changes to hunt are descriptions for 2019-2020

  • Unit 11 — All of Units 13 and 18 and that portion of Unit 11 that drains into the Snake River downstream from the mouth of the Salmon River to, but excluding the Tenmile Creek Canyon drainage.
  • Unit 20A — Those portions of Unit 20A up-stream from and including the Butts Creek drainage to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and within the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage upstream to Papoose Creek-Papoose Lake-Coyote Springs.
  • Unit 26 — All of Unit 26 and that portion of Unit 20A within the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage upstream from Papoose Creek-Papoose Lake-Coyote Springs and that portion of Unit 27 on the west side of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River from Big Creek upstream to and including the Brush Creek drainage.
  • Unit 51-1 — That portion of Unit 51 that lies north and east of the Little Lost Highway and that portion of Unit 58 that lies north and west of State Highway 28.
  • Unit 54-1 and 54-2 — All of Unit 54.
  • Unit 55 — All of Units 54 and 55.

Comment on the bighorn sheep proposal here



Idaho Mountain goat changes

IDFG is proposing a few small increases and decreases in mountain goat tags in response to recent big game counts. Also, a new hunt is proposed in Unit 51-1. 

  • A decrease of five Mountain goat tags, from 48 to 43 total tags.

Mountain goat changes

Hunting Units # of Tags Season Dates Description
of change
1 1 to 0 Eliminate Eliminate hunt
Notes on the above units: The Selkirk and Cabinet herds are separate populations, isolated from one another. Both herds number less than 50 individuals, and the Mountain Goat Management guidelines call for a minimum of 100 goats before allowing harvest. Montana FWP data shows a declining population in the Cabinet Mountains.
Change Unit 7*
to Unit 9
1 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Remove Unit 7 from hunt, see Hunt Area description below
Notes on the above units: All mountain goats harvested since the hunt opened in 2011 have come out of Unit 7, but most of the mountain goats in that area reside in Unit 9. This would distribute harvest across the area.
10-2 2 to 1 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Reduce tags by 1
Note on the above unit: To maintain a stable or increasing population of mountain goats, IDFG recommends harvesting 3% or less of the population. IDFG estimates 82 adults in Hunt Areas 10-1 and 10-2. The recommendation is to reduce tags from 2 to 1 to maintain a stable or increasing population.
27-2* 1 to 2 Aug. 30-Nov. 12

Increase tags by 1 and expand hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.

27-4* 2 to 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Increase tags by 1 and expand hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
Note on the above units: Expanded hunt area allows for a 1 tag increase based on recent survey data.
36-1* 4 to 1 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Reduce tags by 3
Note on the above units: A population decrease was detected in the recent survey, along with high levels of nanny harvest, indicates a reduction of 3 tags is necessary to maintain a stable or increasing population.
36A-1* 4 to 1 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Reduce tags by 3
Note on the above units: A population decrease was detected in the recent survey which indicates a reduction of 3 tags is necessary to maintain a stable or increasing population.
36A-3* 3 to 2 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Reduce tags by 1
Note on the above unit: A population decrease was detected in the recent survey, along with high levels of nanny harvest, indicates a reduction of 1 tag is necessary to maintain a stable or increasing population.
37A 1 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Expand hunt area, see Hunt Area description below.
Note on the above unit: Expanded hunt area allows for maintaining the one 1 tag allocation for this hunt area based on recent survey data.
43* 3 to 4  Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Increase tags by 1
Note on the above unit: Increase in mountain goat numbers, hunter success, and acceptable rates of female harvest suggest additional tags are biologically sustainable.
50* 2 to 4 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Increase tags by 2
Note on the above unit: Add 2 tags in Pioneer Mountains in response to 2017 survey results (172 mountain goats).
51-1* 2 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 New hunt opportunity, see Hunt Area description below.
Note on the above unit: Create new hunt in south Lemhi Mountains, 2018 survey results indicates 165 mountain goats.
67 5 to 3 Aug. 30-Nov. 12 Reduce tags by 2
Note on the above unit: A population decrease was detected in the 2018 survey, along with high levels of nanny harvest, indicates a reduction of 2 tags is necessary to maintain a stable or increasing population.

Proposed changes to Mountain goat hunt area descriptions for 2019-2020

  • Unit 7 9 — All of Units 7 and 9.
  • Unit 27-2 — That portion of Unit 27 south of Warm Springs Creek, Forest Service Road 172 from Loon Creek Summit to Loon Creek guard station, Pinyon Peak, and Feltham Creek point, and that portion of Unit 36 west of Forest Service Road 172 and north of the Pioneer Creek-West Fork Yankee Fork Trail, Forest Service Trail 113-155.
  • Unit 27-4 — That portion of Unit 27 east of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and north of Camas Creek and those drainages to Camas Creek from the West Fork of Morgan Creek downstream to the Middle Fork Salmon River and that portion of Unit 28 within the Yellowjacket Creek drainage. those drainages to Camas Creek downstream from and including the Duck Creek drainage in Unit 28.
  • Unit 37A — All of Unit 37A and that portion of Unit 29 upstream from and including Hayden Creek drainage and that portion of Unit 58 north of Forest Service Road 296.
  • Unit 51-1 — Those portions of Units 51 and 58 within the following boundary: Beginning at the intersection of State Hwy 33 and the Little Lost Hwy in the town of Howe, then north following the Little Lost Hwy to the intersection of the Sawmill Canyon road, then north following the Sawmill Canyon road to the intersection of Salmon-Challis Forest Service Squaw Creek road #102, then east following the Squaw Creek road #102 to the intersection of the Caribou-Targhee Forest Service Quartzite road #918, then continuing east and south following the Quartzite road #918 to the intersection of Caribou-Targhee Forest service Spring Mountain road #296, then continuing east on the Spring Mountain road #296, to the intersection of Spring Mountain road and state highway 28, then following state highway 28 south to the intersection of state highway 28 and State Hwy 22, then west following State Hwy 22 to the intersection of State Hwy 22 and State Hwy 33, then continuing west on State Hwy 33 to the intersection of the Little Lost Hwy in the town of Howe.

Comment on the Mountain Goat proposal here

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5 Comments

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James B. - posted 2 months ago on 01-07-2019 11:24:02 am
goHUNT INSIDER

@Herbert Z. IDFG isnt eliminating all unit 7 Moose hunts. They are eliminating the rut hunt 10/1-10/14... which in years past has had 10-100% draw odds.

Shane D. - posted 2 months ago on 12-31-2018 08:00:15 am
goHUNT INSIDER

YIKES!!! This changes a few things.

Herbert Z. - posted 2 months ago on 12-28-2018 08:05:41 am

I have hunted unit seven for 40 years and even last year during elk season i have seen several bull moose. not sure how much areal viewing they did but, they didn't do enough by red Ives ranger station. I have been putting for a moose tag sense the draw started and have yet to draw a tag. NEVER and now they want to close unit seven. I put in for a deer tag in Montana every year and I get a tag because of the point system. There is enough Bull Moose in unit seven believe me I hunt it every year. Herb Zanetti

SETH D. - posted 2 months ago on 12-26-2018 10:00:55 pm
Sunny New Mexico
goHUNT INSIDER

Thank you, I was going to apply for the Idaho mountain goat, and then get a DAV elk, deer and bear tags. Looks like I am just going to get DAV elk deer and bear tags.

Erik S. - posted 2 months ago on 12-26-2018 09:05:10 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Not good news :(