Clearwater Big Game Season Proposals 2019-2020


These proposals and comment forms are split into sections by animals in each region: Deer, Elk, Pronghorn, Mountain Lion, Black Bear, Gray Wolf. 

For each section, please leave comments relative to the information on that page. There is a comment box for "General Comments" on the contact page.

Only changes to hunts (including hunts that are removed or added) are shown on this proposal. All other hunts are proposed to remain unchanged from 2017-18.

To complete the survey, press "submit" on the final page. 
Comment Period Closes 2/24/2019
1 Start 2 Deer 3 Elk 4 Black Bear 5 Mountain Lion 6 Wolf 7 Contact
Page 1 of 7

Clearwater Region

Proposed Changes for the 2019-2020 Big Game Seasons


  • Extra Antlerless Deer Controlled Hunts: Reduce extra antlerless tags in Hunt Areas 8X, 8A-1X, 10A-1X, 11-1X, 11AX, and 16-1X. These tags were increased to deal with ongoing depredations and high-density deer populations. Since the increase in tags in localized areas, there has been a Hemorrhagic Disease (Blue Tongue) outbreak as well as a severe winter. Although we do not see a change in population numbers based on harvest statistics, we have had comments from staff and sportsman that deer populations may be declining in some areas. To address these concerns we feel reducing these tags back to where they were before the increase in 2015 will allow for population maintenance.
  • Extra Antlerless Deer Controlled Hunts: Eliminate hunting days after December 1, in hunts 8X, 8A-1X, 10A-1X, 11A-1, 15-1X, and 16-1X. Change hunt area descriptions for all Extra Antlerless Deer Controlled Hunts in the Clearwater from within a mile of private land to on or within one mile of a private agriculture field to address landowner concerns about long seasons and focus these hunts in areas where depredations are occurring.
  • General Archery Only Seasons: Add a late archery hunt in Units 13 and 18 that runs from Dec 5 - Dec 20. We have received requests to consider an archery hunt in these units to provide new opportunity. However, it is important to consider that these units have access issues for sportsman. Units 13 and 18 are predominately private property in the areas where white-tailed deer would be in December therefore limiting the ability for hunters to gain access.
  • General Muzzleloader Only Seasons: Adjust Unit 8A boundary to include all of Unit 8A. This provides for consistent area framework with Unit 8A elk muzzleloader season. This change reduces confusion on hunt area boundaries.
  • General Muzzleloader Only Season and Extra Antlerless in Unit 10A: Change the general muzzleloader only season dates to Nov 21- Dec 1. Adjust portions of the extra antlerless season to Oct 10 - Nov 20 and the muzzleloader only season Nov 21- Dec 1. The season changes in Unit 10A create an inconsistent framework with muzzleloader only seasons and extra antlerless tags. We propose to adjust those season dates to align with the regular season and muzzleloader only framework for Unit 10A.


  • Recent population surveys in Units 11, 13, and 18 found that populations had declined since the previous survey (2013).  We propose to reduce controlled antlered only hunt tag levels in all three units.  We also propose to close the antlerless only controlled hunts in Units 13 and 18 and reduce the extra antlerless tags in Hunt Area 11-1X.


Palouse Zone:

  • A Tag Muzzleloader Only Hunt: Expand the muzzleloader hunt to include all units in the zone (Units 8, 8A, 11A). Modify the current season to spike or antlerless from Dec 2 - Dec 5 and spike only from Dec 6 - Dec 14
    • This will provide more opportunity for the A tag and address depredation issues on winter canola in the additional units and better align muzzleloader opportunity around the Region
  • A Tag Any Weapon portion: Eliminate outside the National Forest System Boundary
    • This will address depredations on private land within National Forest System Boundary
  • B Tag Any Weapon Hunt: Remove the any elk Oct 15 - Oct 21 on private land. There has been progress in reducing the elk population to meet plan objectives and depredation issues have been minimal in recent years. Removing this portion of the hunt will continue to allow us to maintain elk populations at their current level by reducing some cow harvest.

Elk City Zone: Elk are below objectives and appear to be declining in Units 15 and 16. These changes are aimed at reducing antlerless harvest and address concerns from the public and officers that elk numbers are declining. Additionally, we will continue ongoing efforts to improve elk habitat by working with the USFS.

  • A Tag Hunts: Cap the A Tag at 627 tags; this is 80% of the past 5 year average of A tag sales
  • Adjust the muzzleloader only season dates in Units 14 and 16 only to spike or antlerless Nov 21 - Nov 24 and spike only Nov 25 - Dec 9
  • Adjust the late archery hunt dates in Unit 15, eliminating any elk and change to spike or antlerless Dec 5 - Dec 8 and spike only Dec 9 - Dec 20

Hells Canyon Zone: After completing the aerial survey for elk in Units 11, 13 and 18, the population is within elk plan objectives.  The Department is making the following proposals.

  • Unit 11 – Reduce antlered tags, eliminate all either sex tags, and eliminate all antlerless tags in Unit 11
  • Unit 13 – No change
  • Unit 18 – Elk populations are lower than 2013 levels, but are near objective levels.  Tag levels are being adjusted to attempt to stabilize populations at or near current levels (especially antlerless elk).  Reduce antlered only archery tags, reduce bull tags, and eliminate the two extra antlerless hunts

Antlerless elk hunts: converting 3 antlerless controlled elk hunts (Units 10A and 14) to Landowner Permission Hunts to address depredations.


Elk populations are below management objective.

  • Unit 16 – Second bear tag may be used without restriction in the unit. (Extend use of 2nd tags to portion of the unit south of the Selway River)
  • Unit 14 – Extend spring season to June 30
  • Units 14, 15, 16 – Second bear tag may be used. (Expand use of 2nd bear tags)
  • Bear baiting: Units 8A & 10A – Open units to bear baiting. Simplifies season structure across the state


Elk populations are below management objective.

  • Unit 16 – Second lion tag may be used without restriction in the unit. (Extend use of 2nd tags to portion of the unit south of the Selway River)
  • Units 14, 15, 16 – Second lion tag may be used. (Expand use of 2nd lion tags)


  • Unit 16 – Open wolf hunting in all of Unit 16 (Remove unit restrictions that limit hunters to portion of the unit south and north of the Selway River)

Elk populations are below management objective.

  • Units 10A, 14, 15, 16 – Extend season to start October 10, Oct 10 – Nov 14 for use of foothold traps only
  • Units 13, 18 – Extend season to start October 10, Oct 10 – Nov 14 for use of foothold traps only
    • Extend closing date to March 31
  • Units 8, 8A, 11, 11A – Open wolf trapping season October 10 – March 31
    • Oct 10 – Nov 14 for use of foothold traps only