I am new to this forum, this site, to elk hunting in general. I have background with deer on family land in Pennsylvania, but I've always liked the taste of elk better. So upon moving to this gloriously dry state I have drawn a rifle license for unit 16B in the Gila. I am looking for any hints or tips for this unit. I checked a topo map, and the canyons seem a bit intimidating. Do I need horses, or is hiking this unit reasonable? Any bit of help is greatly appreciated.
I have bowhunted 16B four times. You NEED horses/mules, maps compass, GPS, extra batteries! It is a great unit. I am from Virginia so I used an outfitter on all of my hunts and we hunted mostly the north side of the unit. I had set a personal limit of 300" and came real close on at least one per year that were WELL ABOVE 300 but bowhunting being what it is none of them came home with me. I keep trying to draw another tag, mayby next year.
let us know how you do
I've got the compass/GPS, a few topo maps, etc. Thanks for the horse hint. The regional game warden said horses weren't necessary, but my scouting of the terrain over the long weekend made me wonder.... Packing that out on my back isn't a happy thought. I'm barely 100 pounds myself!
How ironic. I've got a friend over in Herndon there that drew an elk tag down here in NM. I've been teasing about transporting gear and then meat that distance.
Thinking positively, I'll post my pics mid Oct!
I just finished de-mudding and unpacking. We had no luck in the Gila. Had a bull bedding nightly above the trailer, but couldn't site him. Tracks indicated an elk chose to mosey down our wash and wander the camp two different days. Lots of evidence, but little noise and no visuals. The elk were oddly absent. No herds, no groups. Very few people in the area had any luck either. The hail storm probably scared everything away.
I went with friends up to Cerro de la Olla the next week. I saw a LOT of elk - all running at me. One morning a herd of 15+ came running up through the trees behind me. Every day those beasts managed to spook us instead of the reverse. Of course my friend was too startled to shoot any 'em! I couldn't even get my camera out in time!
All in all, I'd do this again. But I need to learn more about the differences between elk & deer habits. Thank heavens I have 12 months for reading!
well may be next time! I was really surprised by the lack of herds in the gila myself. we packed in to north mesa and found only a few lone bulls and one small herd of cows...maybe 15-20. And from my own eye's I saw one 350+ bull, a spike and my 6x6 I took on the last day (not one cow). I did see the main outfitters had moved to the west. So I figured that they had moved to the west fork area near prior cabin. there were five tags and only two were filled in our group, so it was a bit of a slow year. but a slow day hunting beats the best day at work. as for sign....it was everywhere but like i was told along time ago....tracks dont make good soup!
I have never hunted 16 B, but have spent time in 16 D and E. I usually take a back pack and hike in. I look for a high point and glass as soon as the sun begans to come up. The elk are starting to move up to the timber at this point giving you a chance to intercept them or make a long range shot.
I would also call the Game and Fish officer assiged to that area as they give good advise on what places are best.
Lastly, pack a lunch, snacks and water and stay out there until dark. Use a GPS and take a flash light, so you can find your way back after the sun sets.