Bow Advisor » Archery » Best Elk Hunting States

Best Elk Hunting States

best elk hunting states
We may earn commissions for purchases made through our links (no added cost for you). Every product mentioned in this website is independently selected by Bow Advisor. Click Here.

Elk is probably the most coveted game animal in the U.S. People from all over America travel thousands of miles and spend hundreds of dollars just to get a chance at a tag to hunt one of these 700-pound beasts. In the event that you are willing to put up the money and time, you need to be sensibly certain about the best elk hunting states.

The U.S. offers only fewer types of elk, for the most part in the western states close to the Rocky Mountains. There are a couple of eastern states as well where you can find blooming elk populations. Taking all things together, elk hunting can be done in around 20 states yet not every one of them will offer you a similar chance.

So as to gauge each elk hunting state, these are the criteria we utilized:

  • Tags Availability in State
  • State Elk Population
  • Access to hunting areas
  • Cost of Hunting
  • Trophy elk took

7 Best Elk Hunting States

1. Colorado – Best Elk Hunting State

Colorado makes the number one spot for taking high marks in almost all of our metrics. On the off chance that you need to guarantee you have the chance and accessibility to get an elk, head to Colorado. You won’t get a better chance anywhere else because it is on top of the best elk hunting states. 

With a population of elk over a large portion of a million, Colorado has the biggest concentration of elk on the planet. That population leads to more OTC permits issued and more units to hunt. Where most states will give a few hundred elk licenses, Colorado issues thousands.

The majority of the zones where you can draw a tag are easy to access and hunt with a lot of open spaces for a decent shot. You can hunt rifle or bow in many regions however there are two or three dozen just archery units in the state.

The all-out cost for a permit is right now $604 for a non-resident which sits in the pack for cost. You can expect to pay more for best elk hunting in the United States, however, to hunt there is well justified, despite all the trouble with a solid possibility of success.

Colorado may not take top marks with regards to trophy elk yet they have various bulls that normally more than 300 inches. These enormous bulls may not arrive you with record kill yet they ought to be bounty to fulfill generally hunters. Those 350-inch bulls are rarer in Colorado however various hunters bag them every year.

2. Wyoming – State with Best Chance at a Tag

While Wyoming might not have the largest population of elk, it has a lot of chances that lifts it to the main spot. The hunting in the low passes of the Rocky Mountains is probably the most stunning on the planet. Any hunt here will be the hunt of a lifetime.

With a population of just around 90,000 elks, Wyoming comes in at the mid-range in a sheer number of elk. The vast majority of these stretch into the Rockies however a couple of units have abundant elk in the low country if hunting in the higher elevations isn’t your thing.

Wyoming never again has OTC tags for non-residents yet most units have a 100% draw so your odds of finding a tag are really great. The labeling cost is $577 which is at the low end of the list. You can likewise add on an Archery tag for $30 and in the event that you don’t get one with the bow, convey directly over into rifle season.

Wyoming is becoming one of the best elk hunting states that are well known for elk that surpass 350 inches with various them took each year. A large portion of them in the lower spans of the mountains. Regardless of whether you can’t sack one of those, Wyoming is probably the best state to get decent took shots at an elk with gigantic groups.

3. Montana – Best Elk Hunting in the United States

Montana combines two factors that make it one of the best elk hunting states. Well, that’s if you disregard the outstanding scenery. For many hunters, this may be the absolute best shot at an elk and a good shot at a trophy elk.

The first of those factors is that Montana has been generally dismissed by elk hunters. Any of the more southern states get a higher amount. This implies most units will have a 100% draw regardless of whether they don’t do OTC tags for non-residents.

The subsequent factor is the cost of a tag. At $858 for a non-resident, this is the most costly state to hunt. This keeps a lot of hunters away but as the neighboring states sell out their tag restricts in the best units, Montana will, in any case, have a lot of room.

As far as population goes, Montana has the second biggest with more than 160,000 elk last time anyone checked. These are spread over a wide range yet there are high concentrations around the Rockies on the Wyoming border. Landing one of these units gives you a decent shot at a kill.

Most units average really high success rates in the range of 20 to 40% with archery equipment alone. Those numbers just go up with a rifle. The concentration of trophies is on par with Colorado and Wyoming however the bigger land territory they have to roam makes them a rarer take. It’s just a matter of your preference but if it’s the first hunt, lower elevations in the southwestern corner are your best bet.

4. Idaho – Best Value Elk Hunting State

The only state out of best elk hunting states that is fastest growing in fame for elk hunting, Idaho offers a good experience with an abundant chance. Previously, out-of-control fires and wolves had demolished the population of elk however they have made a solid comeback. At the midpoint of this list, Idaho is as yet a strong bet.

