Idaho Deer Elevation

TURNER208

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I will be hunting central Idaho unit around the 15th of October for a week and just wanted to get some input. During bow season I always run into them up high (8500-10,000) which makes sense, during the middle of October should I still be hunting these higher elevations just looking for areas with more cover? Or will the deer start to make their way towards winter grounds by this point and I should look for more migration routes in lower elevation. It is my understanding that larger bucks will often stay up longer even with some snow. Thanks guys!
 
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totally weather and individual dependent, but typically the migration for most of these deer doesnt really begin until the end of october(imo)(speaking to my local units in central id). I have hunted plenty of deer throughout the general season that I suspect were in or very near their summer habitat.
 

Customweld

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totally weather and individual dependent, but typically the migration for most of these deer doesnt really begin until the end of october(imo)(speaking to my local units in central id). I have hunted plenty of deer throughout the general season that I suspect were in or very near their summer habitat.
Yes, completely weather dependent. I’ve seen an early, big storm drive deer down, but its generally not til the rut starts heating up that the bucks will migrate down. If the early snow sticks up high, they may stage just below snow line.
 

WeiserBucks

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There's bucks at 2500 feet and less right now, I see them a couple times a week. Simple fact is that there's deer at all elevations and the bucks that live in the high country won't come down until they have to for the rut or survival, whichever comes first.
 

silverbullet555

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Keep in mind the drought as well. Talked to IDFG biologists and at least in the South, they indicated that water access was an issue and many of the "normal" places you'd find them were dry so the deer were near what would normally be tributaries. Mature deer become mature because the stay away from us so I'd guess they'll still be up higher around small amounts of water. I was hoping to hunt the last week of October, but elk tags kind of got in the way and I wanted more time for elk than for deer so I'll be hunting the middle of the month.
 
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TURNER208

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Thanks for the input guys! Kind of confirmed my original thoughts, but always want to get some other perspectives. Good luck this fall to you guys!
 

robby denning

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While they might move out of that wide-open above treeline stuff, I would still expect them to be in the high country unless you get like 3 feet of snow mid October


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TURNER208

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Thanks Robby! There is some mixed brush/timber type country with small openings in that country you think that’s where I should be taking a peak? Based on your book that’s what I’m thinking.
 
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TURNER208

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IdahoElk,

I’m hunting south central part, and that’s my feeling too is that they should still be up there just harder to find. That been your experience?
 

IdahoElk

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IdahoElk,

I’m hunting south central part, and that’s my feeling too is that they should still be up there just harder to find. That been your experience?
They will still be up there, hopefully this weather change brings colder temps and a little snow, should be good!
 

Jgill19

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last year seemed a little better deer number wise than the previous 5-6. I know we had a drought but with a winter that wasn't as rough. Anyone seeing or expecting slightly better numbers than years past? Hoping this heard is on the rise again
 

jlaner0408

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While they might move out of that wide-open above treeline stuff, I would still expect them to be in the high country unless you get like 3 feet of snow mid October


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As Robby said above.

Was out today and had a nice 4x4 bed down in some jack pines at just under 9,000 feet and 6-8” of snow literally at the top of the mountain. And the other groups of does and bucks that I saw were all in that same snow but just over 8,000 feet.
 

rflamm250

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Spent 6 days in unit 49. Stayed around 9000ft. Watched the elk come lower and lower after the snow storm. The deer where there until the elk moved in. Not sure where the deer went, but I don't think they moved down. After the 3rd day of 40 degree weather the elk moved to the north faces and some of the deer showed back up on the south faces. Decent numbers and 1 mature buck sighting but no pattern to them at all.
 
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TURNER208

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Spent 6 days in unit 49. Stayed around 9000ft. Watched the elk come lower and lower after the snow storm. The deer where there until the elk moved in. Not sure where the deer went, but I don't think they moved down. After the 3rd day of 40 degree weather the elk moved to the north faces and some of the deer showed back up on the south faces. Decent numbers and 1 mature buck sighting but no pattern to them at all.
It was kind of a weird year for me, spent a fair amount of time in 48 and the early snow seemed to push some deer down as the densities where I was were much better lower but I’m sure some stayed up high and I just wasn’t having luck finding them up there. Thanks for sharing your experience 👍🏻
 
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