Hunting In Idaho VS Montana

Hunting In Idaho VS Montana

If you’re wondering which state has the better deer hunting, Idaho or Montana, then you’ve come to the right place! Deer hunting in Montana is cited as being one of America’s best because of the abundance of quality whitetails found across the other kinds of deer also lively. In addition, Montana is home to many ranches, so you can find private ground where you can find excellent whitetail deer hunting. Also, an Idaho deer is almost twice as big as a Montana deer.

Idaho is also a solid choice for mule deer hunters because it has one of the largest free-range populations in America. Only Texas has a larger free-range deer population. Hunting is also permitted without restrictions in many counties of this state. For example, a county in Idaho allows for unrestricted hunting from dawn until noon and from dusk to dawn. In addition, there are extensive forests that allow for open handgun hunting throughout the year with no restrictions.

Elk Hunting in Montana and Idaho’s State With The Most Success Rate

The comparison of elk hunting in Montana VS Idaho is not challenging to be done. Elk hunting in Montana may be more difficult for some people because Montana has many open areas and requires walking. On the other hand, the elk hunting in Idaho is much easier, and they are considering having more animals than Montana. The elk herd numbers in Idaho are estimated to have more than 20,000 animals, while Montana shows only around 10,000 elk in their place.

Hunting in Montana is more challenging because it has many open areas providing an easy way for predators and humans to hunt animals. The meat from elk is considered a delicacy. People choose to use some unique animals because of this. Hunting in Montana corresponds with the most challenging activities that require people to walk long distances carrying their equipment with them. The harsh climate may also be a problem for some people planning to enjoy nature while doing their favorite pastimes.

Best Places To Hunt Deer

White-tailed deer are the most common types of deer hunting in Idaho. Although other kinds of deer also live in Idaho, the white-tailed deer is considered the most common. There are a lot more types in Idaho than other types, which means it is more common. Deer of this type can be found in every place throughout Idaho.

On the contrary, Montana does not have as many white-tailed deer as Idaho does. The reason behind this is that their mule deer habitats overlap on only a few instances. Most of the time, a hunter must travel to areas where non-human life takes over, such as fields and waterways, to find white-tailed deer living there.

Where To Hunt Mule Deer

Mainly, mule deer hunting occurs in the eastern part of Montana. Notably, there are a lot of white-tailed deer and mule deer sharing the area. Mule deer are also known as elk because they are similar to them. There is also a tiny population of black-tails that live in the same area as the mule deer.

Where To Deer Hunt In Idaho

People usually hunt for whitetail deer in areas between 10,000 and 15,000 feet above sea levels, such as the central mountains’ Bitterroot Valley and western slopes. Some people use helicopters for hunting whitetail deer because there is not much chance for hunting them on foot or horseback within these areas. In addition, the whitetail deer are generally known to be very shy, so they are difficult to spot.

Hunting In Montana VS Idaho

Hunting in Montana is a great way to enjoy the overall experience of hunting in America. The core of hunting is finding prey and ensuring that you’re respectful and safe during the journey. Hunting in Montana requires preparation and planning because you need to prepare for the challenging conditions during your hunt. Animals vary significantly in their habitats and thus require much more preparation if you plan on hunting them. However, a significant benefit of this kind of hunting is that it allows you to enjoy wildlife with no restrictions for nearly 24 hours a day.

Different Types Of Hunter In Idaho and Montana

Hunters in Idaho and Montana are known to be very similar. Although some of the skills and characteristics may differ, they have numerous similarities that ensure them to be effective hunters on their own. 

Archery Hunters

Archery hunters can easily find deer and elk without much trouble. Prey can be spotted from a distance and sometimes even at night as well. There are many times where the bow and arrow hunters use a spotlight for hunting at night. Most of the time, bow hunting occurs on the first day of the season because most deer are still around, ensuring that they don’t lose their antlers or get injured during fights with other males.