Populations of elk are somewhere in the range of 105,000 – 150,000. They lie in the upper middle of populations across the country and boast some enormous meandering groups. You are free to utilize a bow, muzzleloader, or rifle.

Cost is among the lowest at $571.50 for a tag and $20 extra for the bow. This is just about a steal with some of the prices you see going on tags. Non-residents can purchase their tags OTC for the present yet that is probably going to change soon with it turning into a progressively popular destination.

Trophy-wise, Idaho constantly pops up 350″ bulls each year. The odds are lower than in certain states however the odds of bagging any elk will, in general, be lower in Idaho than its northern neighbors.

With everything for Idaho up until this point, the main explanation it positions this low is the trouble of hunting. The zones that are kept up for elk hunting are progressively remote and harder to access. Some that are easy sell out fast. You should work hard to get an elk in Idaho.

5. Arizona – Best Elk Hunting States 

For many hunters, the farthest southern state has been a favorite for elk hunting for a long time however it’s off from ideal. Despite all the great hunting this state offers, it’s some dangerous metrics that kill its ranking on this list.

Namely is the issue of obtaining a tag. The few units that provide over-the-counter tags are places they require to eliminate elk because of interference with native farmers. For hunters, these aren’t perfect locations by a long shot. If you wish one among the better areas, particularly if you wish to rifle hunt, you’re getting to need to wait it out.

Even if you get a draw for a tag the cost for out-of-state is $850 creating them the foremost expensive state to hunt. This sounds like it’s hardly worthwhile however units in Arizona fill improbably quickly. it’s going to be the foremost popular destination within the country.

Trophy bulls are the main reason for its popularity. Arizona one of the best elk hunting states puts them out a lot often than all the other hunting states in the country. Population density must be the reason for this.

They may solely have a complete population of around thirty-five elk however they’re packed into smaller areas. Most of these areas are fairly simple to access. Even a foul unit in Arizona is commonly a more robust bet than a decent unit in most different states. You only need to manage to get a tag.

6. Oregon – Best Elk Hunting in the United States

Oregon State has a league of its own when it comes to 2 completely distinctive elk species. No different state on this list offers the chance to hunt Roosevelt elk. Despite everything they have the larger Rocky Mountain assortment also and you can take either with a single tag.

Elk populations are between 100,000 and 140,000 and that equally split between 2 of its species. the two species. Oregon state includes a lot of American elk with potentially one amongst the biggest herds within the United States.

Although not all are nice with Oregon state.  The non-resident tag cost is $735 that comes in the high rate states list. Although this high rate alone won’t drive die-hard hunters away from the state. Paying for a decent chance is well worthwhile.

The main issue that kills people’s enthusiasm is that the problem of hunting in Oregon state. All of the great units sell out in no time and even supposing they’re over-the-counter, your possibilities of obtaining one are slim. It will be easier to take a tough unit tag however you have got to choose whether you want to wait for a decent unit or hunt a hard unit. Anyways, other states are always available where you can easily hunt. 

It’s the common say that hunting in Oregon state is always stunning. You get plenty of selection and scenery due to the dense forest and its high peaks. There’s no better place to hunt other than this. That is why unarguably one of the best elk hunting states.

7. Pennsylvania – Best Eastern Elk Hunting State

In the past time, one might not suppose the hunting within the eastern states is up to par with the western however there are lots of smart elk on that side of the Mississippi as well, you just need to be lucky for it.

Why do you need to be lucky?  The reason for this is a few thousand elk that Pennsylvania possesses and they are also closely regulated by the state.  This implies only a few tags for out-of-state hunters however if you are doing draw a tag, the hunting is wonderful.

The cost of a tag do you have to get drawn in Pennsylvania is barely $250 for a non-resident that is tremendously low. Making it one of the best elk hunting states especially within eastern states. It’s nearly worth a shot applying simply to visualize if you are doing get a lucky break. you’ll solely be chosen once during a five-year amount tho’.

Eastern woodlands hunting could be a little difficult than hunting in the west. A number of that money you saved on the tag in Pennsylvania state can be spent on hiring an expert guide. The dense forests will make your hunting difficult but if you get a good unit, that will be a distinct matter.


The above are our top seven states. Of course, there are many other states equally important.  The most effective plan of action is to apply for excellent spots in many states until you get one from the list of best elk hunting states. You’ll be able to continually choose over-the-counter units and states until you are doing.

Most people think of elk hunting as the hunt of their lifetime and lots only get one shot at it. You can also check our review articles on the best elk hunting boots, best crossbow for deer hunting, best bow for elk hunting, and best elk hunting binoculars, Hopefully, this list provides all the knowledge required to form the simplest of that shot. 

Colorado State will always be a powerful bet along with Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Simply don’t neglect the opposite states on this list if they’re providing you the hunt you would like. Be that opportunity hunts or a trophy hunt, there are many states that may offer you that chance.