Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions. We post here answers to questions we're being asked frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office. Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered" date.

Displaying 1 - 25 of 218 questions

Q: While hiking in Idaho am I allowed to carry a rifle?

While I'm out hiking or looking for sheds. Can I carry my rifle or shotgun for protection against cougar bear or wolf?


Yes, you can carry a weapon for protection while you are hiking or looking for shed antlers.  

answered 6/28/2016

Q: Unit 55 bear

I was looking at what unit I can hunt bear in. And I seen unit 55 has a bear hunt. Kinda confused I have been all over that unit and never seen one. Or here of any one seeing one. Maybe it's a small population. Any information would be nice


Thanks for the question but it was a typo in the Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure; Unit 55 does not have any bears in it. Sorry for the confusion.

answered 4/12/2016

Q: If I draw a controlled hunt for bear is that my only bear hunting opportunity for the year?

If I were to apply and draw a controlled spring bear hunt would that be my only bear hunting opportunity for the year or would I still be able to participate in general spring or fall hunts if I did not harvest?


Even if you harvested a bear on a controlled hunt tag, you could purchase a second bear tag.  This would allow you to hunt the spring or fall general season.   However, if you were to harvest during the general spring bear season on the general season bear tag, you would be done for the year.

answered 1/22/2016

Q: Hunting

Is black bear open in unit 66a during the 2016 controled antlersless elk center fire season.
If i were to hunt antlerless elk this 2016 center fire season in unit 66a could I harvest a black bear provided i have my tags and license.


Black bear season is open in GMU 66A in the fall from Aug 30 - Oct 31.  The antlerless elk controlled hunt is Oct 25 - Nov 15.  For the first few days  of the elk season (Oct 25-31) you would be able to harvest a black bear.

answered 1/9/2016

Q: Hunting

Is black bear open in unit 66a during the 2016 controled antlersless elk center fire season?
If i were to hunt antlerless elk this 2016 center fire season in unit 66a could I harvest a black bear provided i have my tags and license?


For the 2016 year, the bear and antlerless elk hunt would be both be open only from October 25-31.   The bear is open October 1-31 and the controlled elk is open October 25-November 15.   Please be advised that these dates may differ in the future years beyond 2016.

answered 1/9/2016

Q: Nonresident tag usage.

If a nonresident uses a general elk tag on another species, such as a deer or bear, can that hunter purchase another elk tag and continue hunting?


An adult nonresident elk tag may be used to harvest an elk, bear, mountain lion or gray wolf if  a season is open for that species where and when the elk tag is valid. It cannot be used to harvest a deer.
Hunters can purchase an adult nonresident general season elk tag as a second tag as long as nonresident elk tags available.

answered 1/8/2016

Q: Can resident elk and deer tags be substituted for a wolf tag and are they only valid for that unit or zone?

Nonresident deer and elk tags can be substituted for a wolf, bear, or mountain lion. Can resident tags also be used in this way? And could an elk tag for the snake river zone be attached to a wolf shot in a different zone?


A resident may use an elk or deer tag on a wolf, bear or mountain lion only if it is a RES-NONRES TAG.  This would be a general season nonresident tag purchased as a second tag on or after August 1st.   Both elk or dear and other species must both be in season.

answered 10/12/2015

Q: Bow hunting licenses

Since I am of the age of 65, I can purchase a combination at a reduce price. Why is it not available for a bow license, not a tag. If the state offers a
a lower price for a senior license, why can't they offer it to a bow hunter for the age of 65 and older?


