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 698 questions


One bighorn sheep tag in Unit 11 is offered every year. How you might acquire it alternates between a raffle and an auction. For example, one year the tag is auctioned to the highest bidder and the next year it is drawn through a raffle. This allows every hunter the chance to pursue the Unit 11 bighorn tag. The money raised through these special tags is dedicated to bighorn sheep management and disease investigations.

answered 5/3/2016


Drawing results will be posted to the Fish and Game website in early June. All applicants will receive either a tag or a refund check by mail no later than June 10.

answered 5/3/2016


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: Trophy Species waiting period

My friend drew a tag for a bighorn sheep in 2014 and harvested a ram. Can he apply for a moose tag in 2016, or does he have to wait until 2017 to apply? When does the 2 year waiting period for trophy species start?


Those who draw a trophy species must wait two years before applying for a trophy hunt again. Based on the information you provided, the individual must sit out the first application period in 2015 and 2016. They may apply for a moose hunt in first application period in 2017. They may also submit an application in the second application period in 2016 if any moose tags go unfilled during the drawing.

answered 4/25/2016

Q: Turkey tags?

I drew a unit 38 turkey tag April 15-30 was the dates I believe, I harvested a bird on the 16th. Am I able to buy another turkey tag and go hunt in a general unit for another bird?


Yes, you can purchase one extra turkey tag for the spring general season hunt. You may purchase a second extra turkey tag for a fall general season hunt as well.

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: Group Controlled hunt moose

If I put in as a group and am drawn but there is only 1 tag left, does the whole group get passed up? Are my odds better to draw if I put in as an individual?


Thank you for your question.
If you are part of a group application and the application is selected during the draw process but there are fewer tags remaining in the hunt you entered, the draw system will not award any tags to the group application and move on to the next application with an individual or group size equal to or less than the number of tags remaining in the hunt.
You may contact us at 208-334-3700 if you have additional questions about the controlled hunt draw process.

answered 4/18/2016

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: Bowhunter education

So I took my bow hunters ed. Do I need to go and shoot for some one like the do for hunters ed for rifles at the end or the course?


The bowhunter online course is online only. At the end of the course print your certification card and you take this to purchase your archery tag. If you participated in the instructor-led course, you received your card at the end of the course. Lost your card? Use our self-serve certification look up at - hunter education.

answered 4/2/2016

Q: Moose hunting non-resident allocation.

Hunt #3043 for Moose, 2015, shows that there were 2 tags available, but 1 was awarded to a non-resident.
Since there were more than 2 resident applicants, how can this be?


Idaho Fish and Game Commission rules for controlled hunts state: In controlled hunts with ten (10) or fewer tags, not more than one (1) nonresident tag will be issued. In controlled hunts, EXCEPT unlimited controlled hunts, with more than ten (10) tags, not more than ten percent (10%) of the tags will be issued to nonresidents. This rule shall be applied to each uniquely numbered controlled hunt and to the controlled hunts for each species.
Based on the rule stated above, the hunt with two tags could potentially have one tag drawn by a nonresident. It does not guarantee one tag will go to a nonresident but there is a chance one could in the random draw process.

answered 4/1/2016


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


You happen to find a pile of bones with a tag, we'd love to see a picture of the pile and a close up picture of the tag so that any numbers or words on the tag are visible. In exchange, we'd be happen to let you know what we know about that particular animal. Please call your local Fish and Game Office to share the information on what you found and the location. They'll let you know who to email the pictures to so we can look up the animal's history.

answered 2/14/2016

Q: Hunting wolves with artifical light.

Is it legal to hunt wolves with artificial light on private land in season with license and tag, with permission?


No its not legal. Wolves can only be hunted from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. They have shooting hours.

answered 2/10/2016

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: 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: How long to wait after purchasing a tag

How long must you wait after purchasing a tag before you can use it? I heard you must wait 24 hours.


Once you purchase a game tag, there is not a waiting period before you can go out and hunt on that tag.

answered 1/14/2016

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


Hunting without a proper license and hunting without a proper tag are misdemeanor violations in Idaho.  Idaho Code 36-1402 states that penalty for a misdemeanor violation is a fine of $25 to $1000, up to six months in jail, and up to three years of license revocation.

answered 12/28/2015

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


A harvested bobcat must be turned into Fish and Game to have a CITES tag attached to it, regardless of the method of take (this includes salvageed road kill). Yes, you will be charged for the tag and vendor fee. A fee of $2 will be charged for each pelt tag. An additional $1.75 vendor fee will be charged to each license holder when pelts are brought in for tagging.
Josh Royse
Magic Valley RCO

answered 12/25/2015

Q: Can i have more than one name on a trap tag?

My son and myself are planning on trapping together. As he is 12 years old and lives at home so we have same address, are we allowed to have both our names on the trap tag instead of putting two tags on the trap? The reason is if only one of us is checking traps that it will have our name on it. Another choice would be if only one of us has our name on the trap, could someone else that is a licensed trapper check our trap if they were in possession of a written note saying that the owner of the traps allows them to do so? The reason is not just for me and my son but if something happened where it was not possible to check the trap it would still be done by someone. I found nothing on this subject when reviewing the manual.
Allan Szews


On page 47 of the furbearer regulations in the section entitled "removing trapped animals of another" it states: No person shall remove wildlife from the trap or snare of another except licensed trappers with written permission from the owner.  In other words, so long as your name or your son's name (if he is licensed) is on the trap, and you both have written permission for each other to check the traps, then you are legal.  Please carry the permission with your license in case you are checked by an officer.

answered 12/17/2015

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