Idaho Deer Hunting Season 2023

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Idaho’s Deer hunting season is a thrilling adventure set in the rugged wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. With abundant deer species like mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer, Idaho offers diverse hunting terrain on public and private lands. Make sure your weapon is up to state requirements. Prepare for an unforgettable experience where wild calls and adventure await at every turn.

Season Dates 

Deer hunting season dates vary depending on the state you are in and what weapon you are using. You can only hunt certain deer species on specific dates. You must purchase the correct license and corresponding tag. For more information on the deer hunting season, check the Idaho brochure. Below is a table of the general hunting season open and close dates:

SeasonSeason OpenSeason Close
General Season DatesAugust 30thDecember 31st
Bow/ Archery (dates differ per unit)August 30thDecember 30th
RifleAugust 30thNovember 24th
MuzzleloaderSept 8thNov. 10thSept 30thDec. 1st

Licensing & Draw License Fees

Along with knowing when seasons open and close, it’s also vital that you purchase the correct license and tag for the species of deer you are targeting. Below is a list of the licenses and tags that you are required to buy before you go on the hunt and how much they cost:

Licenses and TagsPrices
Resident Hunting/Fishing Combo$33.75
Resident Sport Package$144.60
Resident Hunting$15.75
Deer tag $24.75
Archery Permit$19.50

Hunting regulations

You need to know the hunting regulations when you get out there to hunt deer, whether mule, white-tailed, or black-tailed deer. For example, any hunter can only buy one unsold deer tag and are limited to keeping one deer. 

Other regulations that are important for you to keep are in regards to antlered deer. You can only hunt deer with antlers longer than three inches. Deer must also have more than two points on one antler to be hunted. 

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Idaho?

Whatever weapon you choose to hunt with, you must ensure it meets the standards required by the start of Idaho. For more information on weapon requirements, look at page 98 of the Idaho brochure. However, here are the basic requirements summarized below for you:


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 20 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.24 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 28 inches in length.
BroadheadsBroadheads can be fixed with two blades and must be ⅞ inches wide at their widest point.
Bow characteristicsLongBow minimum draw weight for hunting deer is 35 lbs and a draw length of 28’. Recurve Bows’ minimum draw weight is 35 lbs. 


Crossbow draw weightCrossbows have a minimum draw weight of 125 lbs. and must be mechanically safe. Draw length must be a minimum of 14 inches.
Arrows/ boltsThe arrow/ bolt must be at least 16 inches, excluding the broad head.
BroadheadsIt must be ⅞ inches at the widest point. 

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of .45 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile.
IgnitionMatchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Idaho?

Compared to other states, Idaho offers several deer you can hunt, including the Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, and Black-tailed Deer. Each species has unique characteristics; if you want to get the better of them, you need to know their distinct features and habits. 

The Mule deer is iconic because of its large ears, which is a dead giveaway. They also have impressive antlers and a distinct black-tipped tail. You will find a Mule deer among rugged mountains, open grasslands, and high desert areas. 

The easiest way to spot a White-tailed deer is to watch for its distinctive long white tail, which stands alert when they are alarmed. They also have a reddish-gray coat with antlers resembling the Mule Deer.

While Black-tailed deer are most common in coastal states like California, you can hunt them on occasion in Idaho. The Black-tailed deer is smaller than other deer. It has a distinctively dark tail with a white underside. Its antlers are smaller but have more branches on them. You will find Black-tailed deer in areas with forests, woodlands, or open farmlands. Let’s take a look at what else you can hunt in Idaho.

What Else is Popular to Hunt in Idaho?

You can legally hunt various species in Idaho depending on specific hunting seasons, regulations, and licensing requirements. Here is a list of some commonly hunted species in Idaho:

Big Game:

  •    Mule Deer
  •    White-tailed Deer
  •    Black-tailed Deer (limited areas)
  •    Elk
  •    Moose
  •    Pronghorn Antelope
  •    Bighorn Sheep
  •    Mountain Goat
  •    Black Bear
  •    Mountain Lion

Upland Birds:

  •    Ring-necked Pheasant
  •    Hungarian Partridge
  •    Chukar Partridge
  •    California Quail
  •    Mountain Quail
  •    Ruffed Grouse
  •    Blue Grouse
  •    Sage Grouse (limited areas)


  •    Mallard
  •    Pintail
  •    Gadwall
  •    Teal
  •    Wigeon
  •    Canada Goose
  •    Snow Goose
  •    Various duck species

Small Game:

  •    Cottontail Rabbit
  •    Snowshoe Hare
  •    Squirrels (Red, Gray, and Fox Squirrels)
  •    Coyote
  •    Bobcat
  •    Raccoon
  •    Badger

 Predator and Furbearer:

  •    Gray Wolf (regulated seasons)
  •    Red Fox
  •    Gray Fox
  •    Coyote
  •    Bobcat
  •    Raccoon
  •    Badger
  •    Beaver
  •    Muskrat
  •    Mink
  •    Otter

Remember that if you choose to hunt any of the species mentioned above, you need to check what license and tag you would need to purchase, along with the weapon requirements to hunt them. Each species has different weapon regulations.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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