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2016 and Next 5-Year Season Structure

Discussion in 'Idaho Flyway Forum' started by DoveMan, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. DoveMan

    DoveMan Senior Refuge Member

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    Anyone else lucky enough to get Jeff's survey in the mail?
    I'm in the south end of Zone 2 so I checked box for earliest October opener and 2 day split to end on a Sunday in January. Rather shoot a few honkers and some bluewings in October than birdwatch in city limits come late January. Sorry Panhandle guys:dv
     
  2. goosepond

    goosepond Senior Refuge Member

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    Nope I didn't at least not yet. What other options were there? I'd take that myself, open earliest too. Since our season closed this year in zone 1, and watching if birds were around to shoot in zone 1 area I hunt, out of the last 2 weeks that were open just north of me, I would have had just 2 days where there were any birds to hunt that I could get to. By birds I'm talking ducks. River still frozen so cant get on it here, so much snow birds left and just not any to hunt. Late hunting in East Idaho isn't for the birds or us. I think the proposal IFSteve had last year that he posted up gives best option to everyone. If I can find it or if he has it, see if we can bump it up. A big difference between Panhandle and SW Idaho weather most years compared to East/southeast Idaho.
     
  3. all fowled up

    all fowled up New Member

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    I was lucky enough to recieve the survey and I personally would like to see the season start later and run through the latest possible day in January. I live in Area 1 and hunt in both Area 1 and S.E. Area 2. I hunted every weekend in January and both the 28th and 29th and saw numbers of both ducks and geese double and triple towards the end of the season. The 1 exception being a split season on dark geese if an early season goose hunt is set allowing the goose season to remain open through the end of January. I had geese landing in and around my duck decoys every time I was out after Jan. 14th. Still fun to have happen but.... And the 24" -30" snow obviously wasn't affecting the birds enough to move them out.
     
  4. DoveMan

    DoveMan Senior Refuge Member

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    I should have made a copy before I sent it in it, but basically boiled down in to when would you like season to open (1st, 2nd, 3rd weekend in Oct), do you want to start earliest and go to mid-Jan or start late and go til end of Jan, are you in favor of 2 day split, when would you like that split to happen (1st, 2nd, 3rd week in Oct). Also had what zone do you hunt in, how many days do you hunt etc.
    Also mentioned that Zone 1 is locked in the Fed framework that it is in and IDFG can't do anything about it, so it will always be a 1st weekend Oct opener and continuous 105 days.

    I traveled OOS to hunt last weekend, and would have done so even if season was still open around me.
    I'm just happy I finally got a survey after all these years, and I wish they would send them to everyone, every year. Discussion is good.
     
  5. goosepond

    goosepond Senior Refuge Member

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    I found out yesterday that the survey will be posted on line at the Fish and Game website soon so everyone will be able to give input. Not so sure about the zone 1 being locked in from reading the Fish and Wildlife information, but, the Idaho Waterfowl specialist heading this up would probably know best on that one. I do know that the opening in zone 2 is as late as it can be due to the season has to close by end of January. I think the area that is really being talked about in zone 1 is the area right around the Fort Hall Reservation, depending on how big they want to make that zone. Zone 1 is generally dictated by the Tribe and F&G cant do anything with what they want season wise, but, the size and area of Zone 1 can be adjusted. See the thread titled Waterfowl season on page 3 as described by IFSteve and his discussion with F&G lead last year on how to make a win win by enlarging the zone and adjusting the season. Makes sense to me on what can be done. But, bottom line is that it will be what it will be based on what sportsmen put in and biological data.

    Essentially, around me this year, in zone 1, after the closing, I would have had an additional 3 days only to hunt ducks as everything, I mean everything left and nothing was left for the last 2 weeks had it been open. So, given the 3 weeks that we had nothing to hunt in December due to cold and snow and given that there would have been nothing to hunt the last 2 weeks if zone 1 would have been open for ducks till Jan 29, duck hunters would have lost 5 weeks of duck hunting in zone 1 with the later season. Maybe should be a separate season for ducks and geese. Don't always have to open ducks and geese on the same day for those who hunt geese late and no ducks around. I for one don't like to loose 5 weeks of the season due to the extreme weather we have had for years at the end of this late season, but, just my 2 cents.
     
