10 Best Places To Hunt in Idaho
Idaho, a.k.a the Gem State, spans the entire western side of the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains. Rivers, mountains, and farmland dominate the state’s 83,557 square-mile area.
The Gem State is home to several big game species. This includes elk, Mule Deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bear, and wolf.
If you’re a nonresident, you can refer to the Idaho Fish and Game site for a list of licenses, tags, and permits you’ll need to hunt in this state.
Memorable Hunts in the Gem State
If you’re looking for unforgettable hunts in Idaho, then this article is for you. Below we’ve listed the best places to hunt in the Gem State, what climate to expect, what game animals you’ll find, and who you can approach for guided hunts.
1. Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest: Elk, Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, and More
The Clearwater National Forest is located in North Central Idaho. The forest covers 1.8 million acres and contains mountains and river drainages, as well as parts of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. In 2012, the forest was combined with Nez Perce National Forest to form Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.
Summers in the forest are short, dry, and warm while winters are snowy and freezing. Temperatures usually fall between 23°F to 83°F and rarely below 10°F or above 91°F.
For licensed guided hunts in the area, you can contact Shattuck Creek Outfitters. This company gets you opportunities to hunt for elk, Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, moose, bear, mountain lion, and wolf.
2. Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness: Elk, Deer, Moose, and More
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a protected wilderness found in the states of Idaho and Montana. It covers an area of 1.3 million acres and is one of the largest wilderness areas in the nation.
The area experiences warm summers with average temperatures going up to 87.6 °F in July while winter temperatures can drop down to 26 °F in January.
Big game animals in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness include elk, Whitetail Deer, moose, bear, mountain lion, and wolf. For opportunities to hunt these animals, you can contact Ready Outfitters.
3. Frank Church-River of No Return: Elk, Deer, Mountain Goat, and More
The Frank Church-River of No Return is a wilderness located in six different national forests and a small swath of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The wilderness covers an area of over 2.3 million acres and consists of whitewater rivers, deep canyons, and rugged mountains.
Summers in the area are warm with average temperatures going up to 84.3 °F. Winters are cold with average temperatures dipping down to just 13.1 °F.
For opportunities to hunt elk, deer, bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, and wolf in the area you can contact Mile High Outfitters. This company offers guided hunts and drop camp services.
4. Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness: Elk, Deer, Mountain Lion, and More
The Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness is a protected area in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land in Custer County, Idaho. The area covers about 116,000 acres and is made up of open shrub, sweeping landscapes, rugged slopes, and the occasional volcanic outcrop.
The area experiences warm summers with average temperatures going up to 89 °F in July. Winters in the area are cold with average temperatures going down to 20 °F in January.
Mystic Saddle Ranch offers guided hunts in the area. This company specializes in hunting the area’s big game which includes elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, and wolf.
5. Salmon-Challis National Forest: Elk, Deer, Mountain Goat, and More
The Salmon-Challis National Forest is located in east-central Idaho. The forest covers over 4.3 million acres making it one of the largest national forests in the lower 48 states.
The forest has an alpine climate with average summer temperatures going up to just 61 °F in July. Average winter temperatures in the area typically drop down to just 16.8 °F in January.
For a premier hunting experience in the forest, contact Middle Fork Outfitters. This company specializes in fair chase and guided hunts for elk, deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, bear, and mountain lion.
6. Gospel Hump Wilderness: Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and More
The Gospel Hump Wilderness is a federally protected wilderness area in the state of Idaho. It covers an area of about 205,000 acres with elevations ranging from 1970 to 8940 feet.
Average summer temperatures in the area can go up to 81 °F while average winter temperatures can go down to 16 °F.
Big game animals in the area include elk, deer, bear, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions. You can contact Spur Outfitters and Lodge for accommodations and guided hunts for the above-mentioned animals.
7. Yellow Pine: Elk, Mule Deer, Mountain Lion, and More
Yellow Pine is located in Valley County, Idaho. The area covers just 636.8 acres and consists mainly of backcountry landscapes.
The area has a dry-humid continental climate bordering on a subarctic climate. Yellow Pine summers have warm days and chilly nights with lower temperatures close to freezing. Winters are frigid with temperatures going down to single digits.
For opportunities to hunt elk, Mule Deer, mountain lion, Black Bear, and wolf, contact Buck Horn Outfitters. This company offers guided hunts from their backcountry camps which can be reached by horseback.
8. Pioneer Mountains: Elk, Deer, and Bear
The Pioneer Mountains are a mountain range in Idaho going through Blaine, Butte, and Custer counties. The mountains are located within Sawtooth and Challis National Forests and their highest peak stands at about 10,500 feet in elevation.
Summers in the Pioneer Mountains are warm with average July temperatures going up to 81.5 °F. Winters are cold with average temperatures going down to just 12.1 °F in January.
The main game animals in the area are elk, deer, and bears. You can find opportunities to hunt these animals by contacting Little Wood River Outfitters.
9. Idaho Panhandle National Forests; Elk, Mountain Lion, Deer, and More
The Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF) are a set of jointly administered national forests mostly located in the state of Idaho. It spans an area of about 2.5 million acres with elevations ranging from 2,100 to 7,600 feet.
Summer temperatures in the IPNF are typically cooler with average July temperatures going up to just 59 °F. Average winter temperatures, on the other hand, can drop down to 28.4 °F in January.
Contact Clark Fork Outfitters if you’re looking to do some lodge-based, camp-based, or day hunts in the area. This company specializes in hunting elk, mountain lion, deer, bobcat, wolf bear, and moose.
10. Payette National Forest: Wolf, Mule Deer, Bear, and More
The Payette National Forest is a U.S. national forest found in central-western Idaho. The forest covers an area of about 2.3 million acres with elevations reaching up to 9,500 feet.
Summers in the area are hot and dry while winters are short, freezing, and snowy. Temperatures usually fall between 22 °F to 93 °F but rarely below 7 °F or above 101 °F.
Big game animals in the area include elk, Mule Deer, mountain lions, wolves, and bears. You can contact Elk Spring Outfitters for professionally guided hunts involving the above-mentioned animals.
MORE ADVENTURE RELATED READING:
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-David & Team AdventureHacks
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