Outfitter help

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by joegun, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. joegun

    joegun Active Member

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    Thinking about applying for an Elk tag in New Mexico for 2012. This will be probably be a one shot deal for me as I am a retired blue colar worker from Iowa. My buddy and I have both rifles and Muzzeloaders so we can do either. We don't care if we shoot enormous bulls, but would like to get a decent one. We have narrowed our outfitter search to USO, Timberline, Trophy Ridge or San Francisco Outfitters. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

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    First, if this is a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, why have you limited your self to 4 outfitters?
    My advice to you is get their reference list for the last 3 years of people who DID NOT KILL, and ONLY CALL those people who DID NOT kill any thing. They will give you a better picture of the outfitter than the guy who killed a monster, he will be happy even the only food was MRE's.
    You need to talk to as many as you can, phone calls are CHEAP compared to the hunt, some will blame the outfitter for every thing including the weather.
    Have a list of questions, but don't grill the guy, I have found that most hunters LOVE to talk about hunts they have been on, so most of the calls will be fun.
    One of the questions I ask if the guy talks about how tough it was, "do you think you would have had a better hunt if you have been in better condition"?
    GOOD LUCK, have fun, and remember get in the best physical condition you can, it will make all the difference.

    Dave
     

  3. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    New Mexico tags are tough to get in many of the areas. I will warn you that if next year is the "only year" then look seriously at the percentage of applicants drawn in the area where you apply. The alternative is that many of the NM outfitters will sell you a landowner tag but in the more desirable areas those cost about $5000 on top of the cost of the hunt which puts the hunt at about $10000 plus expenses. If you don't care if your hunt is any time in the next 1-5 years then you are probably OK to keep trying for a draw.

    Trophy Ridge told us that the draw success for their area is about 20%, and NM has no preference point system. So, next year our chances of drawing are no better than they were this year. As you can tell, we did not draw for 2011. If we had I would not be here right now. :D
     
  4. joegun

    joegun Active Member

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    Dirtball, thanks for the reply. I have looked at a bunch of outfitters and narrowed it down to these 4. I based it on price, kill percentage and references. I was just thinking this forum would make it a little easier.

    Dr. Vette,
    Thanks for the reply. I don't have to go this year, so we will probably wait for a public draw. Are you hunting with Trophy Ridge? What made you decide on them? They are in my top 2. Do they apply for you so you have a little better chance of success?
     
  5. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they were our choice based on reviews on many sites as well as discussions with them. They applied but I don't think it matters who fills out the form online. The results are the same either way.

    Allegedly NM is going to give a slight preference to nonresidents who are hiring an outfitter in 2012, but I'm not holding my breath. I suspect we will look into backup options for 2012 if we aren't chosen in NM.
     
  6. joegun

    joegun Active Member

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    It sounds like they are going give a little preference to Non-residents who are going through an outfitter. Every little bit helps I guess. I really like Trophy Ridge too. They are at the top of my list above Timberline. I guess I need to talk to both.

    Thanks for the help. Let me know how you turn out.

    Joegun
     
  7. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

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    Actually it is going to get worse, NM used to give NR 22% of the tags, 12% to NR with and outfitter and 10% to those with no outfitter. Next year the total goes down to, I think 12% of the total tags to NR, AND you have to buy, (no refund) a NR hunting licence just to get into the draw.

    Dave
     
  8. tayhot

    tayhot Well-Known Member

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  9. mapsjanhere

    mapsjanhere Active Member

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    I just went with USO for a "once in a lifetime" tag in the Valle Vidal, NM. Got a 6x6 the first day, the guide really new his stuff, pretty impressive camp set-up, horses for retrieval, the works. My only problem was that they still haven't found my pictures, they sent me the wrong ones.
    The second guy in camp (also got his elk the first day, we were the only camp finishing that day) was on his 5th hunt with the outfitter and was very happy.
     
  10. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Draw hunt or private land hunt? Rifle?
     
  11. joegun

    joegun Active Member

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    How long did it take to draw the tag in the Valle Vidal?
     
  12. mapsjanhere

    mapsjanhere Active Member

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    Got my tag the first time around :D. Rifle, so no long distance shot. 80 yards, had to hurry, it was shoot now or put on the bayonet, it was coming straight for us through the trees.
     
  13. joegun

    joegun Active Member

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    So is the Valle Vidal public or private? I have been looking at USO outfitters for years. They have a lot of land to hunt and they have been at it a long time. I used to love there TV show, don't know why they don't have it anymore. I have heard some bad stuff about them, but it might just be jealous locals?? There's 2 sides to every story. This is going to be a tough decision.

    Joegun
     
  14. mapsjanhere

    mapsjanhere Active Member

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    The Valle Vidal is National Forrest land, all public. There are only 25 tags a year for the area, and a "once in a lifetime" tag at that (if you fail to harvest you're done, remember that if you think bow or muzzle loader might be easier to get). The problem in the VV is that there's one access road, and nearly all other roads are closed for motorized traffic. So unless you have an outfitter who knows where to go you're up for a lot of hiking (the area is 60 x 30 miles). NM gives 12% of their tags to outfitters for non-residents, so the tag might have better odds through and outfitter.