Skip to main content

Idaho Fish and Game

Big game hunter trailing deer in fog

General Season Hunts

Fish and Game is committed to providing hunters with the opportunity to pursue big game every year. An over-the-counter tag, also known as a general season tag, is the simplest way to do that.

When to buy an over-the-counter tag

Residents of Idaho – Hunters can purchase over-the-counter (OTC) bear, mountain lion, turkey, and wolf tags for the coming year starting on December 1. Residents may also purchase deer and elk receipts that can be redeemed for the general season or controlled hunt tags after the controlled hunt drawings have been released. Capped zone elk tags go on sale on a different date and time (see big game proclamations for information on capped elk zones).

Notice: 5-day waiting period rule change

Beginning in 2020, resident hunters who apply for a controlled hunt must wait five days after tags become available to purchase a capped elk zone tag.

Learn more


Nonresidents – Hunters can purchase over-the-counter tags any time beginning December 1 for the coming year. No drawings. No waiting. Just buy your license and tags and go hunting during the hunting season.
Please note: Nonresident general season deer and elk tags are all limited and may sell out quickly. 
Nonresident Quotas and Limits

More things to know
If you want to hunt deer and elk in Idaho, think about buying your tags early.

  • Resident and nonresident tags are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
  • Some units have quotas and limits and sell out early.
  • Over-the-counter tags involve most hunting units and zones, but not all.
  • Opportunities vary depending on the type of weapon being used.
  • After August 1, unsold nonresident over-the-counter tags go on sale as second tags to both residents and nonresidents
    • Note: These are only available when the nonresident quota has not sold out.

These maps generally show where over-the-counter (also know as general season) tags are available. Check the Big Game Seasons and Rules book for specifics on each unit and zone.

Over-the Counter Elk Tags

Map of over-the-counter elk tag areas


Over-the Counter Deer Tags

Map of over-the-counter deer tag areas


License vendor screen / Photo by Vicky Osborn 

Purchase Licenses,
Tags and Permits

There is a processing fee for applications made by phone and online.

OTC (General Season) Tag Fees