Posts tagged: Idaho Fish & Game
Three next-door neighbors in east Boise have had their small dogs attacked by a mountain lion in their fenced back yards in the past two weeks, and two of the dogs have died. Fish & Game officials are calling on the public to immediately report incidents with mountain lions in town. The three attacks happened at Surprise Valley, a neighborhood on the city’s eastern edge that backs up to native sagebrush land; it’s the first mountain lion incident reported in Boise this spring, but the city’s had plenty in recent years. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
“We have mountain lions in Boise all the time,” said Evin Oneale, Southwest Idaho regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “They come and go all the time. Some of them we see, some of them we don’t, but they don’t tend to cause any issues or hang around. It’s when we have a lion like this that exhibits this kind of behavior that our awareness of the situation becomes heightened.”
Fish & Game learned of the big cat when a Surprise Valley resident called the sheriff’s department yesterday morning. She’d let her two Yorkshire terriers out into her backyard about 5:30 a.m., and a few minutes later, heard a yelp; click below to read more.
The Idaho Fish & Game Commission, at its meeting late last week in Coeur d’Alene, voted to support the removal of grizzly bears in Idaho from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, saying the bears have recovered sufficiently and now are starting to move into areas where there are increasing conflicts with humans. Tony McDermott, Panhandle Region commissioner, said, “Idaho can manage the bears better.”
The commissioners adopted a position statement saying that state has the regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in place to manage grizzly bears, and that people in Idaho would be more tolerant of bears if the state were managing them. “Key to the success of this effort is effective and efficient management of bear-human conflict,” the statement said.
It also said if delisting were to occur, the commission would continue to act to ensure sustainable grizzly bear populations in the occupied core habitats that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has identified in Idaho. You can read the full statement here.
The Idaho Department of Fish & Game today issued a “salvage order” for Little Camas Reservoir in Elmore County, lifting all bag, possession and size limits. That’s because the reservoir is headed for a draining by early summer for irrigation, and Fish & Game “would like the public to use as many of the fish as possible.” Fish may be taken, F&G announced, “by any method except firearms, explosives, chemicals or electric current.”
The order takes effect on Tuesday, May 7, and runs through Sept. 30. F&G cautioned anglers that regular limits remain in place elsewhere, including possession limits. So if someone caught 20 trout at Little Camas, which historically has been known for its trout fishery, and then moved elsewhere to do more fishing and brought the 20 fish along, they’d be in violation of the possession limit at the new fishing spot. Another thing to note: Fishing licenses still are required.
It is a chilly 10 degrees out in Boise, and Idaho Fish & Game reports that the heat is out at its headquarters on Walnut Street. As a result, they’ve closed their license desk for the day and are encouraging customers to visit vendors instead, or go the F&G regional office in Nampa. “We expect to be open for business tomorrow,” said F&G Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer. “Our apologies to license buyers!”
In a victory for sport shooters, the Idaho Supreme Court today lifted an injunction that has kept the Farragut State Park shooting range closed for almost six years; you can read our full report here from S-R reporter Scott Maben. The decision will permit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to reopen the Farragut range to as many as 500 shooters a year, and possibly more than that if a district court judge determines noise and safety concerns have been addressed.
You can read the court's unanimous decision here, which was written by Justice Jim Jones. It also reversed a district judge's finding that a 2008 law, the Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range Act, was unconstitutional; the law was passed in part to protect the Farragut range from the ongoing lawsuit from neighbors challenging it on safety and nuisance grounds. The state Department of Fish & Game appealed the lower court's ruling; the court sided with the department, and against the neighbors.
Jerry Conley, the longest-serving director of Idaho's Department of Fish & Game, has died at age 71. Conley, who headed Idaho Fish & Game from 1980 to 1996, then became head of the Conservation Department for his native state of Missouri; he retired in 2002 and returned to Idaho. Among the initiatives he spearheaded as director in Idaho were the successful introduction of wild turkeys to the state; the nongame income tax checkoff; Citizens Against Poaching; the Idaho Wildlife Congress; and the MK Nature Center, which he continued to visit regularly with his grandchildren almost until the day he died.
