Smoky Mountain Zone closed by wildfires
Idaho Fish and Game said hunters should be aware that roughly 70 percent of the zone, which includes game management units 43, 44 and 48, is closed by the U.S. Forest Service due to several large wildfires.
The archery A-tag season for elk in the Smoky Mountain Zone begins Aug. 30. Hunters may exchange Smoky Mountain Zone elk tags for another zone at any Fish and Game office before Aug. 30.
Other hunts affected by the closure area include a controlled deer hunt in Unit 44 that opens on Sept. 15, and controlled bull elk hunt that opens Sept. 25. Additional hunts open in October. Fish and Game will continue to monitor access restrictions and fire boundaries in those areas as those hunts draw nearer.
Fish and Game has a number of options for hunters whose hunting access is severely restricted by wildfires or closures, including exchanging controlled hunt tags for general season tags, rain checks for the following year, and in some cases refunds.
As fire and closure boundaries change, Fish and Game will determine which option is appropriate for different hunts and will publicize those options at least 10 days before the hunt's opening date.
For more information about upcoming hunts, contact the Fish and Game Magic Valley office at 324-4359.
F&G Sportsmen's breakfast Aug. 23
The breakfast at the Magic Valley Regional Fish and Game Office, 324 S. 417 East, Highway 93 Business Park, or two miles north of the Flying J in Jerome, will feature presentations on big game drawing odds, hunting, fishing updates and the status of wolf populations.
Sportsmen only need to bring their appetites and questions for the regional staff. The breakfast is at 6:30 a.m. with the updates around 7 a.m.
Donations collected for wildlife habitat
The Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation has established an emergency fund for wildlife habitat rehabilitation in response to wildfires across southern Idaho.
Donations can be made by going to ifwf.org/donate.
An aerial survey of the Elk Complex Fire last week showed a number of animals and birds were killed by the fire, burning east of Boise.
After a two-hour flight, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Scott Bodle reported seeing a total of 14 elk, 31 mule deer, one bear, one osprey, one coyote and one raccoon killed by the fire.
A number of birds were found on the ground, apparently dead of asphyxiation.
Bodle estimated that most of the animals died in the initial 48 hours of the fire when fire conditions resulted in extremely rapid growth. Winds of about 30 mph carried burning embers that started spot fires up to half-mile ahead of the main fire.
Most of the animals were seen in small groups at the upper ends of drainages where they were unable to escape when fire conditions turned extreme. About half of the fire area where the extreme fire conditions occurred was surveyed. The flight crew also observed many, estimated in the hundreds, live deer and elk in burned areas and in live vegetation.
Sawtooth Salmon Festival Aug. 24
It's from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Stanley Historical Museum off Idaho 75 between Stanley and Lower Stanley.
The event, sponsored by Idaho Rivers United, will have live music, a wild salmon dinner with beer from Sockeye Brewing, naturally, and kids activities, vender booths, artwork and educational tours of spawning salmon grounds and the Sunbeam Dam site.
For more information, go to idahorivers.org.
Birding field trip
Audubon Society will host a half-day trip to the Idaho Bird Observatory. Meet at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 24 at Kodiak Grill on Idaho 21. Register with Pam Conley, 869-0337, firstname.lastname@example.org.