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 122 questions

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

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


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

answered 6/28/2016

Q: 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: How do I get a license to own a wolf?

I am planing to own a pure bred wolf, though in law, I must obtain a license to merely own one. Therefore, what must I do to get this license?


Pet/Domestic wolves are usually not pure wolf.  They may be close in heritage to thier wild cousins but usually show some sign of domestic dog.
The permit is to allow personnel to identify domestic wolves from wild wolves, if they show all primary wolf characteristics and no domestic dog characteristics.
The permit is issued by Fish and Game through the regional offices.
Contact your nearest regional office for a wolf permit application and to schedule a visit by fish and game personnel to take photos and evaluate the animal for primary wolf characteristics.
Primary wolf characteristics are found in IDAPA
a. Eyes shine greenish orange
b. Ears rounded and smaller in proportion to those of the coyote
c. Snout is broad with nose pad wider than one (1) inch
d. Legs are long, an adult would stand at approximately twenty-six (26) to thirty-two (32) inches at the shoulder
e. Length is four and one-half (4.5) to six (6) feet from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail
f. An adult weighs at least eighty (80) pounds
h. Fur is long and coarse, varies from white to black but is generally grayish in coloration resembling the coyote.            The underparts are not as white and the legs and feet are not as red as those of the coyote.

answered 1/31/2016

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: Wolf Limit

If I buy both a wolf hunting and a wolf trapping license, I can buy 15 tags and bag 15 wolves. Correct?


As a hunter you can purchase 5 wolf tags per calendar year (January 1 through December 31).  As long as you have taken the required wolf trapping class and have a trapping license, you can purchase 5 wolf trapping tags per trapping year (July 1 through June 30).  This could result in the purchase of 15 wolf tags in a calendar year, but, that would not work each year. 

answered 12/12/2015

Q: Can you use game roadkill for trapping bait?

Can you use big game road kill as a bait during trapping season?


Road killed big game animals may only be used as bait for wolf trapping.  No other animals may be baited with road killed big game.

answered 12/8/2015

Q: Population of woves in Idaho

How does the IFG count the wolf population? Do they use estimates based on mortality rates or actual visual counts?


Basically, we use radio-collared individuals, DNA surveys, and direct observations to document as many wolf packs as we can.  Then, during mid-winter, we fly the radio-collared packs and directly observe the number of wovles in those packs.  Multiplying the number of packs documented times the average number of wolves per pack gives us the number of wolves in documented packs.  From prior research, we also know that there is an additional 10-15% of wovles that are not associated with a pack, so an additional 12.5% is added to give us the number of wolves in documented packs (only). 
An important fact - this is not the same as an estimate of the number of wolves in Idaho (as is widely reported), because it does not include any methodology to account for packs that exist, but were not documented.  Thus, it is useful for telling us if we are near or well-above the minimum recovery standard (150 wolves), but it is biased lower than the true population.  Further, changes from year to year don't necessarily reflect changes to the wolf popualtion because the number is affected by how much effort is available to document the number of occupied packs.

answered 11/27/2015

Q: Can you buy multiple wolf tags or just one at a time?

Can I buy multiple wolf tags at one time or can I only buy one at a time/per day?


You can purchase multiple wolf tags at a time.  Hunters may buy up to five gray wolf hunting tags per calendar year. Certified wolf trappers may buy up to five gray wolf trapping tags per trapping season for use in those zones with an open trapping season.
For more information about wolf hunting, please see the Grey Wolf section of our Big Game regulation.

answered 11/6/2015

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

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


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

answered 10/12/2015

Q: Bow hunting licenses

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


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

answered 9/16/2015

Q: Non-resident trapping

As a Michigan resident, may I trap Bobcats and / or wolves ? I understand I would have to take the wolf trapping course.


