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Idaho sets 2021-22 big game seasons

Idaho sets 2021-22 big game seasons

Photo credit: Dreamstime 

Get ready, hunters: Idaho’s 2021-2022 big game seasons for deer, elk, antelope, black bears, mountain lions and wolves were set last week by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. Changes to the seasons were a result of “extensive outreach to hunters,” Big Country News reports.

Here’s what to expect going into the next two years:

Mule deer:

  • Reduced antlerless mule deer opportunity in the Upper Snake and Southeast regions.
  • In the Southeast Region, nearly all antlerless opportunities are eliminated (youth, general archery only, controlled antlerless) due to low populations and “public concern.”
  • In the Upper Snake Region, there are reductions in opportunity for youth, general archery and controlled either-sex.
  • In Southwest Idaho, there will be an increase of 500 either-sex controlled tags for Controlled Hunt Area 39-1 thanks to a healthy population and strong fawn survival rate.

“We are seeing some indications that this population of mule deer is nearing the capacity that the habitat can support,” said Mike McDonald, acting state wildlife game manager. “And that is why we proposed this increase in controlled hunt tags.”

Whitetail deer:

  • No major changes to whitetail deer hunting opportunity.

Elk:

  • Increase in antlerless opportunity in the Boise River Elk Zone.
  • Decrease in antlerless opportunity in the Smoky-Bennett Elk Zone.

Antelope:

  • Unlimited archery controlled hunts are now first-choice only hunts in “an effort to reduce hunter numbers,” according to Big Country News.
  • Antelope units were reorganized into 10 hunt areas for first-choice only controlled archery hunts.

Black bear:

  • Units 22, 31, 32 and 32A will “move away from a strictly controlled hunt bear harvest framework,” according to Big Country News.
  • General season opportunity will be allowed on or within one mile of private land.
  • Baiting and hounds will be allowed “to address private property conflicts.”
  • Controlled hunts will continue on public land.

Mountain lion:

  • There are no more male and female quotas statewide.
  • Electronic calls are now allowed.
  • Mandatory check requirement still in place for all all harvests.

Wolves:

  • Wolf hunting was expanded to year-round “in much of the state…[that has] chronic predation and depredation issues” (basically private land) along with Units 21, 21A, 30, 30A and 37A.
  • Wolf trapping will open Oct. 10 in Southwest and south-central Idaho on public land. Wolf trapping is allowed on private property, year-round, except in Units 49 and 62.

The 2021-2022 Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet will be available on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s website next month with printed copies available at IDFG offices and license vendors in late April or early May.

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