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Idaho Fish and Game

Herd of Elk

Important changes to remember for cow elk hunting in the Panhandle in 2023


Before you head out to hunt elk this fall, remember a few important changes to general cow season and boundaries

Idaho Fish and Game prioritizes the simplification of hunting, fishing and trapping seasons and rules whenever possible. However, due to variability in the status of fish and wildlife populations across the state, special rules and exceptions must sometimes be implemented to ensure future opportunity remains for sportsmen and women.

Herd of Elk

There are some important changes to the general cow elk seasons in the Panhandle for 2023, so make sure to get familiar with them and review the 2023 Idaho Big Game Season and Rules book before you head into the mountains.

What’s new for 2023 general elk season

Unlike last season, there is no longer a general cow elk season in Unit 4 (see map below).

There is a seven-day either sex archery elk hunt on the A-tag, a three-day either sex any weapon hunt on the B-tag and a seven-day antlerless only muzzleloader hunt on both the A- and B-tags; however, none of these hunts include Unit 4.

  • A-tag: Sept. 15-21, any elk may be taken by archery within one mile of private land in units 1, 2, 3 4A, 5 and 6 only
  • B-tag: Oct. 15-17, any elk may be taken with any weapon within one mile of private land in units 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5 and 6 only
  • A- and B-tags: Dec. 2-8, antlerless elk may be taken by muzzleloader within one mile of private land in units1, 2, 3, 4A and 5 only

The private land designation does include corporate timber properties enrolled in the Large Tracts Program.

The designation of “within one mile of private land” does include and allow hunting on private land, as well as hunting on public land that is within one mile of private land.

All of units 4 and 4A are open for antlered elk harvest; however, all of Unit 4 is closed to antlerless elk harvest and only portions of Unit 4A are open for antlerless elk harvest within a mile of private land. Below is a description and map of where antlerless elk can be harvested in Unit 4A.

  • Unit 4A - That portion of unit 4A within the following boundary: starting at the mouth of the Clark Fork River, follow Johnson Creek FS Road 278, then south on FS Road 1066, then east on FS Road 332 to the Montana border and follow Montana border north back to the Clark Fork River then to the point of beginning.
    • Applies to A-tag archery and B-tag any weapon antlerless seasons
    • Applies to A- and B-tag antlerless only muzzleloader season
Map showing cow elk closures in Units 4 and 4A in the Panhandle.

Below are a few commonly asked questions relative to antlerless elk seasons in the Panhandle.

Frequently asked questions about cow elk hunting in Idaho.

To review the seasons and rules, check out page 37 in the 2023 Idaho Big Game Season and Rules pamphlet.

Please contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414 if you have any questions or would like additional clarification.

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