Plan for Fall Big Game Hunts
We're about a month away from making out controlled hunt choices for elk and deer
by Ed Mitchell
If it is venison for the table you want, it should not be a big problem this year. Venison with an extra fancy hatrack is, as always, a little more problematic.
There are some changes in the regulations for this fall, nothing earthshattering but quite a few smallish differences. So, no matter how tired you are of hearing this, read the book--carefully.
For instance, a legal bull in the Middle Fork Elk Zone must have brow tines this fall. No tines, no bull. Not everyone on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission (or among biologists) is convinced this is the way to bring the bull segment of that population back to better numbers but the commissioner in that part of Idaho wants to give it a try, so there you go.
The Owyhee deer hunts will not be changed to traditional weapons only, as one commissioner proposed, but will be cut back by two weeks. There is considerable disagreement about whether this desert herd is declining or stay about the same.
Unit 39, the big hunting unit in Boise's backyard, will have a cap of 3,300 on bull elk in rifle hunts (the B tag). Easy access close to Idaho's biggest burg has cut deeply into the bull segment of the herd, even though the total size of the herd remains large.
Further efforts to encourage hunters to take more bears and lions were recently approved. Look that part over, if critters with sharp teeth interest you.
The rules booklet probably will not be printed or on the Fish and Game web site until sometime in late April. Final changes were made by the Commission March 15-16.
There may not ever be a better time to take a kid deer hunting. The Commission expanded youth hunts again and there are plenty of antlerless deer for them across most of the state.
Taking more deer seems an excellent plan right now. We just went through one more in a string of mild winters that left almost all the herds undiminished. I do not ever want to see again the kind of wreck we had in 1988-89 and 1992-93 when easy winters ended with way more deer than usual looking for groceries and finding the cupboard bare.
We are in a drought situation again, unless it rains for the next 40 days and 40 nights. This fall will be, in my opinion, the right time to take a tender one for the freezer.
With exceptions, elk herds are pretty much in the same situation as deer-growing apace. The exceptions are still in part of the Clearwater, Selway and Middle Fork Salmon. Rule changes have been made to bring back the glories of lots of big bulls in those storied elk mountains. Predators are under the gun as much as is practical there. All that might make a difference in the Middle Fork. Few folks are willing to say it straight out but elk hunting will not live up to the legends in the Clearwater and Selway again until a few years after the next big fire.
Copyright 2001 Spring Creek Communications
BOOKS FROM AMAZON.COM
Hunting Open-Country Mule Deer
by Dwight Schuh (Idaho author)
Big Game Hunter's Guide to Idaho
by Ron Spomer
Hunting Big Game in North America : Outdoor
Life's Experts Reveal Their Secrets for Taking Trophy Antlered, Horned & Dangerous Game
by Outdoor Life Magazine (Editor)