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Fire affecting your hunting area? Here’s what you need to know

Hunters and anyone else heading into the backcountry are advised to check with Forest Service ranger district offices or county sheriffs’ offices in their hunt area before heading out. Fire updates can be found online at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/?state=16.

Additional fire information is available on Fish and Game’s Fire Information webpage, and the Fish and Game Hunt Planner Map Center at: https://idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/mapcenter/. To display fire information on the hunt planner map, click “Turn Layers On/Off,” select “Wildfires & Closure Related Layers,” and check the boxes next to “Active Fire Report” and “Fire Emergency Closure Areas.”

Fish and Game generally doesn’t close hunts or change seasons in response to fire restrictions. Most fires do not affect an entire controlled hunt unit or elk zone for the entire duration of the hunt, so hunters have the option of hunting a different portion of the hunt area that is not affected by fires or after the fire is out.

Hunters can also hunt later in the season (if the season is still open) or exchange general tags to hunt in a different area in which tags are available, such as uncapped elk zones, or capped elk zones that are not yet sold out.

Typically, a tag must be exchanged prior to that tag’s season opener, although regional Fish and Game offices will on rare occasion extend deadlines for exchanging a tag when there are extenuating circumstances for a specific hunt.

Resident hunters with controlled hunt tags may exchange them for general season tags before the controlled hunt begins, but controlled hunt fees would not be refunded.

Nonresident hunters may not exchange a controlled hunt tag because the nonresident limit of general hunt tags has sold out for 2020.

Fish and Game may consider requests for rain checks or refunds, but typically only in a situation where all access to a controlled hunt area or an elk zone is blocked by fire or fire closures for the duration of a hunt.