Outdoors blog

TUESDAY, NOV. 8, 2011, 7:01 A.M.

Hunter numbers down, poachers up, Idaho Fish and Game officers say

Moose have become fairly common sights roaming the fringes of North Idaho or Spokane-area communities. Local agencies say they regularly get complaints about moose munching and messing gardens and landscaping, but usually it’s best to leave the big creatures be.  (File)
Moose have become fairly common sights roaming the fringes of North Idaho or Spokane-area communities. Local agencies say they regularly get complaints about moose munching and messing gardens and landscaping, but usually it’s best to leave the big creatures be. (File)

HUNTING ENFORCEMENT -- "I patrolled nearly 2000 miles of back roads during October and encountered fewer elk hunters and far fewer elk camps than in the recent past," said Jerry Hugo, Idaho Fish and Game Department conservation officer in North Idaho. "Panhandle resident elk camps far outpaced non-resident elk hunting camps this fall."

But there's been no shortage of poachers, officers say.

Tips are being sought to help nab whomever killed two moose shot and wasted near Cataldo around Oct. 29.

District Officers operated several bull and cow elk decoys during closed seasons in an effort to enforce our current Panhandle big-game regulations.

"I saw and heard from hunters that they were seeing LOTS and LOTS of moose," Hugo said. "Moose are definitely enjoying the abundance of the new found forage in Unit 6 and are not as vulnerable to severe winter weather conditions as elk and deer are. But the roads make moose far more vulnerable to poachers.

Some hunters might think they're a cut above a poacher by putting out salt licks in Idaho to lure big game. While that's legal in some states, it's illegal in Idaho.

"District Officers found several more salt licks this fall," Hugo said. "Officers are gathering the locations of every salt lick that we find and we are saving the GPS coordinates. It is unlawful and unfair chase to hunt elk over any form of salt.

"Idaho Geologists assure us that there are NO naturally occurring salt licks in north Idaho. We are currently devising ways to catch these poachers on site."




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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