Where elk herds have been expanding over the last decade or so, they are even bigger this year. Except for a few backcountry spots like parts of the Clearwater where habitat problems persist, that includes most of Idaho's elk country.
Deer herds have not gone through a major die off since 1993. Production this summer looks good again. I have yet to see a doe this late summer that did not have twins (in one case, triplets) here in the southwest. We have about as many deer as we can expect to see.
That does not mean deer hunters will find a monster buck behind every bush. Where access is easy, that will not be the case. But you will see deer.
The dryness of the year almost guarantees that. Animals will have to hang around the wetter places and those places have been greatly reduced. There is also a lot less cover in these conditions.
This is an ideal time to take one home for the freezer. Better yet, take a kid on one of the generous youth hunt seasons offered this year. The Commission made youth hunts for deer easier by making most of them general rather than controlled seasons, so check the reg book under general seasons It is a great time to start when simply finding a deer is not a problem.
The situation does nag at an old guy like me, however, because we have seen the years of plentiful deer and elk followed by hard winters when drought had left the cupboard bare. Great winterkills are no fun to witness. Unless global warming ends that phenomenon for the next epoch, you can count on it happening again.
I will be surprised if this is not a record year for deer and elk harvest in Idaho. So go, and take that kid.