Like everything else in the world, deer and elk management is changing. The framework set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in 1997 has new goals to meet. That means changes in application procedures, rules, and even in how you, the hunter, approach your sport.
These management plans will affect hunters beginning in 1998. The Commission took final action on the framework’s details in March 1998.
The A-B Zone tag system does the most for elk and offers hunters the most general-season choices.
Between these covers you’ll find a guide to selecting the type of elk hunting you like best. For enquiring minds, articles also explain the biology and other considerations behind the plan, and describe the public’s participation in writing it.
We’ve also tried to answer the most commonly asked questions about the new system and how it will work.
Because most of the substantive changes deal with elk management issues, this publication is mostly about elk. Deer hunting information is included for reference.
We’ve done all we can to simplify the complexities of the new management scheme for you. If we’ve succeeded, you’ll find the information you want quickly, understand it easily, and be able to apply it simply.
The elk plan was developed by teams of IDFG biologists and hunters. After months of discussion and public meetings, it was approved by the Commission in July 1997 and taken back to the public for explanation of the general season structure in September.
The goal the teams set is to correct declines in ratios of mature bulls to cows in a few game management units, without causing a shift in hunting pressure that could deplete other herds currently in good shape. A full range of options was considered. The A-B zone tag concept was found to do the most for elk while retaining more of the hunting opportunities people wanted than the other proposals did.
The controlled hunt system hasn't changed, and the A-B tag system does not apply to controlled hunts.
Starting in 1998, the state will be divided into zones for general-season elk hunting (see map). Idaho’s present general-season tags will be replaced by zone tags. Within each zone, hunters can choose an A or a B tag (except in a few zones with controlled hunts only). The list of season dates, tags and zones in this publication is final, having been approved by the Commission. Official season dates are also listed in the 1998 rules booklet.
The existing controlled elk hunt list and numbering structure will remain in effect for 1998.
Simply put, the A tag is muzzleloader/ archery rich and centerfire poor. The B tag is the opposite.
In 1998 general seasons, you will need to select the zone (a zone may include one or more game management units) you want to hunt. Then you can pick an A or B tag based on the experience you want to have and the animal you want to hunt (branch-antlered, antlerless or spike). The simple explanation: The A tag is muzzleloader/archery rich and centerfire poor. The B tag is centerfire rich and muzzleloader/archery poor.
In most zones, the A tag will be good for any elk in a long archery season and spike-only bull hunting during an any-weapon season. In some zones, the A tag may include any-weapon hunts for antlerless elk and/or muzzleloader hunts.
In most zones, the B tag will be good as an “any bull-any weapon” tag, and a B tag holder may also participate in an archery season for spike bulls and antlerless elk.
In the Panhandle region, the B tag will be the equivalent of the current Panhandle tag and will be good for any elk. The A tag will be added in the Panhandle for archery and muzzleloader opportunity.
Take a look at the zones, then go to tips on how to pick your area.