Idaho Hunting: Your Step-by-Step Guide To the Laws, Regulations, Licenses, Seasons ... And More!

Although hunting is not the most popular traditional practice in Idaho, the state still thrives in this aspect. There are a lot of games for residents and nonresident hunters to enjoy. The common big games are deer, elk, mountain lions, and bears, and the state has small games in abundance.

Idaho Hunting Regulations

Just as how it is done in almost every region of the US. Idaho has hunting laws, requirements, and regulations for hunters to abide by before taking wildlife and games. The Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife is in charge of enforcing these regulations.

Some important regulations hunters in Idaho should know include the following:

Hunting License Regulation

You need a valid Idaho hunting license before you can take wildlife and games in the state. This applies to both residents and non-resident hunters. However, there may be exceptions for the hunting of certain games without a license, but only the Idaho department for fish and wildlife can determine this.

Tagging Regulations

It is compulsory to tag certain animals after taking them. Some of the animals that need tagging are big game like bears, elks, turkeys, and deer. Also, hunters must know all tagging and taking requirements for the games they want to hunt. Tagging must be done properly to avoid violation of regulations.

Tagging Requirement

After you take any big game that requires tagging, you must first validate the game tag before attaching it to the carcass of the animals. For games like bear, wolf, or lion, it is acceptable to attach tags to their hides. You are required to attach the tag immediately after taking the game. To tag, you have to first remove the triangles around the tag that shows the month and date you are taking the game.

Hunters Dress Requirements in Idaho.

Before you hunt in Idaho, it is compulsory to meet the state’s hunters dressing requirements for specific games. The color of the dress accepted for hunting pheasant and other upland games is orange and at least a 36 square inch size. The dress should also be above the hunter’s waistline level.

This dress code is also required for hunters in the state fish and game properties WMA and for those on sponsored hunts in Idaho. However, on a general basis, the Idaho Department for Fish and Wildlife encourages all hunters to stick to the orange dress code regardless of what game they are hunting.

Idaho Hunting Bag Limits

Bag limits for hunting in Idaho are used to restrict the number of specific games that they can hunt in a particular season. Depending on the game that is to be hunted, bag limits can either be daily or seasonal.

For daily bag limits, the hunter will be restricted to just a specific number of games that can be taken per day. For seasonal bag limits, hunters will be restricted to the number of games that can be hunted within a specific game season.

Bag limits are not necessarily the same every year, or for a game hunting season. The Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife determines bag limits annually, based on the specific game population. It is compulsory for hunters to adhere to all bag limits and restrictions made available by the department. Violating bag limits can lead to fines and possibly revocation of hunting licenses.

Hunting Prohibitions in Idaho

Some of the most common violations for hunters to avoid in Idaho includes the following:

  • It is a prohibition to remove the evidence of game sex that you take in Idaho. You are required to leave all evidence of sex naturally attached to the game carcass, or the biggest part of the meat if the game is boned. Exceptions are made for games like bears and, wolfs and lions, where the evidence of sex must be left on their hide.
  • It is a prohibition to not tag games that require tagging or to tag them improperly. To tag according to requirements in Idaho, remove the month and date notches completely, and tag the game as soon as you harvest.
  • It is a prohibition for hunters to refuse to stop at Wildlife Management Areas check stations. It is compulsory for hunters and trappers to submit their self and hunting equipment for searching at every check station they encounter while going to hunt and when coming back from a hunt.
  • It is a prohibition to transport games and wildlife in Idaho without a proxy statement. For games taken by another hunter, a proxy statement is required for its transportation. Hunters get one form for proxy statements per a tag bought.
  • It is a prohibition to discharge a firearm from across a highway while hunting.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt animals when it is not their hunting season. It is the responsibility of a hunter to know the opening and closing dates of the game season for animals they like to take. Hunters must also familiarize themselves with other regulations like the species of game that is lawful to take, the sex that is lawful to take, and the boundaries for hunting the game. Hunters are also advised to check the rules every year in case it changes.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt with the wrong license. Hunters are required to possess the right license required for the game they are trying to take. This is common for non-resident hunters purchasing Idaho licenses that are only valid for residents of the state.
  • It is a prohibition for a hunter to transfer a hunting license or tag for use by another hunter.
  • It is a prohibition for you to take a game for another hunter who will attach his or her hunting tag. Party hunting is unlawful in Idaho.
  • It is a prohibition for any hunter to trespass on private land to hunt a game. Exceptions are made for landowners or hunters permitted by a landowner. Also, it is the responsibility of hunters to know that they are hunting on private property, as ignorance will not be an excuse for this violation.
  • When using motorized vehicles while hunting big games, it is the responsibility of a hunter to follow the rules for hunting with vehicles on either state or federally owned lands.