Rifle Hunters

Rifle hunters tend to go after larger animals such as elk due to the challenge of tracking them down. Unlike deer, elk are much more intelligent and challenging to hunt. To counter this, they plan their paths around the elk’s habitat and ensure that they understand where the animals travel so they can wait for them to walk into their scope. Rifle hunters usually operate both day and night.

Muzzleloader Hunters

Muzzleloader hunters use a firearm that is usually between 100 and 300 years old. Many consider this one of America’s first modern weapons, but it is still used because of its accuracy at close range. They also tend to get older animals because they are much easier to track and shoot than other types of elk doe or bucks.

Archery Seasons

There are three seasons for archery hunting. They start on the first Saturday of August and end on the last Saturday of October. The specific dates may differ by state, so it is always important to check with your local government to know when each season will occur. Archery season is also known as bow-only season. During this time frame, hunters are only allowed to use bows to hunt animals. Some states have more minor exceptions that allow using a crossbow or a pistol, but they are still considered archery-only seasons. Most archers like this time frame because it provides them with enough time to plan their locations while ensuring enough energy and preparation from using their weapons.

Archery Equipment

Archers in Idaho usually use bows and arrows to hunt their animals. Bowhunting is easy and accurate because the hunter is not distracted by other methods of hunting. When the archer is hunting, they have enough time to collaborate with their companion, which allows them to be more cautious. They are more likely to see other animals than shooting other weapons such as a rifle or shotgun, which can cause accidents. 

Archery Permit

Hunters must obtain an archery permit from their local wildlife agency in their state to hunt with a bow. They will usually receive the permits a few months before the year starts. However, because archery hunting is prevalent, it is widespread to receive hundreds of applications for permits. As a result, many will have to wait months to get one.

Rifle Season

There are three seasons for hunting with heavy rifles. However, the dates may vary by state, so it is essential to check with your local wildlife agency before shooting any game animals. 

  • 1. Early-Season Season: Traditionally known as the first hunting day of the season, this date starts on the first Saturday of September and ends on the first Sunday of November. It is commonly known as a muzzleloading season because it involves using many different weapons such as flintlock rifles and double-barreled weapons.
  • 2. Late-Season Season: Traditionally, this time frame goes from December 1 to March 31, known as big game hunting. In addition, many other animals can be hunted, such as bison, coyote, mountain lion, turkey, and bobcat, throughout this time frame.
  • 3. Special-Permit Season: Some states allow the use of special permits for special hunts during the late-season time frame. However, these permits are much more difficult to obtain because the state wildlife agency regulates them. Therefore, you can only hunt animals managed by the state public land and not by other private land associations during this time.

Muzzleloader Seasons 

Muzzleloader season is also known as flintlock season and takes place from December 1 to March 31. The weapons used during this hunting session consist of many different firearms such as rifles, pistols, shotguns, and muskets. However, many states in the United States have started to prohibit flintlocks and other early-model weapons for hunting. For that reason, some hunters may have to opt for using a different weapon during this time.

Muzzleloader Permit

Hunting with a muzzleloader requires an additional permit from the state’s wildlife management agency. Many people prefer to hunt with these kinds of weapons because they are one of the first weapons available in America. However, their original purpose was not for hunting animals but for protection and security as well. 

Idaho’s Best Hunting Spots

Idaho has the best hunting spots in the United States. In addition, Idaho contains some of the best hunting and fishing spots in the entire nation. Hunters can shoot various types of animals like moose, mule deer bucks, elk, mountain goat, bison, quail, pheasant, and many others. 

