OUTFIELD – To encourage potential new hunters, the Idaho Fish and Game Department is offering novices the opportunity to hunt for up to one year before completing a hunter education course.
Idaho’s new Hunting Passport allows anyone age 8 and older who has never held a hunting license in any state to take wildlife when they are accompanied by a mentor and participating in the Mentored Hunting Program.
Passport holders must be 12 years old to hunt big game, 10 to hunt turkey and sandhill crane and 8 to hunt most other game birds and small game. All regular license requirements and rules apply.
The Hunting Passport expires Dec. 31 of the year it is issued, and only one can be purchased in a lifetime.
To continue hunting after the passport expires, the hunter must complete a hunter education course and buy a license.
Anyone 18 or older who holds a valid Idaho hunting license can serve as a mentor. No certification is required, but people may not mentor more than two people at the same time.
Hunting Passports cost $1.75 and are available at license vendors and Fish and Game regional offices.
Bald eagle show wanes in region
OUTGOING – The annual congregation of bald eagles at Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Wolf Lodge Bay area has been dispersing for three weeks from its peak of 260 eagles counted on Dec. 19.
Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted 56 bald eagles in the bay on Thursday. But the area wasn’t birdless. She said she counted more than 300 common mergansers.
• Alaska’s eagle gatherings are even larger. Audubon Society members out on Dec. 15 for the annual Christmas Bird Count in Soldotna counted a local record 718 bald eagles.
Snowshoeing clinic geared to women
WINTER SPORTS – A free clinic for women on the basics of snowshoeing is set for 7 p.m., Jan. 17 at REI in Spokane.
Palin’s father talks on Alaska outdoors
OUTTHERE – Chuck Heath, father of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, will be speaking with his lifelong friend, Chuck Moe of Spokane, on Alaskan fishing and hunting on Saturday at the Lake City Community Church, 6000 N. Ramsey Rd. in Coeur d’Alene.
The event, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., includes raffles and prizes, a demo on scoring antlers and local outdoor sports vendors, as well as a meal of moose chili and cornbread.
Tickets cost $5 at Michael D’s, Owl Café, Black Sheep, Wholesale Sports and Hoffman Boots.
Info: (208) 676-0632.