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Hunting in Idaho

Idaho is a dream destination for any outdoor enthusiast. With its vast, untouched wilderness and plethora of wildlife, it’s no surprise why 20 million acres of public land call this state home.

From experienced hunters to those just starting out, Idaho has something for everyone – rifle hunting, archery shooting or muzzleloading? The options are endless. Plus there are plenty of guided hunts available if you need extra help in the field.

But that’s not all this gorgeous state has to offer – explore miles upon miles of stunning scenery while hiking or camping; go fishing or boating on one of its many lakes; observe wildlife like never before! From wide open spaces to diverse populations, a hunting experience in Idaho will surely stay with you forever.

In this detailed guide, we will cover all you need to know about hunting in Idaho. We go over what type of animals this state has to offer, where to find prey, hunting seasons, hunting license information, and much more.

Hunting in Idaho

What Can You Hunt in Idaho?

If you’re looking to hunt big game in Idaho, then you’ve come to the right place. Home of elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and more – The Gem State offers some of the best hunting in America. You’ll need a valid license for each species but once you have those squared away, it’s time to hit the field.

Don’t forget about small game either! Whether it’s quail or rabbits that tickle your fancy – there is no shortage of options here. Upland birds such as pheasant and grouse are always on offer while hares provide an extra challenge for even experienced hunters. Just remember to check any regulations before heading out into the wilds of Idaho.

For waterfowlers, there is plenty on offer with ducks like mallards and teal making up much of what can be found in this region.


Hunting deer in Idaho is a popular pastime for many outdoorsmen, and there’s no shortage of opportunities. Whether it’s mule deer in the western part of the state or white-tailed deer and elk in the east – all three species can be found across Idaho.

The hunting season runs from August 15th to December 31st each year, so make sure you’ve got your license and know what regulations apply before heading out.

Still-hunting is one of the most favored methods used by hunters; this involves slowly and quietly walking through wooded areas until spotting their target. Spot-and-stalk hunting also has its place, with binoculars or scopes helping spot animals from afar before stalking up close enough for a shot.

Bait can attract prey into an area where they’re easier to hunt as well. With careful consideration given to these techniques plus any local rules, you’re guaranteed success come next hunting season.

Deer Season in Idaho

Season Dates
Regular Deer Archery Aug 30 – Dec 31
Regular Deer Short-range weapons Aug 30 – Nov 24
Regular Deer General Sep 15 – Nov 20
Regular Deer Muzzleloader Nov 10 – Dec 01
White-tailed Deer Archery Aug 30 – Dec 31
White-tailed Deer General Sep 15 – Dec 09
White-tailed Deer Muzzleloader Nov 10 – Dec 09
White-tailed Deer Short-range weapons Oct 10 – Dec 31
Controlled Hunt Any Weapon Aug 15 – Dec 20
Controlled Hunt Archery Aug 15 – Dec 19
Controlled Hunt Youth Aug 30 – Dec 31
Controlled Hunt Muzzleloader Oct 01 – Dec 09


Idaho is home to some of America’s most majestic black bears, making for an unforgettable hunting experience. If you’re thinking of going out on a hunt, make sure to purchase your valid license before heading out – it’s required by law.

Once you’ve got that in the bag, brush up on the local terrain and regulations; black bears tend to be more concentrated in places like Clearwater National Forest and Salmon River Mountains. And as always when dealing with wildlife: safety first!

Bears can get unpredictable if provoked or startled so stay alert at all times while keeping all safety protocols firmly in mind. With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll have everything needed for a safe and successful bear-hunting trip into Idaho’s wild lands.

Black Bear Season Idaho

Unit Dates
1, 2, 3, 5, 29, 30, 30A, 36A, 34, 35, 36, 39, 33 30 Aug – 31 Oct
43, 44, 48, 50, 51, 58, 59, 59A, 60, 45, 49, 52 30 Aug – 31 Oct
60A, 63, 63A, 61, 62, 62A, 66A, 76, 71, 72, 64, 65,66, 67,69 30 Aug – 31 Oct
1, 2, 3, 5, 29, 30, 30A, 36A, 43, 44, 48 15 Apr – 15 Jun
45, 49, 52, 66A, 76, 71, 72 15 Apr – 15 Jun
4, 4A, 6, 26, 27 30 Aug – 30 Nov
4, 4A, 6, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69 15 Apr – 30 Jun
50, 51,58, 59,59A, 60A, 63, 63A, 60, 62, 62A, 61 15 Apr – 30 Jun
Youth Only Areas 01 Sep – 31 Oct
Spring Black Bear Controlled Units 01 Apr – 22 May

Mountain Lion

Mountain lions are a powerful and majestic presence in Idaho. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can have an unforgettable hunt! Here’s what you need to know about mountain lion hunting in Idaho:

First off, make sure to get your valid license and tag for each animal before setting out on your hunt. Moreover, all hunters must pass an approved hunter education course before they’re allowed to purchase a license or tag.

