Top LE Mule deer hunts
Idaho is a strong mule deer state that offers hunts with high quality and high harvest success. As with most LE hunts, draw odds for Idaho mule deer tend to be tough, but in this case, worth the wait. Southeast Idaho is seeing a notable downtrend due to several severe winters. Keep in mind that southwest Idaho is also trending lower than usual. However, many of the central hunts are still holding strong and worthy of a closer look. For more detailed information on these hunts and many more be sure to subscribe to our Eastmans’ Hunting and Bowhunting Journals. Information like this and much more is all at your fingertips with Hardcopy or digital additions. Visit Eastmans.com or call us at 1-800-842-6887 for more information.
Unit 44 – Holding steady on the charts, this is one of the best nonresident opportunities, tag allocations are high, harvest success is top notch and four point or better is up there as well. Hunter pressure is the major drawback here. The unit is not huge and there are hunters crawling all over it. Trophy quality will reflect this pressure and therefore hunters are not as likely to find a cranker buck.
Unit 45 – Offering a decent nonresident opportunity and much lower hunter pressure, this area is a solid contender for sure. Public land access is decent and trophy quality is solid, bucks in the 160 plus range can be found. Both of these units are also chart toppers for the any-weapon hunts as well.
Unit 21A & Unit 30A – Late season rut hunts, high public land % extreme terrain and excellent 4-point or better harvest stats. Hard to go wrong here. Nonresidents don’t see much allocation as these areas only see 5 permits each, but for those willing to get off the trail and go, these hunts have great potential.
Unit 52 and 57 are strong contenders for the ol’ smoke pole. Lesser extreme than the previously mentioned hunt choices, these hunts are newer to the lineup, but seem to be making a strong entrance. Decent draw odds, and solid harvest and 4-point success.
Unit 28 – This hunt, located just west of Salmon, ID is almost completely public land. Big country, steep mountains, difficult spotting. There are roads cut throughout much of this unit. A good look at a forest service map would help to see what roads are open or closed. Either way, this hunt takes place during the prime time for mule deer. Early October when bucks are relaxed and fattening up, or late November. Hard to go wrong with these season dates. Harvest odds are very consistent.
Unit 40 – This area is on the downtrend, we see harvest stats steadily dropping each year, deer population density is low here anyway, so hunters have their work cut out for them. Draw odds are still tough, public land and access are excellent. Hunter density is okay, but a little high for the low harvest stats. Then again, there are 195 permits given out and this is a rut hunt. A person with some extra get-up-and-go will likely find themselves successful.
Unit 55 (early) – Early is the key word here. With a season starting in mid-August, this is a truly unique any-weapon hunt choice. Rifle hunting mulies in the velvet is not something just anyone can say they have done. Draw odds are par for the course, harvest success is holding steady and percentage of bucks harvested 4 point or better is about as good as it gets. Trophy quality is also top-notch, 160-180 class deer are achievable.
Ryan Lampers’ Idaho Buck Was Featured in EHJ Last Year!