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 116 questions

A: 

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: Scoring a big game animal several years after harvest

Can a legally taken big game animal be measured for the state record several years after the hunt? I harvested a pronghorn in 2013 that may qualify for the state entry.

A: 

Yes.  For more information on scoring and the requirements for entering your antelope into the Idaho records, visit Fish and Game’s website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/lookupBgRecords.cfm.
 

answered 1/4/2016

Q: Unit 40 early tags.

Is Unit 40 still going to be open on August 15th to hunters? For deer and antelope early archery?

A: 

Hunts opening Saturday in the Owyhees unlikely to change
With controlled deer and pronghorns hunts opening in Unit 40 in portions of Owyhee County Saturday, Aug. 15, Idaho Fish and Game is monitoring the Soda Fire, but not closing or altering hunts at this time, nor expecting to in the immediate future.
Like all wildfires, situations with the Soda Fire in Owyhee County can change quickly, but the fire is burning mostly in the northwest portion of the unit, leaving much of the south and eastern portions open for hunting.
There are road closures in Owyhee County affecting access into the unit, and updates on the fire and road situation are available on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# under “Soda Fire.”
The Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office issued road closures on Aug. 13 for all roads leading into the Silver City area, except for fire-fighting activity and residents. The closure affects the Silver City, Trout Creek and Cow Creek roads. Upper Reynolds Creek Road is also closed, along with Jump Creek recreation sites and all trailheads from Silver City to Jump Creek. Trail closures are in effect on the Owyhee Front Range.
As of Aug. 14, the following roads are open and provide access to the western, eastern and southern portions of Unit 40: Flint Creek/Triangle Road, Mud Flat Road, Poison Creek Road, Shoofly Road, Sinker Creek Road and Collett Road.
Fish and Game has two hunts scheduled to open Saturday, Aug. 15.
A mule deer hunt involving 50 hunters opens for all of Unit 40 and runs through Sept. 30.
“There’s still a bunch of area available and really good deer country accessible that hasn’t burned,” said Scott Reinecker, Fish and Game’s Southwest Region supervisor.
He also noted the fire could be out and roads reopened before the hunts ends on Sept. 30.
An archery pronghorn hunt also opens Saturday and runs until Aug. 30 involving 200 hunters, but is open for units 40, 41 and 42 and only a small portion of that hunt is likely to be affected.
Typically, Idaho Fish and Game does not close hunts or alter season dates in response to fire restrictions. Most fires are not large enough to affect an entire hunting unit.
Hunters affected by a fire closure can either adjust their hunt plans (timing, location), or exchange controlled hunts for general tags in a different area. The exchange must take place before the season begins.

answered 8/14/2015

Q: Trophy species controlled hunt info

I read on a previous question that if I have a moose, bighorn, or mountain goat tag that I can still apply for leftover tags for deer, elk and pronghorn. I was just trying to clarify if the leftover tags meant that I could apply for the 2nd controlled hunt drawing or if it meant what was left over after the 2nd drawing?

A: 

Those who apply for a trophy hunt (moose, sheep or goat) can submit an application for deer, elk or pronghorn in the second application period. That person may also participate in the leftover first-come, first-served tag sales as long as they meet all of the other requirements and criteria.

answered 8/11/2015

Q: Early Antelope Tags

Can you just walk in after Aug 1st and buy an early antelope tag for archery? I've heard of people doing this or so they claim. I just thought it was pretty unfair if so especially before the second draw results even come out? Just wanted a correct answer on it.

A: 

Unclaimed pronghorn controlled hunts go back into the second drawing. Hunters can apply for those hunts August 5 through August 15.
The IDFG Director may make some early hunts available through a first-come, first-served leftover sale on August 6 at 10:00 am mountain time. A list of hunts to be offered through a leftover sale on August 6 will be made available on our website around August 4.

answered 7/21/2015

Q: One species (limitations on controlled hunt applications)

First how do you get a proposal looked at? I would like to hunt for moose (before I get too old) but if I put in I can not put in for any other controlled hunt. My chances are pretty much nil, so why do you get penalized for this. Can you change this?

