Press Release

Fish and Game releases Pioneer and Smoky-Bennett zones elk harvest and hunter success numbers

An increase in antlerless elk tags in the Pioneer and Smoky-Bennett zones has many elk hunters curious about hunter success and harvest in these zones. These harvest statistics are now available on the department website..

Idaho Fish and Game has released 2019 hunter harvest numbers and success rates for big game management units across the state. Read more at Harvest, hunter numbers down for deer and elk in 2019.

In southern Idaho, interest in both harvest numbers and hunter success has been high from hunters who hunted elk in the Pioneer and Smoky-Bennett zones since these two zones have elk numbers exceeding, or near the top end of population objectives which led to an increase in antlerless elk tags being issued in 2019.

Overall, hunters in the Pioneer Zone which includes game management units 49, 36A and 50, harvested a total of 1,592 elk, down slightly from 2018 harvest of 1,652. Of those, hunters with controlled-hunt tags harvested 366 antlered and 148 antlerless elk. Hunters with general elk tags in the Pioneer Zone harvested 267 antlered elk and 811 antlerless elk. Harvest specific to the 2,500 over the counter B-tags, showed that 730 antlerless elk were harvested across the zone for an overall 29% hunter success rate.

“We had hoped for a harvest close to 1,500 antlerless elk in the 2019 Pioneer Zone hunts,” according to Regional Management Biologist Mike McDonald, “but we fell short of that goal with the 2019 hunt. Last fall, hunting conditions were warm and dry, which impacted the number of elk that hunters were able to harvest.”

Hunters in the Smoky-Bennett Zone, which included game management units 43, 44, 45, 48 and 52, harvested a total of 1,242 elk which nearly matches the 2018 harvest of 1,262 elk. Controlled hunts within the Smoky-Bennett Zone showed a harvest of 372 antlered and 323 antlerless elk. Hunters with general elk tags in the Smoky-Bennett Zone harvested 142 antlered elk and 405 antlerless elk, with a 15% success rate.

McDonald added, “We fell short of our modeled hunter harvest targets for antlerless elk in the Smoky-Bennett Zone, but with landowner permission hunts and depredation management actions we came very close to our harvest target of 1,000 antlerless elk.”

More information about harvest statistics for each game management unit can be found on the Fish and Game website under the hunting tab/harvest statistics.