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F&G sets crane, dove seasons

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:00 am | Updated: 4:01 am, Wed Jul 23, 2014.

Idaho bird hunters will get an expanded mourning dove season but fewer sandhill crane tags this year, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The dove season will last 60 days, from Sept. 1 through Oct. 30. The daily bag limit will be 15 birds and the possession limit will be 45.

The sandhill crane season will be open from Sept. 1-15 in hunt areas 1-5. See fishandgame.idaho.gov   for details.

The Pacific Flyway Council has allocated Idaho 120 cranes for harvest in the 2014 season. This is the second consecutive year Idaho’s allocation has been reduced and is the lowest since the hunt began in 1996. This is due to a decline in the most recent three-year average of cranes counted during the annual September survey.

To meet the allocation, Fish and Game reduced the number of tags available, eliminated the Bonneville County hunt (where there were only five tags available in 2013) and reduced the season limit from four to two birds. The daily bag limit is also two birds.

The hunt is designed to provide focused depredation relief to farmers at a time expected to provide the most benefit.

Since 2009, when sandhill crane tags were made available on a first-come first-served basis, the harvest per tag purchased has averaged 48 percent. To stay at or below the Pacific Flyway harvest allocation of 120 cranes, Fish and Game proposes to reduce tags to a maximum of 240.

Crane tags go on sale Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time and will be sold on a first-come-firstserved basis. Tags will have a cost. A season and rules brochure will be available at regional offices and on Fish and Game’s website by the end of July.

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