Idaho has some of the best elk hunting in North America with an average success rate of almost 30 percent over the past 20 years. As of 2009, Idaho has 99 elk hunting units with tags only being good for one unit for either archery and muzzleloader, or rifle hunts. While tags for some units are issued through a lottery, most units are sold on a first come, first serve basis and usually sold out by September.
Unit 68A in the Snake River Elk Zone, that includes portions of Bannock, Bingham, Bonneville and Power counties. In 2009 Unit 68A had the highest overall hunter success rate in the state with 39 hunters harvesting 10 elk, nine of which were six point bulls, for just over a 25 percent success rate.
Unit 56 in the Bannock Elk Zone, including portions of Cassia, Oneida and Power counties, also had over a 25 percent hunter success rate in 2009 with 16 hunters taking four elk. Unit 56 is one of the smaller units, and while it doesn’t generate a lot of interest, sells out quickly due to the low number of available tags.
Unit 63 in the Snake River Elk Zone includes portions of Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark and Jefferson counties and is a one of Idaho’s most popular elk hunting regions. In 2009, 603 hunters harvesting 138 elk for almost a 23 percent hunter success rate. This is a very good unit for bulls with the total antler kill reaching almost 60 percent of the units total, with over 38 percent of the units total being six-point bulls.
Two units in Region 7, 37A and 29 in the Lemhi Elk Zone, had high elk hunter success rates in 2009. Both units were strictly antlerless as of 2009. Unit 37A includes portions of Custer and Lemhi counties within the Salmon and Pahsimeroi River drainages, east of the Salmon River. Unit 29 includes a portion of Lemhi County within the Lemhi River drainage. Unit 37A produced just over a 23 percent hunter success rate with 37 hunters taking nine antlerless elk. Unit 29 saw almost a 22 percent success rate in 2009 with 90 hunters harvesting 20 antlerless elk.
- elk image by Melissa Schalke from Fotolia.com