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Idaho reports low elk hunter density this season

Idaho Elk

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) biologists report a lower turnout of elk hunters in the Idaho Panhandle so far this season, particularly along the Coeur d’Alene. However, despite lower hunter density, the success rate is about the same as in previous years, the Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press reports.

According to the Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press, there were only 19 deer and elk reported at the Enaville check station last weekend with 361 hunters stopping into either report a harvest or other information. This is down from 668 hunters who harvested 35 animals in 2017. At the St. Maries check station, 360 hunters stopped by and 23 deer and elk were checked.

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While surprised at the lower hunter turnout, IDFG State Biologist Barb Moore says that “harvest success was average…[and]…similar to previous years.”

In fact, Moore says that many of the elk were raghorns, which is a great sign of overall herd health following several harsh winters. While there’s no specific reason behind what biologists believe to be a drop in overall hunter numbers, Moore points out that “preliminary figures don’t tell the whole story.” Often, it’s best to wait until post-season when all harvest and hunter numbers are accounted for before determining whether this could be a start of a new trend in the Gem State.

7 Comments

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William R. - posted 1 week ago on 11-12-2018 11:56:43 am
Hayden Lake, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

I saw zero elk. I listened to many wolves.

Darren D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-31-2018 06:41:56 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Almost forgot, it wasn't just us that stank up the mountains. Sunday the 22nd (Day 7) included a trip back to town to replace a leaking propane tank. We had to stop at a F&G check station along the way. It turns out they had collectively seen only one bull and two bucks brought out the entire week! Just lots of grumpy and miserable hunters passed through their check station.... what a shame

Darren D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-31-2018 06:36:14 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Idaho was horrible this year. On the 8th day of hiking with a gun, one of the guys in my party finally glassed an animal, a doe....

By day 10 of 14 we called it quits. We figured we would have better luck with upland game and filling our bear tags in our home state. In Idaho, one doe between three experienced hunters, three zones, well over a hundred miles hiked, hundreds of square miles glassed, and we even still hunted the dark stuff.... talk about demoralizing. Our faded deer and elk tag now just serve as reminder of a wasted $1000 we each threw away.

I never expect to fill all of my tags every year, but it sure would be nice to SEE something. Maybe it was all of the wolves.... lots of fresh wolf tracks in the snow on day one. One measured a whopping 7"! While his three compadres a measly 5". I have pictures (how do I post those?).

Jeff B. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-28-2018 08:20:00 pm

Lots of hunters little game .. 7 days in the field and seen 0 bucks...

BIGBUCK75
Clint M. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-28-2018 05:46:10 pm
North Dakota
goHUNT INSIDER

Not buying it.

Jay M. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-25-2018 07:19:56 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Does anybody else have a problem with hunter success in Idaho? I don't know about the Panhandle but here in the Upper Snake region I have never seen so many hunters, especially nonresident hunters. I'm pretty sure there were more tags sold than elk available. Nice work IDFG.

Jason B. - posted 3 weeks ago on 10-25-2018 11:06:14 am

Lower my ass.