by Kevin Hughes
on Thursday, October 15th, 2020 at 12:46pm.
If one of the first things you think of when you think of Idaho is its incredible natural wildlife, you’d be spot on. When you settle in Idaho and make it your home, you’ll be sharing your home with hundreds of species of mammals, plants, and birds native to Idaho and famous throughout the North and Midwest. Idaho is a haven for a huge range of unique wildlife you’ve only seen in movies or in pictures, with many reserves to visit and observe the amazing animals. The diverse landscape provides many opportunities to view animals and birds in their natural habitat, as well.
Go on a wild adventure at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This waterfowl refuge is located at the marshy north shore of scenic Bear Lake in Montpelier, Idaho. It represents an important nesting area for white-faced ibis, Canada geese and redhead ducks. Also in the area are sandhill cranes, ducks and a variety of songbirds. Mule deer are also common in winter. This is a bird-watcher’s paradise – don’t forget your camera!
Some of Idaho’s most famous wildlife can be seen in all its natural glory at Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon Reservoirs. The Snake River flows for 70 miles through three reservoirs before dropping into Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. The reservoirs are flanked by sagebrush and bitterbrush shrub steppe and surrounded by scattered ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir trees. You can boat and camp around the reservoirs and wait for your chance to glimpse the wildlife in its natural habitat.
For a more controlled viewing of the wildlife in Idaho, visit the Portneuf Wildlife Management Area in Pocatello, Idaho. In 1970, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game purchased over 2,800 acres of mule deer winter range here, creating the Area. The Department of Fish and Game later enlarged the area to extend to over 3,100 acres. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, horseback riding, Nordic skiing, and hunting in this area set aside for big game and upland bird habitat.
If it’s Idaho’s native fish you’re interested in seeing, come out and visit Rapid River Fish Hatchery in Riggins, Idaho. The Hatchery was constructed in 1964 by Idaho Power and operated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Rapid River Hatchery is one of the Northwest's most successful chinook salmon hatcheries, raising 3 million fish annually. You can see young fish all year and the adult chinook salmon May through September. Spawning can be viewed between mid-August through mid-September.
The nice thing about Idaho is that you don't need a guide, or a hatchery, or the wildlife management area to see the best of Idaho's wildlife. Just a short drive from any Boise, Meridian, or Eagle real estate you can venture into the woods on a hike and see some of nature's best right in front of you! Come check out Idaho today!