Idaho’s hunting season for sharp-tailed grouse is longer than last year’s. The season opened Sept. 20 and runs through Oct. 19.
Sharptails are hunted only in the southeastern part of the state, mainly where large tracts of dryland farms have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
That has improved habitat. Small populations still exist in southwestern Idaho but not in huntable numbers. Sharptail hunting is not allowed in western Idaho.
Last year’s sharptail season was trimmed to match a cutback in sage grouse hunting and because the further of CRP was uncertain until it was renewed by Congress earlier this year.
Waste not, want no fine
It’s illegal in Idaho “to cause or allow the waste of meat from any game animal, except a mountain lion,” according to Rod Parker, information officer for the Clearwater region of the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
Upon taking a big-game animal, immediately remove the hide to promote cooling of the carcass, he advised. This, combined with proper aging in cool conditions, can produce tasty meat.
“Scraps from big-game carcasses can be used to attract a variety of birds to a hunter’s backyard,” he said. “The fat can be melted, mixed with birdseed and reshaped into blocks to be hung from mesh bags, where it will provide a good source of energy for chickadees, nuthatches and other birds that remain through the winter.”
Stamps come later
When hunters buy Idaho upland game bird and waterfowl stamps this year, a validation will appear on their licenses immediately, allowing them to hunt in seasons that require the state stamps.
The “sticky” stamp, however, will be mailed as data is transferred from the computerized licensing system. At least a month should be allowed for mailing after purchase.
If you fail to get the stamps, or if you’re a collector who wants stamps, call (208) 334-3717.
Gauge for deer weight
How heavy was that deer before it was placed on the locker plant’s scale?
Generally, the Idaho Fish and Game Department says, the field-dressed weight is 78-79 percent of the live weight.
A deer that weighs 120 pounds at the locker probably weighed about 152 pounds before field dressing. This scale weight assumes head and legs are left on the carcass.
The deer should yield about 58 percent of its field-dressed weight. In this example, that would be about 70 pounds of boneless meat.