Idaho on map
About hunting in Idaho
The rugged and beautiful landscapes in the state of Idaho feature steep mountain ranges, large lakes, rushing rivers, and steep canyons. The state contains some of the largest unspoiled natural areas in the United States, including the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental U.S. Not surprisingly, Idaho has tremendous hunting opportunities to match its wilderness character. Species include elk, deer, pronghorn, black bears, mountain lions, wolves, moose, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the upland bird hunting is excellent, with California quail, chukar, grey partridge, five types of grouse, pheasants, and turkeys available. Idaho currently boasts a population of about 107,000 elk, and they can be found from the sagebrush deserts to the central Idaho mountains to the timbered ridges in the northern part of the state. Over-the-counter tags are available for elk, with draw tags for bigger bulls offered in 28 zones. A combination of over-the-counter tags and controlled hunts also allows hunters to pursue both mule deer and white-tailed deer; mule deer are widespread in the central mountains and southern deserts of Idaho, while white-tailed deer dominate the northern forested areas. Overall hunting success rates over the last five years have averaged 40 percent for deer and 23 percent for elk. Idaho has a healthy population of black bears. Cinnamon and brown color-phase black bears are common in many areas, and hunters can pursue bears with hounds or over bait. Nonresident deer and elk tags may also be used to harvest a black bear or mountain lion. A limited number of draw tags are available for pronghorn, moose, goats, and bighorn sheep in Idaho. The moose population is estimated at 10,000 to 12,000. While moose populations are declining in parts of the state, they are expanding their range in several other areas. Several thousand bighorn sheep roam Idaho’s remote rugged mountains and steep river canyons; approximately 85 controlled hunt tags are available to those fortunate enough to draw. Successful applicants can harvest one California and one Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in their lifetime. Mountain goats are found in North Idaho, the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho, and the far southeastern corner of the state. Hunters in Idaho must possess a hunting license, a tag for the particular species of big game they are after, and they must have proof of having taken a hunter education class if born after January 1, 1975. Learn more about hunting in Idaho at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt.
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