Migratory Game Bird & Waterfowl Regulations
To hunt upland game birds, waterfowl, such as ducks or geese, snipe, mourning doves and sandhill cranes, small game, predators and unprotected species or to practice falconry in Idaho, all hunters must have in their possession a valid Idaho hunting license or hunting passport with the appropriate validations and stamps.
Stamps and Validations
- Federal Migratory Bird (Duck) Stamp must be validated by the holder, by signing in ink across the face of the stamp by any waterfowl hunter 16 or older. Hunters may buy a receipt for the stamp at any Fish and Game office or license vendor for $28.75. The receipt is valid 45 days from the date of issue, sufficient time for the actual stamp to arrive in the mail. They are also available at U.S. post offices for $25.00 and online at: GoOutdoorsIdaho.com. The stamp is valid from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.
- Migratory Bird (HIP) permit, costs $1.75 with Price Lock, $2.75 without Price Lock for residents, or $5.00 for nonresidents, effective from January 1 through December 31 of each year. Required for all waterfowl, sandhill crane, and mourning dove hunters.
Both are available online at: idfg.idaho.gov and at any license vendor.
Information from the Migratory Bird (HIP) permit allows migratory game bird managers to estimate more accurately the annual harvest of waterfowl, shorebirds (snipe, for example), and doves to gain a better understanding of bird populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and all state wildlife agencies cooperate in this program to gather better harvest information on migratory game birds. Idaho joined the program in 1996.
Idaho’s waterfowl season is set within a framework determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after meeting with all state fish and wildlife agencies.
Migratory birds are protected by federal law as a result of treaties signed with other countries. Protected migratory birds are listed in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 10.13. This list includes almost all birds found in the United States with the exception of the house sparrow, feral pigeon (commonly called rock dove), European starling, Eurasian collared-dove, mute swan, and upland game birds (which are protected by state laws).
Nontoxic Shot: Nontoxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting in Idaho. Hunters may have in their possession only nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is 0.20 inches in diameter (T size) or smaller. Please see idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/nontoxic for the most current list of nontoxic shot approved for waterfowl game.
Additional federal regulations: In addition to state rules, the following federal regulations apply to the taking, possessing, shipping, transporting, or storing of migratory game birds. This information is only a summary of the major federal regulations which are found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20. Violation of federal regulations is also a violation of state law. All migratory birds are protected. However, a subset of migratory birds classified as migratory game birds may be hunted in accordance with state and federal regulations. The list of migratory game birds includes species of ducks, geese (including brant), swans, doves and pigeons, cranes, rails, coots, gallinules and moorhens, woodcock and snipe, if there is an open season.
Nontoxic Shot: Nontoxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting in Idaho. Hunters may have in their possession only nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is 0.20 inches in diameter (T size) or smaller. Please see
idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/nontoxic for the most current list of nontoxic shot approved for waterfowl game.
Additional federal regulations: In addition to state rules, the following federal regulations apply to the taking, possessing, shipping, transporting, or storing of migratory game birds. This information is only a summary of the major federal regulations which are found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20. Violation of federal regulations is also a violation of state law.
MOST COMMON HUNTING VIOLATIONS
Every hunting season, some individuals unwittingly or knowingly violate the state’s game laws – some more frequently than others.
Idaho Fish and Game urge all hunters to review Idaho’s hunting rules and regulations to ensure they act within the law.
The following is a listing of common violations our officers encounter every hunting season:
- Fail to validate the Federal Migratory Bird (Duck) Stamp by signing in ink.
- Fail to purchase the Federal Migratory Bird (Duck) Stamp and/or Migratory Bird (HIP) permit, both of which are required to hunt waterfowl.
- Possess and use a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler.
- Possess more migratory game birds than allowed. Refer to page 25 for federal limits.
- Fail to comply with lawful shooting hours.
- Fail to purchase a valid hunting license.
It is against the law to take migratory game birds:
- With any shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun. Except during a light-goose-only season (greater and lesser snow geese and Ross's geese) when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed.
- Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls, or sounds, or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls. Except during a light-goose-only season (greater and lesser snow geese and Ross's geese) when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed.
- From a sink box (a low floating device having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
- From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. “Paraplegic” means an individual inflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs.
- By use or aid of live birds as decoys.
- From or by means of any motorboat or sailboat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased.
