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 553 questions


Hunters are asked to choose between a trophy species (moose, mountain goat, or bighorn sheep) or deer, elk, and pronghorn when applying for controlled hunt tags. This rule was implemented to improve the drawing odds for moose, mountain goat, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. However, hunters who apply and don’t draw a trophy tag can submit an application for deer, elk or pronghorn in the second application period.

answered 5/3/2016

Q: Is it legal to feed small herd of white tail deer in Winchester Idaho on are property.

We have several Apple trees on are property and deer have bin eating them for long time we like to watch them and take pics and stuff . My ? Is can I put feeders out there and help keep them heathy wen trees arnt making apples and Cherry's and plums. Thanks Shawn w hammond


The deer do not need supplemental feed to survive.  Typically when deer are fed they concentrate in the area of feeding denuding the vegetation close by and passing disease through contact at the feeders.  Also, deer when being fed tend to keep the youngest from the feeders and frequently cause them to starve or become injured.  Supplemental feeding no matter the time of year is not something we recommend.  Is it legal?  So long as you aren't hunting off them yes.  Is it a good thing to do?  No.

answered 4/26/2016

Q: Can I buy a resident controlled mule-deer-ONLY tag (e.g. Unit 18) AND a resident over-the-counter whitetail tag since these are different species?

I am considering putting in for a resident controlled deer hunt in Unit 18 this year, which is a Mule Deer Only controlled hunt.
Would I still be able to purchase a resident over-the-counter Whitetail tag this year, since these are different species?
The Idaho F&G Controlled Hunt regs say:
Any person whose name is drawn in a controlled hunt for
deer or elk is prohibited from hunting in any other hunt
for the same species (archery, muzzleloader or general),
except when the hunter has drawn an extra controlled
hunt tag or depredation hunt, or has purchased a leftover
nonresident general season tag for that species at the
nonresident price.
Since Whitetail and Mule Deer are separate species, would I be able to get both tags (one controlled, one over-the-counter) at resident prices? Or are you lumping Mule Deer and Whitetail deer together and treating them as a single “species”?
Thank you for your help!


You cannot purchase a resident limited deer controlled hunt tag and a resident general season deer tag in the same season. However, if you draw the limited deer controlled hunt tag in unit 18 and purchase the resident deer controlled hunt tag, the only other general season deer tag you may purchase would the Res-Nonres general season deer tag, at the nonresident price provided the quota has not been sold out. The Res-Nonres general season deer tag could be the regular deer tag or the white-tail deer tag.

answered 4/21/2016

Q: Poisoning Squirrels

Is it legal to put rat poison outside for the purpose of killing squirrels in Boise?


Rat poison is very lethal and there are restrictions and guidelines for its use.  Rat poison does not only kill rats but everything that injests it including dogs, cats, squirrels, birds that eat squirrels, raccoons, skunks, deer, songbirds, and anything else that might injest the pellets.  Your best bet for killing unwanted squirrels would be to live trap them and euthanize, then properly dispose of them.  Fox squirrels are the big reddish ones found in town and they are not protected.  However, placing rat poison anywhere that is not closely monitored and restricted will lead to unwanted mortality of protected species and neighbors pets, and that is illegal.

answered 4/20/2016

Q: Unit 38

My question is unit 38 is short range weapons only and Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Lake Lowell, Unit 38-1b, 38-1xb is all that is closed in unit 38 because it is controlled hunt only?


For general deer season in Unit 38 you can hunt the short-range weapon season and/or the archery only season.  Both the Regular Deer Tag and the White-tailed Deer Tag are available to be used in Unit 38; but make sure your tag matches the season and method, and species your are hunting.  The Regular Deer Tag can be used to harvest a mule deer or white-tailed deer in Unit 38 in the season for that tag. The White-tailed deer tag is only valid for a white-tailed deer during the season for that tag.  There is no any weapon (rifle) season for Unit 38.
You are correct that the Lake Lowell section of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is closed during the Unit 38 general deer hunts.  You can only hunt on the Lake Lowell section of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge if you draw the antlered or antlerless controlled hunt(s) that are available for that area.  There are other portions of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge that are not contiguous with the Lake Lowell section that are not part of the controlled hunt but would be part of the regular season hunt.
In addition you should be aware that any State Park in Idaho is closed with a few exceptions.  To see these exceptions you can look them up on page 96 (left hand column) of the 2015-2016 Big Game Regulations.   
Also remember that most cities/towns have a regulation against discharging a firearm within city/town limits and this usually includes bow/arrows.

answered 4/18/2016

Q: What are the rules about raising deer for meat?