You can read Conley's obituary here in the Idaho Statesman; in lieu of flowers, he requested that donations in his memory be made to the MK Nature Center, 600 South Walnut, Boise, Idaho 83712. A memorial service will be held Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Rockies, with a reception to follow.
There's more good news for BooBoo the bear, the cub who was rescued after his paws were burned in an Idaho wildfire. The Associated Press reports that at the McCall-area rehab facility where BooBoo was moved Friday, he has the company of another cub and the run of a 2-acre wooded enclosure. Linda DeEulis, director of the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary, initially was worried about the bear's claws and his ability to climb, but those concerns were quickly put to rest. “He's doing fine - the first thing he did was run up a tree,” she told the AP. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.
There's good news on the bear front: BooBoo is heading back to the woods. Idaho Fish & Game reported today that the injured bear cub, who was rescued by firefighters after he was found clinging to a tree with four badly burned paws amid the Mustang Complex wildfire, left the Idaho Humane Society shelter in Boise where he was recuperating, en route to a wildlife sanctuary in the mountains outside McCall. There, he'll have the run of a two-acre enclosure of forest, and if he continues to heal well, he could be released to the wild, possibly as soon as later this fall.
The bear cub's weight has doubled since he was rescued, from 23 pounds to 46 pounds, and as this photo shows, he's looking much heartier. Click below for the full announcement from Idaho Fish & Game.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Wildlife officers used doughnuts, cake and sardines to lure a black bear down from a tree after it caused a disturbance in a planned community along Idaho Highway 55. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the bear will be relocated Monday to a remote area. Fish and Game spokesman Evin Oneale told the Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/OBiDDp) a homeowner in the Avimor development was cooking bacon Sunday afternoon when the bear tried to enter the residence, tearing two window screens. The bear then left the home and climbed a tree, where it was tranquilized but couldn't be safely retrieved. While the bear slept, wildlife officers stocked a trap below with goodies that proved too tempting for the bear to ignore; the bear was captured about 10 p.m. last night.
The first Idaho Wildlife Summit is being called a success, with 800 people signing up to participate and 3,000 taking part online. “It went better than I could have expected,” Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore told the Idaho Statesman's Rocky Barker. “I am encouraged that such a diverse group expressed such a strong consensus on conservation values.” You can read Barker's full report here.
The Idaho Fish & Game Department is launching a three-day “Wildlife Summit” this afternoon, to bring together hundreds of Idahoans with varying views to help guide the future of how the state funds its fish and wildlife programs. Currently, Idaho puts no state general funds into Fish & Game, instead relying almost entirely on hunting and fishing license fees and federal funds. But federal funds are dropping, license revenues are limited, and costs are rising with the complexity of the issues.
Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker offers a guide to the summit here, including what's at stake and how to participate. There's more info at the Fish & Game website here. Among the central questions to be addressed at the summit: “What kind of wildlife legacy do we want to leave our children and grandchildren? How can we work together to create a positive future for wildlife in Idaho?”
The wolf pup that tourists near Ketchum mistook for an abandoned puppy and brought to a local vet left Boise this morning and is on its way to a new home: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., which has nine wolves, including two other pups that are six weeks old. That's also where the National Zoo, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, sends its staff to receive captive wolf training.
After DNA tests confirmed the pup was a wild wolf, and Fish & Game officials were unable to track down its pack to return it to the wild despite extensive efforts, the pup was cared for at Zoo Boise while officials compiled a list of facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that would be suitable for it; Fish & Game selected the Virginia facility from the list. It has successfully housed wolves for more than 12 years.
