Idaho Hunter Safety Course


Idaho's Big Game

Idaho carries a vast diversity of big game species that can be hunted, however hunters must be careful to properly identify their target as some species can look very similar to others, and no one wants to accidentally take down the wrong game.

WT/Mule Deer

White Tailed Deer

Mule Deer


White-tailed deer and mule deer can be easily distinguished if you know what to look for. The white-tailed deer has white fur on their belly, throat and around the eyes, and under their tail. When alarmed, they raise their tail straight up into the air, showing the white fur underneath. The mule deer has larger ears, a black-tipped tail, and antlers that branch out equally.





The elk is much larger than both the white-tailed deer and mule deer, and is identified by a very large set of antlers, and a thick, dark colored neck. The moose is the largest big game animal found in Idaho, with the male weighing up to 1400 pounds. They have dark hair, long slender legs, and a large dewlap under the chin.

Grizzly/Black Bears


Black Bear


Bears can be a little more tricky to identify, because their coloration can vary significantly. black bears will range from all black to brown, light brown or even cinnamon color; whereas the grizzly can go from a yellowish brown to a dark brown. however, Grizzly bears are usually larger, and have a hump above their shoulders that is unique to the species. Note that the grizzly is classified as a threatened species in Idaho, and cannot be hunted.


Bighorn Sheep

Mountain Goat


Bighorn sheep and mountain goats are noticeably different, however they tend to occupy the same areas. The sheep have massive horns that curve around their ears and past their cheeks in a c-shaped curl. The goats have long white fur covering their body, and a beard under their chin, their black horns curve backward in a pointed shape.

Of all the wild dog species in Idaho, the gray wolf (or timber wolf) is the largest. All species of wild dogs tend to travel in packs and occupy massive territories, mainly forested areas.