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SITKA Gear

Never hunted elk

Preacher shaner

Active member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
198
I am looking at going on my frist elk hunt next year. I am getting my glass and camping gear together over the next year or so. Every body i know goes to CO thats where i was thinking untell i seen Idaho has a over the counter tag.
What are some of the how to's in Idaho for elk and deer to be successful there. Or the main deference in parts of the state thanks
 

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
425
Location
Washington
Not being critical, just trying to help you get what you need: Where are you originally coming from? What is your fitness level? What time of year do you plan on hunting elk? Archery? Muzzle Loader? Rifle? What is your budget? DIY hunt? Hunting partners or solo? Backpacking? Basecamp? Spike Camp? Renting a hotel and driving out to a hunt area everyday? How many days do you plan on hunting? Going in blind or feet on the ground scouting prior to hunt?

Way to many variables to a question like this. You will get a million answers on this forum with a general question like this that may or may not take into account any of the questions I have outlined. Get a little more specific. There are some amazing people on this forum with decades of experience. Don't be afraid to ask pointed/specific questions. I think it would help you in your planning a little more.
 

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
425
Location
Washington
Idaho can be a very difficult (physically) to hunt depending on the region. I can't speak for any other area other than region 6 which is in the middle of the state (St. Joe area). Region 6 for me is close and affords me an opportunity to extend my hunting season so that is why 6 for me. Access is very good with an ATV during all hunting seasons. The area is steep, thick and in my eyes a rifle area with clear cuts, meadows and various other random open areas (I have never hunted archery in this area so I can't tell you how successful it is other than pointing to the Idaho hunt numbers). I am from Washington and hunt spring bear in May, hunt archery mule deer and Elk here in my state during Sept., then pack up and rifle hunt Idaho during late season. Much of region 6 in Idaho has gone through some Elk low points in the last decade given the wolf population but the hunting experience is good and the Elk are recovering in the area. Late season is cold, rugged and can be wet and miserable if not prepared. Snow can change logistics in an instant as far as getting around. Idaho can be one of the most physically demanding states to hunt I have heard (I can only compare it to Washington and New Mexico). I would say that it matches the "physically difficult" description given the limited hunting I have done in Idaho.
 
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rfra

New member
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
11
Idaho has very different terrain, access, and hunting styles depending on where you go. Up north its steep, dark timber, clear-cuts, and thick brush. You will not have much use for a spotter. Down south, it's open sage and high desert. In the middle there's a mix of deep wilderness with sub-alpine lakes and steep drainages and semi-arid canyons and plateaus . You'll need to pick an area to really gear up appropriately and get your strategy and access plan dialed in. In some areas you can day hunt from a pickup each day. In some you could backpack a day in. In other areas you'll need to charter a jetboat drop or flight to drop you at a backcountry airstrip or have access to a pack string of horses/mules. In all cases you better be very realistic about your ability to get a lot of heavy meat out of steep country if you're successful.
 

JLS

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
9,892
Location
Where the Wild Things Are
Idaho has very different terrain, access, and hunting styles depending on where you go. Up north its steep, dark timber, clear-cuts, and thick brush. You will not have much use for a spotter. Down south, it's open sage and high desert. In the middle there's a mix of deep wilderness with sub-alpine lakes and steep drainages and semi-arid canyons and plateaus . You'll need to pick an area to really gear up appropriately and get your strategy and access plan dialed in. In some areas you can day hunt from a pickup each day. In some you could backpack a day in. In other areas you'll need to charter a jetboat drop or flight to drop you at a backcountry airstrip or have access to a pack string of horses/mules. In all cases you better be very realistic about your ability to get a lot of heavy meat out of steep country if you're successful.

This is a very succinct and accurate assessment.
 

Preacher shaner

Active member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
198
Let me refine my question. I will be hunting most likely by my self with a rifle. It would be over the counter tag. I was thinking along the southern boarder with UT or closer to Yellowstone. I will be buying a pack and walking the hills of WV trying to get ready.
I have no idea what i am doing yet so. Mt boarder or UT boarder and where do i start from there
 

rfra

New member
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
11
Let me refine my question. I will be hunting most likely by my self with a rifle. It would be over the counter tag. I was thinking along the southern boarder with UT or closer to Yellowstone. I will be buying a pack and walking the hills of WV trying to get ready.
I have no idea what i am doing yet so. Mt boarder or UT boarder and where do i start from there

Idaho breaks hunt areas up into units, then sells elk tags by zone which are a collection of units. They also have an "A" tag which heavily favors the archery hunter and a "B" tag which heavily favors the rifle hunter with different seasons for each. Some zone/tag combos are over the counter, some are OTC but quota, some are controlled hunt draws. Idaho does not have a point system for controlled hunt draws, its all random. The 2019 regulations won't be posted for another week or two, but you can get a pretty good idea of units/zones and whether they are OTC or controlled by looking at the 2018 regs at https://idfg.idaho.gov/sites/default/files/seasons-rules-big-game-2017-2018.pdf You can also get an idea of historic draw odds for a particular controlled hunt at https://idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/odds/

Many of the units up along the MT/WY/Yellowstone border are controlled hunt zones for rifle, with around 5% draw odds for non-resident, so might want to look elsewhere. Further south there's draw and quota units and quite a bit of private land. There are spots you can get a rifle tag but you'll need to focus in. You might consider a GoHunt membership to more easily figure out some units that will be compatible with your parameters.

Then grab OnX maps to figure out how much and where the public land is and what sort of access you're up against in those units. Being solo you're going to want to stick pretty close to roads, as you'll have a lot of work ahead of you if you're fortunate enough to fill the tag, so make sure there's ample logging roads to get into the public areas you've identified.

You might check out the University of Elk Hunting at elk101.com to get more in-depth planning instruction.
 
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