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Help setting up first elk hunt

 
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  #1  
Old 10-18-2013, 06:49 AM
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Help setting up first elk hunt

Help setting up first elk hunt
As briefly as I can... I have two sons in the Army and want to set up a (2014) hunt for the three of us if possible. Scheduling will be tough but worth the try. I've heard some of my friends discussing the nightmare of tag draws, expense and logistics. It all sounds rather daunting to my little brain. I want to make the effort for my sons who have both had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and need a break.
To the point. I know nothing of this process. Should I try a "self-hunt" or is the expense of a "guided hunt" a necessity in my case? I'm in Ohio, #1 son is in Hawaii and #2 son is in Ft. Benning, GA. (When they're not deployed) We'd be hunting with rifle @ ranges up to 500 yd. I'm thinking Colorado but then what do I know.
This may be my only chance at pulling this off so I need all the "experienced" help I can get. Any and all sound advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2013, 12:13 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

You have about 3 main options.

DIY

Drop camp

Fully outfitted and guided

If you have never hunted elk or hunted in the West, a guided hunt is going to greatly increase your chance of success and if it's in your budget, that is what I would recommend.

Another way to increase your odds is to get a guided hunt on private land but that is going to up the cost considerably but usually close to 100% success rate.

If you want to save on expenses, you could do a drop camp where the outfitter takes you in, sets up camp and then comes back to get you and any game you get. I would highly recommend that option over the DIY, especially coming from Ohio. If you choose that option, make sure your camp is being set up in good elk country. Get some references and check with the fish and games folks and wildlife biologists about the area. In some areas, elk will move to protected private land once the shooting starts or even before. So, what is good elk country out of season is not so good in season.

A little tip if you choose an unguided option (works for guided as well) Learn how to cow/calf talk. This helps in a couple of ways. First, it covers any sounds you make while moving from place to place. Next, it calms spooky elk. It may give you the extra few seconds you need to get off a good shot. I use a mouth diaphragm type so both hands are free. But beware if you are in Griz country.

Hope that helps and thank you for your sons service.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

Thanks MontanaRifleman. I'm afraid you're going to be right about the guided hunt. Any suggestions on guides and what states or areas offer a good chance at bagging an elk. Note: I'm not really concerned about a "trophy" elk although it would be nice. I am interested in a very edible elk though. That's something I've not heard anyone consider in anything I've read. I've always taught my sons "you eat what you shoot" or don't shoot. (Not in Afghanistan though ... ha! At least I hope not.) I don't know enough about elk yet to know if elk from one area is better eating than from another area. As you can see I'm just getting started on this quest and have much to research and learn on the subject. All three of us have hunted deer, coyote, quail, rabbit, turkey and small game so we're not complete novices to hunting, only hunting elk.
Well, thanks again. "May your rifle barrel be always warm and your meat locker full."
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:37 AM
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

So how does he get around the "draw" or "lotto" systems? I mean how does he get tags?
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2013, 10:47 AM
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Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

You're very welcome. I'm a resident do-it-yourselfer and not all that familiar with non-resident options or other state's options.

In Montana, a non-resident must enter a lottery. You get both an elk and deer tag. You can, last I checked, put in for a party tag meaning all or none which is what you would want. Outfitters used to be able to get a certain amount of non-resident tags to sell to their clients. I think they curtailed that somewhat if not all together. Not sure... they may still get some.

I know a good outfitter but unfortunately his area is just North of Yellowstone and the wolves have almost wiped that herd out. It's been several years since I talked to him but that was very good country at one time and it was during the early season back country hunt when the bulls are in rut. There are still a lot of good places to hunt and I will PM you a couple of private land guided hunts. They might already be booked?

I think you're best guaranteed state for getting tags is in Colorado. I think you can just purchase them without going through a draw. You need to start doing your homework. Sates I would recommend are Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and maybe Utah and New Mexico. Call each state's fish and game and ask them about tag availability, etc. Once you have decided on a state or states, call the wildlife biologists and fish and game for the best areas to hunt... then start looking at possible outfitters.
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You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:55 AM
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

As far as "good eating". You get what you get. Your chances of getting a tasty bull is best on a private ranch where they might be feeding on hay. Elk hunting season is during or after the rut which doesn't improve the taste of the meat. That said, it can be alright. A lot will depend on temps when you shoot the animal. The most important thing is to get the meat cooled off as quickly as possible. If you want a tasty elk steak, then shoot a cow that has been feeding on hay. Very good!
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You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2013, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Re: Help setting up first elk hunt

Mark,
Thank you so much for the info. I can appreciate not sending business to Ted Turner and that shooting a buffalo would be equivalent to shooting my neighbors cow and about as challenging. Ted won't be getting my business because I would have to mortgage my home to do that trip!

I have a friend who's son and 4 others just came back from a Colorado hunt. They ran into snow trouble and came back a day early. I've yet to talk to them. I set up one of the rifles for that hunt and was so hoping that the guy would get one with it. I wasn't nearly as disappointed as he is right now. They didn't even see any elk. They could barely move out of their base camp as my friend tells me.
Just the names, Snake River, Craters of the Moon and Mtn. Home would have my sons off in dream land even if they never saw an elk.
I will take your suggestions and any more under deep consideration. I can't thank you enough for your help already.
Dave
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