Although hunting may not be the most popular traditional practice in Idaho, the state still thrives in this aspect, offering a wide variety of games for residents and nonresident hunters to enjoy. From common big games like deer, elk, mountain lions, and bears to an abundance of small games, Idaho provides ample opportunities for hunters to experience the thrill of the hunt. However, hunting in Idaho comes with its own set of regulations, licensing requirements, and hunting seasons, which all hunters must adhere to before taking wildlife and games. In this article, we will explore the hunting regulations, licensing details, hunting seasons, and the diverse wildlife available in Idaho.
Idaho Hunting Regulations
Hunting in Idaho is governed by specific laws and regulations enforced by the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife. These regulations are in place to protect wildlife populations and ensure a sustainable hunting environment.
Hunting License Regulation
Before embarking on any hunting activity in Idaho, both residents and non-resident hunters need a valid Idaho hunting license. Exceptions might exist for specific games, but only the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife can determine these exceptions.
For certain animals like big game (bears, elk, turkeys, and deer), it is compulsory to tag them after hunting. Hunters must be familiar with all tagging and taking requirements for the games they intend to hunt to avoid violating regulations.
After successfully taking a big game that requires tagging, hunters must validate the game tag before attaching it to the carcass of the animal. For certain games like bear, wolf, or lion, hunters can attach tags to their hides. Tags must be attached immediately after taking the game, and the month and date notches must be removed from the tag.
Hunters Dress Requirements in Idaho
Idaho imposes specific dress requirements for hunters, especially when hunting pheasants and other upland games. The accepted dress code is orange and should cover at least 36 square inches above the waistline level. This dress code applies to hunters in state fish and game properties WMA and on sponsored hunts in Idaho. Regardless of the game being hunted, the Idaho Department for Fish and Wildlife encourages all hunters to stick to the orange dress code.
Idaho Hunting Bag Limits
Bag limits in Idaho are used to regulate the number of specific games that hunters can hunt during a particular season. Bag limits can be either daily or seasonal, depending on the game.
For daily bag limits, hunters are restricted to a specific number of games that can be taken per day. For seasonal bag limits, hunters are restricted to the number of games that can be hunted within a specific game season.
Bag limits are not fixed and may vary annually, based on the specific game population. It is crucial for hunters to adhere to all bag limits and restrictions set by the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife. Violating bag limits can result in fines and potential revocation of hunting licenses.
Hunting Prohibitions in Idaho
To maintain a sustainable hunting environment, there are several prohibitions that hunters must avoid in Idaho:
- Removing evidence of game sex: Hunters must leave all evidence of sex naturally attached to the game carcass or the meat’s biggest part if boned.
- Not tagging games that require tagging or tagging them improperly: Tags must be attached correctly, following the specific requirements for each game.
- Refusing to stop at Wildlife Management Areas check stations: Hunters must submit themselves and their hunting equipment for searching at check stations.
- Transporting games and wildlife without a proxy statement: For games taken by another hunter, a proxy statement is required for transportation.
- Discharging a firearm from across a highway while hunting.
- Hunting animals outside of their hunting season: Hunters must know the opening and closing dates of the game season, as well as other regulations related to the species and boundaries for hunting.
- Hunting with the wrong license: Hunters must possess the correct license for the game they are hunting; non-resident hunters must acquire appropriate licenses for Idaho.
- Transferring a hunting license or tag for use by another hunter: Party hunting is unlawful in Idaho.
- Trespassing on private land to hunt: Hunters must have permission from landowners or be on land designated for public hunting.
- Using motorized vehicles while hunting big games: Hunters must follow the rules for hunting with vehicles on a state or federally-owned lands.
Idaho Hunting License, Permits, and Tags
To legally hunt in Idaho, hunters must obtain the appropriate licenses, permits, and tags based on their residency, age, and the type of game they wish to hunt. Here are the various licenses and permits available:
Residents Hunting License
These licenses are available to residents of Idaho and include:
- Adult Hunting and Fishing License: Allows adults to participate in fishing and hunting activities. Available as annual ($38.75) or 3-year ($97) licenses.
- Junior Hunting and Fishing License: Available to teenagers aged 14 to 17. Allows fishing and hunting and is available as an annual ($19) or 3-year ($49) license.
- Senior Hunting License: Available to residents aged 65 or older. Allows fishing and hunting and is available as an annual ($13.75) or 3-year ($33.5) license.
- Sportsman’s Package License: Includes privileges of a resident hunting license and tags for games like turkeys, wolves, mountain lions, elks, and bears. Costs $144.6.
- Disabled Veterans License for Hunting and Fishing: Available to disabled residents with a letter from Veteran Affairs proving a disability percentage of at least 40%. Costs $5.57.
Non-Residents Hunting License
These licenses are available to non-residents and include:
- Adult Hunting and Fishing License: Allows fishing and hunting. Available as annual ($264) or 3-year ($788.50) licenses.
- Adult Ordinary Hunting License: Allows only hunting. Available as 3-day ($185) or 3-year ($551.5) licenses.
- Small Game Hunting License: Allows hunting of small games like migratory birds, upland games, cottontail rabbits, turkeys, furbearers, hares, and predators. Costs $141.75 for 5-day or $71.71 for 3-day validity.
- Trapping License: Allows trapping games. Costs $331.75.
- Junior Mentored Hunting License: Available to non-residents aged 10 to 17. Requires adult supervision and allows fishing access for 3 days. Costs $91.75 (1 year) or $271.5 (3 years).
- Disabled Veteran License for Non-Residents: Available to disabled non-residents with a letter from Veteran Affairs proving a disability percentage of at least 40%. Costs $31.5.
