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 554 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: Moose hair request

I received a letter/request for hair from a moose I shot years ago for a study . My Question is 2-fold . Will I ever get a report on the report ?, and is this study to try and show that wolfs are not the cause for the disappearance of the moose from central Idaho ? Thank you , Bruce Chaffee .


Thanks for the questions.  Question 1) will I ever get the report?  We will make an interim and final report available online on our website when they are completed.  It takes a long time to organize the hair, send to UI lab for analysis, anlyze the data, and write a final report.  However, we are sincerely thankful for all the assistance people have provided in sending the hair to us.  We have had much greater response than anticipated which will increase our abilities to understand historical conditions of moose.
Question 2.  Is this a study to show that wolves are not the cause of moose disappearance in central Idaho?  The idea of science and research is to look at causes based on data and the scientific method, not what we think is going on based on a hunch.  We have lots of ideas of what is going on with moose but we have little research to prove anything.  This hair research will not prove anything but will give us a needed piece of the puzzle and provide us a glimpse into what micronutrient condition the moose were in when they were increasing in numbers compared to condition they were in when declining.  Catttle producers have known forever that certain micronutrients are critical in pregnancy and calf survival and health, and the ability of animals to put on weigh, avoid diseases and succumbing to parasites, and thrive.  That is why they supplement with mineral blocks.  We have little research on what micronutrient levels are necessary for health, pregancy, and calf survival in our wild ungulate populations.  We assume they are getting what they need in the wild.  However, their bodies do crave salt and minerals and when they are available, they use them. 
We have areas of Idaho where moose are declining and there are no wolves.  We have moose and elk increasing where there are wolves.   And we have moose and elk decreasing where there are wolves.  If I were to put it in human terms, if you are weak from disease or sick from an infection, you would be much easier for someone to knock off your feet and beat up right?  Same with predators taking down prey.  If a moose is weak from malnutrition, has a few parasites or diseases, it cannot defend itself as well from a wolf or predator and will become easier prey when if it was healthy it would have survived.  All that said, we believe wolves can and do have impacts in some areas on some ungulate populations.  Thanks to 100s of radio collars on elk this year we discovered that twice as many elk are killed by cougars as are killed by wolves, and as many are dying of malnutrition as are being killed by wolves.  The wolf question is important but claiming every decline is caused by wolves would be denying all the fluctuations in ungulate populations we had prior to having wolves or where we don't have wolves, and missing on the root causes of many declines.  We want to look at the entire picture including wolves but not just the impacts wolves have. 
Also, we are interested in looking at the history of minerals in vegetation and soils that resulted from the Mt. Saint Helens eruption in 1980.  We are curious to see if the influx of minerals in the ash plume may have benefited ungulate populations during the 1980s and 1990s.  We might be able to see differences in these minerals over time and within the plume areas.  We are trying to keep an open mind and put more information together.  We are assuming and history shows that there are a multiple of causes that regulate and limit populations. 
I hope that answers your questions.

answered 4/23/2016

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: 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: If big game hunters must dispose of carcasses properly, why isn't this also the standard for salvagers, which don't have to take all the animal if they don't want to?

Big game hunters are required to properly dispose of carcasses but salvagers can gut an elk along an interstate and leave it legally. Potentially causing another accident from scavaging animals not to mention the eye sore and leaving it for someone else to clean up. Why is that?


That is a good question.  We ask that salvagers pick up the animal they wish to salvage and haul it away to process.  We also ask they put safety first when salvaging.  Proper disposal of a carcass is always recommended once you take it into possession.  However, you bring up a good point that people don't always use safe and common sense practices when salvaging a large animal.  Perhaps it is something we need to revisit in our salvage rule.

answered 4/5/2016

Q: are controlled hunts draws separate for different weapon types?

Is the muzzleloader elk draw separate from the archery elk draw? Or, is it all combine?


There are 3 types of hunts in Idaho.  Any weapon, muzzleloader only and archery only.   If a hunt does not specific muzzlerloader or archery, it would be an any weapon.

answered 4/3/2016

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

Q: Do you want to be notified of dead elk finds?