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than a 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
- By driving, rallying, or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put them in the range of the hunters.
- By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt, or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any
- During the closed season.
- Outside legal shooting hours
No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in his/her actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his/her automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his/her personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.
Federal Bag Limits
Daily Bag Limit: No person shall take in any one day more than one daily bag limit.
No person shall possess while in the field, have in custody, or transport more than one daily bag limit between the place where taken and either:
- His/her automobile or principal means of land transportation.
- His/her personal abode or temporary place of lodging.
- A migratory bird preservation facility.
- A post office.
- A common carrier facility.
- No person shall possess more than one daily limit on the opening day of the season.
- No person shall possess more than the possession limit even when such birds are stored at home or are being processed at a commercial preservation facility.
- No person including commercial facilities shall possess migratory birds of another unless such birds are tagged by the taker with the following information: (a) the hunter’s signature, (b) total number of birds involved, by species, (c) dates such birds were killed.
No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: (a) the hunter’s signature, (b) the hunter’s address, (c) the total number of birds involved, by species, and (d) the dates such birds were killed. Tagging is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services.
Termination of Possession
The possession of birds taken by any hunter shall be deemed to have ceased when such birds have been delivered by him to:
- Another person as a gift when accompanied by a proxy statement.
A post office, or a common carrier, or a migratory bird preservation facility, and consigned for transport by the Postal Service or a common carrier to some person other than the hunter.
(Note: Migratory birds left in processing or storage facilities, home freezers, etc., are part of a hunter’s “possession limit” until conditions above are met. Birds must be given or assigned to someone other than the taker in order to end or terminate possession.)
No person shall transport within the United States any migratory game bird and Eurasian-collared dove, unless the head or one fully feathered wing remains attached to each bird at all times while being transported from the place where taken until they have arrived at the personal abode of the possessor or a migratory bird preservation facility.
No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: (a) the name and address of the person sending the birds, (b) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and (c) the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.
Importation: For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66.
State Rules- It is Unlawful:
- To enter private land to hunt, fish, or trap without permission if the land is:
Associated with a residence or business; or Cultivated or Fenced or enclosed in a way that delineates the private property; or unfenced and uncultivated, but is posted with conspicuous “no trespassing” signs or bright orange/ fluorescent paint at all property corners and boundaries where the property intersects navigable streams, roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the land and posted in a way that people can see the postings.
It is illegal for anyone to post public land that is not held under an exclusive control lease. At first conviction of trespass on private property carries a mandatory one-year revocation of hunting/fishing/trapping licenses in addition to misdemeanor fine and seizure of animals taken on private property.
Federal law prohibits unauthorized trespass on Indian-owned reservation lands for hunting, fishing, or trapping purposes.
- To allow or cause the waste of edible portions of any game animal, except for mountain lion, black bear or gray wolf. Edible portions are defined as:
Game birds - Breasts; Upland game animals - Hind legs, front legs and loins of rabbits and hares; Big game animals - Hind quarters, front quarters, loins and tenderloins; Game fish - Fillets of fish, hind legs of bullfrogs and tails of crayfish;
- To fail to stop and report at any Fish and Game check station— with or without game or fish—encountered on your route of travel, even if your hunting, fishing or trapping activity occurred outside the state of Idaho.
- To hunt or take any wildlife without a valid hunting license on your person.
- To take any game without the proper tag or permit.
- To shoot from or across the traveled portion, shoulders, or
embankments of any road maintained by any government entity.
- To hunt game from any motorized vehicle, except for holders of a valid handicapped persons Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit.
- To operate any vehicle in an area designated as closed for that specific vehicle type.
- To use aircraft, including unmanned aircraft (e.g. drones), to locate game or furbearing animal and communicate location to persons on the ground, or to use any helicopter to transport hunters, gear or game except at established landing fields.
- Make use of any aircraft, including unmanned aircraft (e.g. drones), to locate any big game animals for purpose of hunting those animals during the same calendar day those animals were located from the air.
- To fail to produce wildlife in possession for inspection upon request of a conservation officer or other person authorized to enforce Idaho Fish and Game laws.
- To transfer any license, tag or permit or use another’s license, tag or permit.
- To party hunt, or help fill another hunter’s bag.
- To acquire more controlled hunt permits or tags per species than that species’ bag limit.
