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On the Hunt

By November 14, 2019November 19th, 2019Fall, Inlander Weekly Content

Idaho’s natural beauty and abundant game make it a target for hunters in-state and beyond

It’s called the “gem state,” yet Idaho could easily be known as the “game state” with its natural beauty and diverse hunting opportunities.

Idaho Fish and Game, which manages hunting in Idaho, provides access to 370,000 acres of huntable land, including specialized wildlife management areas. They also work with companies like Potlatch to open up 567,000 acres of private land. In addition, 2.3 million acres of public land is available to hunters, including national forest lands that cover more than 40 percent of the state.

Idaho has seven hunting regions including the Panhandle, which features a diverse range of habitats from rivers, lakes and small waterways to open prairie to forested lands that climb up into elevations ensuring the biggest of big game hunting. In fact, of Idaho’s 11 big game animals — white-tailed deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bear, mountain lion and wolves — nine of them can be found in the Panhandle. Even better, Idaho Fish and Game forecasts indicate a good season for mule deer and slightly better than good for elk and white-tail deer. Across the country, Idaho consistently ranks in the top 10 for ungulates like elk.

Hunters flock to Idaho (pardon the pun) for its bird hunting, from waterfowl, like mallards and wigeons, to upland game birds, like turkey and grouse; bag limits are generous. Besides geography — numerous lowland lakes and rivers — Idaho’s location in between high-traffic migration areas mean more Canada geese and mallards especially.

Idaho is one of the few Western states left where you can still pursue multiple game species during the same time frame, providing you have both the necessary license and tags, including for nonresidents. Deer and elk tags, for example, may also be used to harvest a black bear or mountain lion.Inlander

Idaho also offers numerous packages for those with multisport and multiseason interests. The Sportsman’s Package lets residents hunt and fish for one low price $145 (with a $20 discount for early season purchases). In addition to a combined hunting and fishing license, package purchasers get tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, wolf and turkey, as well as salmon and steelhead fishing.

Second-chance opportunities to hunters who have purchased a license and initial tag is the same price for residents and nonresidents. By purchasing a “second tag,” you can even switch between deer species and eligible hunting zones.

Idaho’s “hunting passport” encourages young first-time hunters to learn about hunting under the supervision of a qualified adult mentor prior to taking the $10 required hunter education class. It is open to both residents and nonresidents, ages 8 and older for a mere $1.75 plus necessary permits and tags.

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