New protocol for returning, exchanging elk tags in Idaho

New protocol for returning, exchanging elk tags in Idaho

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Update: the original list of tags have already been sold out on April 23. Keep checking back for other options.

Are you planning on returning or exchanging a general season elk tag in Idaho? This year, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has announced a more streamlined and transparent way of dealing with tags that are either:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) tags exchanged for returned tags from sold-out capped zones; or
  • Returned elk tags after capped elk zone tags are sold-out or “after statewide nonresident quotes for deer and elk tags are met.”

According to IDFG, nonresident tags for 12 of the OTC capped elk zones are already sold out, which means that the agency has already started the exchange/re-selling process for those zones. While resident elk tag sales haven’t started, as resident capped elk zones or the nonresident quota of elk and deer tags sell out, IDFG plans to use a similar system to exchange or re-sell the tags. 

Available tags for purchase on April 23

Tag NameResidencyNumber of tags
Diamond Creek - A TagNonresident16
Middle Fork - B TagNonresident1
Salmon - B TagNonresident2
Selway - B TagNonresident2

For an up-to-date list of available tags, click HERE.

Gear Shop bar

Have an OTC elk tag you want to exchange for a sold-out capped zone? Returned tags are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, beginning at 10 a.m. MST, according to IDFG, and only available through online or telephone sales. If you’re a nonresident, you can start exchanging OTC tags for sold-out tags this Thursday (tomorrow). Returned tag counts will be posted on the nonresident tag quota webpage at 10 a.m. MST on the Tuesday before each Thursday sale. This means that the tag counts will not be “in real time” once the sale begins. Be aware that you will have to pay an exchange fee if you trade an OTC tag for a returned tag. Further, if you purchase a new tag, then you must return the old tag before you will receive the new one. Click HERE to complete your exchange online or call 800-554-8685.

If you aren’t exchanging an OTC tag, but want to purchase a returned nonresident elk tag from a sold-out capped elk zone, you can do so beginning Thursday (tomorrow). Click HERE to complete your purchase online or call 800-554-8685.

Good luck!


Shop gifts curated for any kind of hunter
12 days. 78 winners. Over $40,000 in prizes.