Idaho Fish & Game Officials have approved changes that will limit nonresident hunting opportunities. The plan was approved after hearing concerns about hunter congestion in some areas.
Beginning in 2021, nonresident hunters in most deer and elk units will now be limited to 10%-15% of the total hunter numbers in the Unit. Total hunter numbers will be based on hunter number estimates averaged over the past 5 years. These new capped limits will not be used on capped elk zones. For nearly 30 years the Idaho Fish & Game has kept nonresident tags capped at 15,500 deer tags and 12,815 elk tags. Although these nonresident caps kept nonresident hunter numbers limited, there was no way to manage how many total nonresidents could hunt a certain unit. Because of this, in the eyes of the resident hunters, there were too many nonresident hunters using certain units. The old system lead to disproportionately high numbers of nonresident hunters in some areas.
“We heard our resident hunters, and took a careful and thoughtful approach to developing this plan to manage nonresident participation in deer and elk hunts at a finer scale.” – IDFG Director Ed Schriever
Limiting Nonresident Tags
As a result of this plan, nonresident resident hunters will see their hunting opportunities limited. These reductions will be listed below.
- Elk Zones with A/B tags where current nonresident participation exceeds 15% of total hunters, will be reduced to 15% nonresidents. Likewise, most deer units where nonresident hunters exceed 15% will be reduced as well.
- Qualifying zones and units that currently have 10% to 14% nonresident hunter numbers, will be reduced to 10% nonresidents.
- Units and zones with less than 10% nonresident hunter numbers will be set so they can not exceed 10% nonresidents.
- Backcountry deer units (12 total units) with low hunter numbers, will be capped at whatever the current nonresident hunter numbers are.
Limiting nonresident deer and elk hunters will greatly reduce Fish & Game revenue. Consequently, the Idaho Legislature increased nonresident hunting fees in an attempt to offset the projected finical losses.
“The zone limits on nonresident elk tags will not only ensure more even distribution of nonresident elk hunters. But it will also result in a reduction of over 600 elk tags sold to nonresidents in general elk hunts based on current participation rates. Nonresident A tags in some elk zones will be reduced by more than 50%.” – IDFG Director Ed Schriever
2021 nonresident deer and elk tags went on sale at 10 a.m. MST on Dec. 1st. If the statewide quota for nonresident tags is not sold by Aug. 1st the tags will be available as second tags for residents and nonresidents alike. However, these tags will be sold at the nonresident price point. Nonresident hunters will also be able to apply for Controlled hunt permits.
So, what are your thoughts on Idaho limiting nonresident hunting opportunities? Have you hunted Idaho before? Do you plan on hunting Idaho in the future? Let us know in the comments.