You can bring the ATV but you'd be better off learning how to debone and pack out the meat. The CDoW video mentioned is good, although when I ordered it they forgot to send along a practice elk. I think the video by Outdoor Edge is little better at showing closeup shots. Unless you come to parts of MT, NW WY, or parts of ID don't worry too much about bears. While all wild animals are potentially dangerous, black bears are not near the threat that a surprised grizzly is. But I hunt in a part of MT that is *generally* not considered grizzly habitat. I worry far more about breaking a leg.
Google Earth is good but it won't show you road closures or tell you how good/bad a road is. I scoped out a great spot but found I could only drive in halfway but ATVs, etc. could keep going. It would have been fine if the area was closed to all vehicles. Allowing only some gave those hunters an advantage and also meant having to get farther from the road to actually see elk. Also, learn what windblown deadfall/new growth look like in an aerial photo. You can spend an hour trying to move one mile. While elk will hole up sometimes in it they generally don't so you're just wasting time.
Some comments about 98% of hunters mostly sticking to roads are true. I don't know how anybody can routinely expect to see elk that way. It happens but not often. Also, get a GPS and learn how to use it well. That's my favorite non-weapon-related item. The list of stuff you can throw in a pack in endless, but water/treatment/filtration is important. You can find recommendations for all that stuff on this site. One thing I'll mention is carrying an Otis or similar patch puller. Humping a rifle through heavy timber can sometimes get some dirt, bark, needles or snow in the barrel.
I'd just like to find a place that's out of the way and where I won't run into a lot of people. Ideally it would be next to water where we could do a little fishing too. But then again, everyone out there is probably buying the same topo map that I would be and also looking for the same ponds. Ideally I'd like to hunt wyoming, but colorado would be just fine too. My hunting partner thinks he wants to hunt them with a bow now, and that's fine but I'm a gunpowder kind of guy and am looking to use my rifle. Hopefully this trip will still work out some day.
From my house to Casper, $400.00 translates into 23.4 mpg with no wiggle room.... I just bought 36 gallons of diesel last night, even with a DOT # it was $165.56. :eek:
We're planning on going out there this Fall providing that we get our names pulled from the hat for a Mulie and Pronghorn hunt. Elk will be in 2009 if we are lucky, although we've bought preference points every year that they were available.
We'll know after July 3rd - that's when the lottery is. We put in for the Grey's River area for Mulies, and around Casper for antelope. Hopefully we can pull it off in 9 days (including drive time).
It will be our first time out there as well, but I do have an ace in the hole - my cousin lives out there and he has hunted that area for the past 20 years.;) Good luck!
I hunt the Flattops in Colorado, part of the White River National Forrest. I purchased a 12 x 16 wall tent 3 years ago for $600. Four of us drive out from Pennsylvania and rent a horse for the week. The horse is provided with a western saddle and we mount a saddle pannier (cost $100) when packing gear. The cost is $400, and Sombrero Ranches will deliver the horse up to 50 miles. We load the camp on the horse and travel in approx 5 hours to get beyond the road hunters. We then use the horse to pack out any game we get during the week. The first year is not cheap but after you have purchased the tent and pannier it is just the cost of the horse rental.