7 Top Elk Hunting Spots in Idaho

I’ve lived in Idaho most of my life and hunting has always been a big part of my life there.

I recently relocated to St. George, Utah and miss the numerous over the counter moose hunting opportunities that abound in Gem State, but I will certainly come back to hunt many times.

No, I’ll give you the goods – even GPS coordinates.

Better yet, I’ll even give you a download of my ONX Maps coordinates for Idaho so you can also see my favorite camping and fishing spots in southern Idaho.

If I was just sharing a spot to hunt, I could cause too much hunting pressure in one area.

I will completely avoid this problem by sharing dozens of spots in one post.

I’m tired of hunters not helping new people get started.

I’m going to show you where to hunt moose in Idaho.

Unit 39 (borders Boise to the northeast)

Unit 39 is one of the most popular moose hunting units in the state of Idaho.

Tags can be purchased over the counter for very little cost if you are a resident, and proximity to Boise makes access easy for summer and fall exploration.

Unit 39 borders the Treasure Valley (Boise area) to the northeast.

However, as some areas of Unit 39 are very remote and require long journeys on dirt roads, be aware that it can take over 3 hours to reach some areas of the Unit from Boise.

This unit is also weird because the archery moose season occurs after the any-weapon moose season.

The problem with Jagdunit 39 is that the season is very short and immediately follows deer season for any weapon, so the weapons go off for a week before moose season starts.

Also, the compressed season means many hunters are packing up for a tight window of opportunity.

If you dream of trekking deeper and further than anyone, you will likely get a rude awakening when you realize that there are many hunters every year, even in the deep backcountry of Unit 39.

In 2020 I hunted Unit 39 during moose season.

I had scouted the area and my game camera caught a decent bull just 2 days before hunting season.

The guns went off during rifle season, however, and this trail cam never caught a bull on camera again, except for a small spike.

This is a map of Unit 39 in Idaho.

You will see Boise on the left side of the map.

During the 2020 moose season I sighted 42 cow moose on a single day and several others on other days.

You’ll need to be in the right place at the right time and deal with a lot of hunters in the area, but if you want to see moose and stand a good chance, Unit 39 is a great option.

You will definitely see moose.

There are flatter areas in the southern region and just around Idaho City, but the rest of the unit is mostly vertical.

If you want to hunt in the backcountry in Unit 39, get boots and a backpack and train hard all summer long.

Next, look at the black pins on the map to see the rural towns near 39;

In the center of the unit you will see a black pin for Idaho City.

You will then see a brown pin for Hawley Mountain and Garden City, Idaho directly above.

The area marked in red is off-limits to moose hunting (at least at the time of writing).

The elk often winter in this area.

The areas I’ve highlighted in light blue are the true “elky” points in the unit.

There are certainly moose in some of the non-blue areas, but they have roads, private property, and other problems.

Spot 1 – Many hunters will pass right by this area because it’s still in the sage and mixed trees before the denser forests line up higher.

However, moose can be found in this area.

You have to park by the river and go straight up the steep mountains into the sage brush.

Since the elk generally migrate north to south in this unit in the fall, this could be a good area to spot some of the bulls leaving town when the deer season guns go off.

Spot 2 – This is the region I hunted during the 2020 moose season.

As mentioned, I saw dozens of moose and even had a chance of a sting which I missed.

Although it was a brutal 4 hour vertical trek to get to the area I was hunting in, there were still hunters on every ridge around me making the hunt really difficult.

However, this is likely to be the case no matter where you hunt these days.

Luckily, in 2021 Idaho raised its moose tag prices significantly, so hopefully it will turn away some out-of-state hunters.

Don’t be put off when you open up this place on OnX and see countless roads and trails running through this area.

Almost all of them have seasonal closures from September 15th and until the end of moose season.

So there are no active roads running through this place during the season.

Much of the unit is sparse wood and extremely steep mountains.

Virtually every mountain peak in the blue areas on the map is a great spot to see moose.

I saw a lot of moose there.

Spot 3 – This area isn’t as isolated as the rest of the unit, but there are definitely mooses in this spot.

If you only get the cow mark for the preseason, that’s a good area, along with 4th place.

Point 4 – The road follows the river for the most part and then forks to the northwest giving access to this area.

Similar to point 3, this area has a lot of hunters and is quite steep if you stray far from the road.

However, I have seen many moose in this area during the off-season.

There is dense undergrowth to the north of this spot making walking difficult, but much of the rest of the spot is moderate wood.

If I had the early season cow brand I would go here.

There are also two large moose sanctuaries that I’ve spotted on the tops of the mountains in this area, which once had many dozens of moose congregating during rifle season, but it was two ridges from where I was looking with the binoculars have .

Spot 5 – This is the most secluded area of ​​the unit and receives the least hunting pressure.

If snow falls earlier during the hunt, this area would be difficult to access, but if there isn’t snow yet, the most dedicated moose hunters (and the fittest) will likely find this part of the unit the best bet.

However, if you study the maps closely you will find that almost all of the area is roadless and in some of these regions you would have a very long and very hard packout if you were successful.

Spot 6 – This is the most common area where guides set up horse camps.

Point 6 has a deep roadless area.

It would be a long pack with no animals (similar to point 5 which is also very roadless).

On opening day you will see that the parking lot is filled to the brim with horse trailers.

Block 19 (Selway Zone – Northeast of Riggins)

The small town of Riggins is in the lower left corner of the unit.

There are main roads bordering the unit.

So what about streets in the middle of the unit?

But when you come in, you’ll hunt alone.

Burgdorf itself is on the southwest corner of unit 19A, but in my experience this area has a lot of hunters and not a lot of great hunts.

Riggins is closer than Burgdorf and is on the southwest corner of the unit.

Unit 19 is very remote.

I think a lot of hunters stay away from this area assuming it was all burned down recently in the 2019 fire season, but most of unit 19 is still fine.

The fighter success rate in this unit has been above 20% for several years in a row.

The #1 problem with hunting Unit 19 is how remote it is.

The best thing about hunting in Unit 19 is how many options there are in the early season to hunt with either a bow or a rifle.

For me the lack of hunting pressure in this unit combined with the early season rifle hunting makes them a BIG winner. I would start my exploration in Unit 19 in the Elk Butte area – looking for mountaintops where you can look into fingers with moderate tree cover yourself to make the moose feel secluded but still give you the opportunity to spot them to discover.

Early snowfall can definitely happen in this area of ​​Idaho.

North Butte, overlooking Porcupine Creek, can also be a productive area, and access from Highway 95 near Lucille at least makes the drive possible, albeit still very steep and remote.

There really are mooses in almost every channel in this unit, as long as you can dodge the wolves and as long as you can get to the spot.

Much like this entire region of Idaho, which used to be incredible for moose hunting, has changed due to wolf predation.

However, keep in mind that fighters in this unit have had a success rate of over 20% over the past five years.

Idaho Any Weapon Elk Hunt statistics with OTC tags

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