For many Idahoans, fall means hunting (and fishing, of course), but as with everything, a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.
In the hunting world, some of the greatest culprits of bunch-spoiling are poachers and those who kill an animal and leave it to waste, and this season has already seen a slew of uncouth hunters breaking the basic rules.
Four cow elk were found shot and wasted during the opening weekend of the season earlier this month. According to a press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, one elk was found near Upper Fords Creek Road, one was found along the Fiddler Road area near Weippe, a third was also near Weippe along Miles Creek, and the fourth was near Canyon Creek Road near Orofino.
The poachers took portions of two of the animals, but the majority of the meat was left to rot. The other two elk were left to waste whole. Not only were the animals wasted, but there was no open season for antlerless elk.
At about the same time, a pronghorn and a four-by-five bull elk were also discovered on the other side of the state in the Magic Valley.
According to Fish and Game, the pronghorn was found near Malta and the bull elk was found in Devils Creek Canyon off the John Boyd Draw Road. Both animals had been shot and left to waste.
Anyone with information on any of these illegal kills is asked to contact Citizens Against Poaching at 800-632-5999 to leave a tip. Those with information on the doe elk kills can also contact Orofino area conservation officer John McLain at 208-827-1488. Bull elk and pronghorn tips can also be given to the Fish and Game regional office at 208-324-4359.
Staying on the hunting theme, Fish and Game also reports that more hunters were out during opening weekend of deer season than in 2012, with hunters in the Southwest Region reporting successful trips at check stations. Early reports estimate that 7,000 hunters were out on opening weekend across the state, with 1,116 animals taken. In 2012, 5,600 hunters took 1,031 animals.
While both deer and duck hunters were doing well, IDFG officials also noted that upland bird hunters weren't seeing the same success, finding fewer chukars, gray partridge and quail this year.