The Idaho Fish and Game Commission during a meeting Thursday, March 22, set big game seasons for 2012.
The commissioners adopted Fish and Game staff recommendations for this fall's deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, gray wolf and mountain lion hunts, and added a few changes of their own.
Changes from the 2011-2012 seasons include:
- Eliminate general season antlerless elk hunts in the Panhandle. Create separate controlled either-sex hunts in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5.
- Reduce antlerless controlled hunt tags in McCall zone.
- Increase antlerless elk tags in Owyhee controlled hunt Area 40.
- Restructure Landowner Permission Hunts and antlerless hunts in units 45, 49, 52A, 56 and 68 to address depredation concerns; convert Landowner Permission Hunts to extra tag hunts.
- Shorten A-tag season in Teton zone.
- Create three new controlled hunts with 20 permits each to address depredation concerns in Unit 36B.
- Expand muzzleloader opportunity in Panhandle 10 days.
- Shorten the season for extra antlerless controlled hunts in Clearwater Region.
- Extend antlerless portion of Unit 23 white-tailed deer season for youth only.
- Add new deer hunt to Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge to address depredations on neighboring private land and convert antlerless youth hunt in Units 40 and 41 to youth extra antlerless controlled hunt.
- Restructure antlerless hunts in Units 44, 45 and 52, restructure youth hunts in Units 47, 54, 55 and 57, and move rotating muzzleloader hunt from Units 47, 54 and 55 to eastern portion of unit 45.
- Reduce antlerless hunts in units 43, 44 and 45 in response to hunter concerns.
- Keep Unit 36A as an unlimited controlled buck hunt; add Unit 29 to controlled hunt Area 37 muzzleloader hunt.
- Increase opportunity in Units 45 and 52.
- Convert Landowner Permission hunts to extra tag hunts.
- Separate out Unit 68 from existing archery either-sex pronghorn hunts and create new unlimited controlled hunt.
- Extend Unit 6 spring season to June 30.
- Extend spring season in Units 23, 24 and 25 by one week to close June 7.
- Add units 4, 6, 7 and 9 to the list of units where hunters could use a second bear tag.
- Shorten the spring bear season in units 29, 30, 30A, 36A, 37 and 37A to end June 15 instead of June 30.
- Increase season by 60 days in Unit 6, and 44 days in Units 7 and 9.
- Eliminate 10 antlerless permits in the Panhandle and reduced bull hunts in Hunt Area 1-4 to 25 permits down from 45.
- Increase bag limit to five each for hunting and trapping in the Panhandle, Palouse-Hells Canyon, Dworshak, Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork wolf zones.
- Extend season on private land in Panhandle zone.
- Add trapping season in Units 19A and 25.
- Increase harvest limit in Southern Mountain zone from 25 to 40.
- Increase season length in Beaverhead and Island Park zones to close on January 31.