Our recipricol agreement with other states allows you to trap for a species in Idaho so long as your state allows nonresidents to trap for the same species in your state.  If Michigan allows NR trappers to trap bobcat then you can trap bobcats in Idaho.  The limit would be what your state allows NR trappers to keep in Michigan.  The only exceptions are for wolves.  NR trappers are allowed to trap wolves in Idaho so long as they have taken the Idaho wolf trapping class, regardless of if the NR state of residence allows wolf trapping or not.

answered 8/25/2015

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

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


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

answered 8/19/2015

Q: Maximum wolf harvest allowed per person

Your rules are confusing. A person can buy 5 wolf trapping tags and 5 wolf hunting tags. Does that mean the maximum number of wolves one person can kill in a year is 10?


Wolf hunting tags can be used for either hunting or trapping, while wolf trapping tags can only be used for trapping. Thus, hunters may take up to 5 wolves, and trappers may take up to 10.

answered 8/16/2015

Q: Do i need to attend a trapping class to get a trapping license?

Do i need to take a general class in order to trap in Idaho other than the wolf trapping class?


We do recommend that trappers take a trapping course to learn important skills such as avoiding non-target catch, best management practices, ethics and responsibilities. Our trapping course includes both classroom time taught by a trapper and outdoor trap setting skills.
A trapping course is not required in Idaho.

answered 8/10/2015

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

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


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

answered 8/6/2015

Q: Private property wolf harvest

The newer regulations allow year-round harvest (limited) on private property -- right? Where will these totals be reflected? It doesn't look like anything has changed in the 2014 totals, and nothing shows up yet on the 2015 spreadsheet. Does that mean no wolves have been harvested on private property outside the regular season dates, or they're just not posted yet?


All legal wolf harvest is updated in those tables as it occurs. If wolf harvest occurs on private land in a zone with a year-round harvest season, the harvest is legal and within an open season and will be updated in the table. The harvest table does not include illegal killings or other mortality factors.
The 2014 wolf harvest on private land with an open season would have been entered into the table at the time it was originally reported. 
The table does not differentiate harvest by land ownership.
As of August 3, there has been no wolf harvest reported for the 2015-2016 hunting season which opened July 1.

answered 7/31/2015

Q: Out of state Mentored license vs. Passport

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


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

answered 2/27/2015

Q: Trapping class

Do you need trappers certification to get a trapping license?


At this time (December 2014), trapper certification is not required for a general trapping license.  However, the Fish and Game Commission may consider a mandatory trapper education course in the near future.  If you are interested in trapping wolves, then wolf trapper certification is required.

answered 12/15/2014

Q: Dogs chasing deer

If I see a dog or dogs chasing deer on my property or on public property can I shoot the dog? I am also concerned that these dogs will be caught in my wolf traps or snares.Yes, I have a wolf trappers license.
I am trying to find out who the owner is, of these two dogs.


If a a private individual were to kill a dog at large it could carry criminal or civil liability.  The Fish and Game director or any peace officer, or persons authorized to enforce fish and game laws are authorized to destroy the dog at large when chasing big game.  Here is the section from Idaho Code 36-1101:
Regulation of Dogs.
(A)  No person shall make use of a dog for the purpose of pursuing, taking or killing any of the big game animals of this state except as otherwise provided by rules of the commission.
(B)  Any person who is the owner of, or in possession of, or who harbors any dog found running at large and which is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing or attacking, or which injures or kills deer or any other big game animal within this state shall be guilty as provided in section 36-1401(a)1.(F), Idaho Code. It shall be no defense that such dog or dogs were pursuing said big game animals without the aid or direction of the owner, possessor, or harborer.
(C)  Any dog found running at large and which is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing deer or any other big game animal may be destroyed without criminal or civil liability by the director, or any peace officer, or other persons authorized to enforce the Idaho fish and game laws.

The best thing you can do is contact your local sheriff or conservation officers.

answered 12/7/2014

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

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


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

answered 12/3/2014

Q: If I purchase a non-resident nongame license and my partner a regular hunting license and wolf tag am I legal if I call in a wolf and he shoots it?

