Ian Harford

Date: June 5, 2011

Hunting in Idaho – applying for your license & tags

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Today is the last opportunity to apply for your controlled hunts for this season in Idaho. I believe the deadline is midnight Southern Idaho time (Mountain Time Zone).

I had the pleasure of hunting for black bear last November in Idaho with my good friend Bryce Wells. I failed to bag my black bear, but enjoyed being part of both Bryce and his son Cody’s successful elk hunts. Check out my hunt report published in Sporting Rifle magazine.

After such an awesome experience I simply can’t wait to get back out in what is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever hunted. The hunting system is very different in the US from here in the UK. Regulations also differ greatly from State-to-State.

To hunt in Idaho you first need to buy your hunting license, then obtain your tags. Your Hunting License is effectively your permission to hunt for which a tag is also required to kill a particular animal.

Some tags are available to purchase over the counter, whereas others are ‘controlled’ and allocated by way of a lottery. I have applied for controlled hunts for my elk, pronghorn antelope and mule deer, but black bear tags are available over the counter.

Idaho offers a comprehensive online booking system that allows you to both purchase your license and apply for your tags.

Here’s how to purchase your license:

  1. To buy your Hunting License simply visit the Idaho Fish & Game website and go to the Online Applications link in the ‘BUY A LICENSE / TAG / PERMIT’ section.
  2. Check the box to ‘create your new Idaho Account
  3. Fill in all of your personal information, being sure to include as much detail as possible – including your ‘Hunters Ed’ or ‘Archers Ed’ qualifications. This isn’t required, but will help further down the line.
  4. Confirm the details on the Summary page.
  5. Select the appropriate license type from the list – in my case ‘Non-Resident Hunting’ which covers me for big game species such as elk, deer, bear and antelope.
  6. Confirm your selection and choose a ‘proclamation’ from the list. You will then be sent the relevant section of the Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet for 2011.
  7. Confirm your choices and the total on the following summary page.
  8. Enter your card details and pay!

Now you’re ready to apply for your tags. Log into the online booking system and enter the tags you wish to apply for. This is slightly more complicated as you need to know the specific ‘Hunt Number’ as detailed in the ‘Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules Booklet

Each hunt number relates to a particular species in a given area for specific date range. Each Hunt has a number of tags allocated, hence the need for the draw.

It’s best if you know the areas or have a friend who is familiar. This is where my good friend Bryce comes in. He knows the hunting areas like the back of his hands! If not, ask around on some of the hunting forums – or better still approach a reputable outfitter.

Moose, big horn sheep and mountain goat hunts are controlled in a similar way, however the application window for these hunts was April 1st-30th 2011.

These represent some of the most challenging hunts anywhere in the world, and it’s pretty long odds of even getting drawn! Full details can be found in the Moose, Mountain Goat and Bighorn Sheep Seasons and Rules booklet

The results of the deer, elk and pronghorn draw will be announced on July 10th. The lucky winners will be notified by post and all results will be published on the Idaho Fish & Game website. Good luck with the draw and happy hunting!

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