It’s late in the year, and if you haven’t bought your 2017 hunting license, you’re either among the world’s great procrastinators, or haven’t found time to hunt yet. While it might sound silly to buy a 12-month license with weeks left, it’s not as silly as you might think this year.
First, there’s Fish and Game’s Price Lock, which means if you buy any annual license in 2017, you’re locked into the same prices for all 2018 hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permits. Otherwise, most resident license and tag prices will increase about 20 percent.
Here’s some fairly easy math to explain it: a 2017 hunting license costs $12.75. It will be $15.75 next year without Price Lock. A fishing/hunting combo will go from $33.50 to $38.75, a deer tag will go from $19.75 to $24.75, and an elk tag from $30.75 to $36.75.
So if you buy a 2017 hunting license and get into Price Lock, and then buy a fishing/hunting combo and a deer and elk tag next year, the savings ($16.75) would exceed the cost of your 2017 hunting license. Here's more detailed information about Price Lock and its benefits.
Although the year is winding down, there's plenty of hunting left. Let’s take a look at the opportunities you have with just a hunting license, which also happens to be the cheapest annual license you can buy to get price locked.
Upland bird and upland game hunting
Seasons for forest grouse, California quail, bobwhite quail, gray (Hungarian) partridge and chukar are all open through December statewide (and through January, but you will need a 2018 license then).
Pheasants are also open through December in Area 1 and Area 3. Here’s more information about upland bird seasons and areas.
Cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare seasons are open through December and into February and March, depending on the species. Here are details about rabbit and hare hunting.
But wait, there’s more…
You can also hunt stocked pheasants on Fish and Game’s wildlife management areas in Southwest Idaho through December, including Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Payette River, Montour and Niagara Springs. But a 2017 WMA permit is required for $23.75, which is good for six pheasants. Here’s more information about pheasant hunting on WMAs.
Both duck and goose seasons last through December and into January, and many waterfowl hunters consider December among the best months because northern birds migrate through Idaho during winter. You will need a federal migratory bird stamp for waterfowl hunting, which is valid through June 2018.
Waterfowl hunting lasts into January for some ducks and geese and beyond for other goose species, such as whitefronted geese and snow geese. Here's more information about duck and goose seasons.
Winter is arguably the best season for coyote, wolf and mountain lion hunting because their pelts are in prime condition. No tags are required for coyote hunting, but you will need a wolf tag and/or mountain lion tag for those species, which are $11.50 each.