- To destroy or disturb traps or remove any wildlife from traps belonging to others.
- To enter Idaho with livestock without a health certificate for transport and a brand inspection slip.
- To intentionally interfere with the lawful taking of wildlife or lawful predator control by another.
- To hunt any game animal or bird by means of baiting with grain, salt in any form (liquid or solid), or any other substance (not to include liquid scents) to constitute an attraction or enticement, with the exception of applicable rules for the black bear baiting permit.
- To possess or transport game or parts, including processed meat, taken by another person without having a proxy statement.
Areas Closed to all Hunting
No person may hunt, kill, trap or molest any game animal, game bird, furbearing animal, or unprotected and predatory wildlife in the following areas:
- All National Parks and National Monuments, including National Historic Parks. Exceptions: The portion of Craters of the Moon National Monument within the National Preserve that was added to the Monument in November 2000 is open to hunting; the portion of Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument within an area of fifty (50) feet in elevation above the high-water level of the Snake River, as marked by yellow fiberglass markers, is open to hunting downslope to the river.
- All state parks. Exceptions: Billingsley Creek Unit of Thousand Springs State Park, Castle Rock State Park, and state park lands within the City of Rocks National Reserve are open to hunting. Farragut State Park is open to hunting by archery only. Hells Gate State Park and Heyburn State Park are open to waterfowl hunting.
- Within the area bounded by State Highway 21, Warm Springs Avenue, and the New York Canal from the New York Canal Diversion Dam downstream to the Boise City limits.
- Mann’s Lake in Nez Perce County and extending three hundred (300) yards beyond the Bureau of Reclamation property that encompasses the lake.
- Any other location for which a closure is established by Idaho Code, or Commission proclamation or order, or federal national wildlife refuge regulation or order.
Areas Closed to Hunting of all Game Birds
Hunting, killing, or molesting of any game bird is prohibited in the following areas:
- Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area in Canyon County on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from September 15 through the end of the waterfowl hunting season in the area south of Highway 18 and west of Pebble Lane (Roswell Marsh segment).
Areas Closed to Hunting of Migratory Game Birds, Except Mourning Doves
Hunting, killing, or molesting of any migratory game bird is prohibited except mourning dove in the following areas:
- Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Bingham, Bannock, and Power Counties within three hundred (300) yards each way of the Fort Hall Bluffs from Bigbend Boat Launch to the west boundary of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
- Hagerman Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Gooding County in the area enclosed by the following boundary: Beginning at a point two hundred (200) yards west of the point at which U.S. Highway 30 crosses the south bank of Gridley Island, then northwest along a line two hundred (200) yards southwest of and parallel to U.S. Highway 30 to a point two hundred (200) yards west of the junction of U.S. Highway 30 and the WMA entrance, then west and north and east along a line two hundred (200) yards outside of the WMA boundary, which is marked by a fence, to the point at which the fence meets U.S. Highway 30, then east and south along a line five hundred (500) yards outside of the WMA boundary to the Snake River, then downstream along the north bank of the Snake River and then along the south bank of Gridley Island to the point where U.S. Highway 30 crosses the south bank of Gridley Island, then two hundred (200) yards west of U.S. Highway 30 to the point of beginning. Exception: Department sponsored waterfowl hunts.
- Mormon Reservoir in Camas County including the shoreline area within two hundred (200) yards of the ordinary high water line.
- Spokane River in Kootenai County from the Post Falls Dam to Lake Coeur d’Alene at the orange pilings, within two hundred (200) yards of the ordinary high water line two thousand one hundred twenty-eight (2,128) feet above sea level.
Areas Closed to Goose Hunting
- Canyon County in the area enclosed by the following boundary and within one hundred fifty (150) feet of the exterior side of said boundary (except that the closure extends to one hundred (100) yards from the exterior side of said boundary along that section commencing at the junction of Lake Shore Drive and Rim Road, then south on Rim Road to west Lewis Lane, then east on west Lewis Lane to Lake Shore Drive, then along Lake Shore Drive to Emerald Road): Beginning approximately at the junction of State Highway 45 (12th Avenue Road) and Greenhurst Road (Nampa), then west following Greenhurst Road to its junction with Middleton Road, then north following Middleton Road to its junction with Lake Lowell Avenue, then west following Lake Lowell Avenue to its junction with Lake Avenue, then north following Lake Avenue to its junction with West Roosevelt Avenue, then west following West Roosevelt Avenue to its junction with Indiana Avenue, then north following Indiana Avenue to its junction with State Highway 55 (Karcher Road), then west following State Highway 55 to its junction with Riverside Road, then south following Riverside Road to the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge boundary, then west along boundary fence below lower embankment as posted to Lake Shore Drive, then in a southeast direction following Lake Shore Drive to its junction with Marsing Road, then east and south on Lake Shore Drive to Rim Drive, then south on Rim Drive to West Lewis Lane, then east on West Lewis Lane to Lake Shore Drive, then southeast on Lake Shore Drive to State Highway 45, then north on State Highway 45 to the point of beginning.
