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August 7, 2014

Mild winters lead to great opportunity for deer hunters

   Many Idaho hunters are optimistic about taking a deer, or maybe even two, this fall.

   Three consecutive mild winters across most of Idaho are resulting in unusually high numbers of mule deer and whitetail deer. Survival rates have been higher than average in five of the last six years.

   Biologists say mild winters and good summer conditions allow bucks to put additional energy into antler growth, so 2014 will not only be good opportunity to take a deer, but also provides potential to bag a trophy.

   Even parts of the state which typically endure harsh winters have dodged the bullet, including the Central Mountains and the Upper Snake Region.

   “Three mild winters in a row don’t happen in the Upper Snake Region; opportunities like this don’t happen very often.” Said Wildlife Manager Daryl Meints “Sportsmen should take advantage of this while it is available; it could all change this winter.”

   Some of the highest survival rates are in the Central Mountain area (Units 21A, 30, 30A, 29, 37, 37A) in the Mountain Valley area (Units 21, 28, 36B, 36A).

   In the Panhandle Region, hunters will find high numbers of whitetail deer including abundant does, but are reminded to carefully identify before pulling the trigger, as mule deer hunting is bucks only in that region.

   In July the Fish and Game Commission approved a significant discount in the price of second tags, which are now available on a first come first serve basis. More information available at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/tagdiscount

   “With second tags at a discount and unusually high deer populations, 2014 could be the best opportunity we’ll see in Idaho in a long time” said State Wildlife Chief Jeff Gould.