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Big Game Hunters: New Hunting Boundaries, Rules and Law Changes and Plan your Hunt Accordingly

As big game hunters start to scope out their favorite hunting spots, Fish and Game is urging hunters to check out all of the new hunting unit boundary changes and new changes to rules and laws.

Changes to Big Game Hunting Units

Minor changes have been made to several hunting units to simplify boundaries, which affects elk zones and controlled hunt areas. Boundary changes were presented to the public as part of “Zero-Based Rulemaking” revisions in March 2021. These changes were presented to the public for comment in 2021, and 94 percent of comments supported those changes. 

Previously, some boundaries were difficult to describe or interpret, causing much frustration among hunters. Many of the boundary changes are aimed at making them easier to understand by matching them to roads, or easily identifiable features.

Changes are listed below and maps can be found on Fish and Game’s 2022 Idaho Game Management Unit Changes webpage.

Observable Boundary Changes | These changes were along borders between the following hunting units

  • Units 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 49, 50, 53, 56 and 57

Clarifying Description Changes | The following hunting units focus on clarifying descriptions of locations.

  • Units 5, 6, 7, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48

No Changes | The following units have no changes.

  • Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 8, 8A, 9, 10, 10A, 11, 11A, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, 19A, 20, 20A, 21, 21A, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 30A, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36A, 36B, 37, 37A, 51, 52, 52A, 54, 55, 58, 59, 59A, 61, 62, 62A, 63, 63A, 64, 65, 66, 66A, 67, 68, 68A, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76 and 77

Elk Zones

Changes may also affect some Elk Zones and controlled hunt areas. To see a full list of all Elk Zones impacted by boundary changes, check out Fish and Game’s 2022 Idaho Game Management Unit Changes webpage.

Changes to Rules and Laws

Hunters will see other new rules that affect hunting, which include:  

  • Archery Equipment – Lighted nocks and mechanical broadheads are allowed for big game hunting
  • Game Bird Weapons – Crossbows and airguns (with caliber limits) are legal methods of take for all game birds, including wild turkey
  • Vision Disability Certification – Licensed optometrists were added to the list of medical professionals who can certify vision disabilities for reasonable weapon modifications
  • Depredation Funding – An increase in annual funding to landowners for big game damage to property and crops and additional funding authority for access to depredation claims

New law changed some rule violations to infractions (formerly misdemeanors): 

  • Fish and Game Lands: Violate restrictions on dog leashing; fireworks; and less than $1,000 damage value on grazing, digging, firewood removal, logging or placing beehives
  • Failure to comply with companion requirements for mentored/disabled hunting
  • Failure to comply with shooting hours for upland game animals, upland game birds, migratory game birds and American crow
  • Failure to have two-pole permit when using two poles (except when ice fishing)
  • Fishing with bait or non-fly fish gear where prohibited
  • Fishing for sturgeon without sliding sinker or lighter test terminal line to sinker
  • Exceed fishing bag limit or established length restriction by one fish for all trout (and other fish) except anadromous salmon and steelhead and sturgeon
  • Failure to leave evidence of sex/species attached for all game animals
  • Failure to comply with shot size or nontoxic shot restrictions for migratory birds, upland game birds, or upland game animals
  • Failure to validate upland game permit for harvested stocked birds (pheasant)
  • Fail to comply with mandatory check for certain species when required