Idaho Fishing License, Permits, and Tags
Idaho also offers various fishing licenses, permits, and tags for both residents and non-residents:
Residents Fishing License
- Adult Fishing License: Allows fishing in Idaho water bodies. Available as annual ($30.5) or 3-year ($73.75) licenses.
- Daily Fishing License: Allows fishing per day. Costs $13.5 for the first day and $6 for each consecutive day.
- Junior Fishing License: Available to teenagers aged 14 to 17. Allows fishing and is available as annual ($13.75) or 3-year ($73.75) licenses.
- Military Hunting and Fishing License: Combines fishing and hunting licenses for Idaho residents who are members of the US military. Costs $20.5.
Non-Residents Fishing License
- Adult Fishing License: Allows fishing in Idaho water bodies. Available as annual ($98.25) or 3-year ($291.25) licenses.
- Daily Fishing License: Allows fishing per day. Costs $15 for the first day and $7 for each consecutive day.
- Junior Fishing License: Available to non-residents aged 14 to 17. Allows fishing and is available as annual ($21.75) or 3-year ($61.75) licenses.
Idaho Hunting Season 2020/21
Hunting seasons in Idaho vary for different wildlife and games. It is essential for hunters to be aware of the specific hunting season for the game they want to pursue. Here are the 2020/21 hunting seasons for various wildlife in Idaho:
- Idaho Deer Hunting Seasons: General Hunting Season (10th October to 1st December)
- Idaho Elk Hunting Seasons: General Hunting Season (1st August to 31st December)
- Idaho Pronghorn Hunting Seasons: Controlled Hunting Season (25th September to 31st December)
- Idaho Black Bear Hunting Seasons: General Hunting Seasons (30th August to 31st October and 15th April to 30th April)
- Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting Season: General Hunting Season (30th August to 30th June)
- Idaho Turkey Hunting Season: General Fall Hunting Season (30th August to 31st January), Spring Youth Hunting Season (8th April to 14th April), Spring General Hunting Season (15th April to 25th May)
- Idaho Small Games Hunting Seasons: Cottontail and Hare Hunting Seasons (30th August to 31st March), Quail Hunting Seasons (18th September to 31st January), Chukar and Partridge Hunting Seasons (19th September to 31st January), Male Pheasants Hunting Seasons (9th October to 31st December), Squirrel Hunting Season (30th August to 31st March)
Hunting seasons may vary based on different Idaho hunting zones and specific game populations. Certain big games may have controlled hunting to manage their overpopulation, and hunters will require permits for hunting these games.
Idaho Wildlife, Games, and Fish
Idaho boasts a diverse range of games and wildlife, offering hunters a thrilling experience. Some of the wildlife and games available in Idaho include:
- Idaho Deer Hunting: Common deer species in Idaho include whitetail deer in the northern part of the Salmon River and mule deer in the southern part of the state.
- Idaho Turkey Hunting: Turkeys are found around rivers, with great hunting opportunities in places like the Craig Mountain WMA.
- Idaho Fox Hunting: Idaho has various fox species, including red foxes found throughout the state, kit foxes in the south, and gray foxes as the largest species.
- Idaho Bear Hunting: Black bears inhabit areas with abundant food sources like shrubs and hard mast in deciduous forested areas, subalpine ridgetops, and wet meadows.
- Idaho Pronghorns Hunting: Pronghorns are found in wide and open spaces, often in shrubby and grassland regions.
- Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting: Mountain lions are abundant in all parts of the state, particularly in the Magic Valley Region.
- Idaho Quail Hunting: The California quail is common in the south-central part of Idaho, often found near streams and rivers.
- Idaho Pheasants Hunting: Pheasants are found in clearwater areas and the Magic Valley region, though their populations have decreased in recent years due to farming and urbanization.
- Idaho Duck Hunting: Various duck species inhabit water bodies like ponds, lakes, and wetlands away from human settlements.
Idaho Public Shooting Ranges for Hunting Practices
To improve their firearm skills, hunters can practice at public shooting ranges in Idaho. Some of these include:
- Black’s Creek Public Shooting Range in Kuna
- Farragut Public Shooting Range adjacent to Farragut State Park in Athol
- Boise River Wildlife Management Area Archery Range in Boise
- Garden Valley Public Shooting Range in Garden Valley
Idaho Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
For those interested in owning or leasing hunting lands in Idaho, there are several options available:
Hunting Lands for Sale:
- 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:
- Idaho Falls, 83402 (Bonneville County) – 5,000 acres
Idaho offers a wealth of hunting opportunities, from its diverse wildlife to its vast hunting lands. However, hunters must adhere to the state’s hunting regulations, licensing requirements, and bag limits to ensure sustainable hunting practices. Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, exploring the natural beauty and abundant wildlife while hunting in Idaho is an experience like no other.
Is it necessary to have an Idaho hunting license to hunt in the state?
Yes, both residents and non-residents must have a valid Idaho hunting license before hunting any wildlife or games in the state.
What are the tagging regulations for certain animals in Idaho?
Certain animals, such as big game (bears, elk, turkeys, and deer), must be tagged after hunting to comply with regulations.
What is the hunting dress requirement in Idaho?
Hunters are required to wear orange clothing covering at least 36 square inches above the waistline level when hunting pheasants and upland games.
What are the bag limits for hunting in Idaho?
Bag limits restrict the number of specific games that hunters can hunt in a particular season. They can be daily or seasonal and may vary annually based on game populations.
What are the common prohibitions for hunters in Idaho?
Prohibitions include removing evidence of game sex, improper tagging, refusing to stop at check stations, hunting without a proxy statement, hunting across highways, and hunting outside of designated seasons, among others.