I looked around the website as much as I could and I could not find any information about raising deer or elk on a farm for meat. What are the rules, what permits would I need? Would I need to post no trespassing and no hunting? How likely is it that they would be bothered more than cows in pasture land?


Domestic wildlife (deer and elk) are considered livestock and are therefore managed by Idaho Department of Agriculture.  You would have to contact them for rules and regulations regarding game farming.

answered 4/8/2016

Q: Removing deer in residential neighborhoods

Four deer have taken up residence in my neighborhood (South Boise near Manitou Park). Who can I call to have them removed. They are eating our shrubs, etc.


Some general steps you can take is to make loud noises, startle the deer, and make it uncomfortable for the deer. There are some commercial and home-made remedies that you can spray on your shrubs and other ways to either protect or make your shrubs less palatable. Removal of deer in residential neighborhoods is not always practical or standard. For more specific steps that can be tailored to your specific situation you are can call your regional office. In SW Idaho that is the Nampa office - 465-8465.

answered 4/8/2016

Q: Where can I find a few deer and elk sheds in the magic valley or up around Hailey?

I am looking for a fairly easy place to find some deer and elk sheds. I am a disabled veteran and don't have a whole lot of mobility. I live in the Twin Falls area and would go north to the Hailey area or East to the Burley area or even just up in the South Hills. I don't want anyones secret canyon, or anything like that, just an area where they winter and I might stuble on a couple of sheds.


Good Morning,
Sorry for the delay on responding to your question.There are quite a few places I can think of where you could possibly find some shed antlers. Mule deer start dropping their antlers in January/Early February. Because most of the deer antlers have been on the ground for quite some times, the easy ones have probably already been picked up. However, there are places where deer wintered in heavy sagebrush cover, where I am sure you could still pick up a few antlers.For deer - I would go to the sagebrush flats on the Bennett Mt. front. Like I said, I would look in places that have heavy sagebrush, where antlers cannot be easily seen, such as the flats around Clover Creek, Bennett Creek, Teapot Dome and Pioneer Reservoir. I have picked up many deer antlers in all of those areas, late into the summer.
Elk antlers are going to be a bit more difficult, as elk normally winter quite a ways off the beaten path. However, some easier places to find antlers (where elk have wintered) are the Picabo Hills, Fish Creek (outside of Carey), and Browns Bench (west of Salm on Falls Reservoir.
Hopefully some of these places help, and good luck!
Magic Valley RegionLandowner/Sportsmen Coordinator

answered 3/24/2016


IDFG sometimes implements a Controlled Hunt with an Unlimited number of tags as an intermediate step between a general season hunt and a controlled hunt with a limited number of tags when there is a concern about total hunter numbers and harvest  in the hunt area.
If hunting pressure is too high in a general season hunt, we may propose implementing an "Unlimited Controlled Hunt" in that hunt area. The benefit of this approach is that all hunters who really want to hunt in that area and commit to it by applying for that hunt during the controlled hunt application period, WILL draw the tag. This approach is intended to reduce the total number of hunters in the hunt area compared to the number who would hunt there under a general season hunt--after the controlled hunt drawing, hunters are unable to decide to purchase a tag for the area later in the season as they could do for a general season hunt. Holding an "Unlimited Controlled Hunt" also avoids implementation the other limitations that come along with a controlled hunt, such as, a 1 year waiting period after drawing a tag for an antlered deer, and a limitation of a maximum of 10% of the tags issued to nonresidents.
If the unlimited controlled hunt is still too popular (more hunters/harvest than the population can sustain and remain within objectives), we would need to consider limiting the number of tags issued for that controlled hunt to some reduced number.

answered 3/1/2016

Q: Fort Boise snow geese?

There are certain sections of fort Boise that are not specified as closed from Feb 1st to March 10th. Can you hunt these areas for snow geese? I've heard of people hunting these open areas.


