IDAHO — Deer hunting season officially opened on Sat., Oct. 10, and many hunters left the mountains with a successful harvest.
13-year-old Alexis Craft shot her first deer while hunting with her family for the first time.
“I’m really excited, I’m really happy to get home and skin it and get it in the freezer,” said Craft. “It was hard. It was my first time being able to hike into elk country and go into steeper stuff instead of just the foothills.”
“It’s really fun to see kids get their first deer, and they come through here they are super excited," said Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist, Michelle Kemner. "We know when kids kill their own deer; it’s very obvious that girl was just so excited they were able to tell the whole story.”
Although the number of deer harvested opening weekend isn't official, she said it was a successful one.
“Opening for deer is just exciting, it’s fall, we get to go into the hills and actually hunt deer and it’s just tradition kind of thing, there’s just something about October that brings on that now it’s time to hunt,” said Kemner.
IDFG always sets up check stations opening weekend for several reasons.
“The whole purpose is just to talk with hunters see how they are doing," said Kemner. "We do want to kind of look at success rates to see what are the deer doing, and how are they doing.”
They validate tags and take samples of the deer to check for Chronic Wasting Disease.
“We don’t want any types of these diseases that are harmful to deer populations in this state. It’s a brain-wasting disease, so we don’t want hunters to have to harvest those deer, which they do in a lot of these other states, they have these CWD units and we don’t want to go there. We just want healthy deer populations in Idaho,” said Kemner.
So far, Idaho remains a CWD-free state.
IDFG plans on checking more diligently to get ahead of the disease if it does come.
As we get further into the season, IDFG would like to remind hunters to follow the rules.
“Follow your regulations, do the right thing, and always do the ethical thing is really what we want everybody to do," said Kemner. "What would you do in front of our grandma? Make sure you're not doing anything you wouldn't do in front of the people you care about most. We just want ethical hunters."