Burnt out and havent even booked

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by backyardsniper, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    I have spent hours in front of this computer and on the phone with outfitters from colorado to Idaho to New Mexico, and I am thoroughly burnt out. Apparently there is just no way to know who to book with, whether to do a Semi guided or fully guided until you drop $5K and roll the dice. I am going on a hunt next fall 2014. I really want to book an elk hunt but I am starting to consider just doing a do it yourself mule deer hunt or maybe a guided one just to learn the lay of the land and how to hunt "out west" as I am from KY. Is there even any reasonable chance of killing an Elk if you come to CO and do a DIY hunt if you have never hunted out there and know nothing about elk hunting, or should I just pony up and spend the $7000 that it costs to get a landowner tag in New Mexico. What I would ideally like is to do a semi guided hunt on private land. I don't need somebody to hold my hand and baby sit me but I could certainly use someone to point me in the right direction and give me some sound elk hunting advice.
    I spent 5 years in the Army and 2 and a half of those in Iraq so I am not worried about my outdoor or survival skills. I am an avid whitetail hunter as well as coyote and bobcat hunting here at home, so I am a proficient "hunter", but lets face it when you are hunting unfamiliar terrain and unfamiliar animals it doesn't hurt to have some help. I would like to hear any advice you all have. I of course really want to kill an elk or mule deer on this hunt, but I also understand it is hunting not killing. What concerns me most is having a good hunt. Enjoying the scenery and the campfire and having a good area where there is actually a chance to kill what I'm chasing not be sent off to some place with no game and be told what an awesome place it is and then pay out the ass for a first class screwing.
    Your opinions are welcome.

    Thanks
     
  2. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Call me. 208-880-6885.
     

  3. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I will tell you what you what you need to hear, not what they want you to hear. I will not be around next week, as I have some clients coming in for a wolf hunt, but between now and Friday I can give you some information and advice if you wish.
     
  4. rangerman

    rangerman Well-Known Member

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    Sent you a PM backyardsniper.
     
  5. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    Got it. I'm at work. I'll give you a holler when I get off or tomorrow. I'm over far west ky by paducah
     
  6. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    If you are not too old and have some good hunting years out in front of you I would suggest a DIY hunt for mule deer in a area you have researched and while hunting deer become informed as to how to hunt elk. Bucks are everywhere. Elk not so much as they stay herded up and can move miles if spooked. Horses are a big plus when after elk but not necessary if you can find them undisturbed and that's the trick....finding the elk.

    This is what I did. Me and a couple buddies found a prime area in south east Idaho after researching for a year and hunted bucks there for years before turning to elk that were actually a nuisance while hunting deer. Used to carry a cow call to quiet the elk down so I could get around them without getting them spooked. After a few years finding a bull was lots easier then locating a good buck

    Another thing we did was research a lot of research then when deciding on a particular area we would find a outfitter in that unit and work a deal for a drop camp where we wanted it. Killed my first bull on such a hunt. Don't expect 350 bulls or 30 inch bucks the first few years but if you did your home work picked a area that has the gene pool and not a lot of pressure you will figure it out. A 250 bull you found on your own is way better the a 350 bull some outfitter points out. Pick you hunting buddies carefully. Twenty days in a drop camp will push things to the limit. Keep it cheap...Good luck
     
  7. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    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...
     
  8. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I am back from the wolf hunt and spoke to my outfitter about our conversation. Another good option is to book a hunt with an outfitter and get to know the area. For a return hunt you do a drop camp. Win win. We have a couple of allocation tags that right now go for 4500 to 5000 for the tag alone. There are only two. Anyway, I don't expect you want a 10000 plus hunt but if you know anyone send them to me.
    Regardless of what you do this is the time when people book up hunts. Good luck.
     
  9. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    I've hunted elk 3 years rifle and 1 year archery. I killed a 243in bull the first year rifle, and the archery year. All hunts were self-guided with minimal local intel.

    As long as you aren't demanding that you shoot a 350in monster, it is certainly possible to DIY.

    You can pretty much guarantee that wherever you go, if you don't have a lot of scouting intel the first 3-4 days will just be figuring out how to hunt the area. That is the price you pay to go on the cheap and not buy local knowledge. That said, total cost for each of my hunts...including out-of-state tags...was under $2000. And each of the rifle hunts I got either a deer or antelope to boot.
     
  10. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I would like to point something out about the cost though, this is not meant to bag on you. Unless a person has the gear already that $2000 is not going cover what you need these days. For example, if I wanted to go to NM or AZ for a DIY hunt I happen to have the following already: a truck, a 4 wheeler, a trail bike, a tent, camp stove, sleeping bag, mat, pack frame, game bags, coolers, water purifiers, etc.