There are specified seasons where it’s legal to hunt mountain lions as well as certain areas with open access – so be aware of these restrictions when planning your trip.

Familiarize yourself with the terrain of the area; since they’re great climbers who prefer steep hillsides or rocky outcroppings – knowing the landscape increases chances of success significantly.

Lastly, study up on how these big cats behave – their movements will help guide you while you stalk them down. So prepare wisely and enjoy every moment of being part of nature.

Hunting Mountain Lions in Idaho

Mountain Lion Season Idaho

Unit Dates
1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16A, 17, 19, 20, 21, 28, 27, 40, 41, 42 Aug 30 – Jun 30
8, l lA, SA, lOA, 11, 3, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19A, 21A, 23, 22, 31, 32, 24, 25, 32A Aug 30 – Mar 31
29, 30, 30A, 36A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36B, 38, 39, 37, 37A, Aug 30 – Mar 31
43, 44, 46, 48, 54, 55, 57, 63, 63A, 64, 65, 67, 68, 68A, 71, 73A, 74 Aug 30 – Mar 31
45, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 52A, 60, 60A, 61, 62, 62A Aug 30 – Mar 31
66, 66A, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78 Aug 30 – Mar 31


Idaho is a haven for gray wolf hunters, boasting an estimated population of 1,500 wolves. With the Gem state being one of only five states allowing wolf hunting, it’s no surprise that many hunters flock here to experience the unique thrill.

Before you can set out on your mission though, there are certain rules and regulations you must adhere to – namely obtaining a valid hunting license from Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game. It’s also important to know where these majestic creatures can be found so as not to break any laws or put yourself in danger.

When gearing up for your expedition into wild Idaho lands, make sure you have plenty of ammo on hand along with binoculars or scopes; tracking down those elusive animals requires some serious equipment.

With all this preparation done right though, nothing should stand between you and success in bagging a prized gray wolf.

Wolf Season

Season Dates
Private Land Jul 01 – Jun 30


Heading out on an elk hunt in Idaho? There’s plenty of opportunity for a challenge. Archery season runs from August to September and rifle season starts in October until November.

You can find larger herds throughout the state, or seek out smaller groups if you’re looking for something more difficult. If that weren’t enough, bulls are rutting during this same time period – making them easy targets for experienced hunters.

Just remember to get your license and tags before you go – regulations vary by location so check with Fish & Game Dept. first.

Elk Season in Idaho

Season Dates
Archery Aug 30 – Sep 30
Archery Aug 01 – Sep 30
Late Archery Dec 01 – Dec 31
Any Weapon Aug 01 – Dec 31
Any Weapon Oct 10 – Dec 30
Muzzleloader Sep 01 – Dec 31
Muzzleloader Dec 02 – Dec 08


Moose are some of the biggest game animals in North America, and they inhabit Idaho’s forests and mountains. Hunting them requires strategy, perseverance, and an understanding of their behavior.

It’s essential to remember that moose are skittish creatures who will likely flee if they feel threatened – approach with caution.

You’ll need a highly accurate rifle with a scope capable of reaching at least 300 yards as well as quality optics for scouting potential targets from afar. Camo clothing is also important so you don’t spook your prey away.

When it comes to regulations, there are specific rules governing moose hunting in Idaho: the season runs from late August until early October (depending on the region), hunters must have a valid license before heading out into the field, and bag limits/size restrictions must be adhered to strictly.

Moose Season Idaho

Species Dates
Antlered Moose Aug 30 – Dec 01
Antlerless Moose Oct 15 – Nov 23


Pronghorns are an iconic species found throughout much of the western United States and Idaho is no exception. If you’re looking to hunt these magnificent animals, it’s important to know your stuff before heading out into the field.

First off, make sure you have a valid hunting license from IDFG – this will save you from any legal trouble later on. Then familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding bag limits and season dates so that everything goes smoothly in the end.

When it comes to pronghorn behavior, they typically form large herds and can be spooked easily – so stay downwind when possible. To further conceal your presence, camouflage patterns should definitely come in handy here as well.

Lastly, remember that pronghorns can run at incredible speeds; if you plan on taking one home with you, then prepare for some serious stamina testing.

Idaho has plenty of opportunities for game hunters who want to bring home a trophy-worthy buck or doe but safety always comes first – don’t forget about proper precautions including wearing blaze orange during certain times of year too.

