The Idaho Fish and Game Commission announced last week that it would increase both elk takes and wolf quotas across the state for 2013.
The commission met Tuesday, March 19, to set 2013 big game seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf based on proposals by Department of Fish and Game biologists.
The elk season perhaps saw the largest change, with a net increase of 2,321 controlled hunt tags. Some areas, however, saw a decrease in tags—for example, a winter survey showed low bull numbers in Unit 11, in the Palouse-Hells Canyon region in northern Idaho, so late bull hunt tags have been reduced by 71 tags in that unit.
Antlerless tags in southeastern Idaho have also been reduced, as biologists said depredation conflicts have been resolved.
Other changes to elk seasons include:
( An increase in antlerless tags in Hells Canyon units to reduce a high number of cows and address low calf survival.
( A cap on Bear River B tags in extreme southeastern Idaho to reduce bull harvest by 20 percent.
( Shift tags from nonresident to resident allocation in Diamond Creek Zone in southeastern Idaho and the Salmon Zone in central Idaho to address the lack of sales of nonresident tags.
( Reinstate muzzleloader antlerless hunts in the Pioneer Zone, including units 36A and 50, and increase antlerless controlled tag hunts in Units 49, 50 and 36 A in the Southern Mountains Zone in central Idaho.
Most of the wolf hunt changes involve extending seasons, though the Salmon Zone north of the Wood River Valley will see a quota increase. Hunting seasons in the Panhandle Zone on the extreme tip of northern Idaho will be extended to year-round on private land. Previously the season ran from Nov. 15 to March 31.
Hunting seasons in the Middle Fork Zone in north-central Idaho and in parts of the Dworshak-Elk City Zone just north of the Middle Fork Zone will be extended through June 30, and the Beaverhead and Island Park zones in eastern Idaho will have seasons extended to March 31. Seasons in the Middle Fork Zone previously ended on March 31, while seasons ended in the Beaverhead and Island Park zones on Jan. 31.
Other changes to wolf seasons include:
( Increasing harvest limit in the Salmon Zone in north-central Idaho from 40 to 45.
( Expanding trapping to portions of Units 2 and 3 in extreme northern Idaho.
( Instating trapping on private lands in Units 13, 18 and 22 in northern Idaho from Nov. 15 to March 15.
( Expanding trapping season (Nov. 15 to March 15) to Island Park and Salmon zones with foothold traps only. Snares may be used on private lands and in designated wilderness zones in Unit 28.
So far, 284 wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers in Idaho. The season closes on March 31 in the Southern Mountains Zone, which encompasses the Wood River Valley.
Kate Wutz: email@example.com