Hunting in Idaho

Idaho Hunting at Glance

Although Idaho may be best known for its potatoes, it is also a great place to go hunting. Idaho has a variety of different ecosystems which makes it possible to hunt a wide variety of different animals.

These varied ecosystems support many different species of game animals, including elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and bear. Idaho also has a large population of Rocky Mountain goats and pronghorn antelope.

In addition, pheasants, turkeys, and other upland game birds are plentiful. Idaho has a population of approximately 107,000 elk and may be found throughout the state, from sagebrush deserts to central Idaho mountains to timbered ridges in the northern section. Draw tags for large bulls are available in 28 zones for elk, which are over-the-counter.Over-the-counter tags and managed hunts allow hunters to pursue mule deer and white-tailed deer, which are common in the central mountains and southern deserts of Idaho. For the most recent 5-year period, deer and elk hunting success rates have been around 40% each.

Idaho ranks #5 in the nation for hunting license per capita and has a strong hunting culture with over 15.4% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Key Insights

  • Idaho has a variety of ecosystems which support a range of game animals, including elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and bear.
  • Upland game birds, such as pheasants and turkeys, are also found in Idaho.
  • Elk may be found throughout the state and draw tags for large bulls are available in 28 zones.
  • Mule deer and white-tailed deer are common in the central mountains and southern deserts of Idaho and can be hunted through over-the-counter tags and managed hunts.
  • For accurate information on hunting seasons and requirements in Idaho, it is best to check with the Idaho Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 1,839,106
Hunters 283,222
Hunter % 15.40%
Hunters Rank 5
Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 52,960,600
Huntable Public 34,807,000 65.72% 4
Private Land 17,073,600 32.24% 46
Tribal Land 642,200 1.21% 11

Idaho ranks #46 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and number 11 in terms of acres of tribal land.

Idaho Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Idaho Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Idaho DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Idaho DNR

P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

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Popular Game to Hunt in Idaho

There are many great hunting opportunities in Idaho, with a large variety of game species available to pursue. The state boasts a healthy population of elk, deer, black bears, and mountain lions, and hunting success rates are typically quite good.

Small Game Hunting in Idaho

Idaho is a mecca for small game hunters, with a variety of popular species to choose from. Chukar are one of the most popular targets, known for their challenging hunting grounds and distinctive call. Gray partridge are another popular option, often found in open fields and grasslands. Huns are a fast-flying bird that can be difficult to take down, while mountain quail are known for their delicate flavor. Lastly, pheasant are one of the most iconic small game animals, often hunted in groups or with dogs.

Big Game Hunting in Idaho

Idaho is well-known for its big game hunting, and every year, thousands of hunters descend on the state in search of trophy deer, moose, elk, and caribou. While all of these animals are popular targets, the most sought-after big game in Idaho is the mule deer. Mule deer are characterized by their large size and impressive antlers, and they can be found in nearly every corner of the state. White-tailed deer are also a popular choice for hunters, as they are relatively plentiful and can be found in a variety of habitats. Moose and elk are both iconic animals of the American West, and they often provide a challenging hunt for experienced hunters. Caribou are the largest member of the deer family, and while they are not as commonly hunted as other big game animals, they are a prized trophy nonetheless. No matter what type of big game animal you’re after, Idaho is sure to have what you’re looking for.

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Idaho

Idaho offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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Popular Public Hunting Land in Idaho

When it comes to hunting public land in Idaho, there are a few hot spots that stand out above the rest. The Boise National Forest is one of the most popular areas to hunt, due in part to its large size and diverse landscape. The Payette National Forest is another popular destination, offering ample opportunities to hunt for elk, deer, and black bear. The Sawtooth National Forest is another great option for hunters, as it offers a variety of terrain and is home to a number of different species. Finally, the Nez Perce National Forest is a good choice for those looking for a more remote hunting experience. Whichever forest you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable hunt.

1. Boise National Forest
2. Payette National Forest
3. Sawtooth National Forest
4. Nez Perce National Forest
5. Salmon-Challis National Forest

Hunting Private Land in Idaho

Since the majority of Idaho is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
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