The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking big-game hunters, especially those in pursuit of antlerless elk in the Pioneer and Smoky Bennett zones, to be aware that they are prohibited from actively hunting from a motorized vehicle on a trail.

The department’s motorized hunting rule is specific to 30 game management units, primarily in central and southern Idaho.

In effect from Aug. 30 to Dec. 31, the rule states that hunters may only use motorized vehicles on “established” roads open to motorized travel, the department stated in a press release. The definition of an established road is that it is maintained or designated by a government entity and capable of being traveled by a full-size vehicle.

If motorized travel is allowed by the Forest Service or BLM, hunters may use a motorized vehicle on smaller tracks and trails to retrieve downed game or pack camping gear. However, they may not hunt while doing so.

Terry Thompson, spokesman for Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Region, said the rule’s purpose is to keep things fair for people hunting on foot.

“They get the backcountry hunting experience without having to compete with someone on an ATV or UTV,” Thompson said in an interview.

The motorized hunting rule does not apply when hunting upland game birds or upland game animals.

Cross-country motorized travel off designated roads or trails is illegal on all national forest and BLM land.

In its release, Fish and Game noted that it is the responsibility of hunters to know the rules of the area where they hunt. Travel maps are available from federal land management agencies.

Visit the Stay on Trails website at for travel tips.

For additional information, contact Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359, the Sawtooth National Forest at 208-737-3200 or the Shoshone BLM office at 208-732-7200.

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