new to the game

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by backyardsniper, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    Here is the deal. I am wanting to go elk hunting. Never been. I live in KY, just started new job and will have two weeks of vacation in 2013, I know that is a ways down the road but i want to be ahead of the game, and I can save a good deal of cas in that time. I don't intend to half ass this. I hunt whitetail here so I am proficient at hunting, I need to get the details about what I need to do as far as drawings and preference points, is it worth trying a do it yourself deal, or should I just get an outfitter if so any recomendations would be appreciated. I would prefer probably to take my first with a rifle and preferably at distance, since long range shooting is what I like to do. I will most likely be shooting a rem 700 338 lapua, also any suggestions on bullets would be appreciated I usualy shoot the target stuff, I will be handloading them. thanks guys

    justin
     
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    I'd recommend looking a sponsor outfitter on this forum.

    If you desire to have the maximum experience the outfitter will assist in assuring it.

    There are never any guarantees on getting an elk, even getting a shot at an elk but the outfitter will enhance the opportunity.

    If you had more than 2 weeks I'd suggest a DIY hunt. Unless you are an experenced camper/hiker/back pack hunter two weeks aren't going to cut it.

    Scouting is key. The outfitter, again takes care of this.

    I'd recommend a hunt in the Idaho Selway/Bitteroots.

    But then there is Montana, Wyoming and Colorado to consider also.:)

    Maybe even a woof in MT & ID.gun) :cool:
     

  3. DanMan

    DanMan Well-Known Member

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    +1 on going with an outfitter since this would be your first time and with only 2 weeks vacation. Odds of getting a bull would be much, much better.
    Next question is do you want a wilderness camp hunt or a ranch type hunt?
    There is nothing that can compare to a true backcountry horseback elk hunt. The experience is worth the price of admission wether you get a bull or not. This really is my type of hunt. But the odds of success are not quite as good as on the better ranch private land hunts.
    If you priority is best shot of going home with a 300 plus bull and you have a little coin then you might consider a private land hunt in New Mexico.
     
  4. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Shooting elk is easy but finding them is a whole other ball game and finding them is what elk hunting is all about especially on public land. If you're going alone and have never hunted elk use a outfitter. It's not cheap or as rewarding but you will probably take a bull. If you want to shoot long range make sure the outfitter agrees to that. Most outfitters kinda shy away from that at least the ones I know unless they know you're an accomplished marksman.

    Now if you have a couple buddies that you hunt with, do your home work, spend your next two vacations scouting the areas your home work has turned up and in 2013 do it on your own. It may take a couple trips to get a bull down but it's very rewarding to have done it yourself. You just got to find them!

    There is a lot of wilderness in the state of Idaho that gets very little pressure. Horses are a big plus. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
     
  5. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    I would like to keep it in a 5-6 thousand dollar or below range I believe an outfitter will be the way to go do you have to get drawn everywhere except colorado
     
  6. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Here in Idaho the outfitters are allocated a certain amount of tags that in turn go to clients. I don't know the particulars.
     
  7. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    You've received a lot of good advice already. If you're looking at Idaho - this web site will be of considerable help: Idaho Fish and Game Home

    I believe all the western states have similar web sites with license fees, season dates, GMU boundaries etc. If you dig a little deeper, you can find important stuff like success rates...

    An outfitter is a great way to go - IF you find a good one and IF you have the money. Otherwise, public land, do-it-yourself elk hunting can be a very "iffy" thing. Maybe you'll get on them, maybe you won't.

    Your .338 rifle has more than enough punch. Looks like the rifle is a done deal, you're good to go. My only caution would be to be prepared for a more traditional shorter-range shot too. Elk can be goofy. Maybe you'll be all set, watching a meadow a half mile away, and then a bull stomps out of the tree line 50 yards away... Yikes! Or one goes into thick "black timber" and the only way you're getting him is to go in after him, hunting slowly... You may want that long range shot, but I'll bet you'd rather go home with a big ol' 6x6 filling that tag...

    BTW - most elk taken don't look anything like the big trophy class bulls shown in all the hunting magazines... Many of us just shoot spikes, cows, raghorns or youngish bulls... But an outfitter will understand that you're looking to go home with a trophy and will work to make that happen.

    Be prepared for harsh weather, even in the early fall. Doggone elk often live and are hunted up at 9,000, 10,000 or even 11,000' in the western states. In Wyoming we found ourselves at nearly 11,000' once, and I tagged my bull at about 9,500 - 10,000' as I recall. Being in shape helps, as does getting up to high altitude a few days before the season, to acclimate. Good clothes, and a good warm sleeping bag are very important.

    I hunt elk here in Washington, on my own or with friends/family. Took a real nice, wide 6x6 some years ago in Wyoming. The shooting wasn't a problem, but it was only about a 180 yard shot. All your whitetail hunting experience is going to pay off in a big way. Patience. Marksmanship. Understanding that game animals often don't stick around and offer you a perfectly still, broadside shot. All of that will help.

    Hunting for elk in Washington last fall. Didn't fill my tag, saw a huge 6x6 bull... During deer season!
    [​IMG]

    My Wyoming bull, about 10 years ago:
    [​IMG]

    I like that you're preparing so far out. Good call. Maybe see about taking a trip "out west" on vacation during the summer to see some elk & elk country.

    Best of luck! Guy
     
  8. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day I believe a guided horseback hunt to be the most cost effective elk hunt. Guides knowledge of the area, and horses to cover ground like elk can. By itself there really is nothing that compares with riding a good horse through wild country.
    Passion is good when tempered with a bit of patience, don't be afraid to think a couple of years out, many of the better tags take a couple of years or more to draw. Having buddies draw the same time can be difficult, and is another reason a guided hunt may be preferable.
    Do not overlook our neighbors to the north, good elk come out of BC, Yukon, etc..
    A couple of resources Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association: Guiding America since 1959, and I don't have an address handy, but if you google Mountain Hunter, or BC guides and outfitters I'm sure they can give you enough to daydream about. Other states and organizations can be found as well, but I know those two.
    Good Luck!
     
  9. Buano

    Buano Well-Known Member

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    I went through your thinking before my first elk hunt 2 years ago.

    I quickly eliminated a DIY hunt for my first elk hunt as the time to scout & having horses, mules, tack, tents & gear, and a lack of ELK hunting experience told me I wanted to be hunting with the best guides & outfitter I could find. Down the road I might go with a do it yourself hunt, but not my first hunt.

    Decide what you want, rugged mountain experience with lesser chance of connecting with a nice bull, ranch hunt with a better chance, or a ranch hunt with virtually guaranteed trophy. Each of these is available — for a price.

    Mountain hunting can mean shots from point-blank to "800+ yard opportunities", but most shots are under 80 yards.

    I chose the rugged, mountain hunting experience, even though "success" is only about 30%, because I wanted the experience. I chose the best outfitter I could find (that fit my schedule) based on references & articles. I went with Lake Upsata Outfitters, who hunt the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Western Montana. (Montana packtrips and horseback riding) There are other outfitters that are good, but only about 6 made my cut before I checked availability. (I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THE OUTFITTER I CHOSE.)

    Most outfitters plan hunts of 7 or 8 days, (with transportation my 8-day hunt took 14 days).

    I was prepared for shots to 600 yards — and shot my 6x6 bull at all of 27 feet!