Unit 11 Whitetail - Craig Mtn

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
Hey Y'all,

I'm looking to do a Northern Idaho Whitetail hunt and I'm looking at Unit 11. I have never hunted Idaho but understand Craig Mtn. is pretty much my best/only option in terms of hunt area in this unit. I'm looking at November and I'm a NV resident so the tag is $350ish. I will also be piggy backing this hunt on a late October black bear hunt in Unit 10.

- Is this hunt worth the time/effort/resources?

- Anyone familiar with the whitetail population in this area, are there many bucks worth hanging on the wall?

- Any thoughts, tips and insight from anyone who has hunted whitetail in this unit would be much appreciated!

Thanks y'all!
 

Sparks Shooter

Active Member
Messages
187
I've hunted whitetail in northern Idaho many times. It is a great hunt if you have the right expectations. That is, you will likely have a chance to harvest a buck. If you are looking for a trophy class buck then you will likely be disappointed. Of course there are a few around but they are few and far between. I'd say the typical mature buck in the northern zones grows to be 110"-125". I've killed around 20 over the years and most are 14"-16" 3 points(8-point). Most were killed in 11, 11a, 10a, and 15. ----SS
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
I've hunted whitetail in northern Idaho many times. It is a great hunt if you have the right expectations. That is, you will likely have a chance to harvest a buck. If you are looking for a trophy class buck then you will likely be disappointed. Of course there are a few around but they are few and far between. I'd say the typical mature buck in the northern zones grows to be 110"-125". I've killed around 20 over the years and most are 14"-16" 3 points(8-point). Most were killed in 11, 11a, 10a, and 15. ----SS
Thanks SS, I appreciate the insight! A trophy buck is always a great bonus, but I'm just looking to extend my hunting season and put another type of meat in the freezer.

In Unit 11, do you hunt the Craig Mtn area, private, or somewhere else altogether?
 

HUNTNNW

Active Member
Messages
311
there are some good whitetails in 11, you will work for a 140" plus but I do know some guys who consistently take some really big bucks out of the unit over 140"

Ill tell you now that a late october bear hunt in 10 will be tough unless you are baiting.
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
there are some good whitetails in 11, you will work for a 140" plus but I do know some guys who consistently take some really big bucks out of the unit over 140"

Ill tell you now that a late october bear hunt in 10 will be tough unless you are baiting.
Thanks HNW, I am retiring from the Air Force so I'll have all the time I want to find one, hopefully I'm able to get it done!

I don't plan on baiting, but I am going to keep my e-call in the truck incase I get in a pinch I can give that a shot. But I've been e-scouting some good looking south and east facing slopes that look like they might hold some good food and water sources.
 

HUNTNNW

Active Member
Messages
311
problem with october bears is they go into big timber for food and are really hard to hunt. Those same south faces in july-september where you see bears is due to berries, nuts etc.. those are all but gone by late september.
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
problem with october bears is they go into big timber for food and are really hard to hunt. Those same south faces in july-september where you see bears is due to berries, nuts etc.. those are all but gone by late september.
That makes perfect sense, the lack of berries and REALLY desirable food sources has been a big concern of mine. I have toyed with the idea of going in early September, I suspect that would increase my chances. The big downfall is that would eliminate my whitetail hunt, but I might just do black bear and grey wolves in September rather than black bear and whitetail in October/November
 

andrew12gauge

Active Member
Messages
545
That makes perfect sense, the lack of berries and REALLY desirable food sources has been a big concern of mine. I have toyed with the idea of going in early September, I suspect that would increase my chances. The big downfall is that would eliminate my whitetail hunt, but I might just do black bear and grey wolves in September rather than black bear and whitetail in October/November
You should probably do that because as I said there are no remaining deer tags for unit 11 whitetail this year. I assume you don’t already have one since in your original post you threw in that you are a NV resident so the tag would be about 350ish
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
Still shows 65 unit 11 whitetail tags on the IDFG licensing site? Perhaps that's only non-rez since that's what my search criteria displays.

After hearing from y'all, if I can clear the fuel allowance with the boss I'll do the bear hunt in September then go back in November for Whitetail.

I really appreciate all of your input!
 

