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Idaho Elk Hunt Checklist: The Things You Didn’t Know You Needed


Ready for an Idaho elk hunt? Not without these essentials.

Idaho is one of North America’s hallowed grounds for elk hunting. Big game hunters with a taste for the western mountain atmosphere will always tell you it’s one of the best places to be during the fall elk rutting season.

But, if you’ve never been to Idaho for an elk hunt, the idea can be a bit intimidating. That intimidation is doubled if you’ve never hunted elk, and are more familiar with whitetails in cornfields.

Never fear, your checklist is here. These are the things you’ll want to prepare ahead of time. We bypassed the obvious, like a license/tag, a gun and ammo, and a reputable guide operator. These additions will help give you advantages that will pay dividends.

Gear up and familiarize yourself with extra implements, and take care of these steps well in advance. Your freezer will thank you for filling it with elk meat when you’re through.

1. Appropriate camo

Any hunter worth their while owns camouflage clothing, but it’s more than likely going to match their home area, and the vegetation they hunt in the most. That’s fine, and smart, but it probably won’t help much in the mountains of Idaho.

Particularly in the fall, Idaho’s color schemes are usually duller and browner when compared to a lush, green Florida swamp or Ohio hardwood forest. Move further into the winter, and warmth becomes crucial. Don’t get caught unprepared in this category.

2. Rangefinder

Maybe you don’t need a rangefinder when sitting in your favorite stand back home, but they are critical on an Idaho elk hunt. Longer shots are commonplace, and knowing exactly how far a bull is from your muzzle makes all the difference.

Bushnell® Scout® 1000 ARC Rangefinder
Bushnell® Scout® 1000 ARC Rangefinder

While we’re on the subject, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with a quality scope and binoculars, because both will be needed when spotting and aiming.

3. Shooting sticks

Idaho elk hunting means moving, staying on your feet, and making quick decisions in the heat of the moment. Shooting sticks will help keep things steady when the moment arrives.

4. Flashlight or headlamp

Searching after dusk for a wounded elk is nearly impossible without some sort of light. Leaving before dawn for a specific hunting spot calls for it too.

5. Backcountry survival kit

Scout Essentials Kit Fit for Bear Grylls
Scout Essentials Kit

If you’ve never been to the Idaho wilderness before, you may have no idea what’s in store. All the more reason to be fully prepared, not just for a hunt, but for a survival situation should it arrive.

6. Extra field dressing gear

A folding saw, game bags, game cart (or extra large pack), and even gutting gloves are all good ideas. A large cow or bull dwarfs that of a whitetail, and being able to pack meat and antlers out is the main objective for most. Don’t take this final step lightly.

Like we said up front, this isn’t an all-encompassing checklist, but rather an extension of the basics that you’ll need for a successful Idaho hunting experience.

Gear up, do your homework, and schedule your elk hunt in Idaho today. The mountains await, and so do the bulls.


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Idaho Elk Hunt Checklist: The Things You Didn’t Know You Needed