    My point is that not everyone has this stuff already sitting in the garage ready to rock and roll. I have had several clients show up who do not own a back pack as well. At any given time the amount of gear on my body and cost of that gear is right around 7000 - 7500. That is head to toe outfitted. Add the freaking truck and other crap ..... ouch. I have a camp trailer as well. It is crazy what we can spend on this.

    I agree that a DIY hunt is rewarding and can be done for sure and likely the way I would do it too. However, if you literally want to show up with a bag, a gun, and minimal gear, have your meals cooked etc, an outfitter is the way to go. Drop camp is the next lower level that can be quite rewarding too, minimal gear required. Just some thoughts.
     
  11. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    Great points Brent, which is what I tried to point out earlier. I think a lot just depends on how often he really wants to elk hunt. If this is going to be an every year deal, then it's better to drop some money on some of the supplies now and keep building that up over the years. In the long run, that will be a lot cheaper than a guided hunt every year. The other options are, if money isn't an issue and he can do a guided hunt every year, then go that route. Or if he is looking for just a once every 5 years hunt or something like that, guided hunts are the way to go. We just need more information on what his overall plans are.
     
  12. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    Well seriously, if you show up with a rifle and a sleeping bag and not even a pack, and clueless as to what else you need to hunt...you have bigger problems. Those type of people are likely more dangerous to themselves than the grizzlies are.

    When I quote $2000 that includes tags, gas, food, beer, and truck rental for 10 days split between 2 people. Seriously, a tent and stove don't add that much to the total. Yes I spent some coin on clothing I did not have, but frankly all that did was put me in clothing I could use even for local hunting trips, that I had been wanting/needing for years, but simply hadn't pulled the trigger on.

    DIY is for sure harder. But isn't that part of it? When I pulled the trigger on my elk I knew I had done it myself...nobody was telling me when to shoot or holding my hand. I can tell you there was some satisfaction in a couple local guys making light fun of the out-of-staters in the parking lot one day, then walking up on me as I was meating out my 6X6 the next one.
     
  13. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone has made some great points to consider. I have been hunting elk and mule deer practically my whole life and was born and raised in Colorado. I now have lived the past 23 years in Northern New Mexico, in the heart of some of the best elk hunting country. I think one of the most important things to remember is having a good attitude about which ever way you decide to go. Having been in the military you most likely have the attributes to be successful on your own. (Thanks for your service) I remember as a kid hiking for 5 days in a row on supposed good CO public land never to find a fresh elk track let alone see an elk. Elk hunting can be alot of work to prepare for and when its game time, you may never get off the bench. I guide hunts for outfitters in CO and NM and know some of the people well that a guy needs to know to get in on some great hunting. Well, not really! I can't afford to pay the costs of elk hunts out west and believe me there are no free BEEZ or even reduced rates. When outfitters pay on average about 50% of what they charge to land owners for tags and or leases, I guess its understandable. Myself along with one buddy and my brother in law pack into a remote area that I have discovered and it really took 3-4 years to learn the place well. I'm talking about a pay your dues hunt 8-10 miles in. The cost, I really have not figured out. People sometimes can't place a value on taking care of and feeding horses year round. You just have to love what you do. I think people out west take for granted the country we live in, I try not to. Even things so common as a truck, which I didn't consider as a potential cost for some hunters, as that is all I have ever had to drive. That was an eye opener. LRH boys are particular and thorough. "A good thing"
    One thing to consider before it is to late is using some money on premium draw units that will give you your best shot at finding elk. Try buying Lottery tickets for $25 for the Valles Caldera Trust here in NM. You can buy as many as you want even as a non resident. If you draw this hunt, you are sort of coached and introduced to the area you will hunt. Believe me you will find elk. You will also have opportunity to see legitimate 350 class bulls. Another great area is the Valle Vidal greenland unit. You can send me a PM if you need some names or help with some good honest outfitters that give you a real shot at a bull. That is something to think about and maybe still have time to book a hunt as NM results are out by April 24. Apps are due March 20th. If you can do a hunt with bow or smoke pole your odds of drawing will increase. Good Luck
     
  14. silvertip-co

    silvertip-co Well-Known Member

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    Try Sable Mountain Outfitters in Meeker. I think you'll be happy. Or so I have heard. Google them. Our game warden friend recommended them once a long time ago.

    You can avoid a situation like ours, where we hunted DIY h.a.r.d. ( well hard for 50+yr olds ) and not even a shot at a elk or a muley buck, despite often having great tags. Now I HAVE had elk opps that I had to turn down for one reason or another, so I dont whine too loudly. My wife could have had a good 5x5 bull last fall but the young guys we hunted with refused to go with a woman who knows where the elk are and how they move. They chose instead to drive all over the county looking for a better spot. ( I cant climb up the mtn that high withher due to wore out knees.) So instead a friend from a previous season and another guy took two 5x5 out of there. So this year we are skipping elk in favor of muley hunts for us both and antelope hunt for me. I suspect we are done elk hunting for good.

    Good luck on your journey.