The central portion of Fort Boise WMA is closed from February 1 – July 31 for waterfowl nesting. Remaining areas of the WMA are still open to public access, but the hunting of white-fronted and light geese (Blue, Ross’s, and Snow) on any portion of the WMA is not allowed after January 31st.
On page 10 of the Idaho 2015 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules, under Closures, it states: “In the Southwest Region, Fort Boise and Payette River WMAs and that portion of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area south of Highway 18, and the Snake River Islands Unit of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge will be closed February 1 – March 10 2016.”
The ponds at Fort Boise WMA are a primary roosting area for snow geese as they pass through our region on the spring migration. Shooting them where they roost would just induce them find somewhere else to roost. This would not only provide a very limited hunting opportunity, but would deny the opportunity for hundreds of wildlife viewers to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of geese at Fort Boise heading out to or returning from daily feeding forays.  Providing a place for snow geese to roost keeps them in the general vicinity at least, so local fields can continue to offer hunting opportunity.   
Areas of Roswell Wildlife Habitat Area north of Highway 18 are open to light goose hunting.  The harvested grain in those fields can provide a hunting opportunity when they feed there. 
For a map of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area, go to the Idaho Fish and Game website ( and search “Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area map” to download a copy.

answered 2/3/2016

Q: Land owner tag

If I acquire a landowner tag for elk am I able to buy an elk tag at the general price that same year?


If the landowner controlled hunt tag you get is for a limited controlled hunt, you cannot have a general season tag for the same species. However, you would be able to purchase what we call a RES-NONRES general season tag as a second tag at the nonresident price. The RES-NONRES general season tags are those general season nonresident deer and elk tags remaining from the nonresident quota after August 1. These general season tags can be purchased by both residents and nonresidents as a second tag at the nonresident price.
For example:
If you are a resident of Idaho and are given a landowner limited elk controlled hunt, you cannot purchase another resident general season elk tag. If we have nonresident elk tags available as of August 1, you may purchase a RES-NONRES general season elk tag at the nonresident price.
If you are a resident of Idaho and are given a landowner extra limited elk controlled hunt, you can purchase a resident general season elk tag because the landowner controlled hunt given is an extra tag.

answered 2/1/2016

Q: Shed Hunting: can I use an antler trap?

I was wondering if there are any restrictions using baited antler traps in the Boise foothills? This is a simple antler trap using a salt lick or any other bait, that is surrounded with stretched out bungee cords to drop the antlers that might still be on any deer trying to get at the bait. I've seen them before but wanted to know if they were legal in the state.


Antler traps are legal as long as the animal is not harmed by the "trap".
If placing an antler trap on public ground, check with the land management agency, they may have restrictions on placing items that are left unattended.
One word of caution, if using bait to attract animals to the antler trap, it is unlawful to use bait to attract wildlife (turkey, deer, elk etc.) and then hunt them.

answered 1/29/2016

Q: Feeding white tail deer in the winter.

Is it OK to put out food for the deer in the winter? My grandchild likes to put carrots out in the snow banks and watch them.


We have no laws prohibiting feeding of wildlife though we recommend against it.  Attracting wildlife to one's house usually causes problems.  Deer will begin feeding on shrubbery, defecating on lawns, chasing pets, and attracting predators and spreading diseases and parasites (like ticks and worms) to each other and pets.  Additionally, wildlife does not do very well on new foods and can cause gastrointnestinal distress.  The bacteria in their stomachs that helps digest is very specific to their winter foods.  Also, feeding causes wildlife to lose their fear of humans and become habituated which can lead to aggressive behavior.  So, long story short, we highly recommend against it.  You very likely would call us shortly to ask to move a few deer that have become overly aggressive.

answered 1/16/2016

Q: Why is a two point hunt allowed in the Owyhee Mountains ?