I want to thank you for taking the time to write about the tag and permit fees paid by those holding senior licenses. 
The Department of Fish and Game does not receive any financial support from the state’s general fund. Therefore, the funding for Idaho’s fish and wildlife programs comes solely from you and other anglers and hunters through your purchase of fishing and hunting licenses, tags and permits. The fees collected through the sale of licenses, tags, and permits goes to pay for habitat improvement, population management, Wildlife Management Areas, hundreds of fishing and boating access sites, millions of fish stocked into some of your favorite fishing spots, conservation enforcement and much more.
In 1998, the Idaho State Code was changed to reduce the age requirements for the senior combination license from age 70 to age 65 as long as the individual had domiciled in Idaho for the prior 5 years. Along with this change, the Idaho Code was also changed to reference the items that holders of a Junior, Senior or Disabled American Veteran licenses could purchase at a discount. These items were deer, elk, bear and turkey tags. Below is the Statute.
36-409.  Game tags -- Permits -- Fees -- Penalty. (a) Resident Game Tags. A resident who has obtained authorization to hunt, as provided in section 36-401, Idaho Code, or has purchased or obtained a license to hunt, as provided in section 36-406, Idaho Code, upon payment of the fees provided herein shall be eligible to receive a resident game tag to hunt and kill a moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion, bear, wolf, sandhill crane or turkey in accordance with the laws of this state and rules promulgated by the commission; provided further, that any person who holds a senior resident combination license or any person who holds a junior combination or hunting license or any disabled American veteran who holds a disabled combination license, may be issued a bear, deer, elk, or turkey tag for a fee as specified in section 36-416, Idaho Code; provided further, that resident game tags may be issued only to those persons who meet residency requirements of subsection (s) of section 36-202, Idaho Code. In the event an emergency is declared to open a season to protect private property as provided in section 36-106(e)6.(B), Idaho Code, the affected landowner or his designee shall be eligible to receive a resident deer, elk or antelope tag without charge; provided further, that resident game tags may be issued only to persons who qualify as residents pursuant to section 36-202, Idaho Code.
In the last legislative session, the residency requirements to obtain a senior license was lowered from 5 years to 6 months.
The Department appreciates your support and commitment to help us ensure that Idaho's wildlife will be there for our kids and grandkids to enjoy tomorrow. Please contact us again if you have any additional questions.

answered 9/16/2015

Q: Hunting license and hound permit required

I wanted to know if a hunting license and/or a hound hunting permit are required to pursue raccoons?


Both a hunting license and hound hunter permit are required to pursue raccoons.  Page 99 in the Big Game Rules covers Black Bear and Mountain Lions.  Page 47 in the Upland Game and Furbearer rules states, the following persons must have a valid hound hunter permit in possession when dogs are being used to hunt:
Anyone who owns pursuit dogs
Anyone having control of dogs owned by another person
Anyone that harvests a blackbear, mountain lion, bobcat, raccoon, or fox with the use of dogs, (except clients of licensed outfitters are not required to have a hound hunter permit)
Good Luck hunting!

answered 9/16/2015

Q: Can I harvest a deer and put my non-resident elk tag on it?

I plan to archery hunt elk in an area that is also open for deer. Can I harvest a deer and put my elk tag on it, then go purchase a second elk tag to continue elk hunting?
If this is ok, would I need to take the deer/tag to a field office to exchange the tag?


Can you use a non-resident elk tag to tag a deer if both seasons are open?  The answer is No.  Non-resident deer and elk tags may be used to take a black bear, mountain lion or grey wolf when both seasons are open, but elk tags may not be used on deer.  Page 110 in the Big game regulations explains this in more detail.  If you have any other questions please give us a call.... Good Luck on your elk hunt.

answered 8/19/2015

Q: Can you use a semi-automatic assault rifle to hunt big game (deer, elk, bear, etc.)?

Can you use a semi-automatic assault rifle to hunt big game (deer, elk, bear, etc.)?


