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The scoop on huckleberry picking
August 1, 2017
The Boundary County Sheriff’s Office wants to let people know it does not have the authority to enforce the commercial huckleberry picking restriction; that is a charge that needs to be investigated by the Forest Service as there is not an Idaho law pertaining to commercial picking and selling of huckleberries.

What sheriff's deputies can enforce are any violations of the Idaho code, which may include littering, threats etc.

They encourage the public to notify the Forest Service of any suspected commercial huckleberry picking camps and to also notify the sheriff's office of any camps where there may be violations of Idaho law. They will have an increased presence in the forest and popular huckleberry picking locations to help keep potential problems down.

The Sheriff’s Office has started a back-country patrol program with the use of a dual-sport motorbike and ATVs to more easily check some of these areas. A few of their volunteer reserve officers assist in these patrol checks.

Forest Service law enforcement officers on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests remind huckleberry pickers that commercial picking of huckleberries is not permitted. Picking huckleberries with the intent to sell them is considered commercial gathering.

In order to provide plentiful opportunities for recreational huckleberry picking, the forest does not issue commercial permits. Minimum fines for commercial picking start at $250 and can increase based on the severity of the offense.

Recreational huckleberry pickers are encouraged to pick only what they can consume so that others may enjoy the fun of picking and the delicious taste of our state fruit.

Methods for huckleberry gathering vary widely, but pickers are strongly encouraged to hand pick their berries. This ensures that the bushes are not damaged and only ripe berries are harvested.

We all want our huckleberry bushes to remain healthy and productive for many years to come! Any methods that damage or destroy the bushes are illegal and may result in a fine for damaging natural resources.

Huckleberries are delicious favorites of both people and bears. Because bears love huckleberries and make them a major source of nourishment, huckleberry pickers should always carry bear spray and be bear aware when picking.

The huckleberry was designated by the Idaho Legislature in 2000 as the official state fruit.

Huckleberries freeze well and can provide a very healthy addition to your diet all year long. For more information about huckleberry picking on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, please contact your local Forest Service office.

In Bonners Ferry, the number is (208) 267-5561.
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