Have never hunted unit 44 but spent a little time in their horseback many many years ago mainly up behind Smoky Dome and down towards the south fork. Used to be lots of elk in there but I think the wolf deal may have changed that.
Seems the western end of 44 held more deer just to the north of Bennet Mt which is in unit 45. I do know for a fact that a lot of deer move out of 44 down into the Bennet Mt. country to winter. If there is early snow you can catch them moving. There are some decent horse trails in the south facing drainages to the west and south of the lookout that can make getting into that country somewhat easier.
If you're looking for a really good buck try to draw 45. It's worth the effort!
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. Sir Winston Churchill.
Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. Einstein
Have not seen any elk yet
So far we have made 4 scouting trip
the deer in the pic is from the southwest corner but there is lots of private ground down there. Funny thing is everyone I talk to says that whole corner is access yes ground but I can not find anything that says it is
Right now we are looking for both high and low areas to set up so we have a game plan no matter what the weather does
I like that smokey dome area saw a nice 5 point up there
Most of the big bucks use to be on the ridge between Smokey Dome and Iron Mountain (and there still are some) but in recent years it seems like more and more big ones are coming out of the lower country, ie lower sage brush hills. It could be wolf related. I couldn't get my wife to hike up on the ridge the last time she drew so I haven't been up there in a few years.
I drew there 2 years ago and pulled a nice 4 point out. My advise is get up high and let all the other hunters push them up over to unit 43. There is a horse trail that takes you over boardman pass this is the boarder of 44 and 43. Hunting on the boarder of 44 and 43 is where I seen many big bucks. They were getting pushed over to get out of the press zone because the unit that year open sept 15. When you get out that far there is less 4 wheeler trail so less people hunting it. If you are willing to hike there are some big bucks in there. There is wolves also so bring your tag.
I really like the area between smokey dome and the boardman pass but not alot of access
Have seen several guys looking to hunt the southern slope of the area but they are planning on coming up from the bottom hunting part way up.
So far we have found a good way up to the north side right on the unit boundry just alittle east of boardman pass
Our next scouting trip we will be going up to Cannon ball mt area