BOISE COUNTY – With hunting season underway, thousands of Idahoans are up in Idaho's back country. In Boise County, the sheriff's office wants to extend its reach by asking the public to watch for marijuana grows while they're out hunting.
It’s something that can be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Cary Pitman was hunting a few years ago when he realized he stumbled upon the remnants of a grow site.
"Just out in the field looking for animals, and came down the ridge towards the road and I noticed a big pile of basically trash," said Pitman.
That trash was the first sign that something in this area wasn't right.
"After standing there a little big further I realized there was all this black tubing, you know, going down into all these little, they made these little flat spots," said Pitman.
That black tubing is used to take water from a creek to the grow site. While the tubing was there, the plants were gone from the 40 by 40 yard area.
"You could see where the plants had been pulled up out of the ground because there were little divots, little divot holes and it just looked like a tree farm basically," said Pitman.
Dale Rogers with the Boise County Sheriff's Office says they rely heavily on people like Pitman.
"Most of the tips that we've got on grows that we've taken out in the last seven years, to be honest with you, have come through people recreating in our county," said Rogers.
That includes their latest pull in September that had an estimated street value of $100 million. That pull was the result of a hunter tip in November 2012.
All that was there was the tubing. Law enforcement watched the site for months, then moved in when they could make arrests.
"Any information that comes to us concerning anything that could possibly be a grow, we will check it out," said Rogers.
And that's what Pitman did, realizing where he was, "Basically you're going, whoa, oh, I'm probably not supposed to be in here.”
Pitman left and later reported it to Boise County.
He passes on this advice to other hunters, knowing there's a small chance some of these grow sites could have people still guarding them.
"Get out of there as quick as you can," said Pitman, "because, you know, we're carrying firearms too, but who wants to be in that situation."
If you do happen to come across one of the grow sites or think you found one, mark the location with a GPS, if possible, or remember it if you don't have a GPS and then report it to the sheriff's office.
In addition to hunters - miners are the other group that accounts for the most tips that lead to stopping the illegal marijuana grows in Boise County.