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Several options remain to pick up Idaho deer/elk tags this year

Idaho returned hunting tag process

Photo credit: Dreamstime

With the Idaho OTC nonresident elk tags selling out on June 17 and the OTC nonresident deer tags selling out June 26, a lot of people were left scratching their heads on what can be done. All hope is not lost as there are a few options if you want to pick up a tag.

There are a few options

Note: The reserved whitetail deer tags recently sold out.

Outfitter setaside tags

As of July 17, there are currently 1,218 outfitter setaside elk tags available. The outfitter regular/whitetail deer tags recently sold out.

Leftover outfitter setaside tags

On August 1, any leftover outfitter setaside tags will be available.

If there are any returned outfitter tags for nonresident capped elk zones, they'll be available the second Thursday in August.

2nd Controlled Hunt drawing

Also, any controlled hunts that were not paid for by Aug. 1, will be offered up in the 2nd Controlled Hunt drawing on Aug. 5 through the 15. Draw results for that 2nd controlled draw will be out around Aug. 25. You will be able to apply for the 2nd Controlled Hunt Drawing when it becomes available here.

Note: Any tags not drawn in the second drawing will be sold first-come, first-served Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time.

August 5 update: Learn more and see the available tags here.

Returned sold out tags

This is the big one! There is a new process for the returned sold out tags in 2020. Each year in Idaho, some hunters return tags that can be redistributed. There wasn't a returned tag sale on July 9 and the next date for possible returned tags is July 23 and any available tags will be listed on Idaho's returned tag page here.

If there are any returned tags, they will be available on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. MT. The list of available tags for that period will be made available two days before the sale opens at 10:00 a.m. These tags will be available at license vendors, IDFG offices and online.

Note: After August 1, any returned nonresident general (or OTC) deer or elk tag may be sold as a first tag for a nonresident or a second tag to residents and nonresidents.

Pick up an available tag here

Below is a list of returned tag available dates:

Idaho returned sold-out tag dates

Sale date
(10:00 a.m. MT)
Date to
view available tags
(10:00 a.m. MT)
July 23July 21
Aug. 13Aug. 11
Aug. 27Aug. 25
Sept. 10Sept. 8
Sept. 24Sept. 22
Oct. 8Oct. 6
Oct. 22Oct. 20
Nov. 12Nov. 10
Nov. 26Nov. 24
Dec. 10Dec. 8
Dec. 24Dec. 22

Pick up an available tag here

What tags "could be available?"

  • Sold-out nonresident capped elk zones
  • Sold-out nonresident Sawtooth elk zones
  • Sold-out nonresident elk tags (quota reached 6/17/20)
  • Sold-out nonresident deer tags (quota reached 7/2020)
  • Resident capped elk zones

Future eligible returned tags include:

  • Nonresident outfitter tags for capped elk zones (available second Thursday in August)
  • Nonresident outfitter tags for elk (not capped zones) and for regular deer
  • Resident and nonresident controlled hunts (available after August 27)


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