Gov. Butch Otter has named two new Idaho Fish & Game commissioners: Joan Hurlock, a fitness center owner from Buhl who also is a former forensic chemist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Explosives and Arson Unit and a former member of the U.S. Capitol Police; and of Buhl and Will Naillon of Challis, a Salmon native and fifth-generation Custer County miner. “Both these fine individuals have shown a great passion for and commitment to the protection and effective management of Idaho’s fish and wildlife resources for future generations,” Otter said. “They understand and embrace the challenge of addressing sometimes contentious issues. Just as importantly, they have demonstrated the ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse groups and individuals toward achieving shared goals.”
Hurlock replaces outgoing Region 4 commissioner Wayne Wright of Twin Falls; and Naillon replaces outgoing Region 7 commissioner Gary Power of Salmon. Click below for Otter's full announcement; the two appointees will be up for confirmation in the state Senate in its 2013 session.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― State wildlife officials have confirmed that a puppy found in central Idaho by out-of-state campers was actually a young wolf. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the tourists took the puppy to a veterinarian in late May after watching for an hour without seeing any signs of a wolf pack. Fish and Game officials spent several days searching for a wolf pack in the area north of Ketchum, but were unable to locate one. A DNA test confirmed the animal is a wild wolf. It has been held at Zoo Boise, where officials are compiling a list of facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that would be suitable for the pup. Zoo officials say the pup is gaining weight and his health is improving.
Fish & Game said in a news release, “People are reminded that it is best to leave young animals in the wild alone. In the case of the pup, it is possible that the pack was moving with the pups – perhaps from a den to a rendezvous site – and may have been disturbed by traffic on the road.”
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― State wildlife officials are still uncertain what to do with a young wolf pup that was recovered a week ago near Ketchum by a pair of tourists. In fact, Idaho Fish and Game biologists say they aren't quite sure the pup is pure wolf or some kind of hybrid. For now, the little critter is at Zoo Boise, where he will undergo additional testing. The pup was recovered last Friday in the Smoky Mountains northwest of Ketchum by two out-of-state campers. The tourists say they watched the pup for an hour and didn't see any signs of the wolf pack before deciding to pick up the pup. Fish and Game officials spent two days trying to locate the pack, but questions remain whether the pack would welcome the pup back.
Idaho Department of Fish & Game warns, “People are reminded that it is best to leave young animals in the wild alone. In the case of the pup, it is possible that the pack was moving with the pups – perhaps from a den to a rendezvous site – and may have been disturbed by traffic on the road.”
It turns out that mountain lions could be wandering the Boise River greenbelt at any time, preying on stay cats and squirrels, staying undercover, and keeping away from humans - and that's fine. The problem with the half-grown cat that was shot by police last night around midnight was that it had stopped behaving like a resident of the wild, and more like a townie - after its picnic on a deer carcass in a Warm Springs Mesa resident's front-yard flower garden, the lion had moved into town and stayed, gone for several jogs on the greenbelt, and then hung out on the BSU campus, where it was inside a Dumpster at the student union, feasting on garbage, when it was spotted.
“We did make a couple of attempts to try to get it out of town, and unfortunately, it stayed in town,” said Matt O'Connell, senior conservation officer at Idaho Fish & Game, shown here. The first plan was to use “aversive conditioning,” firing rubber bullets at the big cat to scare it back into the foothills it came from, when it was still in the Warm Springs Mesa neighborhood where it killed the deer, right across the street from a deep ravine leading back into the hills. But once it moved into town, that wouldn't have worked, and tranquilizing the animal could compromise it, O'Connell said, possibly sending it running into traffic or other trouble before the tranquilizer could take effect. “Employees saw the cat in a Dumpster on campus right near the student union,” he said. “The cat had kind of crossed the line between normal behavior,” and was going after human-provided - not natural - food sources.
Boise typically sees “one or two cats a year that wander into town,” O'Connell said. Typically, when humans encounter mountain lions, “Normally, the lion is going to run,” he said. “Lions are very wary of people. They're very clever at hiding. Most of the time it's not a worrisome thing.” He added, “If they stay on the greenbelt mostly out of sight, nobody knows about it.”
