APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Idaho Antelope
Idaho's 2019 antelope application overview
While the population of Idaho antelope may be smaller than some of the surrounding states it does offer generous draw odds and season dates. Rifle hunts, which in a normal case, will experience lower draw odds with most of the archery or muzzleloader seasons seeing great to decent odds. Trophy potentials for Idaho antelope are generally lower as well with the highest average horn length of 2018 being found Unit 37 with 13.1”. Very few bucks will make the 80” for Boone & Crockett (B&C) entries, but, with good and hard hunting, hunters can expect antelope in the 65” to 70” range with some units producing chances for bucks above 75”.
Note: The application deadline for Idaho deer, elk and antelope is June 5, 2019 by midnight MST and can be completed online.
Why Idaho for antelope in 2019
Idaho offers a pile of controlled hunt options for antelope depending on your preferred weapon type.
Public land opportunities
While antelope hunting is generally an affair centered around private land hunters will find a surprising amount of public access to prime antelope habitat throughout the state.
Good draw odds
Because Idaho forces applicants to only pick one species to apply for per year the state tends to see higher draw odds than normal, particularly in less sought after species like antelope.
Cost to apply
|Adult hunting||$15.75||Adult hunting||$154.75|
|Junior Hunting||$8.25||Junior Hunting||$31.75|
|Application fee||$6.25||Application fee||$14.75|
|Antelope tag (if drawn)||$36.50||Antelope tag (if drawn)||$311.75|
Note: The cost of a nonresident youth and disabled vet license (DAV) is $31.75 and the cost of the deer, elk and antelope permits are the same as the resident fees. Read more about the requirements needed in order to qualify for the DAV permits here.
Along with the above fees, applicants must also pay 3% of the total transaction in addition to a $3.50 fee for online processing. In a nutshell, if you choose to apply online, be prepared to spend a little extra money at the time you check out. This can become as much as $60+ when applying for bighorn sheep, moose or mountain goat as you are required to put all the money for the license and permit up front, but is considerably less for deer, elk and antelope as you do not have to front the money at the time of the application.
New for 2019
- Mailed in applications will no longer be accepted starting in 2019.
View important information and an overview of the Idaho rules/regulations, the draw system, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. You can also view the Idaho antelope profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.
Important dates and information
- Applications for deer, elk and antelope must be submitted by midnight MST on June 5, 2019.
- Applications can be submitted online here.
- Mailed applications are no longer accepted in 2019.
- Up to four hunters can apply together on a group application for deer, elk and antelope.
- Successful applicants will be notified by July 10, 2019.
- The second drawing application period for leftover tags will run from Aug. 10 to 17, 2019.
- Leftover tags from the second drawing go on sale Aug. 26, 2019 at 10 a.m. MST.
- Idaho hunting licenses, access fees and application fees are nonrefundable.
- If an applicant is successful in drawing an antlered only permit for deer or elk they may not reapply for a controlled hunt for a period of one year.
- Any person whose name is drawn in a controlled hunt for deer or elk is prohibited from hunting in any other hunt for the same species except when the hunter has drawn an unlimited controlled hunt tag or depredation hunt or has purchased a leftover nonresident general season tag for that species at the nonresident price.
Moisture levels in 2019
The 2018/2019 winter in Idaho was fairly normal although a few late storms did hit a few areas of the state. The spring has been warm and constant throughout much of the state, leading to a quick, but safe, snowmelt and leaving great springtime conditions for ungulates. Horn growth should be great for this year and herd health should be excellent.
The Idaho draw system
Understanding the draw
It is important to understand the draw system before you begin. You can find a complete explanation of the drawing process along with important dates and fees in our Idaho State Profile. Idaho is one of the few unique states that does not use a formal system of preference or bonus points for distribution of controlled hunt permits. A simple lottery system is used, which puts every applicant—regardless of time spent applying—on an equal playing field. In Idaho, nonresidents are granted up to 10% of a unit’s allotted quota (super hunt tags do not affect this 10% allotment) although this number is not guaranteed if the quota is met by residents. This quota percentage for nonresidents is fairly common in the West, but, with a combination of high application fees and the lottery system, the draw odds are generally much higher.
Idaho’s super hunts!
Like the bighorn sheep raffle, Idaho also offers hunters the chance to draw one of 34 super hunt tags. With this tag, hunters can hunt in any open unit found in the state and may purchase as many chances at the super hunt as they wish. The cost to apply is $6 per each individual species or $20 for all four.
- Tags are available for deer, elk, antelope and moose.
- A hunting license is not required to apply for super hunts.
- The entry deadline for the drawing is May 31, 2019.
- Eight elk, eight deer, eight antelope and one moose will be drawn in the first drawing.
- One super hunt combo will also be drawn. This winner is entitled to hunt all four species.
- The entry for the second drawing deadline is Aug. 10, 2019.
- Two elk, two deer, two antelope and one moose hunt will be drawn in the second drawing along with one super hunt combo.
- Apply here.
Unlocking Idaho’s system
Idaho does not utilize a bonus or preference point system so everyone has equal draw odds regardless of the number of years a person has been applying. The key to unlocking Idaho’s system lies in our Draw Odds calculator and looking at the harvest success information. More information on Idaho's draw system can be found on our Idaho state profile.
Note: Idaho residents or nonresidents can buy one unsold nonresident general season deer and/or elk tag at the nonresident price starting Aug. 1, 2019, that can be used as a second tag.
As a nonresident, how can my draw odds be the same as residents?
