As the months of May and June approach, many big game hunters find themselves doing research on which controlled hunts to apply for. Fish and Game has year’s-worth of data on their web page which are excellent resources available for hunters to use when researching controlled and general hunts.
A controlled hunt tag for a bull elk is a prize for many big game hunters.
The harvest statistics web page is a great source of information for those who wish to maximize their chance of harvesting an animal by identifying which units have the highest harvest rates. The data comes from mandatory hunter reports provided by hunters who purchase big game tags in Idaho. This tool allows a hunter to sort the data by species, harvest year, weapon type, as well as the percentage of antlered bucks or bulls harvested with four or more antler points.
There is also an option to sort by how many days hunters reported being in the field, and even the total number of hunters that were out in the field for that hunt. These tools can help hunters find a hunt that meets personal preferences such as, average antler size, time out in the field, and even areas with less hunter density.
Controlled hunt odds
The drawing odds web page is similar in application to the harvest statistics page which gives hunters a historical perspective about their chances of drawing as a first choice hunt and a second choice hunt. This page has the exact number of hunters who put in an application for each controlled hunt, how many were successful, and what the over-all percentage of hunters who drew that tag. Non-resident data can also be found which identifies how many non-residents put in a controlled hunt application and the success rate of those applicants.
Hunters can apply for mule deer controlled hunts in May.
For example, in 2020, 203 hunters applied for a controlled antlered deer hunt that had 25 tags. Out of the 131 residents who applied, 23 were drawn, creating an 18% success rate. Nonresidents, similarly, had 75 applicants for this hunt with two successful applicants and a 3% success rate.
A reminder to hunters, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has limited non-resident big game tags to no more than 10% of the total number of controlled hunt permits available in a specific deer or elk controlled hunt.
The harvest statistics and controlled hunt odd webpages are incredibly useful tools available to hunters. While useful, they are often overlooked by big game hunters planning to hunt in Idaho. Hunters who have questions are encouraged to call their local fish and game office.