Re: Burnt out and havent even booked
I think a lot depends on
1) How often do you want to elk hunt?
2) How much do you want to spend each time you do?
If you are looking for this to be an annual deal and you can't afford to pay an outfitter every year, then it is probably best to start of on a DIY basis and learn from there. It will still cost quite a bit up front to get some DIY supplies (wall tent, camp equipment, cots, etc), but you will get a lot more out of that then dropping $7,000 on an outfitter. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are looking for a one time hunt or once every few years and you can afford a fully guided hunt, then by all means to the research and go that route. The only other option would be to pay $1,000+ a year for a drop camp, which could work if it fits the budget.
If you can afford the time and money, I would also suggest spending some time in the woods this year, even if you aren't planning on hunting. You could get A LOT of scouting in if you were to spend a week out in Colorado this year in preperation for next. Just my two cents...