Yes you can, as long as it complies with the other restrictions in code and rule, (copied below). There is no restriction in idaho on the number of rounds a firearm can carrry, or restrictions against use of semi-automatics.
No person shall take big game animals as outlined in this section. (7-1-93) 01. Firearms. (7-1-93) a. With any firearm that, in combination with a scope, sling, and/or any other attachments, weighs more than sixteen (16) pounds. (7-1-93) b. With any shotgun using any shot smaller than double-aught (#00) buck. (7-1-93) c. With any rimfire rifle, rimfire handgun or any muzzleloading handgun, EXCEPT for mountain lion and trapped gray wolf. (4-4-13) d. With a fully automatic firearm. (10-26-94) e. With any electronic device attached to, or incorporated in, the firearm (including handguns and shotguns) or scope; except scopes containing battery powered or tritium lighted reticles are allowed. (4-2-08)
- Josh Royse, Regional Conservation Officer, Magic Valley Region

answered 8/6/2015

Q: bear

Does anyone in the Region 1 office know how to access Packer Meadow in the priest lake area? Have heard it is very good bear hunting, but that it is also ground zero for Grizzly bears?


Yes, that's very likely. Please call the Panhandle Regional office to learn more. 

answered 4/30/2015

Q: Controlled Hunt tags

If I were to draw for a big game hunt such as a Moose, can I still hunt General Deer for that year? Also if i draw for an Elk can i still hunt general Deer?


The answers to both of your questions are yes.  Please review a copy of our Big Game or Moose, Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat Seasons and Rules booklets for more information.  A quick call to one of our 9 offices could also help you with your questions.      
While any person applying for any moose, bighorn sheep, or mountain goat hunt is prohibited from applying for any big game controlled hunt in the same year, there are exceptions.  They may apply for a controlled depredation hunt for deer, elk or pronghorn; a controlled black bear hunt; leftover deer, elk or pronghorn controlled hunt tag; an nulimited controlled hunt; or extra deer, elk, pronghorn or turkey hunt. 

answered 3/2/2015

Q: Out of state Mentored license vs. Passport

I am planning to bring my 17 yr old son to Idaho for his first hunt this fall. He has completed his Hunter Safety Course, but has not ever obtained a hunting license. We will be staying with ,but not necessarily hunting with, his uncle. Would it be best to get a Passport, or does the fact that he has completed the hunters safety course require that he get a Mentor Hunting License?
Additionally, when do the current year season dates come out for Idaho?


If your son has completed all the necessary requirements and is certified in hunter education, but he has never purchased a hunting license in any state before, Idaho's Hunting Passport is a great option.  If he has purchased a license before in any state, he is ineligible to purchase a Hunting Passport and would need to purchase a Junior Mentored Hunting license.     
The 2015 seasons and rules brochure for moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep brochure is currently available. The big game brochure, with deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain lion, wolf and black bear seasons, is scheduled to ship the week of April 15. Upland game, furbearers and turkey was printed last year and is good through 2015. The fishing brochure is also good through 2015, so hang on to your copy. Waterfowl rules are due to ship the week of September 15. While these are scheduled shipping dates, they may vary slightly. All seasons and rules brochures will be available on Fish and Game's website at the week before arriving at Fish and Game offices and license vendors.
Good luck this fall.   

answered 2/27/2015

Q: Bear Bait Permits

I saw a question close about a guy and his 10 year old but Im not sure about multiple adults. I want to get a bait permit and set up 3 bait sights allowed under the permit. I own the barrels and the stands but can I let friends hunt off of my baits out of my stands or will they need seperate bait permits? I am not an outfitter just a group of friends.


All persons placing bait must possess a baiting permit issued by Fish and Game department. Baiting permits are issued by mail or in person from the Fish and Game regional offices beginning March 1 of each year. You do not need a baiting permit to hunt over lawful bait; you only need a permit if you are placing bait at the bait site.

answered 2/8/2015

Q: Does the motor vehicle restriction still apply to bear and mt. lion?

Does the motor vehicle restriction still apply? I was told by a Warden over a year ago that it no longer applied but there has been no change in the proclamation or in the online rules. Can I use a snowmobile on open trails not open to full size vehicles to look for lion tracks? or to put out a bear bait?