Hunting Pronghorns in Idaho

Pronghorn Season

Season Dates
Pronghorn 25 Sep – 24 Oct
Doe or Fawn 25 Oct – 30 Nov, 01 Nov – 30 Nov
Archery 15 Aug – 15 Sep, 15 Aug – 30 Aug, 01 Sep – 15 Sep, 10 Sep – 24 Sep
Muzzleloader 15 Aug – 15 Sep, 15 Aug – 30 Aug, 10 Sep – 24 Sep
Short Range Weapon 25 Sep – 24 Oct
Youth Season 25 Sep – 24 Oct
Youth Only (Doe or Fawn only) 25 Oct – 31 Dec, 15 Aug – 24 Oct
Youth Only (Muzzleloader ) 08 Aug – 24 Oct
Youth Only (Archery) 15 Aug – 05 Sep


If you plan on turkey hunting in Idaho, be sure to get a valid license. You can easily purchase one online or at any sporting goods store – it’s also important that you check for the necessary permits and tags required for your specific area.

Brush up on the different species of turkeys found in Idaho: Merriam’s Wild Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, and Eastern Wild Turkey. Each has its own unique traits and behaviors that should inform how you hunt them.

Idaho is home to diverse habitats from mountain ranges and forests down to deserts – knowing which areas are likely hotspots will help make your hunt more successful.

Turkeys aren’t easy prey so take time before heading out into the field to hone your shooting skills with a shotgun or bow-and-arrow until they’re second nature; that’ll give you an edge when it comes time for bagging birds.

Turkey Season

Season Dates
Spring Turkey Season Apr 15 – May 15
Spring Youth Hunt Apr 08 – May 25
Fall Turkey Season Aug 30 – 31 Jan
Fall Youth Hunt Aug 30 – Oct 09, Sep 15 – Nov 30
Spring Controlled Hunt Apr 15 – May 25
Fall Controlled Hunt Sep 01 – Dec 31

Duck Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
Area 1 Oct 19 – Jan 31 7 per day
Area 2 Oct 07 – Jan 19 7 per day
Area 3 Oct 07 – Jan 19 7 per day
Youth & Veteran Season Sep 23 – Sep 24 7 per day

Goose Season

Hunting Geese in Idaho

Season Dates Bag Limit
Canada Goose (Area 1) Oct 19 – Jan 31 5 per day
Canada Goose (Area 2) Oct 07 – Jan 19 5 per day
Canada Goose (Area 3) Oct 07 – Oct 22, Nov 04 – Jan 31 5 per day
Canada Goose (Area 4) Sep 01 – Sep 15, Oct 07 – Jan 04 5 per day
White-Fronted Goose (Area 1) Oct 07 – Jan 19 10 per day
White-Fronted Goose (Area 2) Oct 19 – Jan 31 10 per day
White-Fronted Goose (Area 3) Nov 06 – Feb 18 10 per day
Light Goose (Area 1) Oct 07 – Jan 19 20 per day
Light Goose (Area 2) Oct 19 – Jan 31 20 per day
Light Goose (Area 3) Nov 27 – Mar 10 20 per day
Light Goose (Area 4) Oct 07 – Dec 13, Feb 03 – Mar 10 20 per day

Sandhill Crane Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Sandhill Crane Sep 01 – Sep 30 ——–

Dove Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Mourning Dove Sep 01 – Oct 30 15
White-winged Dove Sep 01 – Oct 30 15

Crow Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Crow Oct 08 – Feb 28 No Limit

Swan Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Swan Oct 07 – Dec 01 1 per day

Bighorn Sheep Season

Hunting Bighorn Sheeps in Idaho

Species Dates
Bighorn Sheep Aug 30 – Oct 08
Rams Aug 30 – Oct 31

Mountain Goat Season

Species Dates
Mountain Goat Aug 30 – Nov 12

Bobcat Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Bobcat Dec 14 – Feb 16 ——-

Coyote Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Coyote Jan 01 – Dec 31 ——-

Pheasant Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
Area 1 Oct 13 – Dec 31 3 per day (Roosters only)
Area 2 Oct 20 – Nov 30 3 per day (Roosters only)
 Area 3 Oct 20 – Dec 31 3 per day (Roosters only)

Rabbit Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Snowshoe Hare Aug 30 – Mar 31 8 per day
Cottontail Aug 30 – Mar 31 8 per day

Grouse Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Dusky, Ruffed and Spruce Grouse (Area 1) Aug 30 – 31 Dec 4 per day
Dusky, Ruffed and Spruce Grouse (Area 2) Aug 30 – 31 Jan 4 per day
Sage Grouse  Sep 17 – Oct 31 2 per day
Grouse Oct 01 – Oct 31 2 per day

Idaho Hunting License Information

If you’re looking to hunt in Idaho, anyone born after January 1st, 1975 needs a valid hunting license. Luckily, there are a few different options depending on your individual circumstances. Residents can snag an annual license if they’ve been living in the state for at least half a year prior to purchase; non-residents also have access to this option. Lifetime licenses are also available to purchase.