Idaho Hunting License, Permits, and Tags

A hunting license in Idaho is issued based on the hunter’s residency, type of game, and the age of the hunter. There are a lot of valid Idaho hunting licenses, permits, and tags, and they include the following:

Residents Hunting License

These are the hunting licenses available to residents of Idaho. To apply for these licenses, you must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months.

Adult Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to adult residents of Idaho and it allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting and fishing license based on validity. The annual licenses cost $38.75, while the ones valid for 3 years cost $97.

Junior Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to teenage residents of Idaho between the age of 14 and 17. It allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of Junior hunting and fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $19, while the one valid for 3 years costs $49.

Senior Hunting License

This license is available to senior residents of Idaho that are 65 years old or more. It allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of senior fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $13.75, while the ones valid for 3 years cost $33.5.

Sportsman’s Package License

This license comes with all the privileges of a resident hunting license as well as tags for taking games like turkeys, wolves, mountain lions, elks, and bears. Holders of this license are allowed to make use of muzzleloader firearms and archery firearms. It costs $144.6

Disabled Veterans License for Hunting and Fishing

This license is available to residents of Idaho that are disabled and have a letter from the veteran affair proving their disability percentage. They must be at least 40% disabled to apply for the license. It costs $5.57.

Non-Residents Hunting License

This is an Idaho out-of-state hunting license for non-residents that wish to take games within the state.

Adult Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to adult nonresidents and it allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting and fishing license based on validity. The annual licenses cost $264, while the one valid for 3 years cost $788.50

Adult Ordinary Hunting License

This license is available to adult nonresidents and allows them to partake in only hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting licenses based on validity. The one valid for 3 days costs $185, while the one valid for 3 years costs $551.5.

Small Game Hunting License

This license allows holders to partake in the hunting of games like migratory birds, upland games, cottontail rabbits, turkeys, furbearers, hares, and predators. However, the license is invalid for the first 5 days of the Idaho pheasant hunting season. There are 2 types of small game hunting licenses for non-residents based on validity. The one valid for 5 days costs $141.75, while the one valid for 3 days costs $71.71.

Trapping License

Nonresidents with this license are allowed to trap games in Idaho. It costs $331.75.

Junior Mentored Hunting License

This license is available to non-residents that are between the age of 10 and 17 years old. Non-residents with this license are not allowed to hunt on their own. They will be accompanied by a licensed adult who will be within conversation distance throughout the hunting. Junior non-residents that are 9 years old but will reach the age of 10 before hunting season can purchase this license. The license will also allow fishing access for 3 days. There are 2 types of this license based on validity. The one valid for one year costs $91.75. The one valid for 3 years cost $271.5

Disabled Veteran License for Non Residents

This license is available to nonresidents that are disabled and have a letter from the veteran affair proving their disability percentage. They must be at least 40% disabled to apply for the license. The license also comes with fishing access for 3 days and costs $31.5.

Idaho Fishing License, Permits, and Tags.

Fishing license, permits, and tags issued in Idaho include the following:

Residents Fishing License

These are the fishing licenses available for residents of Idaho.

Adult Fishing License

This license is available for resident adults that want to fish in Idaho water bodies. There are 2 types of resident adult fishing licenses in Idaho based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $30.5 and the one valid for 3 years costs $73.75.

Daily Fishing License

This license is valid per day for residents of Idaho that want to fish. It cost $13.5 for the first day, while each consecutive day after will cost $6.

Junior Fishing License

This license is valid for teenage residents in Idaho between the age of 14 and 17 that want to partake in fishing. There are 2 types of junior fishing licenses in Idaho based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $13.75 and the one valid for 3 years costs $73.75.

Military Hunting and Fishing License

This is a combination of both fishing and hunting licenses valid for residents of Idaho that are members of the US military. It costs $20.5.

Non Residents Fishing License

This license is valid for non-residents that want to fish in Idaho. They include the following:

Adult Fishing License

This license is available for nonresident adults that want to fish in Idaho water bodies. There are 2 types of nonresident adult fishing licenses in Idaho based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $98.25 and the one valid for 3 years costs $291.25.

Daily Fishing License

This license is valid per day for nonresidents of Idaho that want to fish. It cost $15 for the first day, while each consecutive day after will cost $7.

Junior Fishing License

This license is valid for teenage nonresidents between the age of 14 and 17 that want to partake in fishing. There are 2 types of junior nonresidents fishing licenses in Idaho based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $21.75 and the one valid for 3 years costs $61.75.

Idaho Hunting Season 2020/21

Hunting season in Idaho varies from one game to another. It is important for hunters in the state to know the hunting season for the game they want to take.

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Idaho includes the following:

Idaho deer hunting Seasons

  • General Hunting Season (10th of October to 1st of December)
  • Idaho Elk Hunting Seasons
  • General Hunting Season (1st of August to 31st of December)

Elks hunting season in Idaho varies based on the various hunting zones and methods in the state. You can make inquiries from the Idaho Department of fish and game about hunting zones.

