BOISE — Big game hunters have until January 31 to submit mandatory harvest reports and fulfill a crucial role in the management of Idaho’s big game herds. Hunters can submit their mandatory hunter report online at license.gooutdoorsidaho.com, or by calling 1-877-268-9365.

If you purchased a tag to hunt big game this year, whether you hunted and/or harvested or not, you must fill out a mandatory harvest report by the Jan. 31 deadline. The harvest data provided by hunters is an important component of the season-setting process that will take place in February and March of 2021.

Hunters can submit their mandatory hunter via computer at license.gooutdoorsidaho.com by entering their last name and tag number in the “Quick Access Hunter Reporting” section. Users with a smartphone can download the “Go Outdoors Idaho” app in the Apple App Store and Google Play, and submit their hunter report through the app by clicking “Purchase License” and following the same steps as above.

Hunters will need to have their tag number handy if they call in to report, and operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here is a map of hunting units to help general season hunters identify the unit in which they hunted.

Why mandatory hunter reports are important

Mandatory hunter harvest reporting allows Fish and Game to better manage big game herds throughout the state. Wildlife managers need population data to develop sustainable harvest regulations, including — for example — an idea of herd sizes, sex and age ratios, how many animals are likely to be born and survive each year, and how many are likely to die.

In order to obtain most of that information, Idaho Fish and Game biologists spend countless hours in the field throughout the year conducting aerial population surveys, evaluating habitat quality, and capturing animals to fit them with tracking collars. They are constantly gathering data used to model big game populations. However, they can’t gather all of the information they need alone, and that’s where hunters come in.

“Hunter harvest is a significant component of our population modeling, and getting timely and accurate harvest information from our hunters helps ensure that we can provide as much hunting opportunity as possible while moving toward our population objectives, and without sacrificing the long-term sustainability of the resource,” said Rick Ward, Deer/Elk Program Coordinator. “It might seem like a hassle at the end of the season, but accurate and precise harvest reports enable us to better manage herds for this and future generations of hunters.”

Report for the fall, save yourself a call

Because hunter harvest information is important to big game management in Idaho, every year Fish and Game representatives call hunters who have not submitted their mandatory hunter reports by the deadline. Hunters can save everyone the trouble, and money that can be better spent in the field managing wildlife, by submitting their mandatory hunter reports by Jan. 31.

“Calling hunters is a time consuming and costly process,” Ward said. “The more people who submit their mandatory hunter reports by the deadline, the fewer people we have to call, and the more money is freed up for other projects that directly benefit Idaho’s wildlife.”

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