With fires burning in Idahos backcountry, hunters should check on where they are planning to go hunting to see if access is still open.
To ensure public safety, the U.S. Forest Service has closed a large area of the Boise National Forest because of the Trinity Ridge Fire. The closure affects a large area of the Middle and North forks of the Boise River and the Trinity Recreation Area, north and east of Featherville, Idaho Fish and Game said.
Wildfires affect access in other areas of the state as well, the agency said, but it is still uncertain how the fires might affect hunting seasons. Fish and Game does not recommend closing hunts or altering season dates in response to fire restrictions. Most fires are not large enough to affect an entire hunt unit. Hunters affected by a fire closure can adjust their schedule to hunt later in the season or exchange general tags to hunt in a different area. But tags must be exchanged before the season begins, F&G said.
Hunters with controlled hunt tags may exchange them for general season tags before the controlled hunt begins. Controlled hunt fees would not be refunded. Hunters may contact licensing at 334-2592, or a license vendor.
Fish and Game will consider requests for rain checks or refunds in the event that access to a hunting unit is blocked by fire. Hunters requesting a rain check will be required to submit their tags and permits with a letter describing the conditions of their request.
Rain checks would be evaluated case-by-case at the end of the hunting season. Rain checks would be valid in 2013 and offered only for the same species and hunt area as the hunter held in 2012.
Written requests should be sent to the license section at Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707 when the season is over.
Hunters and anglers, and anyone else heading into the backcountry, are advised to check with Forest Service ranger district offices or county sheriffs offices before heading out. Fire updates can be found online at inciweb.org/state/13.