Deer Hunting in Idaho

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  • A
  • 200,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 23,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $40.50

    It’s $15.75 for the license and $24.75 for a whitetail tag.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $456.50

    It’s $154.75 for the license and $301.75 for a whitetail tag.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 186 7/8"

    Taken by Ronald McLamb in Bonner County in 2001.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 51

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 267 4/8"

    Taken by Herman Lunders in Idaho County in 1955 and currently ranked 39th.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 45

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Idaho has some big deer. Image by Tim Irwin

Season Dates (2021):

Although season dates vary by unit, for most areas, archery season runs from late August to late September. For others, it falls during portions of November and December. For those who have it, muzzleloader season spans parts of November and December. Short-range season falls during August, September, October, and November, location depending. Rifle (any legal weapon) season opens either September 15 or October 10, unit depending, and closing dates vary. Remember, antlered and antlerless seasons commonly differ. As with many Western destinations, season dates vary by unit and region, so check regulations for specifics.

The Grade: A

Idaho has one of the strongest populations of whitetails in the West, and the state is about 70% public ground. It’s a very appealing option for the DIY hunter. When you take into account the relatively low hunter densities chasing whitetails in northern Idaho, the state’s quality buck production per hunter rivals many of the more traditional whitetail destinations.

What isn’t the same is that most deer tags are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with many units having available tags late into the year. The northern Panhandle and Clearwater regions hold the greatest number of whitetails, but most areas north of the Salmon River have solid numbers.

There is a downside. Predator populations are exploding, and deer behavior reflects it. It seems whitetails become jumpier and leerier with each passing season.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

For those seeking quality over quantity, more record-book bucks are taken in northern counties than anywhere else in the state. Some of the best hotbeds are Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, and Shoshone. In the past 20 years, units north of Interstate 90 seem to be the best big-buck producers.


Idaho Harvests

  • Rick Wissinger

    Shoshone County, Idaho

  • Dylan May

    Kootenai County, Idaho

From the Realtree Trophy Den