Re: Long Range Elk Hunt
Hunting would be in one of the largest wilderness areas in Colorado during the first rifle hunt which is a drawing hunt with about 95% success. The hunt starts the second Saturday in October for five days but this is the last year of the five year Colorado schedule so it would depend if they adopt the same season structure for the next five years. From what I hear they will still offer the first season elk by drawing only in some format. No deer tags have been available during this hunt the past five years but they could change that with the new season structure. If they do I will have a deer tag. The elk in there are just average raghorn colorado elk but the deer hunting would be definitely trophy class.
It would be a pack in hunt with camps from about 5-12 miles in. That would depend on the number of people. Horses are $450 per person saddled up. Elk tag runs about $550 in Colorado. I have done this as a backpack hunt since the mid 70's but that last big 356 bull about did me in. I have noticed the bulls are getting a little bigger overall the past few years with the new season structure but still a 300 class 6x6 would be exceptional. No problem glassing 5x5 and small 6x6 bulls but like I said, this is a long range elk hunt. The closest shot you could probably expect would be 300 or so yards. You will get shots that will test your skills. My last two bulls up there were nearly 700 and over 800 yards. My longest up there was over 1300 yards. Heavy, high BC bullets are required in your caliber. I have built guns from 264 on up for guys hunting this area. The 300 grain 338 bullet seems to be the most effective for bucking the wind and putting the elk down. But the most important thing is shoot what you can shoot the best.
With a horse you can cover more rims and have a better chance for success. I hunt light and even with a horse I still use my backpack food because I go to hunt, not cook and wash dishes. My camp is the same as if I were backpacking so all I have cost wise is the horse, tag and transportation. But anybody can camp however they want. I can arrange for a full drop camp with tents and food but your probably looking at around $1500 per person. Or you can pack in any camp you want by renting packhorses. I can get into all the options if there is any interest.
At times a couple of guys will go in early using the extra saddle horses to pack the camp in. Then come back, saddle them back up and everyone rides in the next day. Same thing going back out in reverse.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future