The Motorized Hunting Rule is in effect in certain areas and restricts motorized travel as an aid to hunting big game to "established roadways" which are defined as any road that is established, built, maintained, approved or designated by any governmental entity or private landowner for the purpose of travel by full-sized automobiles.  
In the Southeast Region those areas include big game units 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77 and 78.  The rule is in effect from August 1 through December 31 and applies to the hunting of all big game.  The use of a snow machine in the manner you describe would constitute hunting and would be prohibited under the rule during this time period. 
Contact offices at other regions to get more information on their restrictions.
For a full description of the rule see page 105 of the 2014 Big Game Seasons and Rules.

answered 12/12/2014

Q: When did the IFG become a "For Profit" Organization?

It seems to me that the IFG has gotten away from their roots of conservation/recreation and have focused more on turning a profit. The way the hunting seasons are managed and scheduled appear to be geared towards turning maximum profits. As a native Idahoan who remembers the good old days of hunting in Idaho, I am very disappointed that money took over.


Idaho Fish and Game strives to provide hunting seasons that meet a wide variety of hunter’s desires, whether it be for food, trophy animals, or recreational opportunity with friends and family.  Each year, staff review population information and solicit public input (e.g. public meetings, web site, letters, e-mails) to recommend adjustments to the Fish and Game Commission for the upcoming hunting seasons.  Right now, we are asking for public comment through our website  on a number of proposed changes to moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat hunting seasons for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.  Beginning in January we will initiate the public scoping process of potential changes to the 2015 deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, and wolf seasons.  Opportunities to provide input will be available through public meetings and our website.  Additionally, we welcome e-mails, letters, and phone calls that provide specific input on hunting seasons.  Again, thank you for your comment and we hope you have the opportunity to provide input into upcoming hunting season proposals.

answered 12/3/2014

Q: Price for 2015 Black Bear Tags

I see that you have multiple prices for Black Bear. Adult tags are $186, reduced tags are 31.75 and second tags are 31.75. What is the difference between the reduced tags and the adult tags? Does the reduced tags only apply to certain areas where Black Bear populations are up? Or are the reduced tags and second tags the same?


The reduced bear and mountain lion tags are only valid in specific units. See the current years big game proclamation booklets for a list of the units where reduced bear and mountain lion tags are valid. The full price bear and mountain lion tag can be used in any big game management unit that has an open season.

answered 12/1/2014

Q: Wounding animal

if you came across an elk or deer shot by another hunter who's not in sight or is not able to retrieve it , could you shoot it and tag that animal?


This is a very good question! If a wounded animal is located while hunting and it is still alive nothing would prohibit you from taking the animal and tagging it as your own, as long as you have a valid license, tag and or permit for the same animal and area where you are hunting. The hunter who kills the animal and takes it into possession is the hunter who should legally tag the animal. However, this becomes a question of ethics and sportsmanship at times. Idaho Law requires hunters who wound or kill animals to make a "reasonable effort to retrieve" the animal and reduce it to possession. In addition all hunters are required to remove and care for the edible meat of big game animals, except bear, mountain lion and gray wolves. (See Pg 97 "Wounding and Retrieving" of the 2014 Big Game seasons and Rules).  If you know someone else is tracking the animal you may want to let the hunter who wounded the animal have their opportunity to retrieve the animal they wounded, especially if the animal is unable to move and you know the hunter is actively tracking the animal. If the animal is already dead but fresh and salvageable I would suggest reporting it immediately to a Conservation officer as the dead animal may be part of a violation. You cannot legally tag or possess an animal killed by another hunter.

answered 11/25/2014

Q: Is it legal to ship a pheasant to a taxidermist that is out of state?

I am a beginning taxidermist and would like to obtain specimens for practice. Where can I find out which animals are legal for me to ship/ receive.


