Idaho Southeast region


New member
Dec 21, 2000
Jenks, OK
Hi guys, need some help. I am from Tulsa and normally go to Colorado for elk, but we are tired of shooting junkheads. I have been successful in New Mexico, but the draw is tough. Anyway, if we dont draw out in NM, we are thinking about coming to Idaho hunt. It would probably be a gun hunt, as we just dont have the time to bow hunt. Since southeast Idaho is closer to home, that is where we have chosen. I see the Bear River area, unit 75,77 and 78 offer a gun hunt, over the counter bull tag. (I am assuming they are over the counter, until they run out. right?) Or we can try to draw out in the Bannock or Deamond creek area. Would you try the draw first, and they buy a tag if not successful, or just buy the tag to make sure you get one? Can you still apply if you buy a tag?
We have horses, tents, camp gear , can go light or heavy. We know how to pack in and out. Between a couple of our horses, they have probably packed out 40 elk.
So, what do you guys think of these areas, or should we pick another place (dont tell me to go to Arizona, never would get drawn).

Is the Bear river area 75,77, 78 good after the drawing folks have hunted the first half of the month?
I'm from Soda Springs (the crossroads of those zones), I hunt Diamond Creek Zone mostly.

Bear River zone is OK, but there are alot of hunters that hunt that area. There are many roads that go through the zone so you wouldn't get any where special where some one wouldn't be. And because it's an open tag area lots of folks hunt it.

Diamond Creek is much the same with few areas to pack in. Much of the Forest and BLM has private property blocking accesss. and much of the BLM & Forest has active Phosphate mines on it.
Banock Zone has had a decline in Elk numbers and isn't a very good trophy area. Alot of the Pocatello folks hunt this area.

I would suggest the Tex creek area North of Diamond Creek zone. I would stay away from Teton zone as private property is encroaching, but Tex creek has very good access for packing in and has big Elk. You are less likely to run into some one.

As far as The tag situation I would look at the Idaho fish and Game Web site. They should have the answers you need.

In the southeast ID, I've only hunted 66a and 76. Controlled hunts only for rifle, but there are some big bulls in there.

Unless I draw for something good this year, I'll be archery hunting in 66a.
Thanks guys, at least that is a start. Talked to the Game and Fish and they said the tags wont be sold out in Tex Creek until this summer. That might give me a chance to see if I draw NM first. I am going to call their biologist a call. It looks like 66 has some National Forest(Caibou)in it, but what kind of land is 69. Looks like it has an Indian reservation in it, but is the rest of the land BLM or private, or both?
I got your E-mail and decided to post the reply here instead of an E-mail so others could see too.
Tex creek does have the Fort hall Indian Reservation on it. And you cant even get near the place with a gun or they(the tribal police)will jump on you. I wouldn't mess around that area anyway. Unit 66 has alot of area in it that is un-accessable except for horse back. This is where the Elk are BIG!
I hve a Friend in Soda that hunts only this area and tags out every year with his bow and the last few years he has gotten 6x6's or better.

As far as BLM land is 69, I don't know where the boundrys lie, but I know that there is a bit of it. I think you can access it from the Bone Road that runs from the Blackfoot Reservoir to Bone by Idaho Falls. I do know that there are Elk in there, but don't know about the size or Quality of the herds.

I can't claim to know more than this about these areas. I just know that Unit 66 holds some Big Elk and would be worth the trip.

Not sure what we will do this year. Would love to see the country, Idaho, Montana. But that is a long way from home, pulling horses. Makes for a long trip. Probably at least 2 days drive just to get there. Might be worth it though, if we could bag a 330 or so. I am sure they are there somewhere. But my horses have saved my back and legs many a mile, they can point an elk or deer, and are kinda like a Visa card, I dont leave home without them.

Here's a link to the tag quotas. The Tex Creek tag would fall under the state wide quota (Zone A and B tag) which currently has 8380 unsold tags out of 10,415 available tags. It is very unlikley that the quota will be met before the draw results are posted around the end of June or first part of July.

Most of unit 66 is public land and most of unit 69 is private land. Both units have a number of 300+ class bulls in them. In unit 66 you will have a hard time finding a place that is more than 3 miles from motorized access.

I hunted deer in the Bear River zone this year on Saturday during the general bull season. I didn't see an elk that day but I also didn't see any other hunters more than 100 yards from their truck. My younger brother hunted deer in the Bear River zone the opening day of the general bull hunt and he said there were a lot of hunters. My brother also saw one heard of elk that day but wasn't sure if any of them were bulls. In most places in the Bear River zone you are going to have a hard time getting more than 1 1/2 miles away from the road. I believe that there are only 25 tags for the early hunt. I don't think 25 hunter would bother the elk much in an area as large as the Bear River zone. General any weapon deer season ran from Oct. 5th - 24th last year so the elk have seen a number of hunters before the Oct. 15th elk season opens.

Diamond Creek is the best zone for elk in what the F&G call the SE region. There are 1300 cow hunters during the Oct. 24th bull hunt which has 600 tags. The deer season (Oct 5th – 24th last year and around 4500 hunters in 2002) so there are a lot of hunters in this zone.

I have bought the Bannock A tag the last 3 years. There’s a lot of area in the Bannock zone that doesn't have any elk in it. Most of best elk hunting in this zone is on private land or blocked by private land. The Bannock Zone has some big bulls in it but they are hard to find during the season unless you know some land owners and put some time in scouting.

The Palisades Zone has a good ratio of 6 point bulls but there are not very many elk per square mile in this zone.

[ 02-18-2004, 09:25: Message edited by: BrianID ]

I've hunted southeast Idaho for the last two years, 1st rifle & second archery, I missed at running bull in unit 75 with rifle, missed. Nice bull though. As for last year no scouting and odd behavior pattern of bulls made a little more than difficult but know they are there. Anyways good luck.
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