Top Idaho Elk Units – 2019 Hunting Edition

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Idaho experienced a harsher than normal winter in 2018-2019. This caused a reduction in statewide elk population. While the losses were substantial, the Idaho elk population is still strong, and we expect to see many hunters harvesting trophy class bulls. 

For many hunters’ yearly adventures Elk is one that is held most sacred. Hunts Plus submits hundreds of elk applications for our members each year via our Application Service, and our members submit hundreds more on their own. Researching the data published by dozens of sources, reports from our members, and hunting ourselves, Idaho has an excellent elk population, and terrain that makes the pursuit viable for any hunter. If you’re like most hunters who are looking to see dozens of elk on your hunting trip and selectively harvest the most mature bull, look no further than Idaho. Members have access to draw odds and unit statistics much more comprehensive than those shown here, but we’ve compiled our top 7 Idaho elk hunting units. 4 any-legal-weapon units, two muzzleloader and one archery unit.

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For access to the draw odds of all Idaho Elk Units, as well as those for every species huntable within the state, please consider joining the Hunts Plus Team. Covering 26 states and 28 species, we're here to help get you in the field.

Idaho Elk Unit 36A-2

36a2 draw odds
Unit 36A-2 Draw Odds
36a2 success rate
Unit 36A-2 Hunter Success
36a2 bull size 6points plus
Unit 36A-2 Bulls ≥ 6x6
36a2 land
Unit 36A-2 Land Ownership

Unit 36A-2 is a relatively small unit consisting of moderate foothills. The terrain within Unit 36A-2 is primarily open, offering excellent glassing opportunities. Roads throughout the unit are scarce, making it difficult to get into the backcountry and away from other hunts, but for those who are willing to put in the work the payoff can be great. The unit is nearly all public land owned by one state or federal agency or another so access is abundant, as are the trophy bulls for the hunter willing to scout and put in the legwork.

Idaho Elk Unit 40-1

Unit 40-1 Draw Odds
Unit 40-1 Hunter Success
401 bulls
Unit 40-1 Bulls ≥ 6x6
401 land ownership
Unit 40-1 Land Ownership

One of the top units within the Idaho for trophy potential. The season runs from late September and into October directly through the rut for the rifle hunters, unique for many units in Idaho. The elk population is typically clustered as opposed to more evenly dispersed as most elk units in Idaho, so when you see an elk you’re likely to see many more nearby, with a shooter being in their midst being a real possibility. Permits are very hard to come by for non-resident hunters, hovering around 0.5%. Some years there are none at all. Large tracts of public land make this one of the top choices for trophy elk in Idaho, as reflected by the discouraging draw odds.

Idaho Elk Unit 31

Unit 31 Land Ownership

Access is more restricted in this unit than some others that make the list and terrain can be challenging. But hunter success rates are exceptional. Draw odds are consistantly 1.2% for non resident hunters. 

Idaho Elk Unit 30-1

301 odds
Unit 30-1 Draw Odds
Unit 30-1 Hunter Success
Unit 30-1 Bulls ≥ 6x6
30a1 land
Unit 30-1 Land Ownership

Everything about this unit is solid. Trophy potential is lacking slightly, but with high hunter success rates harvesting a mature bull is a very real possibility. Terrain is difficult in most areas but access is abundant. Most bulls in this unit measure around 300”-330” so if that is what you’re looking for Unit 30-1 is a noteworthy choice.

Idaho Elk Unit 50-1 | Muzzleloader

501 draw
Unit 50-1 Draw Odds
Unit 50-1 Hunter Success
Unit 50-1 Bulls ≥ 6x6
501 land
Unit 50-1 Land Ownership

A relatively new unit for Idaho it is showing great potential. Hunter success will be effected by the late hunting season and annual snowfall. Draw odds are superb and hunter success overall is very good. The terrain is rough, which will help to close the distance during the stalk to give reasonably close shots. If you’re adverse to hunting in harsh winter conditions this may not be the best choice for you.

Idaho Elk Unit 30A | Muzzleloader

Unit 30A Draw Odds
Unit 30A Hunter Success
Unit 30A Bulls ≥ 6x6
Unit 30A Land Ownership

Six-point bull success is a bit lower than the state average, but is offset by reasonable draw odds and high hunter success rates. Access is good and terrain varied. Foothills provide muzzleloader hunters a favorable position to close distance and make the shot.

Idaho Elk Unit 41-1 | Archery

411 odds
Unit 41-1 Draw Odds
411 success
Unit 41-1 Hunter Success
Unit 41-1 Bulls ≥ 6x6
411 land
Unit 41-1 Land Ownership

Excellent terrain for spot and stalk, Unit 41-1 offers optimistic odds at harvesting a mature Idaho bull. Season dates combined with favorable weather should provide the bow hunter excellent rut activity. Access is abundant, however, much is wilderness which would be considered prior to filing an application.


Mike Bales

Mike guides the direction of Hunts Plus ensuring that it never deviates from its roots as a resource for all hunters searching for their next big pursuit. Spending over 100 days each year in the field he can -at times- be difficult to contact but is always willing to share what he knows with those seeking to build their knowledge base.


Join hunts plus huntsplus join membership
For access to the draw odds of all Idaho Elk Units, as well as those for every species huntable within the state, please consider joining the Hunts Plus Team. Covering 26 states and 28 species, we're here to help get you in the field.