A: 

The rule that requires hunters to either pick applying for a trophy species (moose, mountain goat, or bighorn sheep) or deer, elk, and pronghorn was implemented to improve drawing odds for moose, mountain goat, and bighorn sheep.  By reducing the number of people that apply for any one species, the better chance an individual has to draw.  Allowing everybody to apply for any and all species would reduce everybody's chance of drawing any given species..  While drawing odds for any of the trophy species are relatively difficult, Idaho is often reported as having some of the best odds of drawing in the west for one of these species.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission did review potential changes to the controlled hunt system a few years ago, but were primarily focused on addressing what could be done to improve drawing odds, including the option of only allowing an individual to apply for 1 species.  Ultimately, the Commission did not make any changes in part due to the wide diversity of opinions held by sportsmen over what type of controlled hunt drawing system was desired.
 

answered 3/2/2015

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?

A: 

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?

A: 

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 http://fishandgame.idaho.gov the week before arriving at Fish and Game offices and license vendors.
Good luck this fall.   

answered 2/27/2015

Q: Harvest statistics source

I would like to know exactly how hunting harvest statistics are determined. Is it taken entirely from harvest reports or is it from a "computer model", or some other method?

A: 

All of Idaho Fish and Game’s wildlife harvest statistics are estimated from surveys of hunters.
We get the most questions about deer or elk. I think this is what you are asking about. For deer, elk, and pronghorn, each hunter is required to fill out a Hunter Report form, either online or by phone.  Statistics are used to estimate the number of animals harvested, because not all hunters file their report. The number harvested is broken out in 1400 different ways, by zones, by units, by weapons, by controlled hunts, etc.  In 2014, about 170,000 hunters bought tags to hunt these species.
From the Hunter Reports, we calculate the number who hunted in each area, the number of animals harvested, the success rate, as well as a breakdown of the harvest by sex, antler size, weapon used, deer species, number of days hunted, and harvest date.
There is a lot of high-powered computer analysis used, but we are not using computer “models” to estimate what the harvest is. The data only come from the hunters who file their reports, but we are not predicting something about those who do not file reports.  The harvest estimates are then put on the web site, where both biologists and hunters can use them in planning next year’s hunting.
In contrast, for moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions, and wolves, any hunter who harvests an animal is required to bring the carcass in for inspection, measurement, and tagging. For these species, the number harvested is taken directly from these carcass inspections.
For all other small game species, survey questionnaires are sent to a random sample of hunters who purchased the appropriate tags.  We sell licenses to about 250,000 hunters that allow hunting for most of these small-game species.  Questionnaires are sent to between 3,000 to 8,000 of these hunters for each type of hunting. Their answers about hunting and harvesting are used to extrapolate to all the hunters who purchased. These species include snow geese, turkeys, sandhill cranes, sage and sharp-tailed grouse, forest grouse, quail, chukars, huns, pheasants, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hares.
We also sometimes use these same hunter questionnaires to ask the hunter’s opinion on a few questions, such as about proposed rule changes or about the quality of the hunting season.  Thank you for asking about our survey methods.

answered 1/13/2015

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.

A: 

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 https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/webform/2015-16-season-proposals-m...  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: 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.

A: 

 
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 13.01.08.320. 
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.
IDAPA 13.01.08.320.TAG VALIDATION AND ATTACHMENT AND PROXY STATEMENT.
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: Mandatory Harvest report

If information is entered incorrectly on a harvest report, can you change it? i.e. the date..

A: 

Yes!  To make a correction to your hunter report for deer, elk or pronghorn you can call toll free 1-877-268-9365 (7 days/week) or contact the Wildlife Bureau at 208-334-2920 during normal business hours.

answered 10/24/2014

Q: Super Hunt Results

Just how long does it take to post the second super hunt drawing results? Its only October 13!

A: 

Major oversite on our part. The information is now posted on the website.  http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=291. Idaho Fish and Game is unable to release names of the Super Hunt winners.  Here's a synopsis of the results. 2 Pronghorn tags drawn for Idaho and Washington hunters. 2 deer tags went to 2 Utah hunters.  2 elk tags went to Idaho and Washington hunters. 1 moose tag went to an Idaho hunter. 1 Super Hunt combo went to a California hunter. Thank you for flagging us on not having the information posted on the website. 

answered 10/13/2014

Q: I missed the harvest report for deer what should i do?

