View Full Version : Idaho Elk hunting

05-16-2012, 04:19 PM
Well, I don't post alot on here but i need some help. I'm putting in for Idaho for the controlled hunts. I want to hunt elk in the rut(most of us do). This will be my first elk hunting trip. I prefer archery hunting but don't mind using a rifle. I have narrowed my control hunts down to unit 18 and 54. I know the odds are by luck and low. This is going to be the only year that i will have the opportunity to hunt elk. The wife is going back to school to become a Nurse and that takes about 5 years. I'm trying to find out a few questions on Idaho.

1. Can you hunt archery then hunt rifle later with the same Tag A or B? Or is it one or the other.
2. What area's have decent hunting OTC? I was looking at 66a/76.

I have the MRS and huntin fool, I have been referencing.

I don't want to be in grizzly country with a Bow! I'm in good shape. I run and lift every day. I have no problem back packing in a few miles. I back pack hunt for deer every season.

I'm not looking for any honey holes.

It would be greatly appreciated any info i can get.

The rookie elk hunter

05-17-2012, 08:14 AM
1. You have to buy either an A-Tag or a B-Tag for a particular Elk Zone.
2. Here's a resource that will give you a far better idea of specific info on Idaho than huntin fool can give you, including where the grizzly bears are:


As for 66A/76, I'll just quote straight from the report that you can get at the above link:

Well, if you’ve been reading this like a novel, you’re now at the final chapter. I can tell
you that the Diamond Creek Zone is the remaining land that hasn’t already been covered
so far. Down in the southeast corner of the state, the Diamond Creek Zone has the
Wyoming border on the east, and the Utah border on the south. The north boundary is
the Tex Creek Zone (both Units 66 and 69 in places), and the west border follows HWY
34, then HWY 30, and then HWY 89 south to the Utah border.

47% of the land is managed by the Forest Service, 36% is private, 6% is BLM, and the
remaining amount is managed by various other agencies. It is considered 39% forested,
32% rangeland, 10% dryland agriculture, 10% irrigated agriculture, and the remaining is
water, riparian areas, and urban areas.

The zone consists of Units 66A and 76, and encompasses approximately 1,659 square


The land in the Diamond Creek Zone is quite interesting. It is characterized by several
mountain ranges that generally run north to south, with valleys thrown in between them.
High plateaus that sit in the ranges mix up the steep mountainous country with relatively
tame areas. In some areas it is semi-open with forests on north facing slopes, while at the
same time there are vast areas of dark timber on flatter plateaus. Peaks in the mountain
reach up nearly to 10,000 ft., while on average the elevations range from 6,500 ft. to
8,000 ft.

So there is a lot of diversity. The private land will mostly be found in the valleys and
agricultural areas. But there’s plenty of Forest Service land that is accessible to hunt.
You’ll run into sagebrush and aspen stands, dark forests, and phosphate mines in the
zone. There’s just a lot going on there.

Generally speaking, it’s good elk habitat much like the Bear River Elk Zone.

General Herd Health

Historically, elk were not found in abundance in this area. Buffalo and bighorn sheep
were far more common. But through the 20th Century the elk population grew, and they
expanded fairly rapidly. Only in recent years has the population declined.

Most of the elk in Unit 66A winter in the Tex Creek Zone, in Units 66 and 69. The elk in
Unit 76 winter within the zone, and tend to come out of the mountains when winter sets
in. This creates depredation problems, and the IF&G is concerned that they are danger to
those driving on the highways. The habitat carrying capacity in Unit 76 may hold more
elk than are there now, but the IF&G has to balance the growth of the herd with
depredation and safety issues. That’s why you’ll see some winter time controlled hunts.
The idea is to keep the elk holed up in the hills.

There are other habitat concerns as well, such as the phosphate mines, and what they’re
doing to the environment.

All indications are that the herd is doing fairly well. Calf recruitment rates are very
healthy, so it looks like the zone can be managed with fairly liberal cow hunts, and if a lot
of bulls are harvested each year, they’ll be replenished as well.

As for predation, there are only a few black bears in the zone. There’s probably a healthy
mountain lion population. But the high calf recruitment rates suggest that predators
aren’t doing too much damage at this time.

The most recent winter population survey was taken in 2008 in Unit 76. The numbers for
Unit 66A are based on anecdotal evidence. These are winter numbers, so I would expect
more elk in Unit 66A during the summering months until the weather pushes them into
the Tex Creek Zone.

Total Cows: 1,255 (Objective is 1,300 – 1,960)
Total Bulls: 503 (Objective is 400 – 600)
Adult Bulls: 305 (Objective is 255 – 365)
Note: the “Total Bulls” amount includes the “Adult Bulls” amount.
Bulls per 100 Cows: 40 Total Bulls (Objective is 30 – 35), and 24 Adult Bulls (Objective is 18 – 24)
Zone-wide elk/square mile: 1.06
Zone-wide bulls/square mile: 0.30
Zone-wide adult bulls/square mile: 0.18

On the whole, things are pretty well near objectives, if not better.

Diamond Creek Elk Zone General Season Hunts

In Idaho, you pick between the A-Tag or the B-Tag for the elk zone that you want to
hunt. You have to pick one or the other if you’re doing a general season hunt, and the
2012 Big Game rules lay it all out pretty clearly. There is no B-Tag for the Diamond
Creek Zone, and the A-Tag has a quota of 1,836 tags that may be sold.
If you purchase the Diamond Creek Zone A-Tag, here are your opportunities:

Archery Only: August 30 – September 30 for ANY ELK
That’s it – just an archery hunt. But it has historically been a pretty popular archery hunt,
and a destination hunt for many non-residents.

(If you buy the report, you'll also have pages and pages of all of the controlled hunts with drawing odds and success rates - same for general season hunts)

~ J. Bunch

05-17-2012, 01:02 PM

Thank you, for the read. Great info!