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Information on Idaho's 2022 nonresident OTC general season elk/deer tag sale date

Brady with his 2021 Idaho OTC mule deer. Photo credit: Luke Dusenbury

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through November and while some states still have hunts going on, it’s also the start of the 2022 Application Season! Crazy to think that we are now already in the planning stage of getting tags for the next year.

One of the first important application dates up every year is Idaho’s OTC nonresident general season tag sale date for deer and elk. So… this article is a HUGE reminder that all nonresident Idaho OTC deer and elk tags go on sale on December 1, 2021 @ 10 a.m. MST for purchasing a tag for the 2022 season. You can purchase tags online, over the phone (1-800-554-8685) or at a license vender location, or Idaho Fish and Game regional office during normal business hours. Note: this is only for the general season tags and has nothing to do with controlled hunts.

Jump to: Fees 2022 Tag List Tips to get a tag

Get ready ahead of time for this tag sale date, because most likely we will see the same long wait times that we saw last year when trying to pick up a tag on December 1 and some tags will sell out quickly.

    As of November 18, I still haven’t seen anything from Idaho Fish and Game about them making any changes to how this process works. If you tried to get a tag last year, you will understand the process and what is at stake.

    But if you’re new… this article will help to line you out on the best practices to get a tag and ways to understand the system.

    Due to changes that happened last year, once again get ready for a long wait and tag to sell out quickly on the initial tag sale date. If you want to see how fast certain units and zones sold out the first week of Idaho’s December 1 tag sale date, check out the graphics at the lower part of last year’s article.

    Backstory on 2021 changes that happened

    Starting in the 2021 season, nonresident hunters in most general season elk and deer hunts were limited to 10 or 15 percent of the total hunters in each elk zone or deer unit based on hunter participation estimates averaged over the last five years. The new limits do not apply to capped elk zones.

    Here's a quick summary of the changes that happened last year

    Quick summary of the 2021 changes:

    • Nonresidents will have to pick an elk zone, as in the past, but nonresident tags will be limited in all zones that were not previously capped for both nonresidents and residents.
    • There is no change to the existing cap on nonresidents in capped elk zones.
    • Nonresident deer hunters will have to pick the unit they plan to hunt and can only hunt in that unit. So units now have nonresident caps.
    • Nonresident hunters planning to buy an elk tag and deer tag should also beware the deer tag will only be valid in one hunting unit, whereas most elk zones consist of several units. 
    • Under the new online licensing system, if you have a license and tag in your shopping cart, they are reserved for you. You will have 5 minutes to complete the purchase or they will go back into the pool of available tags. 
    • 2021 they imposed a new limit on reduced-price tags for nonresident disabled American veterans, which is 500 nonresident DAV deer tags and 300 nonresident DAV elk tags for over-the-counter deer and elk hunts. After those are sold out, nonresident disabled veterans can still buy deer/elk tags if available, but at full nonresident prices. 
    • New nonresident limits apply only to general-hunt tags. Nonresidents can still apply for controlled hunts, and will remain limited to no more than 10 percent of the tags in each controlled hunt.

    And according to IDFG last year, nonresident tag reductions in general hunts include:

    • Elk Zones with A/B tags, and most deer units with regular or whitetail tags where current nonresident participation exceeds 15 percent of total hunters, will be reduced to 15 percent nonresidents.
    • Zones and units currently with 10 to 14 percent nonresidents will be reduced to 10 percent nonresidents.
    • Zones and units currently with less than 10 percent nonresident participation can not exceed 10 percent.
    • Twelve backcountry deer units with low hunter participation will be limited to the current level of nonresidents.

    The last true OTC state? 

    With the new proposed changes that Utah is talking about on making their OTC elk hunts to a draw, and at the same time Colorado is also talking about possibly changing up their OTC elk hunt... Idaho truly might be one of the last states to have OTC opportunities. Especially for nonresidents.

    Fees for general season hunts

    Hunting license

    You need to purchase a $185 hunting license to get a general season tag in Idaho. To make this process even smoother, I purchase my hunting license earlier in the morning before the tag sale time or to make it even easier, I ensure that I’m set up for Auto Renew. You can add a hunting license to your cart when you purchase a license. If you do purchase one ahead of time and can't get the unit/zone you want, no refunds will be made. I purchase mine ahead of time due to applying for a controlled hunt anyway at a later date. Note: Nonresident hunting, fishing and combination licenses for 2022 will go on sale at midnight MST on December 1, 2021.

    Nonresident tag fees

    • $351.75 for a deer tag
    • $651.75 for an elk tag

    Note: Idaho resident deer and elk tags are not limited by quotas.

    Purchase 2022 tag once available here

    2022 Nonresident Tag Quota

    Tag TypeQuota
    Regular (both) deer and/or whitetail deer14,000
    Zone A and B elk 12,815
    Reserved whitetail deer*1,500

    * Reserved whitetail deer tags become available after the main quota of 14,000 has sold out. Includes outfitter and non-outfitted tags.

    2022 Idaho nonresident tag quotas by unit/zone

    Below is a table on the tag quota for 2022, and once these tags start to be picked up on December 1, I’ll be updating this article just like I do each year to show you what units are selling out.


    If you need help deciding which unit or zone to pick up a tag for, be sure to check out Filtering 2.0.

    Tips for picking up a tag

    The above screenshot was grabbed while I was checking out the process of the "waiting room" on last year’s August 5 returned tag sale.

    This is a slow process, it just is what it is, so have faith and I hope you get a lucky random number.

    I know it might be hard to do, but if you can’t be by your computer all morning, you might want to attempt to take the morning off work. This process is very tough for someone to grab a tag who can't be glued to a computer or is driving for their job, etc.

    Unfortunately, if you want a tag to hunt, we all need to start thinking outside the box. So it could be worth it to “call in sick” on the morning of December 1.

    If you really want to pick up a coveted tag, or ensure you get the deer unit/elk zone you want, you should log in to your IDFG account roughly 30 minutes in advance of the 10 a.m. sale time. 

    Everyone logged on in advance will be put into a “waiting room” and then randomly selected to make a purchase, so there is no benefit to logging in well in advance of the sale. 

    More on that in case it’s not clear, if you log into the Idaho Fish & Game licensing website early, you will be placed in the pre-sale waiting room. Keep your screen open and I'd suggest not refreshing the screen.

    Then right at 10:00 a.m., you’ll then be placed in the virtual queue and your screen will look something like the above screen. Once you are at this screen, you’ll be able to see your number in line, the number of users in line ahead of you, and your estimated wait time.

    Then you will have to wait for your turn before you can jump in to purchase a license. Again, stay on this screen. Once you move past this screen, you can click on "Buy a License, Permit, or Tag" which will be in the upper-left portion of the home page. Once you add a tag to your cart, you will have 20 minutes to complete the sale. If you don't make the purchase in 20 minutes, the tag will be removed from your cart and made available to other hunters. Act fast and purchase a tag!

    If you have any questions about this 2022 general season OTC tag sale date, be sure to drop a comment on this article. Best of luck!


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