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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Electronic glitch stalls Idaho leftover tag sales

HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game’s vendor, Active Network that provides the online licensing system, experienced technical difficulties Wednesday because of the large volume of transactions involving leftover tag purchases and was forced to shut down. 

Idaho Fish and Game forwarded an apology from Active Network, summarized here:

Active extends our formal apology to IDFG and all adversely affected sportsmen/women for the period of unavailability of the IWILD system for transaction processing that was experienced after the sale of leftover tags for controlled hunts commenced at 10:00am MDT on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.  Our records indicate that the outage began at 10:10am MDT and was resolved by Active at 10:34am MDT.  We know that the timing of this outage was such as to cause great frustration and inconvenience to sportsmen/women attempting to obtain leftover tags and consequently to IDFG and its stakeholders. We profoundly regret, accept responsibility, and apologize to IDFG and all adversely affected sportsmen/women for this untimely and highly inconvenient service disruption. 

Idaho discounts nonresident big-game tags

HUNTING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has reduced the price of unsold nonresident deer and elk tags to be sold as second tags.

The following discounts will be available to resident and non-resident hunters purchasing second tags in 2014.

  • Second elk tags will be discounted from $415 to $299
  • Second deer tags will be discounted from $300 to $199

The price does not include the $1.75 vendor fees.

Since 2000, the Commission has offered any unsold tags remaining to resident and nonresident hunters as a second tag at the full nonresident price. In 2013, the release date for second tags was moved forward one month from September 1 to August 1.

"The commission feels discounting those tags will give hunters additional field opportunity by making a second tag more affordable," Idaho Fish and Game says in a media release.

Fish and Game Wildlife Chief Jeff Gould reminds hunters that second tags have been factored into big game season settings since these tags became available for purchase as a second tag 15 years ago.

“We restrict the number of tags available in elk zones that are performing below desired population levels,” Gould said. “Hunting opportunity is based on biological as well as social considerations. The decision to discount the second tag price is biologically sustainable and will make it more affordable for hunters to increase their hunting options this fall.”

Second tags will mainly be used in general hunts where there are currently no restrictions on the number of deer or elk tags sold to Idaho residents in any given year. Second tags cannot be used in areas where deer or elk harvest is managed with controlled hunts and the use of second tags must fall under currently established nonresident elk zone tag limits.

For 30 years, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has maintained a statewide annual quota of 12,815 nonresident elk tags and 15,500 nonresident deer tags.  Idaho hunters purchase about 143,000 deer and 86,000 elk tags annually. Hunters purchased 964 second deer tags and 430 second elk tags in 2013. That left 5,773 deer and 4,960 nonresident elk tags unsold at the end of the year.

The discounted second tags will be available to resident and nonresident hunters August 1. The actual number of second tags available won’t be known until August 1, when unclaimed and returned nonresident tags are added to the second tag pool.  Second tags will be sold on a first come first served basis at all Fish and Game license vendors. 

The Commission stresses this will be a trial program, and will closely analyze the 2014 season to determine how hunters respond to the discounts before deciding whether to apply discounts in future seasons.

Idaho Fish and Game licenses had humble beginnings

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Hunting and fishing licenses are the topic of this week's history in perspective piece from Idaho Fish and Game as the department celebrates its 75th anniversary.  

Read on for some interesting details.

Join Idaho live-chat on hunting, fishing licenses

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Idaho Fish and Game staffers will host a live online chat on Wednesday, Dec. 11, to talk to hunters and anglers about hunting and fishing licenses.

The chat is set for noon to 2 p.m., Mountain Time.

Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and learn more about hunting and fishing license options and programs.

New this year is the option to buy a three-year license, for convenience and a small savings. A three-year hunting license costs $34.75, instead of the yearly $12.75; and a three-year fishing license costs $73.75 instead of the yearly $25.75.

To participate click on the chat link on the Fish and Game website.

Idaho eases rule for nonresident junior mentored tags

HUNTING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission earlier this month approved a change in the mentor requirements for holders of the nonresident junior mentored hunt tag.

Under the new rule, the mentor is still required to have tag for same species but it doesn’t have to be for the same area. The change takes effect immediately as a temporary rule, but it is subject to legislative review as a proposed rule.

The holder of a junior mentored tag must have a junior mentored hunting license and must be accompanied by adult license holder with a tag for the same species. The junior mentored deer and elk tags are not valid for bear, gray wolf or mountain lion.

The junior mentored hunter and the mentor must be close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices.

Idaho considers three-year hunting and fishing licenses

HUNTING/FISHING — Die-hard outdoorsmen would have the option of purchasing a three-year hunting or fishing license under a proposal that passed the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee Wednesday, according to a story in the Lewiston Tribune.

The cost of the license would be three times the cost of an annual pass, so there’s no savings there. However, people would only pay one vendor service fee, which would save them $3.50 compared to the cost of buying a pass every year.

Sharon Kiefer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said the agency has been investigating various opportunities to improve customer service. A survey of 9,500 hunters and anglers found relatively high interest in a three-year license option, particularly among sportsmen ages 18 to 24.

The bill will advance to the full Senate. If it passes the Legislature and is signed into law, the new licenses would become available July 1.

F&G offers whopper of a gift idea: A lifetime of Idaho hunting or fishing

Need a whopper of a gift idea for the avid outdoorsman- or -woman on your list? Idaho Fish & Game has one: A lifetime of Idaho hunting or fishing - or both. Fish & Game has been offering lifetime license certificates since the late 1980s, and since 1995, they've sold 7,895 of them. The lifetime certificates can be purchased only at Fish & Game regional offices or their state headquarters; they vary in price depending on age. “Occasionally people will come in and buy a lifetime license certificate for a child,” said F&G spokesman Niels Nokkentved. “It's a pretty good deal if you're a young person, not so good perhaps if you're a senior citizen.”

The prices: For kids 0 to 1 year old, $276.75 for hunting only, $601.75 for fishing only, $795.50 for combination. That jumps up to $386.75 for hunting-only for ages 2 to 50 years, $841.75 for fishing-only or $1,113 combo; or, for ages 51 and older, $221.75 for hunting-only, $481.75 for fishing-only, or $636.75 for combo. Lifetime license holders who move out of state can keep their licenses, but must pay the nonresident tag and permit fees; tag and permit fees aren't included with the license certificates.

Idaho Fish & Game has sold 296 lifetime certificates so far this year, up from a total of 294 last year but down from 2009's 343. Asked if there's a bump in sales around the holidays, officials said not really – they're an item that's most popular for birthdays, or just after the announcement – but before the effective date – of a fee increase. Gift certificates also are available for annual hunting and fishing licenses, if you're not that big a spender.

Most Washington fishing-hunting license fees increase Sept. 1

PAY TO PLAY – Washington’s first general hunting-fishing license fee increase in a decade kicks in Sept. 1.

Now’s the time to buy and save on most licenses – but you might want to hold off on buying some youth, senior or disabled licenses, which will decrease in cost. And the endorsement that allows angers to use two rods while fishing some waters will decrease substantially.

All of the new license fee prices are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

But here’s a sampling of increases for resident fees (nonresident increases are much more substantial):

  • Deer, elk, bear and cougar tag package, currently $81.20, will increase to $93.50.
  • Small game license, $38, will increase to $38.50.
  • Freshwater fishing license, $24, will increase to $27.50.
  • Combination fishing license, $48.20, will increase to $52.25.

Decreasing:  Examples of fees that will go down starting Sept. 1 include:

  • Senior freshwater fishing license, $8, will decrease to $5.50.
  • Two-pole endorsement, $24.50, will decrease to $14.30.