Outdoors blog

Reduced price revives popularity of Idaho leftover big-game tags

Hunting guide Bill Gregg, right, and Myndy Shattel wait for a hunting client at their elk camp at Shoshone Creek in the Coeur d'Alene River drainage. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Hunting guide Bill Gregg, right, and Myndy Shattel wait for a hunting client at their elk camp at Shoshone Creek in the Coeur d'Alene River drainage. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

HUNTING -- Hunters have until Aug. 15 to apply for unclaimed Idaho tags for controlled big-game hunts.   Discounted rates are making the tags a hot item.   Here are details provided by Phil Cooper of the Idaho Fish and Game Department:

For a wide variety of reasons, some of the lucky hunters who drew tags in the deer, elk, antelope and bear controlled hunt drawing did not buy their tags. 

Perhaps it was forgetfulness or being overly busy, as the tags had to be purchased by August 1.  It could have been changes to fall work schedules.  Perhaps a medical issue came up; or, some family vacation plans were changed. Regardless of the reasons, these unclaimed tags will make some hunters very happy about having a second chance at drawing limited entry hunt opportunities.    

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) will hold a supplemental drawing to allocate the controlled hunt tags that went unclaimed. Hunters must apply between August 5 and August 15 to be in the drawing. A list of the tags available is on the IDFG website, fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Hunters can apply for the controlled hunt tags at any IDFG hunting and fishing license vendor, or online. The supplemental drawing will be held around August 20.  Any tags remaining after the second drawing will be sold over the counter beginning August 25.

Another opportunity that hunters are showing a lot of interest in is the option of purchasing a second deer or elk tag.  For the first time this year, these will be available at a reduced price.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission sets a quota on nonresident deer and elk tags.  Prior to 2000, only nonresidents were able to buy tags from the nonresident quota.  Beginning in 2000, nonresident tags that are unsold after July 31 are made available to residents at the nonresident price until the quota is sold out. This year, the Commission is offering discounted nonresident tags when they are purchased as second tags.  The discounted price is $199 for a second deer tag and $299 for a second elk tag.

Many hunters have a primary objective of filling the freezer with healthy and delicious meat, and they take the first legal animal for which they have a tag. But hunters who shoot the first legal animal that comes along, rarely take a trophy animal.          With the new discount, they can now purchase a second tag at a reduced price in the hopes of taking one for the wall.  Those who are successful may have some meat they can share with friends and neighbors!

The discounted tags are cheaper than traveling to another state, where you must buy a full priced nonresident tag, over and above the travel costs.

Second tags are currently being sold over the counter at all IDFG license vendors until they are gone.  Early sales that started last Friday indicate the reduced price is very popular with hunters. 

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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