O'Connell said he was “disappointed” at the result this time, but added, “At least now people can use the greenbelt” without worrying about the big cat. “I feel bad for the animal,” he said. “I never like to see an animal, especially a young one like this, dying, but sometimes it's just the reality of what we have to do.”
The mountain lion that had been prowling downtown Boise and the Greenbelt since the weekend was shot last night around midnight by Boise Police, after it was spotted near a Dumpster in the area around the student union building at Boise State University. “They did take it out,” said Idaho Fish & Game spokesman Mike Keckler. “We did take possession of the cat.” The mountain lion turned out to be a young, subadult female, about 50 to 60 pounds.
“She'd probably been chased away by her mother; by this point the mother's raising new kittens, and then tend to run off the older ones because they're busy with the new ones,” Keckler said. “A lot of times these young cats are trying to find their way, and in this case, this cat ended up in town and was staying in town, and as such did not make a good candidate for relocation.”
The Boise Police Department said in a news release, ” Ada County Dispatchers began receiving calls from citizens at approximately 11:30 p.m. last night indicating the mountain lion was in the area of BSU and the greenbelt, just north of the stadium. Idaho Fish and Game officers, along with Boise Police responded to the location. On the advice of Fish and Game officials, the cat was shot as it walked across the greenbelt pathway. Fish and Game have taken the animal into their custody. It is unfortunate that the incident ended this way, however, safety for the citizens of Boise has to be the primary concern when conflicts of this nature take place in an urban environment like downtown Boise.”
Boise Police and Fish & Game officials are on the lookout for a mountain lion that's been sighted repeatedly in town; people are being asked to call city police immediately if they spot the big cat, a 70-pound juvenile male. The mountain lion is apparently making its way in leisurely fashion from the Warm Springs Mesa area, where it feasted on a deer carcass in a resident's front yard on Friday night, down toward the Boise River Greenbelt - it was seen crossing Warm Springs Avenue and hitting the Greenbelt on Saturday night about 11:30. Then, early this morning, two reports came in of a mountain lion on the Whole Foods construction site near Broadway and Myrtle, followed by a report of the cat running east on the Greenbelt near Bronco Stadium.
“Chances are that cat probably either left the area or is bedded down 'til nighttime - they're nocturnal,” said Idaho Fish & Game spokesman Mike Keckler. “It might have just wandered down and wandered back where it came from.”
Keckler said the initial sighting came when the neighbor spotted a deer carcass, and then noticed a bit later that it had moved about 20 feet. “It was a mountain lion kill,” Keckler said. “Apparently the lion had dragged this carcass back and was feeding on it in a flower garden. When we got up there, the lion was gone. They waited and waited and waited and it didn't come back, so they removed the carcass.”
Mountain lion sightings aren't uncommon in Boise, Keckler said. “We live in prime mountain lion habitat here. The Boise Front is right here next to us, so it's not uncommon at all.” Wildlife including big cats tend to follow the river through the area, he said, which provides lots of cover along with attractive food, from deer to mice. “They'll eat house cats, they'll eat raccoons, they'll eat anything they can get their teeth into,” he said. Best case, he said, the big cat's already left town on its own, “because once they get a taste for hanging around town and they're finding food sources here, chances are it cannot be relocated.”
A wolf killed by a Hailey homeowner on Jan. 22 has tested postive for parvo, a common and highly contagious canine virus that can be fatal. Idaho Fish & Game reported that the homeowner reported the wolf had been observed near his house for at least two days and was acting sick or injured; click below for the full news release from Idaho Fish & Game.
Idaho Fish & Game is reporting a rare Canada lynx sighting in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the first direct evidence of lynx presence there since 1991. “This would be an extremely rare event, and we’re waiting to get genetic test results before we confirm it’s a native, wild lynx,” said Fish & Game wildlife manager Tom Keegan. Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, and they are designated an Idaho “species of greatest conservation need.” Fewer than 40 have been reported in the Salmon-Challis region since 1896. Click below for the full Fish & Game news release.