Deer Forecast-West

Caribou County

According to state big-game manager Lon Kuck, the general mule deer hunts in southeastern Idaho along the Wyoming/Utah border will produce quality bucks and good hunter success. Look to Caribou County here. But if you want a real wall-hanger, try units 44 and 45 in south-central Idaho, where there are both early and late seasons (you need to have applied for a controlled hunt). If you draw a tag, hunter success is 50 to 60 percent and mature bucks represent a high percentage of the harvest. As for big whitetails, check out the units north of the Salmon River, particularly the Clearwater Drainage; Unit 1 north of Coeur d'Alene, in particular, has good access on public land and should contain some big bucks, according to Kuck. With two mild winters in a row, excellent carryover and good fawn survival has helped the recovery of Idaho's mule deer populations in most areas. Kuck predicts that 2001 will produce the best deer hunting the state has seen since the harsh winter of 1992-93, which devastated deer herds across the West. In recent years, the harvest has hovered around 40,000 animals and Idaho has both controlled hunts (May application deadline) and over-the-counter tag general hunts. There is a statewide nonresident quota, but in recent years it has not been reached.