Provide as many specifics as you can to help better answer your question. Please omit personal information in this area.

A: 

If you missed filing your 2013 hunter-harvest report, for deer, elk, or pronghorn, it is too late. Sorry! (ends June 2014) You won’t be in trouble, but please file your 2014 report sooner.
If you are talking about filing a 2014 hunter-harvest report, you're in luck. (opens January 2014, closes June 2015). You will still be able to hunt in Fall 2015. (Question submitted on 10/9/2014)
Just to repeat the regulations -- Each hunter is required to file their report, within 10 days after harvesting, or after their hunt is over.   If you missed that date, please file as soon as you can.  We are glad to have your report as soon as we can. It saves us money, to not have to track down missing reports.  Also, the sooner we receive the data,  the sooner we are able to get the results out, which benefits both the hunters and the wildlife managers. By the way, there will be a drawing for 10 special hunt tags in February 2015, for the hunters who turned in all of their reports.
You can file your report on this IDFG web site, to go right to the reporting page. Or call our toll-free number 24/7.
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=106

answered 10/9/2014

Q: What do I do if I missed the harvest report period?

I missed the harvest report period for deer and elk what should I do?

A: 

If you missed filing your 2013 hunter-harvest report, for deer, elk, or pronghorn, it is too late. Sorry! (ends June 2013)
You won’t be in trouble, but please file your 2014 report sooner.
 
If you are talking about filing a 2014 hunter-harvest report, you're in luck. (opens January 2014, closes June 2015).
Each hunter is required to file their report, within 10 days after harvesting, or after their hunt is over.   If you missed that date, please file as soon as you can.  We are glad to have your report as soon as we can. It saves us money, to not have to track down missing reports.  Also we are able to get the results out sooner, which benefits both the hunters and the wildlife managers. By the way, there will be a drawing for 10 super hunt tags in February 2015, for the hunters who turned in all of their reports on time. You can go to this IDFG web site, to go right to the reporting page.
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=106

answered 9/21/2014

Q: Cow Decoy

Is it legal to use a cow decoy for pronghorn hunting in Idaho?

A: 

Yes, it it legal to use a cow decoy.

answered 8/13/2014

Q: When packing-out an elk in two trips, where should the tag be? With the meat in my pack, or with the meat still on the mountain?

I cannot pack-out an entire elk on my own in just one trip down the mountain. If I need to make several trips up and down the mountain in order to get all of the meat into my campsite, what is the proper manner of tagging said meat? Certainly I will notch the tag at the harvest site, but subsequently, do I keep the tag with whichever load of meat is upon my person, or do I leave the tag at the campsite with the first load of meat brought down? Or do I leave the tag at the harvest site until the final load of meat is packed-out? What is the proper protocol?

A: 

It must remain attached to the largeste portion of edible meat.  
TAG VALIDATION AND ATTACHMENT AND PROXY STATEMENT.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. a. Validation. Cut out and completely remove only the two (2) triangles indicating the date and month of kill.b. Attachment of Tag. 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 attachedduring 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.

answered 8/13/2014

Q: Unfilled Draw tags

There are unfilled draw tags that open on August 1st I have been calling the Boise office and was told they would not go on sale until a week after the hunt opened .Why would you do this.
By unfilled I mean they were not drawn out and they were left over. Specific Hunt number 2079 . I understand the fact people have until august 1st to pick up there draw tags but these were not drawn so why would they be held hostage Until after the hunt opens There are multiple hunts that are the same way.