FDD

Member
Messages
55
Website shows 99 NR whitetail tags left for unit 11. I hunted 11 a couple years ago on a private ranch SE of Craig mtn area on the rim of the Salmon river breaks. Beautiful country. Lots of deer (muleys in canyons and whitetails in the timber flats up on plateaus). My dad has hunted whitetail in this unit for years on that ranch. He's seen some big ones but either missed or never got a shot off.
Last year he got shut down by snow in November and couldn't even drive into the ranch. Not sure how public hunting would be but I'd go for it.
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
Website shows 99 NR whitetail tags left for unit 11. I hunted 11 a couple years ago on a private ranch SE of Craig mtn area on the rim of the Salmon river breaks. Beautiful country. Lots of deer (muleys in canyons and whitetails in the timber flats up on plateaus). My dad has hunted whitetail in this unit for years on that ranch. He's seen some big ones but either missed or never got a shot off.
Last year he got shut down by snow in November and couldn't even drive into the ranch. Not sure how public hunting would be but I'd go for it.
Thanks a lot for the positive input BG! I grew up hunting whitetail in Michigan in forests and ag fields, I'm really excited to see how these mountain whitetail behave in comparison, so I really appreciate the added insight regarding where the Mtn WT typically hangout.

I have a Yamaha Kodiak 700 that I'll be taking with me, so I will be fairly well equipped to deal with a reasonable amount of snow. Fingers crossed mother nature doesn't unleash on me, even so I'll just have to audible to the less-than-desirable snow shoes!
 

andrew12gauge

Active Member
Messages
545
Still shows 65 unit 11 whitetail tags on the IDFG licensing site? Perhaps that's only non-rez since that's what my search criteria displays.

After hearing from y'all, if I can clear the fuel allowance with the boss I'll do the bear hunt in September then go back in November for Whitetail.

I really appreciate all of your input!
I went back and checked. I know at some point there were no tags for any deer units left available, but sure enough there are a few there. I would try to buy this week before draw results come out because I’m guessing those won’t last long after that
 

GlassMaster

Member
Messages
81
I went back and checked. I know at some point there were no tags for any deer units left available, but sure enough there are a few there. I would try to buy this week before draw results come out because I’m guessing those won’t last long after that
That's good advice brother, I didn't even consider that, thanks so much!
 

TA95030

New Member
Messages
2
Hey GlassMaster I have a 11 whitetail tag as well. Huntinfool recommended it when inwas looking tonget into the field. I’m chasing a bigger buck and towing my tracker 500s side by side headed there mid Nov chasing the rut.
 

Sparks Shooter

Active Member
Messages
187
I just got back from my hunt in the region and, unfortunately, don't have a good report. EHD has hit the whitetails really hard in the region and I estimate that 50% of the herd is gone in the area I hunt compared to what I saw scouting this summer. I found at least a dozen carcasses, both bucks and does, with some being a couple weeks old and one only being hours old. It's a sad situation. We did get a real cold snap and even some snow so hopefully the spread of EHD is over for the year. It seemed like the lower elevations were hit much harder and we had to move to higher elevations to find the majority of the deer. All that being said, we had a great hunt, saw multiple mature bucks each day, and ended up finding success. We had to go in October due to schedule conflicts and I would imagine that November will be much better. Good luck and have fun. If you are hunting public land, remember that no parcel is too small. Whitetail can be anywhere and you might find a handful of bucks using a very small area. ----SS
IMG_2636 (2).jpg
 

callsalot

Active Member
Messages
584
I just got back from my hunt in the region and, unfortunately, don't have a good report. EHD has hit the whitetails really hard in the region and I estimate that 50% of the herd is gone in the area I hunt compared to what I saw scouting this summer. I found at least a dozen carcasses, both bucks and does, with some being a couple weeks old and one only being hours old. It's a sad situation. We did get a real cold snap and even some snow so hopefully the spread of EHD is over for the year. It seemed like the lower elevations were hit much harder and we had to move to higher elevations to find the majority of the deer. All that being said, we had a great hunt, saw multiple mature bucks each day, and ended up finding success. We had to go in October due to schedule conflicts and I would imagine that November will be much better. Good luck and have fun. If you are hunting public land, remember that no parcel is too small. Whitetail can be anywhere and you might find a handful of bucks using a very small area. ----SS
View attachment 55469
Still looks like great success and a lot of fun! Congrats!!
 

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