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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Idaho sets 2013 big-game hunting seasons, rules

HUNTING -- A general cow elk season will not return in North Idaho, but controlled permits for antlerless elk hunting will be increased statewide under the 2013 hunting seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf adopted today in Boise by the Fish and Game Commission.

The new seasons also include an increase in pronghorn tags and expanded wolf hunting and trapping seasons. 

Wolf hunting on private lands in the Idaho Panhandle will be allowed year round.

  • Details of the 2013 big game hunting seasons will be posted on the Fish and Game website. The 2013 Hunting Seasons printed brochure will be available at license vendors in late April.

Read on for highlights of rule changes provided by the Idaho Fish and Game Department.

Major changes for deer:

  • Reduce antlerless tags in units 22, 31, 32, 32A and 39 to maintain or increase deer numbers.
  • Move popular rotating muzzleloader controlled hunt from east side of Unit 45 to east side of Unit 52.
  • Add new archery hunt in Unit 45 with 10 tags.
  • Move archery unlimited controlled hunt in Unit 72 up two weeks to start on November 16 and run through December 5, and expand the hunt area into a part of Unit 76.
  • Reinstate 390 either-sex deer tags reduced after 2010-2011 winter in units 60, 62, 64, 66 and 67.
  • Create “high-quality” buck hunts with five tags each in hunt areas 21, 28-1, 30, 36A and 36B from October 10 through November 30.
  • Convert 85 extra antlerless tags in Units 21 and 36A to youth extra antlerless tags.

Major changes for elk:

  • Include a net increase of 2,321 controlled hunt tags.
  • Increase either-sex tags in units 2 and 3.
  • Eliminate 71 late bull hunt tags in Unit 11 in response to low bull numbers in winter survey.
  • Increase antlerless tags in Hells Canyon Units to reduce high cow densities and low calf survival.
  • Place a cap on Bear River B Tag to reduce bull harvest about 20 percent. A cap at 550 tags represents reduction of about 20 percent of hunters based on prior five-year average. Proportional reduction allocation: 440 resident tags, 55 nonoutfitted nonresident tags and 54 outfitted tags.
  • Shift tags from nonresident allocation to resident hunters in Diamond Creek and Salmon zones where resident quota has been filled but nonresident tags were left unsold.
  • Eliminate extra antlerless tags in units 68A, 74 and 76 where depredation conflicts have been successfully resolved.
  • Reinstate general season A-tag muzzleloader antlerless hunt in Pioneer Zone units 36A and 50, and increase antlerless controlled hunt tags in Units 49, 50 and 36A.
  • Shorten general A-tag any-weapon antlerless hunts in Tex Creek and Palisades zones to reduce cow harvest and increase population.

Major changes for pronghorn:

  • Include an increase of 115 tags.
  • Create new youth hunts in Unit 39 with five tags, and Unit 54 with 15 tags.
  • Increase tags in units 44 and 45 to provide additional opportunity and address depredations.
  • Split Hunt Area 68 unlimited controlled archery hunt into two hunts, with 40 tags early and unlimited tags late, to resolve hunter crowding.

Major change for black bears:

  • Convert Unit 1 archery-only season to any-weapon opening 16 days earlier.
  • Increase harvest in units 7 and 9 to reduce summer depredation on elk calves.
  • Allow use of electronic calls in units 4, 6, 7 and 9.

Major change for mountain lions:

  • Open season in Panhandle units 16 days earlier on August 30.
  • Increase harvest in units 7 and 9 by allowing a second tag, use of electronic calls and extending the season two months to close June 30.

Major change for gray wolves:

  • Extend hunting season on private land in the Panhandle Zone to year-round.
  • Extend extend hunting season in the Middle Fork Zone and in that portion of Unit 16 in the Dworshak-Elk City Zone north of the Selway River to end June 30.
  • Extend hunting season in Beaverhead and Island Park zones two months to end March 31.
  • Increase harvest limit in the Salmon Zone to 45.
  • Expand trapping to portions of units 2 and 3.
  • Expand trapping to private lands in units 13, 18 and 22 from November 15 through March 15.
  • Expand trapping season to Island Park and Salmon zones with foothold traps only; except snares may be used on private lands and in that portion of Unit 28 within designated wilderness.

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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