I understand that I can keep the bones and antlers of any elk I find that presumably died of natural causes with no reporting requirements . However, does the Fish & Game have any interest in wanting to know about it? On Saturday I found a dead 6x bull that had probably died 2-3 weeks ago.


You can only keep antlers from found animals that have died naturally. 
If you have any suspicion that the animal died by something other than natural causes, we especially would like to hear about it. 
You can keep animals that died from injury incurred by vehicle by filling out a roadkill permit on our website by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the page.
We would be interested in knowing about dying elk and what caused the death as well, be it starvation, predation, or other cause so letting us know where the animal is would be helpful too. Also, by letting us know you would clear yourself of any suspicion surrounding the cause of death and your possession of the animal. 
Thank you for your concern and assistance.
Online report forms:
Online report sighting of any wildlife in Idaho (dead or alive)
Report roadkill or salvage
Submit report (or call) about suspicious activity

answered 2/29/2016

Q: Preference Point System

Does Idaho provide a preference point system for Elk?


Idaho does not offer preference points for controlled hunts. Additional information on this topic is available on our website at:
Results of a 2015 sportsmen's survey on drawing odds are also available at:
The topic has also been addressed frequently in prior Ask Fish and Game questions.

answered 2/13/2016

Q: Depredation Hunts Southwest Region

How Many Tags For Depredation Hunts in the Southwest Region 2015 /2016 where given out?


Thanks for your question:
There are a variety of tools Idaho Fish and Game utilizes to help landowners prevent damage on their property due to wildlife causing damages. One is Depredations Hunts. There are three different depredation style of hunts I will go through so there is no confusion.
1. Depredation Hunt; a hunt where 50% of the hunters are chosen by the landowner and 50% of the other hunters are chosen from a list of sportsment that fill out an application. These are controlled hunts that count as an extra tag and the hunters are able to keep the meat. In the Southwest Region, we had one depredation hunt this year.
2. Kill Permit; This is an emergency hunt that is used in a specialized situation. Some stipulations would include weapon type, methods, sex, and shooting hours. Hunters are very restritictive and are typicllay just the landower and a ranch hand.  The meat from these permits are donated to food banks, chruches, and local families in need. We have issued 14 kill permits this year; this includes revision of previous issed permits.
3. Landowner Permission Hunts; To address multiple depredations over a large scale area IDFG created some Landowner Permission Hunts, called LPHs. For example, the Wieser River Area. There are 35 landowners with large agricultural operations that have reported damages from elk. Insted of having 35 individual depredations hunts, we try to address the issues as a whole with one hunt.These hunts give landowers permission slips they can use to address the depredations on their peorerty. These permisson slips are redeemed in a Regional Office for an elk tag. The landowner can choose to give the permission slip out if they desire. These are classified as controlled hunts where the hunters can keep the meat. A few LPH hunts are extra tags. In the Southwest Region, there are 450 extra LPH tags and 525 regular controlled hunt tags. The primary areas for these hunts are Untis 31, 32, 39, and 41.
If you have futher question, please email me
Katie Oelrich
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Landowner Sportsman Coordinator
Southwest Region
Nampa, Id 83686
w. 208-465-8465 ext.1034860
c. 208-409-9481

answered 2/5/2016

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: What Baits ARE legal to use for trapping in idaho?

If it is unlawful to use any part of a DOMESTIC or WILD origin game bird, big game, upland game, game fish, protected nongame wildlife, unprotected wildlife, or predatory wildlife for bait in trapping furbearing animals, then what CAN i use? a gold fish? no its domestic! A mouse? no its unprotected wildlife! A butterfly? no its unprotected wildlife . . . etc. PLEASE HELP ME!