Every year while Chuckar hunting we hear stories and on occasion have seen three point Deer 'or greater 'shot and left lay in the Owyhee Mountains . Hunters that have made an error in analyzing the points on a Deer . They choose not to expose their error because of legal consequences. It is a TWO Point hunt. This has been called the Buzzard Hunt because the Buzzards will show you where these Deer shot in error are located. What a waste !!! Seems some other formate could be established , i.e. A quota system with a mandatory visual Idfg report., once the established quota has been reached , Closed . i.e. Doe hunt. i.e. Youth hunt only 'along with the big buck tag for adults'. And there may be some other alternatives. I called IDFG with this and told the guy people were shooting Deer in error ,,,,, all he said was " They better not ". In parting he said "the Lions and Scavengers will eat em up ". Aaaaah , he missed the point !


The Owyhee Units general season only allows harvest of young bucks to limit the overall harvest.  The units are mostly considered a high desert that generally supports a lower deer density because the area is limited by water and seasonal forage.  Also, the area is relatively open which generates a higher vulnerability for big bucks.  The potentially higher vulnerability combined with the proximity of Units 40 and 41 to the Boise metropolitan area means that these units could have very high hunter pressure and harvest on big bucks if there were an any buck open general season. Frankly, these deer populations couldn’t sustain that kind of heavy harvest pressure, and still provide a mature buck hunt.  The advantage of a 2-point restriction harvest-reduction strategy is that it still allows hunters to pursue bucks in a general season.  It allows older age classes of bucks to be harvested in a controlled hunt, and keeps large, mature bucks in the breeding population.
That said, each strategy to reduce harvest has trade-offs and disadvantages.  The disadvantage of the 2-point restriction is people making mistakes, as you’ve pointed out, and mature trophy bucks being vulnerable to poachers.  IDFG is aware of this issue, but we believe that when looking at the population as a whole the 2-point restriction is reducing the number of bucks harvested while still allowing the most opportunity for hunters. Hunters NEED to be aware of what they are aiming at before they pull the trigger.  Take a few extra seconds to confirm that the buck is legal before taking the shot.
IDFG is currently considering a research project to study buck vulnerability in the 2-point restriction units and comparing them to units with an open general season, such as Unit 46.  Stay tuned for more information if this project develops further.

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: Nonresident questions deer and elk tags

As a non resident, can I get over the counter mule deer and elk tags? If so, when?
If not, how would I apply for the draw tags?


Idaho has nonresident over-the-counter tags available for deer and elk. The over-the-counter tag is called our "general" tag and is good for mule deer or white-tailed deer.
We also have controlled hunt tags for deer and elk. If a nonresident purchased a general tag prior to drawing a controlled hunt tag, they would simply need to exchange the tag.
Tags go on sale for the following year beginning December 1 of the prior (on sale now for 2016).
There is a quota, however. In 2015, we sold out of nonresident general deer tags, so if you're considering hunting in Idaho, the safe bet may be to get the license and tags early.
Seasons are already set for 2016 and you can help find the hunt you'd like to participate in using the Idaho Hunt Planner, as well.

answered 12/26/2015


Yes, Native Americans have a tribal hunting season that is longer than the season established by the State of Idaho. It commonly goes from August through the end of December. They are allowed to hunt on unoccupied federal public lands outside the of the reservation boundaries which does take in at least, portions of IDFG Regions 4, 5, 6, and 7. These hunting rights were established by the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.

answered 12/24/2015

Q: What are the restrictions/rules for hunting on or near railroad tracks?

I always see deer near the railroad tracks but I can't find anything in the regs about it. I understand it would be considered private property because it is an active track. However, there are no "no trespassing" signs or any orange markers of any type. Is it legal to hunt near the tracks?


Railroad rights of way are private property. 
One should always ask permission to hunt on private property.
Even though the railroad right of way may not be posted ‘no trespassing’ a hunter could be held civilly and criminally liable for damages that may occur on any private property. 

answered 11/22/2015

Q: If hunting in the Any Weapon Season, for elk, deer, etc. can I use a bow and arrow? What if I don't have an archery license, but just my regular hunting license?

I typically hunt in Area 32 with my family who has lived in Emmett since the 40's. I do not have an archery license, because I have never done the hunters education for it. So i was wondering if I could use a bow and arrow during the any weapon seasons. I was reading some other questions and it appeared that it was allowed, but i wanted clarification.


