Idaho Controlled Hunt Application 2024

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Update: The 2024 Idaho controlled hunt draw is now closed. If you missed it you can start tracking draw deadlines for free with OnPoint – never miss an application! Available on Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The Idaho Controlled Hunt Application system is used to manage the distribution of tags for units with quota limits. It is open to both residents and nonresident. The draw, one of the simplest and easiest to understand of all states, presents an opportunity for nonresidents who were not able to secure a tag in the general elk and deer nonresident sale to secure an Idaho tag. It also allows those successful in purchasing a general tag to swap or “upgrade” their tag if they are successful in the draw. In this article we’ll discuss the application details so you can maximize your chance of drawing.

When is the Idaho Controlled Hunt Application deadline?

The Idaho Controlled Hunt deadline is June 5th by 11:59PM MT.

Species Available in the Draw

Idaho has two distinct controlled hunt application processes, depending on the species applied for. In this draw, elk, deer, pronghorn, and fall black bear hunts are available. Moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat are available through a separate controlled draw system, which you can read about here.

Nonresident tag allocation

Nonresidents are capped at 10 percent of the available pool of tags in any quota unit. In units with less than 10 tags, nonresidents are capped at 1 tag. Prior to reaching the nonresident cap, all applicants are treated the same in the draw. If and when the nonresident cap is reached, nonresidents are no longer eligible to draw a tag for that hunt code.

Idaho Points System – None

Idaho has no bonus or preference point system for any species, which drastically simplifies the draw system.

Hunt codes and choices

Hunters may apply to multiple or all species available in the draw. For each species applied for, the hunter must pay the draw application fee, in addition to holding a valid hunting license in the state. Draw requirements and costs are covered later in this article.

For each species applied for, hunters must submit a first choice hunt code, and may optionally submit a second choice code. These hunt codes are not to be confused with unit codes or game management units, as there are often multiple controlled hunts available in the same unit with different dates, methods, and game types. Hunt codes change from year to year, so it is critical to make sure you enter hunt codes associated with the current year, linked below.

To enter the application and hunt codes, you will login to your Idaho Fish and Game account, then select the “Controlled Hunt / Big Game Application” button at the top of the page. You will then enter hunt codes for the species you wish to apply for. After entering the code, the system will display the unit information for the code. Make sure that this aligns with your the unit you are intending to hunt to ensure you are not entering an outdated code.

Idaho controlled hunt application

Available Hunt Codes for 2024 and Prior Year Draw Odds

2024 hunt codes can be searched and filtered here. They are also available in the big game regulations PDF. From the page, select the species you wish to apply for on the right side of the screen. You can look up draw odds from prior years in Idaho’s draw odds data. However as mentioned above, make sure that you are looking at the equivalent hunt code from prior years as they may have changed.

How the Idaho Controlled Hunt draw application works

Idaho’s controlled system uses a simple drawing system

  1. For a given hunt code, all hunter’s first choice entries are randomized and given a random number, ordering them from first to last. Only 1st choices are considered at this time.
  2. Tags are then awarded in order based on the hunter’s order in the group.
  3. If nonresidents hit the nonresident quota (typically 10% of the hunt code), then nonresident hunters are no longer eligible to draw for the unit
  4. Hunters continue to be drawn until either all tags in the quota are awarded (typical) or all hunters are given a tag (not typical).

If tags remain for a hunt code after all first choices, then the same process is performed for second choices. For most hunt codes for nonresidents, no tags remain  available during the second choice process. However, some antlerless or “unlimited” tags may remain available. It is important to check the draw odds prior to making your choices to ensure there is actually an opportunity to draw a tag with the choice you enter.

Group Applications

Up to four hunters may apply on the same application for deer, elk, or pronghorn. Tags will not be allocated in excess of quotas. For example, if there is 1 tag remaining, but you apply as a group of two and would be drawn, you will not be awarded since your group would take the hunt code over the quota. If applying with a nonresident in the group, this can drastically reduce draw potential, so it is not generally recommended in hunt codes with limited nonresident tags.

Draw Results date

Results are typically posted in late June or early July.

Deadline to purchase

Hunters have until August 1st to decide to purchase an awarded tag. Unlike most states, there is not a financial or point cost if a hunter decides not to purchase an awarded tag. Un-purchased tags are made available in the Idaho second controlled hunt application period.

Idaho Second Controlled Hunt Application process

Any tags that were leftover after the first controlled hunt draw, or tags that were awarded in the first controlled draw but went unpurchased, are made available in the second controlled hunt draw. This draw opens on August 5th and closes on August 15th. The process is very similar to the standard controlled hunt process, but with different tags available. While most quality tags are awarded in the first draw, it commonly occurs that hunters don’t elect to purchase these tags for a variety of reasons. Odds are long in the second draw, but if you already hold a tag or applied in the first draw, you only need to pay the application fee for an opportunity to draw one of these tags.

Draw Requirements – What do I need to apply in the Idaho Controlled Hunt application?

Applicants must possess a valid hunting license and pay the Access / De-predation fee to apply for Idaho controlled hunts and applications. You must also pay the controlled hunt application fee for each species applied for. Tag fees only apply upon successfully drawing a tag in the controlled hunts, but hunters may elect not to purchase a drawn tag.

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Annual Hunting license$15.75$185.00
Access / Depredation Fee$5.00$10.00
Archery Permit$19.50$81.75
Muzzleloader Permit$19.50$81.75
Controlled Hunt Application Fee - Elk, Deer, Pronghorn$6.25$18.00
Controlled Hunt Application Fee - Moose, Sheep, Goat$16.75$45.75
ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Elk Tag$36.75$651.75
Deer Tag$24.75$351.75
Pronghorn Tag$36.50$342.75
Moose Tag$199.75$2,626.75
Goat Tag$199.75$2,626.75
Bighorn Sheep Tag$199.75$2,626.75
Bear Tag$13.75$231.75
Reduced Bear and Second Bear$13.75$41.75
Mountain Lion Tag$13.75$204.50
Reduced or Second Mountain Lion Tag$13.75$41.75
Wolf Tag$13.50$31.75
Turkey Tag$22.75$88.00
Do I have to purchase a tag if I am drawn in the Idaho Controlled Hunt draw?2023-05-19T14:34:41+00:00

No. You are given the opportunity, but do not need to purchase any awarded tags. License and application fees are not refundable. If you already hold a tag for the species, you may keep that existing tag.

Can I purchase a second elk or deer tag in Idaho?2023-05-19T14:32:33+00:00

Yes, second tags can be purchased in Idaho, but it is a difficult process to do and the system may not remain in place for much longer. In prior years before rising in popularity, second tags were easy to come by. Typically during one of the later Return tag sales in Idaho, usually in mid August, any remaining unallocated nonresident tags would be made available for hunters. These are available to both resident and nonresident hunters to purchase a second tag. This sale often coincides with when unallocated outfitter tags are made available to general hunters, as well as when general tags from successful controlled hunters are returned to the pool. This system remains in place, even though many hunters have yet been unable to get a first tag in the state. Hunters cannot secure a second tag through the controlled hunt system, as they must give up their first tag for a specific species to receive any tag awarded in the controlled hunt.

Can I enter the Idaho Controlled Hunt draw if I have purchased a general OTC tag?2023-05-19T14:26:14+00:00

Yes, hunters are allowed to enter the controlled hunt application for a species they already hold a tag for. If drawn, the hunter will have the option to return their existing tag for a controlled hunt tag. However, hunters can’t gain a second tag through the controlled hunt process.

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