The Idaho Big Game 2021 Seasons and Rules Brochure is now available online on Fish and Game's website.
The 2021 brochure, which contains seasons and rules for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf, will be available in print at Fish and Game offices and license vendors in late-April.
Here are a handful of things hunters should take note of for the upcoming season:
- Controlled hunt application period for big game is right around the corner: The controlled hunt application period for deer, elk, pronghorn, fall black bear and fall turkey runs May 1 through June 5. For hunters who are still trying to decide which controlled hunt to apply for, Fish and Game's harvest statistics are a good place to start. The harvest stats from the 2020 big game seasons, including both controlled hunts and general season hunts, are now up on Fish and Game's website at idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/stats.
- Reminder for resident elk hunters: Residents who apply for a controlled elk hunt cannot buy a capped elk zone tag until five days after they go on sale, regardless of whether they draw a controlled hunt elk tag. See Page 2 of the Idaho Big Game 2021 Seasons and Rules brochure, and read more about the change, which was implemented prior to the 2020 hunting season, here.
- Spring bear hunters: Changes to spring bear hunts go into effect for the 2022 season. Seasons and rules for 2021 spring bear hunts can be found in the Idaho Big Game 2020 Seasons and Rules brochure. Fall black bear hunts for 2021 and spring black bear hunts for 2022 can be found in the updated brochure.
- Pronghorn hunters: In a major statewide change for pronghorn hunters, the Commission on March 18 approved changing unlimited archery controlled hunts for pronghorn into first-choice only hunts. Wildlife managers proposed the change in response to steadily increasing numbers of archery pronghorn hunters over the past 10 years and an effort to reduce hunter numbers in these controlled hunts. Going hand-in-hand with that change, the Commission also approved the reorganization of pronghorn units into 10 hunt areas for first-choice only controlled archery hunts.
Nonresident elk and deer hunters: In November 2020, the Fish and Game commission approved changes to nonresident participation in general season deer and elk hunts to address concerns from residents about hunter congestion in some areas, limiting participation in most elk zones and deer units to 10 to 15 percent of total hunters, based on past use. Here is more information about the changes. As a part of this, nonresident deer tags are only good for one specific unit, which hunters select (subject to the nonresident limit for that unit) when they buy their tag.
While both nonresident over-the-counter deer and elk tags have sold out for the 2021 season, nonresidents may have another chance to secure a deer or elk tag starting at 10 a.m. MDT on Thursday, April 22, when returned nonresident tags go on sale to nonresident hunters on a first-come, first-served basis. Tags available (if there are any) will be published online at 10 a.m. on the Tuesday preceding the sale. Afterward, returned tags will be sold on these dates: May 20, June 24, July 22, Aug. 5, Sept. 2 and 16, Oct. 7 and 21 and Nov. 4. Available tags will be posted to https://idfg.idaho.gov/tag/returns on the Tuesday preceding each sale.
- Other changes: Hunters should check out the Idaho Big Game 2021 Big Game Seasons and Rules Brochure for more detailed information and be sure to check for any changes to seasons for the areas in which they hunt.