Idaho Early Elk Hunts Begin in August

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Some early elk hunts open August 1, most of them antlerless "green-field" hunts.

The early "green-field" hunts in seven elk management zones - Palouse, Weiser, Lemhi, Beaverhead, Pioneer, Snake River and Owyhee-South Hills zones - are meant to help landowners reduce crop damage.

Early archery hunts also start August 1 in the Snake River elk zone, and controlled green-field hunts also open in the Dworshak and Hells Canyon zones.

The green-field hunts are open only outside the National Forest Boundary and within one mile of cultivated fields. They help reduce depredation problems and control populations causing crop damage by harvesting or discouraging animals in specific areas or portions of units.

August hunts, however, bring concerns about waste. Hunters have an ethical and legal obligation to salvage the edible portions of their kill. But meat spoilage is an important concern during typical hot August weather.

The key to preserving meat is starting the cooling process quickly. Game animals should be skinned immediately and quartered in most cases and transported quickly to cold storage facilities. Early season hunters may consider using large ice chests to keep game meat cool and clean. Removing meat from the bones also helps speed cooling.

When cutting up the elk carcass, hunters must be sure to preserve the evidence of sex. If the head or antlers are removed, evidence of sex in the form of testicles, penis, scrotum, udder or vulva must remain naturally attached to the carcass or parts thereof until it reaches the final place of storage or personal consumption, or a commercial meat processing facility. Antlers or horns removed from the head must be left naturally attached to the skull plate where size, point or brow-tine restrictions apply, and they must accompany the carcass or parts thereof.

Hunters must have a valid 2010 Idaho hunting license and tag in their possession, and they are encouraged to review the 2010 Big Game Rules for additional details.