Rules change for ATVs during hunting season

STATESMAN STAFFOctober 10, 2013 

0902 out basin ATV

PETE ZIMOWSKY — pzimowsky@idahostatesman.com

Agencies with the Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign are providing maps and links to websites so hunters can remain legal with their vehicles during hunting season.

Find links to all the pertinent websites at the Into the Outdoors blog at blogs.idahostatesman.com.

Different rules apply to hunters than recreational ATV users, and some trails may be closed to hunters even if they are open to recreational riders.

Idaho Fish and Game restricts hunters on ATVs and motorcycles to roads in 30 hunting units. General deer hunting season opens Thursday statewide.

Hunters also should be aware that a new state law requires youths who do not have a driver’s license to take a free safety course before they ride off-highway vehicles on Forest Service roads, and that youths under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when riding.

Here are ways that hunters can research what trails and hunting units are open to OHV use:

• Get a Motor Vehicle Use Maps from the national forest where you plan to hunt. Printed maps are available from national forest ranger district offices, Fish and Game offices and in many cases, they are online.

• BLM travel maps. A comprehensive list of BLM travel maps statewide is located at BLM district offices and field offices.

• Check the Idaho Fish and Game’s online hunting page to see if there are any restrictions on OHV use in specific hunting units.

• Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has a popular online map resource that’s great for researching new OHV trails and for checking on whether OHV trails are open during hunting season and when. The maps break down trail restrictions by OHVs, Utility Terrain Vehicles, ATVs and motorbikes.

• A YouTube hunting tips video walks hunters through the multistep process of researching whether trails are open or closed.

• Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Department of Fish and Game say that hunters riding off-trail on ATVs or motorbikes continue to be a problem on public lands during hunting season.

According to the latest survey, approximately 70 percent of the 240,000 people who hunt in Idaho during fall use motorcycles or ATVs.

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