Yeti

Montana vs Idaho

neffa3

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Can someone make the case to me why I would want to pick MT over ID for an out-of-state elk hunt? Part of me keeps wanting to try MT, but every time I drive into the research I walk away with the same question. Why would I pay 800 to hunt general season elk, when I can go a little further south, have a similar experience, possibly a better chance at a giant, and pay 300 less? The only benefit would be the super long season, but when you have to take time off and travel that really isn't much of a benefit.
 

idahofishnhunt

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We'll take your money, and your probably right. There are a lot of success stories on here out of Montana...but there is also a big base of Montana people on here compared to Idaho. So don't let that sway you, you'll find a good bull in either spot IMO. Use the extra money to buy a deer tag too.
 

neffa3

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Yeah, I would likely be going archery. I get that there's a ton of people on here from MT, which is why I posted the question. I need a good argument from someone on why I would give my money MT vs ID. But maybe this is the exact opposite place for that... hmm if I lived in MT I'd only talk about how crappy it is to hunt. This might have backfired.
 

BrowningBLR

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Yeah, I would likely be going archery. I get that there's a ton of people on here from MT, which is why I posted the question. I need a good argument from someone on why I would give my money MT vs ID. But maybe this is the exact opposite place for that... hmm if I lived in MT I'd only talk about how crappy it is to hunt. This might have backfired.

How long would you be bow hunting for, how many days/weeks? And are looking for a bull or cow, or impartial?
 

jryoung

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If I was gonna travel I would have a deer and elk tag in my pocket, at that point the difference is only $100 with the advantage to Idaho. Additionally, that deer tag in ID can be punched on a bear, wolf or mountain lion.

Montana has the advantage in that you can hunt in September, October and November so if you can be flexible you can time weather, rut, moon, etc. etc.

If you're coming from the east, there's a cost to drive through MT to get to ID.

You just need to lay out all the variables and see what works best for your schedule, budget, and desires.

There is no wrong answer.
 

neffa3

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Coming from WA. Do drive through MT to get to some parts of ID. At this point I don't have enough time off to justify two tags, and only plan on hunting 10-14 days in one chunk.

I mean, is it less crowded in MT because the season is so long? I mean how many people does a guy run into while hunting?

There's more elk, but also a lot more space. The # of elk versus habitat seems to indicate that the density is less overall than ID.
 

BrowningBLR

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Coming from WA. Do drive through MT to get to some parts of ID. At this point I don't have enough time off to justify two tags, and only plan on hunting 10-14 days in one chunk.

I mean, is it less crowded in MT because the season is so long? I mean how many people does a guy run into while hunting?

There's more elk, but also a lot more space. The # of elk versus habitat seems to indicate that the density is less overall than ID.

If you are hunting a 10-14 day hunt in September then the longer MT season is a moot point for you. Either state will work. If you want to start hunting late September or the middle of October then MT is the only choice, regulation wise.

The discussion of number of hunters, elk habitat, and elk density can not be generalized by state to state. All three of those depend on the time of year (even day), specific area, and other factors (weather, moon, rut, hunting pressure, predators, etc). I have spent hours sitting at the computer researching and years hiking during the summer, and hunting during the fall to try to find areas with no hunters, roadless remote areas, and high elk density. I'm no different than any other elk hunter around, we all want the same thing- to a certain degree. Both ID and MT have hunters and both have elk.

I personally like going to ID in early September because I can shoot a bull, spike, or cow. I am also very partial to MT because I have lived here all 29 years of my life and have some great hunting spots that I can get to before or after work.

The only advice I can really give you is try to do some research on specific areas (I'm sure you already have). Scout that place during the summer, put up some trail cams. I wouldn't let $200-$300 be the deciding factor. I mean, you can't go wrong with either state PLUS you will be elk hunting during the rut!! Life will be good!
 
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neffa3

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The only advice I can really give you is try to do some research on specific areas (I'm sure you already have). Scout that place during the summer, put up some trail cams. I wouldn't let $200-$300 be the deciding factor. I mean, you can't go wrong with either state PLUS you will be elk hunting during the rut!! Life will be good!

I get that you can't be all that accurate with a state to state comparison on hunting pressure. But at the same time, if we didn't speak in generalities we'd never say anything. I'd say the pressure is greater in WA than ID for elk, even though I've been in places of ID that had more people that some places in WA, I still stand by the generality.

I have done way too much digital scouting, and a bit of on the ground scouting, in both states. I've found a good/great spot in ID, but I'm already planning on that spot taking a nose dive, as it seems like, for whatever reason, I can't seem to find a spot that is consistently good for more than a few years. And although I shouldn't, I let that $200-300 have a lot of influence.

Thanks for the input. If I ever get more time off, and can swing deer and elk tags, MT may be the better option (MD, in rut, with rifle = hard to beat).
 

BrowningBLR

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I get that you can't be all that accurate with a state to state comparison on hunting pressure. But at the same time, if we didn't speak in generalities we'd never say anything. I'd say the pressure is greater in WA than ID for elk, even though I've been in places of ID that had more people that some places in WA, I still stand by the generality.

I have done way too much digital scouting, and a bit of on the ground scouting, in both states. I've found a good/great spot in ID, but I'm already planning on that spot taking a nose dive, as it seems like, for whatever reason, I can't seem to find a spot that is consistently good for more than a few years. And although I shouldn't, I let that $200-300 have a lot of influence.

Thanks for the input. If I ever get more time off, and can swing deer and elk tags, MT may be the better option (MD, in rut, with rifle = hard to beat).

I would say the rut is pretty much over by the time rifle season starts in MT in late October... If you want a true rifle/muzzy rut hunt check out CO.

I understand what you're saying about generalizations. Personally, I would say neither state has given me that much hunting pressure. But the last 2 elk I have shot with the bow have been 7 miles and 5 miles from the truck...

A good/great spot in ID already mapped out... GO FOR IT!! But have a plan B!
 

Pinecricker

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I'm an Idaho resident, but I lived in Montana for several years. If I had to pick one or the other it would be Montana, and that would be an easy choice to make.
 

MtnWest

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Montana has better seasons, plus higher numbers and bigger animals hands down.
 

jryoung

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...possibly a better chance at a giant, and pay 300 less?

Possibly a better chance?

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Sioux33

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The one nice thing that Idaho has going for it is you can archery hunt OTC in the controlled rifle zones, which would lead to older aged bulls. And some of these units have bull:cow ratios over 40% and success rates over 20%. So essentially, you can hunt a trophy unit every year as a non-resident for $300 less and really get to know it, which is IMO the biggest success factor. And you could always put in for the controlled hunt in that unit and be prepared for when you draw that tag. MT does have some great opportunities, but remember a lot of those B&C bulls are coming off private land (Bearpaws, Bull Mts, Rosebud County are all private), if you really dive into it. I've heard that 70% of the elk in MT are on private, so take that into consideration.
 
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