5 States With Over The Counter Elk Tags

5 States With Over The Counter Elk Tags!

For many hunters, it seems it’s getting harder and harder to hunt. Not just from land availability, but from losing out when it comes to the draw. Pronghorn antelope tags, bear tags, moose tags, elk tags, and in some cases, even deer tags are getting harder and harder to draw!

If luck wasn’t on your side this time around, fear not hunter! There are still some places where you can buy over the counter elk tags. We’ll try to keep this updated, but make sure to double check, because states can change directions quickly.


This is likely the cheapest non resident elk tag you’ll be able to get at around $339 + the cost of your hunting license. You can hunt bulls with archery, muzzle loader, or rifle, and you can hunt cows with archery only. However, they also have a “spike only” hunt which is pretty interesting, and it allows you to hunt in one of the hard to draw areas for these spikes.

So, if you miss out on the big draw, you can still go and have a blast running through the area and hunting these spikes. If you’re interested in filling your freezer and you really just want to hunt, it’s worth the time to do it. However, there are some great bull hunting opportunities as well.


Next on our list is the great state of Idaho. It’s a little more expensive to hunt an elk in Idaho, but they offer you a lot more options on the weapon types and animals you can help. They also a lot of great public hunting land which you are allowed to use your elk OTC tags in, unlike a lot of other states which are far more restrictive on hunts.

Idaho is also interesting in that it offers lots of varied terrain for you to roam. Over 100,000 elk roam through Idaho’s deserts, mountains, and tree-lined ridges – offering you a trip that you won’t soon forget, even if you come home empty handed. Just make sure you’ve got a good pair of elk hunting boots.


While Colorado is one of the most popular elk hunting destinations, it does come with a few negatives. For starters, they are more restrictive on how you can hunt, and of course, you’ll likely have to deal with more competition from other hunters here. However, Colorado has a huge number of elk which roam their millions of acres of public land. They also have unlimited OTC licenses for archery, and some for rifles too.


This beautiful state has both Roosevelt and Rocky Mountain Elk which you can hunt. Unfortunately, their fees are a good bit more expensive than more other states, and many hunters claim they come home empty handy, with wolves in the state having killed large amounts of elk. But, if you’re interested in a real hunting challenge, then Oregon makes for a fantastic and beautiful trip for your hunt. Idaho likely has more opportunity to actually bag an elk though if that’s all you care about.


Washington is similar in price to Idaho when it comes to elk tags, and they also offer pretty lax restrictions on how you can hunt. So, what’s the bad news about hunting Washington state? Well, many hunters were disappointed by the fact that hunting pressure can be pretty hefty here, and competition may send you home empty handed. You may need to do some good research before picking a hunting spot here if you want a kill.