I am the Chief of Enforcement for Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  Please contact us so we can send you a packet of information regarding your question.  208-334-3736
For your reference please review Chapter 6, Title 36, Idaho Code.
I also recommend reviewing Chapter 5, Title 36, Idaho Code.
Idaho Administrative Code has rules governing the importation, possession, release, sale, or salvage of Wildlife.
300.RECOVERY, POSSESSION AND SALE OF WILDLIFE PARTS.01. Wildlife Legally Killed. a. The possession, sale and purchase of wildlife or parts of wildlife that have been legally killed is lawful except as provided below and as provided in Chapter 5, Title 36, Idaho Code. i. The edible flesh of wildlife classified as big game animals, upland game animals, game birds, migratory birds, or rattlesnakes taken from the wild may not be purchased, bartered or sold. ii. The edible flesh of wildlife classified as game fish or crustacea that are taken from the wild may not be purchased, bartered or sold except as provided in Idaho Code Sections 36-501 and 36-801 through 36-805 and rules promulgated pursuant thereto. iii. The annual sale by holders of a valid Idaho hunting, trapping or combination hunting and fishing license of up to six (6) skins of legally taken rattlesnakes is lawful pursuant to IDAPA 13.01.06, “Classification and Protection of Wildlife,” Subsection 300.02 and Subsection 100.06 of this rule. b. A written statement showing the taker’s name, address, license and tag numbers, date and location of kill, signed by the taker, must be provided to the buyer of any black bear or mountain lion head, hide or parts (except tanned hides finished into rugs or mounts). A copy of the sales statement must be forwarded by the buyer to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game within ten (10) days after such sale. A department CE-50, Statement of Sale/Purchase of Wildlife Parts, may be used in lieu of a sales statement. c. Persons possessing a taxidermist or fur buyer license shall keep a record for two (2) years from the date the wildlife was received for mounting or preservation, furbearers purchased and raw black bear skins, raw mountain lion skins or parts of black bears or mountain lions purchased. Records may be written or retained on media other than paper and must comply with standards set forth in Section 9-328, Idaho Code. Copies of sales statements as per Subsection 300.01.b. satisfy provisions of this rule. 

answered 11/22/2014

Q: Private land food plots

I have private land with only hunting with permission. What are the laws of me planting a 1-1.5 acre food plot and hunting over it? Or is there a distance or time that I would have to hunt away from it? Thanks for your time.


This is a very broad question. I recommend you contact a local Fish and Game Officer for specific information.  
Food plots for wildlife are encouraged.  However, there are rules that prevent hunting over bait for most species. There are Federal rules for waterfowl and migratory birds; an abbreviated discription is found in our Waterfowl Seasons and Rules book. It is unlawful to hunt any game animal or game bird by means of baiting with grain, salt in any form, or any other substance to constitute an attraction or enticement, with the exception of applicable rules for black bear. Federal rules require that seeds or grains are present solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting and harvesting.  

answered 11/18/2014

Q: Proper tagging of Deer elk and pronghorn

The Regs say:the....tag must be validated and securely attached to the animal IMMEDIATELY after the kill. The validated tag must remain attached to the carcass until the meat is processed AND reaches the place of final storage or personal consumption......Attach to the largest portion of the carcass.
There a few things that are unclear regarding these rules.
Define "immediately". If I were to literally immediately attach it to the animal it would be on the hide since I have not cut the animal open. (on that same note, what is the best method of actually "attaching" the tag? do you cut a notch in the hide or what?). It would make sense if I were transporting the entire animal AS IS, but if I am needing to cut the animal up in quarters, then this means that I will end up removing the hide, thereby removing the tag from the "largest portion of the carcass". So, do I then just take the tag off the hid and re-attach it to the largest portion of the carcass since now that the hide is off, it is no longer the "carcass" or can "immediately" attaching it mean once I am able to attach it to the carcass with the hide off? It appears that in this situation it is impossible to actually follow the law to allow the tag to "remain attached to the carcass" since you would have to remove it from the hide and re-attach it to the actual carcass.
Again, some examples of how to properly tag the animal would be helpful, and this law should be updated with more clarity.