  6. all fowled up

    all fowled up New Member

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    If I remember correctly (I too wish I would've made a copy of the survey) it said in essence area 1 was non negotiable on season dates. I agree Goosepond that if they change the boundaries of area 1 it would be a win win also. But I believe in going the other direction (later opening Oct. -late as possible Jan. closing) due to the fact we have not seen the big push of birds until after the first week of January for the past 5 years. The full moon the 3rd week of Dec. notoriously pushes our birds south and leaves us with very few until around the 1st week of January. As I stated earlier I spent every weekend and the 28th and 29th of January in the field and the last 2 weeks I saw birds double and triple in numbers. And as I remind my 21 year old son who is an avid and extremely succesful waterfowl hunter you don't realize how lucky we are because when I was his age ducks were scarce, we had a split season and the goose season was closed. So if any of you remember that period of time, I think you'll all agree it is a great time to be a waterfowl hunter.
     
  7. goosepond

    goosepond Senior Refuge Member

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    I keep a daily log of my waterfowl hunting as I hunt 99.9% of the time for just ducks. I have to respectfully disagree on the last 5 year information you have. Out of the last 5 years, where I am at, close to the north boundary of zone 1 and 2, that there has only been 1 season out of the 5 that there has been any real evidence of duck hunting available after Christmas and more so after January 1. Are there some birds around, yes, but in talking to many folks who have a sweet spring/honey hole, they too have said that it is few and far between for ducks after January 1.

    And the biggest reason the ducks have left has been snow depth and cold weather. I even queried the National Weather Service last fall and the official records they provided from 2011 thru 2014 basically matched what I had on snow depth and temps.

    Did you go to the post I referenced on the discussion IFSteve had with the State Waterfowl lead last summer on the season structure? And as IFSteve said, 100% of the time ducks are available early October, after Christmas and particularly January 1, it's a crap shoot.

    And here is another thing and I am not sure how the Fish and Game can take this into account in their season proposals. If you read a lot of threads, not just on this website, but others, many of us are getting to the age that we can not fight the cold, deeper snow, frozen ice on ponds, the river and our bodies just cant take it much longer when it gets into the late snow and cold. So by going so late, it just cuts us out of days of hunting due to our physical limitations too.

    As I said before, I don't have an issue with the 2 day split and opening the goose season later and going late into January, but as for ducks, they just aren't here do to many variables late in the season, especially by going to the end of January.

    Here is the link to the Federal Fish and Wildlife season allowances. I don't see or I may have missed it on the zone 1 seasons being so fixed that it cant go earlier or changed. As I have said, the Sho-Ban Tribe is the dictator on the season for zone 1 not really F&G but, I am sure that they can look at how big or small the zone is and make that adjustment to fit what most want. But, I don't think going till the end of January buys the majority of "duck" hunters anything.

    http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2015/pd ... s-2016.pdf

    Good luck.
     
  8. IFSteve

    IFSteve Elite Refuge Member

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    Here was the suggestion I made to Jeff.

    So I suggested to him that we may be able to have a win win starting in 2016. My suggestion was as follows:
    1. Restructure the boundaries of Zones 1 and 2 such that Zone 1 would include all of SE Idaho and Zone 2 would stay as is less the piece moved into Zone 1.
    2. Move the opener in Zone 1 back to the first Saturday in October and let the Opener in Zone 2 be as late as possible to end up the last weekend in January.
    3. Institute the two day split so that the seasons would all end on a weekend.
     
  9. all fowled up

    all fowled up New Member

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    IF Steve, Please define all of SE Idaho for zone 1? I hunted in the SE Area of zone 2 with great success until the season closed the 29th. I for one would've liked the season to end on the 31st. Maybe the restructuing of zone 1 should be the reservation boundary south in Bannock county, west to the Bannock/Power County line, not Hwy 39, then north to include part of Bingham and the southern end of Bonneville county. As Goosepond said he hunts the northern part of area 1 and didn't see much the last 3 weeks of the season. That makes more sense than all of SE Idaho wouldn't you agree?
     
  10. IFSteve

    IFSteve Elite Refuge Member

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    No I wouldn't agree. I have hunted here for a lot longer than a few years and in most years anything past mid January (and many years its earlier than that) is likely to be birdless for the vast majority of hunters. Ducks require open water and the only two places that have that come January are the Fort Hall Reservation and private springs. The majority of hunters have no huntable options. I would define SE Idaho much broader than what you have suggested. Clark, Butte, Fremont, Madison, Fremont, Bonneville, Teton, Jefferson, Bingham, Power, Bannock, Caribou, Bear Lake, Franklin, and Onieda counties. But that is exactly whey they are doing a survey. So we can provide input. However, I try and think a bit broader than just what works best for me. I try and think about most hunters. Most guys only hunt the marshes. Its all they have the gear to handle. And a late opener takes away several weeks of good hunting in exchange for two weeks in January when very few of us have the gear and places to make use of the late season. A late season when there may or may not be birds to hunt. There are always birds to hunt in October. Always.
     

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