It’s here: after 12 long months hunting season has arrived. Along with the beginning of September comes archery season and this year has hunters looking to arrow a deer or elk. I am going to give you some advice, tips and areas to concentrate on this hunting season. I am leaving out the draw hunt units and concentrating on open units for general deer season this edition.

Idaho Fish and Game has reported a very dismal forecast for deer season as far as young deer go. With a 75 to 90 percent kill off this past spring for fawn survival in many areas, don’t expect young two points to make up this year’s harvest.

On the other hand, the past few winters have been mild and hunters should expect to see more three and four points in the field. In fact, I have been scouting hard this year and have seen more bucks in the 20 inch and up class in the past two decades.  In a nutshell, hunters could be looking at more of a trophy year than in the past twenty years. I am really expecting to see more 150 class bucks and up brought into the check stations this year, some real mature bruisers!

A top bet for a general hunt in southeast Idaho this year could lie in Arbon Valley south of American Falls in unit 73A and portions of 56. Over the past three years I have seen some dandy 30-inch bucks with heavy horns taken from this area. There’s a lot of posted ground surrounding BLM land, so knowing a landowner could be your ticket to hunting bliss. Expect some deep-forested land surrounded by fields and CRP land.

Another good bet is near Toponce and Cow Camp west of Chesterfield reservoir encompassing units 71 and 74. Here you will be hunting close to Shoshone Bannock reservation border but large bucks call this area home. This is big land and a lot of dense forested areas with plenty of aspen side hills and evergreen slopes. This is a place of elk, cougars and large bucks. The action here will be fast so shots will be in the 200 yard and under range. Creeks are plentiful but with the amount of precipitation this year, water will not be a factor.

A sleeper unit this year could be 77 northeast of Preston and east of Oneida reservoir. The Cache national forest is a top bet for elk but the biggest bucks in Idaho have been taken from this area in the past. These dark forested mountains with very little open flat areas let deer grow big and most reach maturity. Most of the shooting will be done in aspen filled draws or in the deep evergreen gullies and ravines. Chances are good that you will bust a huge mature buck or even one of the monster mossy back non-typical deer that Idaho is famous for if the hunting Gods smile upon you. A good spotting scope is needed to find bedded bucks in this area and expect to put some miles on as most of this area is up and down.

The year looks bleak for a large harvest and no harvest record will be set for sure. But hunters looking for that once in a lifetime buck could be in for a real treat if they get out and do their homework before the season starts!

Photo: vladeb, Flickr

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