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Hunting season on the Salmon-Challis National Forest

SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) - Fall on the Salmon-Challis National Forest is one of the most beautiful times of year, yet can be the busiest with many hunting opportunities to be found on the Forest.


Make sure to stay on designated routes and take a map with you. In order to protect our public lands and natural resources, the Forest would like to remind visitors of the importance of using designated routes. Salmon-Challis National Forest Travel Planning designates 2,637 miles of roads and 850 miles of trails for motor vehicle use. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) show the roads and trails that are open to the public for motorized use at various times of the year. Roads and trails that are not open for motorized use are not shown on the map. Most scenic overlooks, dispersed campsites (within 300 feet of most roads and 100 feet of most motorized trails; indicated on map), historical sites, and popular travel routes are still accessible to motorized users. Motorized travel off the designated routes is not allowed. Staying on the designated routes provides positive benefits to wildlife, water, other natural resources, and social values. 

The Salmon-Challis National Forest MVUMs consist of five separately printed maps for the Lost River District, the Challis-Yankee Fork District, the Middle Fork District, the Salmon-Cobalt and North Fork Districts, and the Leadore District. The maps are available at Forest Service offices in Salmon, Challis, Mackay, Leadore, and North Fork. Call your local office to arrange to get a paper MVUMs before your hunt or fall trip into the woods. Maps can also be downloaded to mobile devices by following this link HERE.

In the Salmon-Challis National Forest area, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Motorized Hunting Rule only applies to Hunting Units 29, 30, 30A, 36A, 37, 37A, 50, 51 and 58. These units lie mainly to the east of the Salmon River. This rule applies to hunters using motorized vehicles to aid in hunting. The rule is specific to hunting of big game animals, including moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat and applies in designated units from August 30 to December 31. Between these dates and in the designated units, hunters may use motorized vehicles only on established roadways that are open to motorized traffic and capable of being traveled by full-sized automobiles. 

Applying the Fish and Game Motorized Hunting Rule to the Salmon-Challis Travel plan, this means use of designated trails to aid in hunting is restricted to the following: 

  • If motorized travel is authorized on any trail in the MVUM, you may use a motorized vehicle to retrieve downed game or pack in or out your camping equipment. 
  • If motorized travel is authorized on any trail in the MVUM, you may not hunt or shoot from the trail while traveling on your motorized vehicle. You can travel the authorized trail with your motorized vehicle to retrieve downed game or pack in or out your camping equipment.

Further information can be found at the following link: or by stopping in at your local Idaho Fish and Game Office or calling the Public Lands Center in Salmon. 


Fire managers would remind Forest visitors that the Central Idaho Dispatch Zone is in MODERATE Fire Danger. Wildfires can still occur. #KnowBeforeYouGo and do your part to ensure you do not start a wildfire. 

Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and hunting and to remember that it’s your job and responsibility to properly maintain and extinguish all campfires. 

If you are planning a hunting, camping, hiking, or motorized trip please be especially cautious about actions that could cause a wildfire.

  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Always add water, stir it, and make sure all embers are out. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
  • Always use a campfire ring or fire pan when building a campfire.
  • Recreational shooting? Take precautions! Never shoot into dry vegetation and always make sure you’re shooting in a safe location. Be aware that shooting of exploding targets is not allowed on National Forest System lands in the Intermountain Region.
  • Refrain from smoking in wooded, grassy or brushy areas. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished before leaving the area.
  • Fireworks are illegal on public lands: every forest, every campsite, every day. Never light fireworks in the woods.
  • Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, with nothing dragging on the ground. A loose safety chain or dangling muffler can send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation. 
  • Keep vehicles off dry grass. The catalytic converter may contact the vegetation and start a fire. 
  • Always carry a shovel and fire extinguisher. 

Be cautious out there. Should you start a wildfire, even if it’s by accident, you could be held liable for damages and firefighting costs. 


Invasive species are plants, animals, and microorganisms that are not native to a particular area. They are also species that are capable of causing severe damage in areas outside their normal range, harming the economy, the environment, or human health once they become established. Being aware of these pathways of spread can help us reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean our belongings and knowing the source of the things we buy, we can begin to reduce the chance of inadvertently spreading something that could harm those things we cherish. More information can be found at:


Forest visitors need to be aware that weather conditions such as precipitation and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground, especially in fire areas. Wind can blow trees across roadways and trails and precipitation can wash debris across roadways and trails blocking access and raise stream and river levels. 

Forest visitors must be prepared to stay longer than expected due to changing circumstances. Preparation for the unexpected is the best plan a Forest visitor can have. Items to consider include:

  • Adequate food, water, clothing, sleeping bags, and other provisions needed in case of a circumstance, such as inclement weather, where an extended stay is necessary in the area of travel.
  • Chainsaw and fuel, handsaw, and shovel, in case trees or other debris blocks road access.
  • Forest visitors should inform someone they know about where they are going and when they plan to be back in case an emergency situation arises.
  • Communications that will work in the area they plan to travel (cell phone, satellite phone, or satellite emergency notification device).

The Forest encourages visitors to enjoy the 2,637 miles of road and 850 miles of motor vehicle trails by following travel management guidelines to minimize erosion impacts, aid in wildlife protection, provide non-motorized recreation and hunting opportunities, and protect natural resource values. If you need to report a wildfire, please call Central Idaho Dispatch Center at 208-756-5157 or 911 as soon as possible.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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