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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Proposed Panhandle big-game hunting rules revealed

HUNTING – Idaho Fish and Game biologists just released a preview of proposed changes for Idaho Panhandle big-game hunting rules. They will be presented to sportsmen for their comments the week of March 7 at public meetings still to be scheduled.

Statewide season proposals for 2011 will be coming out sometime the next few days on the Idaho Fish and Game Department website.  Look in the “ Comments and Survey Questions" section in the lower right corner.

Hunting seasons will be set the last week of March at the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting in Boise.

Read on for a summary of the Panhandle proposals from Jim Hayden, Idaho Panhandle big-game manager:

Proposed 2011 Panhandle hunting rules, (comments by Jim Hayden):

Bear – No change.

Cougar – No change.

Deer – Return to 2008 seasons. 

(For example, Aug. 30 opener for archery deer, doe season in units 4, 7, and 9 to run Oct. 10-Nov. 9; doe seasons in remaining Panhandle units to run Nov. 1-Dec. 1).

Elk – Return to nearly normal in most units, but deeper restrictions in units 6, 7 and 9.   

In Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A and 5, calf ratios are above 30 calves per 100 cows, and we can add back most of the hunting opportunity that was cut 2 years ago.  We’re proposing,

  • Early archery either sex – Aug. 30-Sep. 30 (A tag) or Aug. 30-Sep. 14 (B tag);
  • Rifle bull season – Oct. 25-Oct. 31 (A tag) or Oct. 10-Oct. 31 (B tag);
  • Rifle cow season – Oct. 15-Oct 19 (B tag);
  • Muzzleloader bull – Nov. 10-Dec. 1 (A tag, Unit 4) or Dec. 2-Dec. 9 for spikes (B tag);Late Archery ES – Dec. 10 – Dec. 24 (A tag).

With these calf ratios, we’d normally be looking at seven days of rifle cow harvest.  With the changes below, though, we proposed just five days to be more conservative and help take up anticipated switching of hunt areas.

Units 6, 7, and 9:  In these units, calf ratios are less than 20 calves per 100 cows and we are proposing to go to bull only seasons in response.  These units were growing through 2008, and have declined more recently. Success rates are still good here, but that success rate has held up only because we had such high calf ratios prior to 2008.   This fall, hunters will still find quite a few nice big bulls in these units from those earlier years, but most of this area will have relatively few spikes and raghorns.

Units 6, 7, and 9: Proposed for no changes to season dates, but eliminating cow harvest altogether.  The proposed dates are,

  • Early archery bull – Sep. 6-Sep. 30 (A tag) or Sep. 6-Sep. 12 (B tag);
  • Rifle bull season – Oct. 25-Oct. 29 (A tag) or Oct. 10-Oct. 24 (B tag);
  • Muzzleloader bull – Nov. 20-Dec. 1 (A tag, Units 7,9) or Dec. 2-Dec. 9 for spikes (B tag);
  • Late archery bull – Dec. 10-Dec. 16 (A tag).


Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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