Idaho’s draw odds can be a little complicated with the way that they cap the nonresidents at up to 10% of the tags. However, the way that they run the drawing process can be a benefit to nonresidents. Any time that the ratio between resident to nonresident applicants is higher than 9:1, meaning nine residents to one nonresident, the nonresident applicant has basically the same odds as a resident. With this ratio, there are not enough nonresident applicants to fill the 10% of the total permits offered for that unit, so the cap or quota doesn’t come into play.
Idaho's 2019 antelope breakdown
Like many of its other species, Idaho tends to fly under the radar when it comes to trophy potentials. Still, the state is managed for opportunity and it has plenty of that to offer any hunter! The antelope tags in Idaho are all conducted under controlled tags that must be drawn in the random lottery. There are a number of options available for different weapon types with many of the archery tags having an unlimited quota, which makes them a guaranteed draw. Additionally, many of the archery hunts begin on Aug. 15, making for a great opportunity to get out before most of the major deer or elk seasons open up across the West.
Idaho statewide antelope harvest since 2014
|Year||Total harvest||Success %||Avg. horn length|
Current antelope herd condition
Antelope in Idaho are doing decent although much higher numbers of the species can be found in neighboring states. In recent years, biologists have been closely monitoring herd health and population levels due to a decrease in fawn recruitment, which is likely tied to predation and habitat concerns. Still, while trophy quality may not be excellent, hunters can find a good hunt with any tag they may be lucky enough to draw.
As stated earlier, Idaho offers a bunch of hunt options for antelope with these being primarily broken down by weapon choice. Because of this, paying close attention to the regulations and hunt codes will be vital when applying for your permit. In the below section, we examine the best of the best for each weapon type.
The best odds are generally found with the archery hunts with many of the units featuring an unlimited quota for tags. These hunts generally begin before many of the other big game seasons in the state and serve for great icebreakers to get back into the swing of things. Additionally, many of the dates run into mid-September at the height of the antelope rut, which can be a very exciting hunt.
2019 hit list of controlled archery hunts for Idaho antelope
Along with archery opportunities, Idaho also offers a handful of hunts available for muzzleloaders. In Idaho, muzzleloader laws are very strict and hunters are granted very few modern advantages. Because of this, some hunters may shy away from these tags although several hunts allow hunting during the rut or during late season migration periods. The bottom line is to consider a tougher weapon choice because it can often lead to easier to draw tags.
2019 hit list of controlled muzzleloader hunts for Idaho antelope
The most opportunity for tags will be found within the rifle hunts although these hunts will also generally carry the lowest odds. These hunts take place in late September and hunters may still find some rutting activity. These hunts also take place during the dead period between the end of general archery and the beginning of general rifle for most species. This can be a great time to get out with a bonus tag in your pocket while not detracting from any other hunts.
2019 hit list of controlled rifle hunts for Idaho antelope
How to uncover hidden gem antelope units
When planning your Idaho hunt it will be important to first utilize our Filtering 2.0 platform to better narrow down your choices. Adjusting the various sliders will help you to fine-tune the filtering software to find only the hunts that meet your criteria. Historical graphs found within the detailed unit profiles can be strong indicators of hunting pressure changes, harvest success rates and past draw data.
Along with some of the great filters found on our Filtering 2.0 map, another great statistic to keep an eye on is the buck:doe ratios. These ratios show a relationship of how many bucks reside in a unit per 100 does that reside in the same unit. While a high buck to doe ratio doesn’t necessarily guarantee older bucks it does allude to the fact that the average age class of bucks within that given area is likely older.
Top buck:doe ratios reported in Idaho
B&C entry trends for Idaho antelope
Along with our Filtering 2.0 platform and historical data, another great piece of information to refer to is B&C record book entries. These entries, sorted by county, can be a big piece of the puzzle when piecing together your Idaho hunting and application strategy. These entry trends can clue hunters in on trending areas and areas that have historically held bigger and more mature animals.
Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included in any part of the unit if found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.
Idaho's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for antelope
|Units found within county|
|Twin Falls||4||46, 47, 53, 54|
|Elmore||2||39, 44, 45|
|Minidoka||2||52A, 53, 68|
|Power||2||56, 68, 68A, 70, 73, 73A|
Top all time entries for B&C antelope
|County||No. of entries|
When you think of Idaho, you do not think of trophy antelope. The state by state comparison B&C tables and the average horn length graphs confirm this. What this state lacks in trophy potential, it makes up for in scenery and great hunting experience.
The lack of a points system
Each of the hunt selections has enough permits to enable them to have at least one nonresident permit. Without a points system in place, you will have the same odds of drawing regardless of the number of years you have applied. All of the antelope permits have been drawn on the first round for many years in Idaho, which means your first choice is the only choice that will count unless you are planning on applying for an unlimited archery permit or a doe/fawn permit on your second choice.
Managing expectations for controlled hunts
With the lack of any formal bonus or preference point system, applicants in Idaho will never be rewarded for their length of application for any given unit; however, the playing field is level for everyone. Under this system, your name could be drawn for the tag of a lifetime during any application. Establishing your goals and aspirations for Idaho early in your strategy will be key to ensuring that you draw your most desired tag. With the sheer amount of controlled tags available, most hunters can likely find a hunt with decent odds to suit their needs. Archery hunters may consider the units with unlimited quotas for a guaranteed hunt every fall while rifle hunters may need to settle in for a long wait on their desired tag.
There are no OTC antelope tags in Idaho. There are a few archery hunts that have unlimited tag numbers but you must apply for one of these tags in the controlled hunt draw.