- Hagerman Valley in Gooding and Twin Falls Counties in the area enclosed by the following boundary: Beginning at the Gridley Island Bridge on the Snake River, then south and east along the south bank to a point perpendicular to mile marker 187.5, then on a direct line east to the southern tip of Ritter Island (in the Snake River), then continuing east to the intersection of 3200 South Road and 1300 East Road, then north on the 1300 East Road to the 1200 East Road, then northwest and north on the 1200 East Road to the 3000 South Road, then west on the 3000 South Road to a point five hundred (500) yards east of the intersection of the 3000 South Road and the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery Road) (east of the Hagerman WMA boundary), then north and west five hundred (500) yards outside the Hagerman WMA boundary to U.S. Highway 30, then west and south two hundred (200) yards outside the Hagerman WMA boundary to 2900 South Road, then west on 2900 South Road to 900 East Road, then due south to a point two hundred (200) yards north of the Snake River, then west and north two hundred (200) yards outside the high water line on the east bank of the Snake River to Lower Salmon Dam, then west across the Snake River, then south, southwest and east two hundred (200) yards outside the high water line on the west bank of the Snake River (including the Idaho Power Upper Salmon Dam diversion canal) to the Gridley Bridge, the point of beginning.
- Minidoka and Cassia Counties in the area enclosed by the following boundary: Within two hundred (200) yards of the high water line of the Snake River from Milner Dam upstream to Meridian Road (north side of the Snake River) and 650 East Road (south side of the Snake River), approximately six and one-half (6 1/2) miles east of the City of Burley.
Activities on Fish and Game Lands
Some of the activities prohibited on all lands, waters and roads under control or administration of Idaho Fish and Game include:
- Entering, using or occupying lands or waters posted against such entry, use, or occupancy.
- Constructing blinds, pits, platforms, or tree stands where the soil is disturbed, trees are cut or altered, and artificial fasteners, such as wire, rope, or nails are used. All blinds shall be available to the public on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
- Leaving decoys unattended. Decoys may not be placed earlier than two hours before official shooting hours for waterfowl. All decoys must be picked up and removed from the hunting site no later than two hours after official shooting hours for waterfowl for that particular day. Driving on Fish and Game property to place decoys is prohibited.
- Special rules relating to uses of and activities on wildlife management areas are detailed in a brochure titled “Public Use of Department Lands and Access Areas,” available from Fish and Game regional offices.
Bird Dog Training Permits
- A permit is required to train bird dogs on private/public lands (excluding licensed shooting preserves) when the release of artificially propagated upland game birds or waterfowl will be part of the training process. Permit applications are available at Fish and Game regional offices.
- A permit is required to sponsor/conduct any organized competitive dog trials/tests on private or public lands (excluding licensed shooting preserves) when artificially propagated game birds are used. The permit is required even if live birds are not used or released during the trial on Wildlife Management Area lands. Permit applications are available at Fish and Game regional offices.
State Park Rules
Certain types of hunting are allowed on some state parks. Please contact the state park you are interested in visiting to determine hunting opportunity.
Protection of Wildlife: All molesting, injuring or killing of any wild creature is strictly prohibited, except as provided by action of the Idaho State Parks and Recreation Board and as established in board policy. Persons in possession of wildlife, which may be legally taken within state park boundaries, must comply with Idaho Fish and Game rules.
National Wildlife Refuges: More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges. Hunters should check refuge regulations before hunting.
Indian-owned Reservation Lands: Federal law prohibits unauthorized trespass on Indian-owned reservation lands for hunting, fishing, or trapping purposes (18 US Code 1165).