The past few years have been a great time to be an elk hunter in Idaho; in fact, the current stretch is among the best in the state’s history. In 2018, elk harvest exceeded 20,000 for the fifth straight year. Going back to 1935, only a nine-year run that started in 1988 – the first year that hunters harvested more than 20,000 elk in the state – and ran through the mid-1990’s ranks higher.
Harvest in 2018 was similar to 2017, down by just 426 total elk from 2017. The antlered harvest dropped 325 animals, and the antlerless harvest fell by 101 animals. While lower than the prior year, 2018’s elk harvest was still the third-highest in the last decade, and the ninth-highest all time.
Elk harvest at a glance
- Total elk harvest: 22,325
- Overall hunter success rate: 23.5 percent
- Antlered: 11,326
- Antlerless: 10,999
- Taken during general hunts: 13,473 (18.2 percent success rate)
- Taken during controlled hunts: 8,853 (42 percent success rate)
Mule deer harvest at a glance
- Total mule deer: 26,977
- Overall hunter success rate: 31.1 percent
- Antlered: 21,471
- Antlerless: 5,506
- Taken during general hunts: 20,060 (27.1 percent success rate)
- Taken during controlled hunts: 6,917 (55.3 percent success rate)
Whitetail deer harvest at a glance
- Total white-tailed deer: 25,134
- Overall hunter success rate: 41.5 percent
- Antlered: 15,163
- Antlerless: 9,969
- Taken during general hunts: 21,975 (40.2 percent success rate)
- Taken during controlled hunts: 3,158 (53.8 percent success rate)
Hunters took more mule deer and fewer white-tailed deer in 2018 compared to 2017, while the elk harvest was similar between the two years — dropping by less than 2 percent from 2017 to 2018.
The 2018 elk harvest was about 15.4 percent above the 10-year average. White-tailed deer harvest dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, but gains in the mule deer harvest – largely from spike and two-point bucks – brought the overall deer harvest for 2018 above that of 2017.
White-tailed deer harvest for 2018 was above the 10-year average, but mule deer harvest was below the 10-year average, and the combined deer harvest was less than 1 percent below the 10-year, statewide average.
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