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Are We Hunting This Fall, Or Not?

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By Jay Michaels and Aimee Burnett

Rupert, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Duck season opens for most of Idaho this weekend. But many hunters are concerned they won't be able to hunt their usual spots due to the federal government shutdown.

The federal government shutdown is impacting national parks, many of which have closed their gates. This has some hunters thinking their favorite pastime may not happen at all this fall.

Idaho Fish and Game administrative assistant Sally Rose, "It's definitely increased our volume of calls. People are wanting to know what areas are open for hunting. They're hearing rumors of Forest Service and BLM property all being closed. We're just trying to let them know that it's not closed for hunting, and their hunting areas are still open."

But developed campgrounds are a different story. Those campgrounds "will" be closed, as will hunting on a popular wildlife refuge northeast of Rupert.

Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Jerome Hansen says, "We are going to have a couple areas for waterfowl hunting that aren't going to be open that typically are open on the Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge. National parks like the City of Rocks, 9 or 10,000 acres of that is closed to hunting."

An outbreak of avian botulism killed more than 600 mallard ducks and other waterfowl near Parma recently. But Magic Valley's hunting areas all have running water, which prevents botulism bacteria from growing and infecting local ducks.

Regional Wildlife Habitat Manager Mark Fleming says, "This cold we're getting eventually will probably just stop the process anyway. But we're not aware of any problem here in the Magic Valley right now with botulism."

That means duck season will kick off with a bang this weekend, despite the federal government shutdown.

If you have questions about where it's okay to hunt, call the Jerome Fish and Game office at 324-4359 during business hours.

October 10, 2013.

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