Domestic or wild origin game animal refers to any game species whether it is raised in captivity (like a pheasant or elk) or is a wild animal that you have meat for.  You can use fish that are not game fish in Idaho, furbearer meat, chicken, beef, pig, etc. (they are not game animals in Idaho), lure, scent, etc..

answered 1/20/2016

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: 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

Q: if an elk is dying caught in a fence..can that animal be salvaged without a tag.

we came across an elk chocking to death in a fence. he was minutes from dying.we had a tag and choose to put out of misery and take it and tag it..what if we did not have a tag, could we still salvage it. we had no phone reception in the area so we could not call fish and game..


I totally sympathize with the frustration of finding an elk caught in a fence.  I have removed some over the years while on patrol and had to put some out of their misery as well.  It would be lawful to take the elk only if you have a valid tag for the area, the elk season is open.  There could also be a need for permission if it is on private land.  I know that does not address the fact the animal was suffering.  It is an unfortunate reality that these circumstances arise and I can't advise you to do something that could get you in trouble.  The best advise I can give is to travel to the next available cell service and call the local Sheriff's Office.  They can contact Idaho Department of Fish and Game and work through solving the problem with the hope that someone is close by to respond and put the elk down as soon as possible.

answered 12/13/2015

Q: As a nonresident what are the requirements to purchase a archery tag?

I am a resident of Washington state, I archery hunt here in Washington and was wondering what classes or certificates do I need to complete to purchase an archery elk tag to hunt in Idaho?


In addition to a license and elk tag, you must purchase an archery permit for an archery only season.  In order to purchase an archery permit, you would need to complete an Idaho Bowhunter Affidavit form.  On this form you can provide either an archery education certification number or archery experience information.

answered 12/6/2015

Q: Junior Hunter able to shoot either sex?

If I purchase a Junior Elk Tag for my son, is he able to shoot either sex Elk during the open season? Or, is there a particular Junior Tag that needs to be purchased to allow him to do so?


A youth (ages 10-17) can hunt both the A and B seasons of an elk zone.  However, the rules of each season must be followed specifically as stated in the Seasons and Rules as per weapon and sex. 

answered 11/16/2015

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

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

Q: If a youth has purchased a general season elk tag (Unit 39 Nov.1-Nov.9) are they allowed to harvest either sex?

If a youth has purchased a general season elk tag (Unit 39 Nov.1-Nov.9) are they allowed to harvest either sex?


A resident youth (ages 10-17) can hunt both the A and B seasons of an elk zone.  However, the rules of each season must be followed as specified in the seasons and rules.

Per your example, the B tag season on the Boise River zone tag is for antlered only.  Therefore, either sex would not be allowed during the period of November 1-9.


answered 11/3/2015

Q: Cow season in unit 4

Why is there no cow season in unit 4? This past rifle season I saw over 70 cows before I saw a bull?


First, a very good and timely question.  As you know, the either-sex portion of the general elk season was eliminated several years ago in the Panhandle, primarily due to low calf:cow ratios that were observed during our winter helicopter surveys.  This was especially true in Units 4, 6, and 7.  In areas with good elk numbers and good calf ratios we started controlled hunts for either-sex or antlerless permits.
During last year’s helicopter surveys (January 2015) we saw an increase in calf:cow ratios, especially in Unit 6.  In previous years they were around 13 calves per hundred cows (13:100).  During last year’s surveys they averaged 32:100 in the St Joe drainage.  That was encouraging.  Unfortunately we were not able to fly Unit 4 because of weather and snow conditions.  During this year’s check stations we heard a lot of what you are saying – hunters reporting lots of cows and lots of calves in both the St Joe and N Fk C’da River units.
This was the first year that we saw really encouraging data and I didn’t feel it was enough to change seasons yet.  Remember that we are trying to rebuild the herd after several years of low calf survival.  If we see good calf:cow ratios during this winter’s helicopter surveys it will be time to look at adding some cow harvest to those units where it was eliminated.  We are now in a 2-year season setting cycle so seasons won’t be changed until the 2017 hunting season.  But if things continue to look good I think it will be time to have some antlerless harvest in those units, probably initially in the form of controlled hunt permits.

answered 10/31/2015