  • Boise National Forest: Located in South Central Idaho is Boise National Forest, where there are numerous opportunities to hunt animals such as elk and deer. In addition, there are large amounts of trees and vegetation for them to hide in around lakes at higher elevations. 
  • Snake River Plains and Grouse Mountains: Hunters can hunt within the Snake River Plains Wildlife Area or Grouse Mountain (southwest Idaho) wildlife areas. Late-season hunting can provide the opportunity to hunt a wide variety of animals. Hunters can hunt all types of animals, including mule deer, but they have to obtain a permit before hunting. 
  • Castle Rocks: Castle Rocks is located in Twin Falls County and a National Wildlife Refuge where one can hunt deer and elk. The area is an excellent place to hunt because there is a lot of elevation to move higher to hunt. 
  • North Idaho: North Idaho is also a trendy place to hunt in the state of Idaho. The areas have deer and elk that are hard to find anywhere else in the United States. The most popular area for hunting deer and elk in North Idaho is near Lewiston, Washington, where lakes are abundant because of the Snake River. In Lewiston, deer and elk are pretty standard. 
  • Southeast Idaho: Southeast Idaho is between Utah and Wyoming, so many hunters have found great opportunities with their hunting seasons here. The rocky mountain in this region is tall, allowing plenty of animals to hide from predators like hunters. This area is also trendy and has been settled for more than a century. Hunting animals should be easy to find there because the region has plenty of reservoirs and rivers full of trout.

Montana’s Best Hunting Spots

Montana is a great hunting state in the United States, filled with numerous deer and elk hunting spots. Many hunters decide to go there because they are more than happy to see a myriad of wildlife. 

  • Border Country: The Border Country is the region between Alberta and Montana, where many species of game animals exist. There are many deer and elks in the area due to the long hunting tradition. Big Game ranches have also been established for hunters to hunt specific animals such as whitetail deer or bison located within this region. 
  • Northern Yellowstone: The northern part of Yellowstone National Park is located in Montana and is ideal for hunting whitetail deer. In addition, the area has many different mountains and rivers that are ideal for hunting throughout the year. 
  • Miles City Wildlife Area: Miles City Wildlife Area is located in northern Montana, near the Canadian border. This area has plenty of wildlife such as mule deer, elk, geese, coyote, bear, mink, and skunk, which provides lots of food for hunters to eat during the season. 
  • Colorado River: The Colorado River is located in Eastern Montana, and it provides an ideal place for deer hunting. In addition, many people have hunted game animals within the Colorado River region, which is excellent for catching fish and hunting deer. 
  • Blacktail Deer Range: The Blacktail Deer Range stretches between Alberta and Montana, where numerous hunters travel to catch mule deer. There are also numerous bears there, and the range contains high grounds with lots of lands suitable for ranching.

Hunting Regulations 

You must remember one of the most important rules while hunting in Idaho is respecting your fellow hunters and other types of residents. Idaho has always been one of the states that would instead put people before game or fish because they believe they are more important than animals. Therefore, hunters have to take care of each other. If there is ever a situation where people are threatening or hurting someone else, they must immediately report it to law enforcement. 

Idaho hunting regulations for deer limit how many you can hunt for the season. The 2015/2016 season limit is 25 deer. If you want to exceed this amount of deer for the year, you need a special permit or tag from Idaho Fish and Big Game. The seasons for hunting in Idaho are also regulated by time frame and dates so that hunters can only hunt animals in particular seasons. Therefore, hunting hours can vary significantly from place to place depending on what animal you want to hunt and what season it happens to be during that time frame.


Private guides can take archers to the areas where they can find elk, deer, and pheasants. Guides may have horses to ride you to the hunting areas and help you hunt suitable animals. In addition, they will help you with which weapons you should use, such as arrows or crossbows, when hunting during your bowhunting season. Thus, hunting with an archer or guide provides hunters with several advantages.


Even though hunting in Idaho has its advantages, many hunters have decided to hunt in Montana. Due to more accessible access to good hunting guides and the ability to learn more about hunting, you may find this easier. Also, one must have a USF&W permit to hunt with a rifle or shotgun. In addition, the hunting season starts earlier than Idaho’s in Montana. For example, suppose you want to hunt mule deer there. In that case, you can start your season on October 1 or October 15 and then continue until December 31 or January 31 unless otherwise specified by the seasons.