I only wish to purchase a non-resident non-game license to be legal in Idaho to call coyotes,but my non-resident hunting partner wants to be legal with the regular non-resident hunting license and wolf tag in case we would happen to call in a wolf so he could shoot it.Is this a legally allowable arrangement according to the Idaho hunting regulations for us in case we would get lucky enough that we called in a wolf and he shot it while coyote calling?With just the non-game license I don't want to run into any legal trouble for me if he would shoot a wolf while out coyote calling with him!


The nonresident nongame license is valid for hunting unprotected birds and animals and predatory wildlife of this state.  This license is a good option if you are only interested in hunting coyotes, which are classified as a predator.   You may hunt with another person even if they have a different type of license such as suggested in your question.
If you called in a wolf while coyote hunting it would be legal for your hunting partner to shoot the wolf provided all of the conditions of a legal harvest are met. However, the wolf is classified as a big game animal.

answered 11/30/2014

Q: Wolves in Idaho

Are the wolfs you brought into Idaho the original species that here all along the Canadian wolf


Let us know if this doesn't answer your question:

answered 11/15/2014

Q: Wolf trapping courses

when will you have wolf trapping courses in jerome and how will I hear about them?


We've only had a few Wolf Trapping Classes in Jerome because of few requests.  There is a Wolf Trapping Class scheduled for Idaho Falls on 11/22/2014 which may be the closest class to Jerome for several months.
To find out what classes are available visit our website @ .  If any classes are scheduled it will show here.
If there are no scheduled classes you can email with your name, phone#, and the places you would like to take a class and you will be notified when a class is scheduled.
To schedule a class we need to have at least 7 people interested in taking the class in that location.
For any other questions you can contact your local Fish & Game office.

answered 11/10/2014

Q: Is a furbearer license required?

If I am hunting coyotes, and a bob cat, red fox, wolf, or mountain lion, comes to an electronic call, can I take that animal without a furbearer's license? I understand a tag will be required to harvest a wolf or mountain lion.


For those species that can be hunted such as bobcat, fox, coyote, wolf, and lion, a trapping license is not required.  We do not have a furbearer license, only a trapping license that is required for trapping furbearers.  Please be sure to check the rules on fox as some counties in the state, i.e. Adams and Valley County have fox hunting restrictions.  You may find the rules on furbearers at:

answered 11/9/2014

Q: Need to reprint license

I purchased my non resident hunting license, white-tail tag and wolf tag online through this site. I received my white tail and wolf tag but not my license in the mail. How do I get a copy of my license?


Over the years we have received many suggestions from our customers about having the ability to print their license from home. In the spring of 2013 we made a change to our Internet purchase site that now allows hunters and anglers to print their license instead of receiving it in the maile. Per our front page and the purchase confirmation page, licenses are now to be printed by the person making the purchase via the Internet. Below is a section from the front page of our purchase website.BEFORE you continue.Some - but not all - licenses and tags can be printed on your own printer. If your hunting or fishing requires a tag or permit to be notched, validated, or attached to the harvested animal within the next 7-10 days, you should consider purchasing your license, tag, and/or permit through a license vendor in the State of Idaho.
What you can print at home....Items such as hunting or fishing licenses and controlled hunt applications can be printed on your home printer. You will only have ONE chance to print the license on your printer. Make sure your printer is on and working properly BEFORE clicking on the print button. Printer requirements.
You do have a couple of options for getting your license:
You can contact one of our Department Regional or Headquarters office for a duplicate license to be mailed to you.
When you are in Idaho you may get a duplicate at a Department Regional or Headquarters office.
You may purchase a duplicate license on-line (you will need to make sure you have a printer to print the license)
You may purchase a duplicate license at any Idaho license vendor.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at 208-334-3700.

answered 11/3/2014