In 2005, you see, Idaho Fish and Game quietly offered several experimental hunts in the Panhandle. The hunts were only seven days long, as compared with the standard 86-day season extending from August 30 through November 23. But, and this is an important `but,' the hunts were during the last seven days in September, which coincides with the peak of the rut in this part of the state. Wildlife managers reasoned that a short hunt at the peak of the rut would likely offer nearly the same success rate as the longer hunt but that the reduced time period would discourage some hunters, thereby improving drawing odds of a highly coveted permit.
The plan worked. While some of the other hunts drew as many as eight to 25 applications per permit, the week-long hunts attracted fewer than two applications per permit. Several hunts were actually under-subscribed. Everyone who applied for those hunts as a first choice was successful!
But what about harvest success, you ask? Getting the permit is one thing; harvesting a moose is another. Although final tallies of hunter success are not yet complete at this writing, the results to date indicate that short-season hunters did just as well as long-season hunters as regards success rates - about 75 to 80 percent overall. As for trophy size, the spread of some bulls taken by short-season hunters is greater than that of bulls harvested during the longer seasons. The statewide average antler spread of bull moose has been about 35 inches over the past........(continued)