You can use archery equipment in an any weapon hunt without obtaining an archery permit.   An archery permit is only required for an archery only period.

answered 11/15/2015


Common Carp can be found in several places around Caldwell. Your best bet will be Lake Lowell from April through October, but spring is usually better. Try the shoreline access points along the northern shore such as Gotts Point and the the Deer Flat National Refuge headquarters. The Snake River and lower Boise River also have carp. Other spots include Crane Creek Reservoir, Black Canyon Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir. 
Spinning tackle works the best with a good bait being the most important. Carp can be very picky when it comes to bait, so do some research first. Most successful carp anglers are using baits such as corn and various homemade bread or dough balls. Sometimes a nightcrawler is all you need. Look for carp around flooded vegetation in shallow water in the spring. 
Good luck!

answered 11/15/2015

Q: Bowhunting

If I choose to Bow hunt for deer and am unsuccessful could I trade in my tag for a rifle tag to hunt deer?


You cannot exchange a tag that you have hunted on for another tag.   In fact, you can only exchange your tag if the season on your tag has not yet started.   

answered 11/12/2015


If you have access to a boat, try fishing flats east of Gotts Point in 10-20 feet of water. The north shore east of Gotts Point can be good in spring from April-June as catfish move to shallow waters to spawn. The west basin is also a good area. Check the flats along the south shore of the west basin (Caldwell Dam side) in 8-15' deep. Remember, boating is only upen April - September, so check with the Deer Flat Refuge office for details. 
If you don't have a boat, access is a bit more challenging. Try fishing the access area around Gotts Point (the end of Greenhurst Road), and the shoreline along the Kingfisher Trail to the east of Gotts Point. There is also access near the Deer Flat Refuge headquarters. The long shoreline point near the headquarters and along the Nampa Dam are worth trying. Otherwise, the Caldwell Dam has a lot of access, but I'm not sure how good the catfishing can be.
The most important thing to keep in mind is using good bait. Freshly cut fish like carp, suckers, pikeminnows or perch is the best bet. If you can't get fresh cut bait, try the more traditional catfish baits available at your local bait shop. 
Good luck!

answered 11/12/2015

Q: Can a firearm be used during all of a controlled hunt season?

I'm considering applying for the controlled antlered deer hunt next year for 1-1a and am wondering if I can use my firearm during the complete duration from August 30- December 1. I can't clearly see the rule on weapon restrictions during the controlled hunt period if no specific weapon control hunt is applied for.


Yes, this controlled deer hunt is an "any weapon" hunt. You may use your firearm for the entire length of the hunt.

answered 11/10/2015

Q: Leftover nonresident tags

Why did fish and game do away with the discount price on the leftover nonresident tags? I would have thought they would keep it that low to encourage the purchase of more tags, therefore creating more revenue. Last I checked they were looking for more money right?


The Idaho Fish & Game Commission evaluated nonresident deer and elk tag sales at their July 2015 meeting.  At that time, nonresident tag sales were higher compared to the previous 2 years and projected to remain strong; reflecting improved hunting expectations and a recovering economy.  After considering a variety of price and timing scenarios, the Commission eventually approved the August only discount.  As of early November, residents had purchased more leftover nonresident deer tags than the previous year, even with the shortened discount window.  As for leftover nonresident elk tag sales, residents have purchased nearly the same number as the previous year.  Combining purchases by residents and nonresidents, more leftover tags were purchased in 2015 than in 2014.    

answered 11/3/2015

Q: Is there a lottery for elk in Idaho?

I live in Ohio and wish to elk hunt next year. Can I show up in Idaho and purchase license and elk tag. And is it DIY hunt?


Yes, so long as supplies last.
Nonresidents can purchase an over-the-counter license and tag in Idaho beginning December 1st for the upcoming year. There is a cap to the number of elk and deer tags avialable to nonresidents. Many elk zones sell out quickly in popular areas so you'll want to be ready if your hunt is in one of those zones.
If you find a controlled hunt that you're interested in, you can also apply for that and exchange your general tag if you draw.
You can learn more about where to plan your "do-it-yourself" public land hunt using our Idaho Hunt Planner and seasons and rules books. 
Our 2015 Deer and Elk Outlook may provide some additional information about our hunt opportunities and we're planning a 2016 outlook next late summer.

answered 11/3/2015