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Idaho Fish and Game

motorized use hunters with a bull elk on a four wheeler ATV October 2003

Big Game hunters – know the rules for motorized travel in some big game hunting units


It's a hunters' responsibility to know and understand the motorized hunting rule when hunting big game in certain game management units.

With increasing use of motorized vehicles such as side-by-sides and ATVs by big game hunters, everyone, especially those using motorized vehicles need to be aware of the motorized hunting rule. The rule applies when someone is actively hunting big game using a motorized vehicle. The rule is in effect from August 30 through December 31 of each year, and applies only to hunting of big game animals, including moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat.

Between these dates and in the designated game management units, big game hunters may use motorized vehicles only on established roadways open to motorized traffic and capable of being traveled by full-sized automobiles. Hunters using a motorized vehicle may not go cross-country, meaning off road when hunting big game.

The rule is specific to 30 game management units, primarily in central and southern Idaho, and includes many of the units in the Magic Valley Region. For more information about specific hunt units see page 106 in the Big Game regulation booklet.

The motorized hunting rule does not apply when hunting upland game birds or upland game animals.

What is an established roadway?

The definition of an established roadway as it relates to this rule is that the road is established, built, maintained, approved or designated by a government entity. And, the road is capable of being traveled by a full-sized vehicle.

Can hunters use a motorized vehicle on Forest Service or BLM designated trails?

If motorized travel is allowed by the Forest Service or BLM, you may use a motorized vehicle on trails to retrieve downed game or pack in or out your camping gear as long as you follow the restrictions in place by the land owner. However, you may not hunt while packing camping gear.

When in doubt, stay on the road!

It is the responsibility of the hunter to know and understand the rules and regulations of the area where they hunt. For vehicle travel, it’s especially important to know and follow the vehicle use restrictions for the area you are hunting. Travel maps are available from both the U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Travel maps can also be found on the Stay on Trails website at for travel tips.

For additional information about the motorized travel rule contact the Fish and Game Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359. For more information about travel maps or restrictions contact the Sawtooth National Forest at (208) 737-3200 or the Shoshone BLM office at (208) 732-7200.