Once you have killed  any species of willdife that requires a tag to hunt (all big game species and turkey) the hunter must immediatley validate  their tag and attach it either to the carcass for most big game species or to the animal's hide for bear, lion and wolf.   The term immediatley  is defined as either being "without delay" or "with nothing in between".  So once you have killed your animal the rules  require that the next thing to be done, without delay, is to validate your game tag and attach it to either the carcass or the hide. Be sure to cleanly and completely  remove the corresponding triangles  for the day and month to designate the date of harvest. The game tag has a pair of perforated holes that can be used to secure the tag to the carcass with wire or twine.  When field dressing the animal,  you may reposition the validated tag to ensure that it remains attached to the the largest portion of the carcass.   The tag must remain attached during transit to a place of processing and must remain attached until the meat is processed. The validated tag must accompany the processed meat to the place of final storage or final consumption. 
The rules regarding the tagging of big game animals are addressed in Idaho Code 36-409(d) and Idaho Administrative Code 
Idaho code 36-409(d)  Game Tag to Be Validated and Attached to Carcass. As soon as any person kills any wildlife for which a tag is required, said tag, belonging to him, must be validated and attached to said wildlife in a manner provided by commission rule.
01. Tag. Immediately after any deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, black bear, or gray wolf is killed, the appropriate big game animal tag must be validated and securely attached to the animal. (4-7-11)
a. Validation. Cut out and completely remove only the two (2) triangles indicating the date and month of kill. (7-1-93)
b. Attachment of Tag. (7-1-93)
i. Deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, mountain goat, black bear, and bighorn sheep: to the largest portion of the edible meat to be retained by the hunter or any person transporting for the hunter. The tag must remain attached during transit to a place of processing and must remain attached until the meat is processed. The validated tag must accompany the processed meat to the place of final storage or final consumption.
ii. Mountain lion, black bear, and gray wolf: To the hide.
02. Proxy Statement. Any person transporting or possessing any portion of a carcass of a big game animal or processed big game animal meat taken by another must have in possession a written statement signed by the taker showing the number and kinds of animals, the date taken, the taker's name and address, the taker's hunting license number, and the taker's tag number.

answered 10/25/2014

Q: Is it hunting if your weapon is still in its case?

I understand that you can't hunt before shooting hours, but would it still be legal to wait in a blind for deer before shooting hours if my weapon wasn't in any way loaded or perhaps even out of its case yet?


You are fine to carry your firearm to your blind.  Its your constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  Duck hunter almost always access their hunting blinds in the dark.

answered 10/11/2014

Q: Draw and Open Bear Hunts

There are draw black bear hunts in some parts of western idaho. I have a friend that has harvested some really nice bears over the years as he as drawn in those hunts. My question is, can I hunt the open Spring bear hunt and still put in to draw a fall draw bear hunt? My dilemma is that I would hate to miss out on an entire spring hunt to later not get drawn for the draw fall hunt. I am hoping maybe to be able to do both. Is that possible?


Yes, you can participate in a general season spring bear hunt, apply for the fall controlled bear hunt and be eligible to draw a tag for the fall controlled bear hunt too.

answered 9/24/2014

Q: I'd like to go bear hunting but I live in the UK. But I'd also like to take the skin home.

I don't know where to start. I found a few information on importing etc. but what I'd like to do is go with a group or something? As i'm the only one in my family who is interested, what should I do? I love these big animals.


Hunting black bears is a popular sport in Idaho.  However, for a new hunter, or someone that hasn't hunted in the state before, it can be a little daunting.  The easiest way to get around the confusion of how, when, where, is to contact an outfitter to help you out with your first hunt.  They often book other people at the same time so you could choose to have a one-on-one experience with a guide, or go with others.  They have different options and different types of hunting available, from spot and stalk to baiting to hound hunting.  You can choose type of hunting depending upon your fitness level, timelines, preferred styles, etc..  They can also get a permit and CITES tag from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to transport a bear hide to the U.K.  That might be your best option for your first hunt.  Afterwards, you can decide if you want to hunt with an outfitter or alone once you understand what it entails.  Of course you can always plan your own hunt by visiting our website, making some informed choices about where you might like to hunt, then calling and contacting the regional office closest to your preferred hunt area and then talk to a biologist.  You can find an outfitter and guide at: Idaho Outfitter and Guides Board @:  or at Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association: .  You can find information about bear hunting on our website at .  Good luck!

answered 9/12/2014