JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Wednesday was Christmas Day for hunters, or that's what the Idaho Department of Fish and Game say. Wednesday marked opening day for deer hunting season.
So far this year Kelton Hatch, with IDFG, said they have sold 140 resident deer tags and about 1,500 non-resident tags.
"About 73 percent of them are rifle hunters, so this is a huge day. People have been waiting for this since last year," he said.
Hatch said the numbers are 'good' for them, as he said the economy is strong right now and non-residential deer tags sold out early.
"It's going to be a little difficult for people to get around right at first, but I do think we're going to have a really good hunting season. Had really good fawn survival last winter," he continued. "Numbers are looking really good in most of our units and so I hope people get out and have fun and are safe."
He advises hunters to practice safe hunting, like letting other people know their locations before going to hunt and being prepared.
"I know that our goal is to fill our freezers, but there’s lots of folks out there. Be kind and considerate. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Live by the golden rule," he said.
Having tire chains in cars and overnight gear is just a few examples of being safe while out hunting.
"Don’t push yourself beyond your physical capabilities. That’s one thing you see when people harvest an animal, then it’s really hard to get it out and it’s a lot of weight to get it out of there," he said.
Hatch said wearing hunter orange is not required in the state of Idaho, but he highly recommends it.
"From all the studies that I’ve seen, deer are color blind... Camel patterns with orange in it, are broken up enough that, they pick up on movement mostly," he explained.
He said that wearing the orange will help hunters see each other and it's just an extra safety measure.
Hatch said Fish and Game will have check stations on Saturday and Sunday. One in Gooding, Fairfield, Shoshone and near the Little Wood River drainage.
"We will be collecting lymph nodes," Hatch said, adding that they want to know what hunters are seeing while they're out.
The department is tracking for chronic wasting disease, or CWD.
"We do run an extensive monitoring program to ensure we don’t have it in the state. If we do get it in the state, then we can react with our plan," he said.