Idaho Pronghorn Hunting Seasons

  • Controlled Hunting Season (25th of September to 31st of December)
  • Idaho Black Bear Hunting Seasons
  • General Hunting Seasons (30th of August to 31st of October and 15h of April to 30th of April.

For bear hunting in Idaho, there is a seasonal limit of just one bear per season. It is also unlawful to trap, capture or snare bears.

Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting Season

  • General Hunting Season (30th of August to 30th of June)

Idaho Turkey Hunting Season

  • General fall Hunting Season (30th of August to 31st of January)
  • Spring Youth Hunting Season (8th of April to 14th of April)
  • Spring General Hunting Season (15th of April to 25th of May)

Idaho Small Games Hunting Seasons

  • Cottontail and Hare Hunting Seasons (30th of August to 31st of March)
  • Quail Hunting Seasons (18th of September to 31st of January)
  • Chukar and Partridge Hunting Seasons (19th of September to 31st of January)
  • Male Pheasants Hunting Seasons (9th of October to 31st of December)
  • Squirrel Hunting Season (30th of August to 31st of March)

Dates for the start and end of a game hunting season will vary based on the different Idaho hunting zone.

Also, most big games in Idaho have controlled hunting to curb their overpopulation. To hunt these games, you will need permits.

Idaho Wildlife, Games, and Fish

There are various games and wildlife available in Idaho, and they include the following:

Idaho Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Idaho is common statewide. The species common to the northern part of the salmon river is the whitetail deer. They are hunted in the fall period, even more, than the mule deer. However, mule deer are more occurring in the southern part of Idaho.

Idaho Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting in Idaho is common around rivers in the state. But they are more established in Weiser Payette and Snake Rivers. There are also great hunting opportunities for Turkeys in places like the Craig Mountain WMA. You can find turkeys in federal and state hunting lands as well as private sand timber lands in the state.

Idaho Fox Hunting

There are various types of fox species available for hunting in Idaho. The red fox is common in almost all regions of the state. There are the kit foxes that are usually rare but inhabit the southern part of Idaho. Kit foxes are miniature and only weigh around 3 to 6 pounds with lengths between 18 to 21 inches. The largest fox species in Idaho is the gray fox.

Idaho Bear Hunting

Black bear hunting also takes place in Idaho. They are usually difficult to hunt because their habitat is surrounded by terrains that are almost inaccessible. They live in areas surrounded by plenty of food sources like shrubs and hard mast. Bears in Idaho are also found in deciduous forested areas, subalpine ridgetops, and wet meadows.

Idaho Pronghorns Hunting

Because of their nature, pronghorns will mostly be found in areas of the state with wide and open spaces. They inhabit shrubby and grasslands regions where the plants do not exceed 2 feet and these are the places where pronghorn hunting in Idaho mostly takes place. In the southern part of Idaho, they inhabit the sagebrush, especially in the winter period where they get most food sources from this area.

Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting

Mountain lion hunting in Idaho takes place in all parts of the state because of its abundance. They are more plentiful in the Magic Valley Region. In the winter, they tend to come out more to prey on elks and deer.

Idaho Quail Hunting

The most common quail in Idaho is the California quail found in the south-central part of the state. They can be found along water bodies like streams and rivers.

Idaho Pheasants Hunting

Pheasants hunting in Idaho takes place in clearwater areas and Magic Valley regions. However, their populations have reduced in recent years due to new farming methods and increased urbanization in the state. But there are still a lot of wild pheasants available in Idaho.

Idaho Duck Hunting

There are various species of ducks in Idaho, and because they are waterfowls, the best places you can locate them are in wetland regions away from human settlements. Duck hunting in Idaho also takes place in wildlife refuges. Ducks inhabit water bodies like ponds and lakes, and they can be found in the shallow parts of the water.

Idaho Public Shooting Ranges for Hunting Practices

Hunters are advised to improve their use of firearms whenever they have the time to do so. Some of the shooting ranges in Idaho that is open to the public include the following:

  • Black's Creek Public Shooting Range - Kuna
  • Farragut Public Shooting Range - Athol (adjacent to Farragut State Park)
  • Boise River Wildlife Management Area Archery Range - Boise
  • Garden Valley Public Shooting Range - Garden Valley

Idaho Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease

Hunting lands for sale in Idaho include the following:

  • Driggs, Idaho (Teton County) 4,000 acres
  • Sun Valley, Idaho (Blaine County) 1,226 acres
  • Wilder, Idaho (Canyon County) 13.98 acres
  • Kamiah, Idaho (Idaho County) 2,800 acres

Hunting lands for lease in Idaho include the following:

  • Idaho Falls, 83402 (Bonneville County) 5,000 acres.
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