Expanding Elk Hunter Opportunity to Multiple Zones

In the statewide elk hunter survey conducted in cooperation with the University of Idaho last year elk hunters were asked if they were interested in the opportunity to hunt in 2 zones in a given year with the ability to harvest a single elk.  Eighty two percent said “yes”, they would be interested in the opportunity.  We also asked if they would be willing to pay an extra $30 to have that additional opportunity.  Sixty seven percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for the added opportunity.  We have developed 2 options to expand general elk hunting opportunity in Idaho.  Below you will find descriptions of the 2 options for expanding hunter opportunity.

2-Zone Hunt Option - Proposal to Allow a Person to Hunt in 2 Elk Zones with One Elk Tag

  • This tag would allow you to harvest only one elk.
  • This would be available only in zones that are meeting or exceeding population goals. The whole state would not be included.
  • The zones available could change from year to year as elk numbers fluctuate.
  • This tag would allow the hunter the option of selecting a capped zone as one of the zones they could hunt in.
  • The 2-zone option would cost hunters for the additional opportunity. (Proposed fee is $30.00 for residents and $100.00 for nonresidents in addition to the current general elk tag fee.)
  • Hunters would be able to hunt in the 2 zones as they choose during the open seasons for each zone while following all weapon and season regulations.
  • Any combination of A-tag and B-tag hunts would be allowed, for example:
    • A-tag Tex Creek and A-tag Bannock
    • B-tag Bear River and B-tag Boise River
    • A-tag Diamond Creek and B-tag McCall
  • Hunters would be able to change their choices of 2 zones up until the earliest season opener for either of the 2 zones.
  • Hunters would be allowed to use any weapon types that are legal during the season they are hunting, for example, hunter must use archery equipment during archery season.
  • Hunters who draw a controlled elk hunt tag would not be eligible to participate in the 2-zone hunt opportunity.

 

 

The following are the zones that are currently meeting  or exceeding  objectives including capped zones.  These zones would be eligible for the 2-Zone Option.

 

C-tag Option (Multiple Zone) - Proposal to Allow a Person to Hunt in Multiple Zones with One Elk Tag

  • This tag would allow you to harvest only one elk.
  • Apply only in zones that are meeting or exceeding population goals. The whole state would not be included.
  • Capped zones would not be included in the list of available zones or game management units.
  • The C-tag option would cost hunters for the additional opportunity. (Proposed fee is $30.00 for residents and $100.00 for nonresidents in addition to the current general elk tag fee.)
  • Hunters would be able to hunt between any zones or game management units within the C-tag program.
  • Hunters may only hunt during the open season and with the weapon type allowed for the zone or game management units they are hunting in.
  • Hunters would be allowed to hunt the archery season (if one exists) and whatever general rifle season that exists in the associated units.  (For example, a person could hunt the archery A-tag in Unit 1, then if unsuccessful, go to Unit 67 and hunt the rifle bull tag.)
  • Hunters would be able turn the C-tag back in to Fish and Game to exchange for an A-tag or B-tag until the season in any one of the zones or game management units within the C-tag has started.
  • Hunters would be allowed to use any weapon types that are legal during the season they are hunting.  (For example, hunter must use archery equipment during archery season.)
  • Hunters who draw a controlled elk hunt tag would not be eligible to participate in the C-tag opportunity.

 

 

These two options to increase elk hunting opportunity by allowing hunting in more than one zone may have unintended consequences, such as reducing the quality of the elk hunting experience.  Crowding and increased harvest could occur in some general hunt zones.  This might result in future restrictions to offset increased pressure.

Here are three examples to illustrate the possible range of impacts:

  1. If Diamond Creek A-tag holders could also hunt on the Pioneer A-tag, few impacts are anticipated. These seasons are concurrent and both restricted to archery only. We do not expect an increase in the number of hunters.
  2. If Diamond Creek A-tag holders could also hunt on the Tex Creek A-tag, we anticipate that crowding could be an issue. These zones offer different hunting opportunities at different times. We expect an increase in hunter numbers and harvest in both zones.
  3. If hunters could use both A-tags and B-tags within one zone, we anticipate an increase in the number of hunters and harvest in that zone.