TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Pack your hunting gear, sharp-tail grouse season opens on Saturday.

The season, which runs through Oct. 31, has a daily bag limit of two birds and a possession limit of six.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the season is open only in eastern Idaho in the following areas:

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Bingham and Clark counties east of Interstate 15, Franklin, Fremont, Jefferson counties east of Interstate 15, Madison, and Teton counties, Bonneville County east of Interstate 15, Bannock County east of Interstate 15 and south of Interstate 86, Bear Lake, Caribou, Cassia counties east of Interstate 84 and that portion west of Interstate 84 south of the Malta-Sublette Road and east of the Malta-Strevell Road, Franklin, Oneida, and Power County south of Interstate 86.

Fish and Game is not sure how the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area east of Idaho Falls will shape up. It's one of the regions more popular hunting locations, but the area was scorched by the Henry Creek Fire. The department is currently evaluating the impacts of the fire and developing plans for habitat restoration and management of wildlife populations.

“We are not entirely sure of the bird response, but a tremendous amount of habitat has been lost,” Jeff Knetter, Fish and Game upland and migratory bird coordinator, said in a prepared statement. “In the long run, this may provide some benefits, but in the short-term, this is a tough blow.”

Give Your Wings Away
Fish and Game staffers are hoping you’ll help the department better monitor bird rates by providing fully-feathered wings of the upland game birds you bag in the several upcoming bird seasons, including sharp-tail.

By examining the shape, condition, length and color patterns on wing feathers, biologists can determine the bird's sex, if it was an adult or juvenile, and learn about production rates. Knowing the various bird populations help the department to improve management of the species.

According to Fish and Game, there are several ways you can submit your wings:

Those who purchased a sharp-tail and sage grouse permit should have received a packet in the mail with directions on submitting wings. If you did not receive a packet, call 208-334-2920. Hunters also may drop their wings off at department-run check stations or in "wing barrels" located at popular access routes during hunting season.

"We'd like the wings mailed back to us by November,” Knetter said. “For sharp-tailed grouse, we also want to know where the bird was harvested, date of harvest, days hunted, and number of hunters if hunting in a group.

“The more information we have about hunters and birds harvested, the better we can manage the different species.”