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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Idaho spring controlled black bear options

Idaho spring black bear controlled hunt application strategy

There are a plethora of bear hunting opportunities to be found in Idaho. Most of those opportunities are on over-the-counter hunts, but Idaho does have a few controlled bear hunts. In total there are four units with spring controlled hunts that all lie just north of Boise. Your Idaho controlled spring bear options are in units 22, 31, 32, and 32A with season dates of April 1 through May 22, 2021.

Applications for 2021 spring controlled hunts in Idaho are accepted until February 15 at 11:59 p.m. MST. You can apply online here. Draw results will be available no later than March 10. Any leftover tags for spring bear controlled hunts go on sale April 1.

Note: the application period for fall black bear controlled hunts is May 1 through June 5.

State information

Below you’ll find important information and links to an overview of Idaho’s rules/regulations, the draw system, tag and license fees. Once at the State Profile you can find even more information on applying in Idaho. Remember that goHUNT has 3D maps on the web. This is a phenomenal way to plan and research a unit you are considering to apply for.

Idaho State Profile Black Bear Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0 goHUNT MAPS

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply online is February 15 by 11:59 MST
  • Apply online here
  • Draw results will be available no later than March 10.

How to apply

You just need to purchase a 2021 hunting license and then you’re able to apply. Mail-in applications are not accepted.

Idaho Black Bear Fees 2021

Hunting license$38.75$185.00
Black bear tag$13.75$231.75
Controlled hunt
application fee

Note: there is a small additional fee charged for phone and online applications. The charge for phone-in purchases is three percent of the transaction plus $5.50; the charge for online purchases is three percent of the transaction plus $3.50. So the total to apply for a controlled hunt as a nonresident who already has a hunting license is $22.15.

Other Fee If You Want To Archery Hunt


Your Idaho controlled spring bear options

Idaho only has four spring controlled black bear units. Units available are 22, 31, 32, and 32A. For the most part, draw odds for these units are pretty poor for both residents and nonresidents. But drawing a controlled hunt means you will have less competition. In controlled hunts with 10 or fewer tags, not more than one nonresident tag may be issued. Group applications are accepted and group size is limited to two total applicants for controlled bear hunts.

Special note: for all spring controlled bear hunts in Idaho, baiting and the use of dogs is prohibited.

If you need help deciding what unit you should apply for, be sure to check out an article here that dives into how to use Filtering 2.0 to find draw bear hunts.

Draw Odds For Spring Controlled Bear Hunts

Permits allocated
Unit 22 &
Unit 31
1,816 apps
194 apps
75Resident: 68
Nonresident: 7
Unit 3241%
434 apps
66 apps
200Resident: 180
Nonresident: 20
Unit 32A8.1%
448 apps
75 apps
40Resident: 36
Nonresident: 4


Number of bears taken on spring controlled hunts

 # of bears
Unit 22 & Unit 3128
Unit 3219
Unit 32A*--

* No information reported from Idaho Fish and Game.

Find your draw odds here

Youth hunters

Youth hunters must be between the ages of 10 and 17 to participate in any bear controlled hunt, but a 9-year-old may buy a junior license to apply, provided the hunter is 10 years old at the time of the hunt for which they are applying.

YOUTH Draw Odds For Spring Controlled Bear Hunts

Permits allocated
Unit 3221%
115 apps
2 apps
25Resident: 24
Nonresident: 1

See youth opportunities here

General rules for bear hunting in Idaho

While some of these rules are clearly defined in Idaho’s regulations, I’m going to cover them here in case some are not used to Idaho’s rules.


For black bears, the tag may be attached to the hide.

Bag limit

No person may take more than one black bear per legal tag in his or her possession.

Female black bear with young

No female black bear that is accompanied by young may be taken.

Black bear meat

It is not required that a hunter keeps black bear meat in Idaho.

Evidence of sex

For black bears, external evidence of sex (either scrotum, penis, or testicles for males or vulva for females) must be left naturally attached to the hide until the mandatory check requirement has been satisfied.

Capturing black bears

No person may trap, snare or otherwise capture or hold black bears.

Dump grounds

No person may hunt or pursue black bears at any time within 200 yards of the perimeter

Mandatory check and report

Any hunter killing a black bear must, within 10 days of kill:

  • Present the skull and hide to an Idaho Fish and Game regional office, official checkpoint, or a Fish and Game conservation officer for removal and retention of a premolar tooth and to have the hide tagged with an official state export tag. No person, who does not possess a fur buyer or taxidermist license with appropriate import documentation, shall have, except during the open season and for 10 days after the close of the season, any raw black bear pelt that does not have an official state export tag attached (either Idaho’s or another state’s official export documentation).
  • A hunter may authorize another person to comply with the above requirements if that person possesses enough information to accurately complete the necessary form. A proxy statement required, see Idaho's regulations on page 102.
  • Please thaw your black bear hide and skull before bringing it in for tagging. Staff members may not be able to check a frozen hide or skull. Fish and Game’s headquarters office is not equipped to check in bears. For regional office locations and phone numbers can be found here.

Identifying if a bear is a grizzly or black bear

This is a very important area to pay attention to when hunting in any state that holds grizzlies. In Idaho, grizzly bears may be found in three areas according to IDFG:

1) The Panhandle in units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 6, 7, and 9
2) The Bitterroot Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border in units 10, 12, and 17
3) Southeast Idaho in the Yellowstone Ecosystem in units 60, 61, 62, 62A, 64, 65, 66, and 67

With all that said, you shouldn't have to worry about running into any grizzlies by hunting the controlled spring bear units in 22, 31, 32, and 32A, but like everything keep a clean camp and hang food if you're backpack hunting.

Best of luck in the draw!


Brady Miller

Brady Miller

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