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Idaho Controlled-Hunt Application Period Now Open for Elk, Deer, Antelope, and Fall Bear

OMule Deer Buck and Doe The tag application period in Idaho for controlled-hunt elk, deer, pronghorn, and fall bear tags runs from May 1 to June 5. Successful applicants will be notified by July 10, and tags must be purchased by August 1. Tags not purchased by August 1 will be forfeited to a second application period, which runs from August 5 to August 15. Idaho does not use a bonus/preference point system. As a result, hunters have more or less the same odds of drawing a controlled-hunt tag the very first year they apply as they do any other year.

To apply, residents and nonresidents must have a general hunting license, and pay an application fee of $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents—per species. Unlike many other states, the cost of the tag is not paid for in Idaho until the applicant has drawn. Hunters who have already applied for a moose, bighorn sheep or mountain goat controlled hunt this year may not apply for any other controlled hunt (during the same year).

Worthy of mention in the Idaho tag-allotment system are “unlimited controlled hunts” for mule deer. These tags are available for late-season, rut hunts (November 1 – 18) in Frank Church Wilderness Units 20A, 26, and 27, and for an October hunt in unit 73. Hunters may only apply for these tags during the first controlled-hunt, application period, and some unlimited controlled hunts are designated as first choice only. Wild Idaho Outfitters operates in Unit 27, where these late-season tags (Hunt 1017) have offered outstanding opportunity for large, mature bucks in the past. Nonresident tags are limited to 51 tags for this hunt however, so it’s not truly unlimited. Another option is “outfitter allocation tags” for the same hunt, which Wild Idaho receives from Fish & Game, but they are in short supply due to high demand. There are no controlled-hunt elk tags or bear tags for Unit 27, as they are all sold over the counter.

Any of the November mule deer, controlled hunts that offer only 5 tags is going to be a good one to draw. (In controlled hunts with 10 or fewer tags, not more than one nonresident tag may be issued). There are also some very good controlled-hunt muzzleloader only mule deer tags offered in Idaho. Nonresident deer and elk tags are also valid to take black bear, mountain lion, or gray wolf instead of a deer or elk, if a general season is open for that species.

For detailed information and statistics on Idaho controlled hunts click on this link: https://idfg.idaho.gov/rules/big-game

The Wyoming deer and pronghorn tag application period closes June 1 and results come out June 18. The state of Wyoming allows you to purchase preference points only for deer, pronghorn, elk, moose and sheep from July 1 to November 2.

Good hunting,

Joe Cavanaugh

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