COEUR d'ALENE - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has increased the overall number of bull moose tags available for the Panhandle region hunting areas for this year and 2014.
It also added some cow moose tags.
While moose populations are declining in parts of Idaho and Montana - in areas with and without wolves - numbers have stayed steady in Idaho's Panhandle, said Phil Cooper, a spokesman for Fish and Game in Coeur d'Alene.
Tag numbers are managed to increase the success rates of hunts for sportsmen in the state and to maintain a healthy population of trophy bulls, Cooper said.
"We expect to have a 90 percent success rate," Cooper said. "If you see a decline in success rates, it could mean hunters are not seeing a moose that they're willing to shoot" because of the smaller size.
Sportsmen can only take one moose in their lifetime. Hunters buying tags select a specific time period and hunting area in a given season.
While the number of tags increased overall for the Panhandle, the number of bull tags slipped to 160 for this year and 2014 from 170 the past two years for what's known as "hunt area No. 1," north of Lake Pend Oreille to the Canadian border.
"That's some prime country up there," Cooper said.
Numbers aren't available for last year, but 2011 numbers show success rates for tag buyers for parts of area No. 1 were at 60 and 70 percent.
Hunt area No. 1 has 10 different subunit hunts, divided by hunting dates and area. Four of the 10 hunts in area No. 1 had success rates of 90 percent or higher in 2011.
In hunt area No. 2, which includes Spirit Lake and Blanchard south of Priest Lake and over to the Idaho-Washington border, 10 bull tags were added along with five cow tags for this year and 2014, Cooper said. That increases bull tags to 50.
Two bull tags also were added for the late season for hunt area No. 3, which includes the area south of Lake Pend Oreille down to the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene and from the city of Coeur d'Alene east to Cataldo. That's an increase up to 30 bull tags from 28 for 2011 and 2012, Cooper said.
There were no changes in moose tag numbers for other North Idaho hunt areas.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission late last week also adopted bighorn sheep and mountain goat seasons, but there were no changes for the Panhandle region.