A: 

On page 110 of the 2014 big game proclamations, we have the following statement.
Leftover Controlled HuntsSecond drawing: To ensure everyone has equal opportunity at leftover and unclaimed controlled hunt tags, there will be two drawings for deer, elk, pronghorn and fall black bear hunts. all unclaimed tags and all leftovers, (does not include unlimited hunts) will be available for a second drawing around August 20. The Application period is August 5 to 15. Any tags left over after the second drawing will be sold first-com, first-served.
The Fish and Game Director does have the authority to designate certain leftover controlled hunt tags to become available earlier on a first-come, first-served over-the-counter basis due to the dates of the hunt. Once the Department knows the number of tags that will be available (includes unfilled and unclaimed tags), we must provide the hunting community with the information of when they will be available and how many tags are available. The Department plans to provide that information through a news release on Monday August 4. It is the Departments goal to make tags available for those hunts with an early August start date to all interested at 10 am mtn time on August 6th or August 7th.
Thank you.

answered 7/10/2014

Q: Unfair drawings

Why were 9 and 10 year olds allowed to put in for drawings when regulations said they would not. Any that drew on tags should be removed, and all people that put in for those tags should have a chance to be drawn again.

A: 

Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore has decided to let the tags drawn by youth stand because of apparenty confusion about eligibility requirements for the first controlled hunt drawing.  A new law took effect July 1, 2014 allowing 10 year olds to hunt big game.  The first drawing occured before the new law took effect.  In allowing the tags to stand, Moore cited Fish and Game's inadequate communication of its interpretation of controlled hunt eligibilty requirements.  Those requirements were included in the big game rules, but not explained consistently throughout the brochure.  In making his decision, Director Moore released 283 additional tages for deer, elk and pronghorn for a special drawing.  Please see the Idaho Fish and Game homepage at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov for more information.

answered 6/27/2014

Q: Antelope [Pronghorn] in Round Valley?

A co-worker of mine said that he saw 2 antelope in Round Valley around milepost 102 on highway 55. Did the F&G bring these in?

A: 

Hello, and thanks for your report.  These pronghorn must be making themselves quite visible, as we've had several reports of them.  No, we did not bring them here - they must have found their way up on their own.  They should be fine for the summer - Round Valley has nice summer pronghorn habitat - but will definitely need to head elsewhere for winter.  Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Regan Berkley, McCall Wildlife Manager

answered 6/12/2014

Q: Controlled draw results

When do the controlled deer draw results come out?

A: 

The controlled hunt deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, and turkey drawing will be completed and winners notified by July 10th. We're hoping to beat that date, but several things need to fall into place first. Once the results are available, there will be a news release and a note stating the draw results are available will appear at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
This time, unlike in the past, the drawing results will be made available as soon as they are ready on the website. In the past, some folks learned that they could call into the offices to lookup results.You'll just need your hunting license number to look them up online.
Good luck.
 

answered 6/12/2014

Q: When can I pick up my resident general season deer and elk tags?

Provide as many specifics as you can to help better answer your question. Please omit personal information in this area.

A: 

Resident general season deer and elk tags will be available after the controlled hunt drawing for deer, elk and pronghorn has been completed. This is usually around the first of July. Resident elk tags for capped zones such as Sawtooth B go on sale at midnight July 10.

answered 6/5/2014

Q: When can I purchase a resident over the counter deer or elk tag?

Provide as many specifics as you can to help better answer your question. Please omit personal information in this area.

A: 

Resident general season deer and elk tags will be available after the controlled hunt drawing for deer, elk and pronghorn has been completed. This is usually around the first of July. Resident elk tags for capped zones such as Sawtooth B go on sale at midnight July 10.

answered 6/5/2014

Q: Controlled hunt cow tags

I recently purchased a license and elk tags. Can I still apply for controlled cow elk tag if I don't pick up my regular elk tag.

A: 

The short answer is yes. During this first application period for deer, elk, pronghorn, fall bear and fall turkey all hunters can submit applications except those who have submitted an application for a moose, big horn sheep or mountain goat. Hunters need to read the rules of application found on page 108 of the 2014 big game proclamation booklets. If drawn, you will exchange your general season elk tag for the controlled hunt elk tag.

answered 5/20/2014

Q: 2013 General Harvest Results.

Is there a projected date for the 2013 general deer, elk and bear harvest results?

A: 

Harvest estimates from 2013 Controlled Hunts for Deer, Elk, and Pronghorn were posted on the IDFG website on 5/3/2014.
Harvest estimates from 2013 General Hunts for Elk were posted on 5/22/2014.
Harvest estimates from 2013 General Hunts for Deer will be posted on 5/30/2014.
I will check when the 2013 Black Bear data will be posted.

answered 5/13/2014