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Idaho Fish and Game

Clint Irving with his bull elk and rifle 2014 Superhunt success February 2015

Controlled hunt applications for deer, elk, pronghorn, swan, fall black bear and turkey now open; deadline June 5


Hunters can also apply for the first Super Hunt drawing through May 31.

The application period for fall 2024 deer, elk, pronghorn, swan, fall black bear, and fall turkey controlled hunts runs May 1 through June 5. All applicants will receive an email with their draw results by early July if there’s a valid email in their license account.

Hunters can also apply for the first Super Hunt drawing through May 31. 

Hunters with a valid 2024 Idaho hunting license may apply for controlled hunts online at, at any license vendor, Fish and Game office, or by calling 1-800-554-8685. There is an additional fee for online and phone orders.

How to Submit an Online Controlled Hunt Application

Controlled hunts are a chance at some of Idaho’s best buck and bull hunts, antlerless hunts, extra hunting opportunity, or tags set aside for youth hunters. The new 2024 Big Game Seasons and Rules booklets are available online, at Fish and Game regional offices, and should be available at license vendors soon, if not already. Reviewing the seasons and rules booklet can help you determine which controlled hunt is right for you.

Controlled hunts typically have higher success rates than general hunts, fewer hunters in the field, and many hunters feel they have a better chance of harvesting a mature bull or buck during a controlled hunt. The tradeoff is controlled hunts typically limit where and when you can hunt, as opposed to a statewide general deer hunt or general season elk zone tag that typically includes several hunting units.

Don’t forget about Super Hunts!

Want to increase your chances of landing a coveted deer, elk, pronghorn or moose tag? Idaho’s Super Hunt drawing includes tags for deer, elk, pronghorn, and moose and allow you to hunt any open unit – general or controlled hunt – for that species. It costs only $6 to apply for a Super Hunt entry for one species, or $20 for the Super Hunt Combo. You can enter as many times as you like, and it won’t affect your other controlled hunt applications because a Super Hunt tag is considered an “extra” tag. 

See the Super Hunt webpage for details.

Last year’s Super Hunt drawing raised about $1.1 million to fund sportsmen’s access programs and other big game management.

Super Hunt Deer 2019

Utilize Fish and Game’s Hunt Planner

For controlled hunts, which are limited to a specific area, more specific information is required—and that’s where Fish and Game’s Hunt Planner comes in. The harvest stats for individual units and zones from the 2023 big game seasons, including both controlled hunts and general season hunts, are available on the Hunt Planner.

Hunters can also find controlled hunt draw odds from recent years in the Hunt Planner. While the draw odds vary from year to year depending on the number of applicants, these statistics can give hunters a general idea of how much interest there is in a specific controlled hunt.

Looking back at 2023 and ahead at 2024

Obviously, it’s a little early to make predictions about the 2024 fall big game seasons, but hunters are likely to see noticeable changes both good and bad. Last year's harvest data and winter survival monitoring of elk and mule deer herds, especially fawns and calves, provide a glimpse of what might happen in 2024 if harvests and survival continue on their current trajectory—at least from a statewide perspective.

It didn’t take a whole lot of rubbing the crystal ball to forecast a less-than-stellar mule deer harvest in 2023 because of the severe winter that preceded it. And ironically, it may have been the opposite weather that contributed to the lowest elk harvest since 2013. Warm fall weather with little precipitation often creates poor hunting conditions, but weather or not, the statewide elk harvest dropped nearly 2,400 animals compared to the prior year.

But not all deer and elk harvests were down. White-tailed deer harvest had a modest bump—and the first increase in four years—signaling herds may be recovering from a large disease die-off in 2021.

Carson Watkins with a bull elk

It was a good run. 2023 would have been the tenth year in a row for elk harvest to eclipse the 20,000 mark, but that was not how last fall played out. Elk hunters took home 18,568 elk in 2023, roughly an 11% drop in animals harvested compared to 2022. Roughly 87,864 elk hunters—less than 1% fewer than 2022—took to the mountains in 2023 in search of elk, with 21% of those individuals successfully harvesting an elk. 

To no one’s surprise, mule deer hunting saw a big decline in 2023. A total of 74,503 mule deer hunters hunted last fall, with nearly 25% of those successfully packing out a mule deer. Last year’s roughly 22% decrease in total mule deer harvest is also the seventh-consecutive year below the 10-year average. While it may seem impossible to have 70% of the years below the 10-year average, it’s a reflection of an unusually large mule deer harvest in 2015-16 that drove up the 10-year average. 

Finally, onto whitetails. White-tailed deer harvest has been at the top of bad news headlines in recent years due to large disease outbreaks; however, in 2023, the number of whitetails harvested showed a bump in the right direction, from 19,182 in 2022 to 19,828 in 2023, which hopefully reflects recovering whitetail herds. Last fall’s whitetail harvest also eclipsed the mule deer harvest for only the sixth time since 1975, when Fish and Game began tracking deer harvest by species.

Winter monitoring of fawns and calves

Winter survival is typically the biggest single factor affecting mule deer herds, and the long-term average is about 60 percent of fawns surviving their first winter, but during hard winters that can be significantly lower. To monitor herds, Fish and Game biologists in early winter captured and collared 217 mule deer fawns and 151 elk calves in various parts of the state to track their survival over winter.


While the big story last year focused on the severity of winter and its impact on eastern Idaho’s deer herds, this year shows a little more optimism.

"From a statewide perspective, winter survival is tracking very close to what we’ve seen prior to last year’s brutal winter," said Fish and Game’s Deer and Elk Coordinator, Toby Boudreau. “That should help eastern Idaho’s mule deer herds, but it’s going to take more than one mild winter for them to recover.”

Through the end of March 2024, 82% of fawns and 93% of calves (with tracking collars, statewide) have neared the finish line on another winter.