Youth licenses and discounts are available for disabled veterans and active-duty military members, while combination packages offer fishing and hunting privileges.

On top of that, big game hunters will need additional tags before they head out – these can be acquired online or from authorized vendors throughout Idaho.

So whatever type of hunter you may be – young or old; resident or non-resident – make sure you check out all the options available so you get exactly what you need.

Where Can You Hunt in Idaho?

Idaho is a veritable playground for the hunter, with its varied terrain and abundant wildlife. Elk hunters flock to the Clearwater National Forest and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area in search of trophy bulls, while deer and moose can be found in the Salmon River Mountains and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Meanwhile, duck enthusiasts make their way to Snake River where they’re sure to get some serious action. Other hotspots include Lake Lowell near Nampa as well as Lake Walcott near Burley. Whether you’re after elk or ducks, Idaho has something for every kind of hunter.

Public Hunting Places in Idaho

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a prime hunting destination, boasting over 1.3 million acres of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife. Elk can be found in abundance during their rutting season from September through October, while mule deer are plentiful but more difficult to spot due to their smaller size and darker coloration.

Hunters will need to bring along an adventurous spirit as they venture into the wilds for these big game animals – whether it’s elk or black bear, mountain lion or bighorn sheep – this area offers something for all outdoorsmen.

Clearwater National Forest

Clearwater National Forest is a great place for hunting in Idaho. With over two million acres of lush landscape to explore, it’s a hunter’s dream come true. Whether you’re looking for big game animals like elk, mule deer, and black bear or small game such as grouse and snowshoe hares – this forest has something for everyone. Even if you want something unique – the area offers bighorn sheep and mountain goat hunting too.

The diverse terrain provides plenty of opportunities to track down your target. From open meadows to thick forests and steep mountainsides – there are countless places just waiting to be discovered by keen hunters.

Idaho Panhandle National Forests

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests are home to an abundance of big game species, including elk, moose, deer, bear, and mountain lion. Not to mention the upland birds like grouse and pheasant as well as waterfowl such as ducks and geese. With so many different animals around for you to hunt down your next trophy.

The terrain in the forests is nothing short of spectacular – from lush meadows to jagged mountainsides, there’s no shortage of places waiting for you to explore them all.

Safety should always be a top priority when hunting in these woods though. Make sure you check up on local regulations before going out on a hunt. Also, remember to wear blaze orange clothing at all times while having someone accompany you during it just for extra assurance.

Payette National Forest

Hunting in the Payette National Forest is one of our favorite activities. With over two million acres of public land, this Idaho gem provides plenty of space to hunt all sorts of game — from elk and deer to black bears and mountain lions.

The terrain is beautiful yet rugged; dense forests with thick undergrowth, rocky ridges offering sweeping views – it’s perfect for a variety of hunting techniques like spot-and-stalk or still-hunting. But you have to be prepared – since weather conditions can change quickly throughout the day, layering up your clothing is essential.

Frank ChurchRiver of No Return Wilderness

Exploring the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is an incredible experience. From open meadows to dense forests and steep mountainsides – this vast area has something for everyone. For hunters, it’s easy to find your perfect spot thanks to the variety of terrain and habitats available here.

From bald eagles soaring above you, ospreys diving in for their catch, or bighorn sheep grazing on hillsides – wildlife abounds throughout this remarkable wilderness. Not only that but also stunning mountain vistas along with breathtaking views from Salmon River make a visit even more memorable.

Private Hunting Places in Idaho

Experience the great outdoors of Idaho in a unique way by taking advantage of its private hunting grounds. These exclusive areas offer prime access to some of the best game in the state, giving you an opportunity to finally bag that trophy elk or deer you’ve been dreaming about.

Private hunting places in Idaho are abundant and come in all sizes and locations – from remote, secluded spots for those who want peace and quiet with easy access to modern amenities. No matter where your adventure takes you, rest assured there will be plenty of space for privacy away from other hunters.

On top of providing unbeatable access to premium hunting grounds, many private hunting places also boast comfortable accommodations such as cabins, RV hookups, and fishing ponds as well as fun activities like ATV trails that make your stay even more enjoyable so you can focus on what matters most: enjoying your hunt!