This is a new rule, so pay attention.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission decided in January to set a deadline for buying controlled hunt tags. In previous years, hunters who had successfully drawn for a controlled hunt permit could pick up tags anytime until the end of that hunt. Not so now.
If you don't have the tag in your pocket by the close of business August 20, your tag becomes a leftover and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
This also creates a nice opportunity for those johnny-on-the-spots when these tags come up for sale as leftovers. Even better, buying one will not take you out of the running for an antlered animal tag in the next controlled hunt period as is the case if you draw an antlered tag in the regular draw.
The wiser folks will take care of their tag business well before 4:59 p.m. on August 20. With this being the first year for this rule, and knowing how most of us love that last minute better than any other minute in the universe, I think it is fair to predict that the scene at your local beer and bait store will be a little crowded and tense late in the afternoon of the 20th day of August. The opportunity for error on the part of teenaged retail clerks acting as POSM operators, the load on the computer system, lines of agitated tag buyers, all of it adds up to a place you just do not want to be on that day. Some other day between the one when you are notified that luck found you this time and about August 19 looks like a happier day.
There are several reasons for finally setting this deadline, all based around the fact that six to eight percent of successful applicants in almost all controlled hunts simply never pick up the tag. Up to now, that tag just disappeared, was never used and never paid for. This is a huge irritant to hunters who ardently wish to draw in highly desired controlled hunts but are not lucky. Those people have made themselves known to the Fish and Game Commission. Failure to collect tags also confounds Fish and Game's calculations, both for tag revenue and careful management of big game numbers.
So mark a day on your calendar, some nice day in July might be best, and stop by your local license vendor. Come August 21, your tag will be in someone else's pocket if you have not got around to it.