Which guided elk hunt for 2019?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by ur2ez22, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. ur2ez22

    ur2ez22 Member

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    Hey everyone, I’m hoping to get some recommendations from folks who have recent, hands-on experience. I’ve searched this forum going back a few years and have found similar threads from 2015 or so, but a lot can change in a few years especially with the impacts wolves have had in a few areas.

    My dad has been hunting elk for 40+ years between the time we’ve lived in Idaho and Arizona, but has never been able to connect on a bull. And despite being an extremely healthy and active 72, he’s starting to feel the fear of time not being on his side. We tried a guided horseback hunt last year in the Frank Church wilderness area of Idaho, we really liked our guide and we both filled our mule deer tags towards the end of the hunt (on the only two bucks seen), but we never even sniffed an elk the entire time. We want to give it another go next year to try and get a respectable bull for him to hang on the wall, and while we may choose the same guide from last year again, I want to do my due diligence for other ideas as well. A few requirements for the hunt:

    - Open to hunts in any of the Rocky Mountain states or even Canada (wouldn’t rule out Alaska either, although that seems better served for a moose/caribou type trip after he’s got his bull).

    - Fair hunts only, not interested in a fenced hunt where someone points at a bull after a 10 minute drive down a dirt road. We recognize those are less than guaranteed success, but to us that’s the whole point of hunting anyways - otherwise it’s just shooting.

    - ATV’s could be used for transportation purposes, but not “too much” to where it feels like we’re road hunting. He can hike for days or do horseback just fine, and have more fun while doing it. No need to sleep in a resort lodge either, outfitter tents suit us just fine - it’s about the experience still.

    - He’s got a lot of bonus points in AZ but is saving them for a draw that will likely come in another 2-3 years. We don’t have points in any other state, so looking for states/hunts that leverage outfitter tags such as Idaho does, guaranteed draw tags (could buy a preference point this year in advance of next years draw if needed), landowner tags, etc.

    - Everyone wants a monster, but it doesn’t have to be a 390” bull or anything crazy that also tends to run $10k+. We paid $5k each for our hunt last year and had a great time. If there’s something around $5k-7.5k give or take, that would meet the above interests and give us a good chance at a respectable bull or two to hang on the wall, that would be great!

    So what are your suggestions and why? Thanks everyone in advance!

    -Aaron
     
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  2. 257Tony

    257Tony Well-Known Member

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    It's unfortunate that in todays world, a 5k elk hunt buys exactly what you got last year, a nice ride in the mountains with fairly low success rates. Quality guided hunts on private land with guaranteed tags are going to run 9k and up. If a hunt with high success rates is important, especially if you're talking a mature bull (not a 3 year old raghorn) then you'll have to spend more.
     
  3. Backcountry_IDN

    Backcountry_IDN Well-Known Member

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    I personally would save your preference points until you have enough to draw in Arizona. Then find a guide in that area.

    There's also a guide in southeast Idaho by me, I believe it's called Bear tooth outfitters. (Don't quote me on the name) I've heard some good things. I haven't had any personal experience with them.
     
  4. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

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    Hidden Creek Outifitters (Bill Perry) hunts the Thorofare region in Wyoming just south of Yellowstone. I have hunted with him at least 6 times and I go back almost every year. Great guides, accommodations and hunt. I have also hunted New Mexico a couple of times with Arizona Pro Elk Hunts (Keith Williams). Keith is a smaller outfitter, but does his best to get you a good bull. In fact, I am going back there this year in October. Good luck with your search and hunt.
     
  5. rwbowser

    rwbowser Member

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    I've hunted once with Hubbard's Yellowstone Outfitters (MT) last year. Had a great time. No horses, no ATV's, but we did have some jeeps that would get us out an area where would spend the day hunting from. Not driving around looking for something to shoot though--actual hunting. Some nights you are in the lodge, some nights you are up at a spike camp that is still wood, with a kitchen and wood stove, so pretty comfortable. My group was 4 guys, 2 per guide. We got one (not me), and it was a respectable elk. Several other groups all tagged out. Great food too. I think they're about $5,500 per person. Going back this year as well, so hopefully I'll have more success.
     
  6. ur2ez22

    ur2ez22 Member

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    Thanks for the info everyone!

    @257Tony if we bump the budget up a bit higher, say to $9k, have you had some great experiences with Outfitters you’d recommend?

    @Backcountry_IDN we’ll Mikey be using a guide once he gets drawn in AZ, although we are much more familiar with areas here. I’ve stopped applying with him and am only buying bonus points so that when he does get drawn, I could act as his guide too. But regardless, he still wants to go somewhere next year too. I couldn’t find a Bear Tooth in Idaho, but did find Beartooth Plateau in Montana who looks intriguing.

    @Rick Richard I had stumbled across Hideen Creek Outfitters last week but haven’t called them yet - glad to hear a positive report though. Have you had good success in seeing good numbers of elk and having opportunities at good bulls pretty consistently? And have the New Mexico hunts been with landowner tags, or a draw?

    @rwbowser thanks for the recommendation as well - with 1 out of 4 tagging out when you went, were the rest of you at least seeing lots of elk and just having a hard time getting onto a good bull? Or were the animals somewhat scarce?
     
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  7. rwbowser

    rwbowser Member

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    We saw a ton of elk--mostly cows and raghorns, but a solid number of very nice bulls in the mix too, just no way for us to get to them--the area we were hunting was massive. Shocked at how quickly groups of them can just disappear into trees or over a rise and be gone with no way for you to catch up.

    I had a shot a decent one, 360 yards out, but he was on an incline, between trees, with a cow close in front blocking most of him and another close behind, above him on the incline. The "window" was smaller than my confidence, I didn't want to risk a shot that might not be clean; if I was low I'd hit a cow, if I was high I'd hit a cow. They moved together into the woods and disappeared. For a guy from Florida new to elk hunting it was enough to get my heart rate up.

    We saw several shooter mule deer too when glassing, just couldn't get into position on any of them. One of the guests the week I was there got a nice mule deer, and like I said, there were quite a few nice bulls taken that week besides the one taken by my father-in-law.

    It was very easy to get to. Fly into Bozeman and drive an hour. That's it. We spent the night in Bozeman and had a great meal, then had more great meals at the lodge. If you're looking for "roughing it" this isn't for you. Several guys at the lodge had their wives with them, and any day that ends with a beer or wine by the fire while someone sets out appetizers...at some point I'm going to bring my wife with me. After I get my first elk, anyway!
     
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  8. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

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    @Rick Richard I had stumbled across Hideen Creek Outfitters last week but haven’t called them yet - glad to hear a positive report though. Have you had good success in seeing good numbers of elk and having opportunities at good bulls pretty consistently? And have the New Mexico hunts been with landowner tags, or a draw?

    Best time to see numbers of elk is when they are migrating out of the high country. If you can catch it just right, it will be an unbelievable sight and hunt. I have been lucky in taking or having opportunities in all the hunts I have made there. Biggest for me there was a 330ish, but exceptionally wide. I had a chance at a 360 last year, but could not get an arrow in him. New Mexico has been land owner tags, which means it can be a bit more in price. I am not that young anymore and can't play the preference point game so I pay for the privalage of not waiting. The one in my avatar was taken there three years ago.
     
  9. Backcountry_IDN

    Backcountry_IDN Well-Known Member

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  10. wboregon

    wboregon Well-Known Member

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    Check out the Oregon Minam unit hunts, there's quite a few guide outfits that guide with horse trains up there and Minam should be a near guaranteed draw with out any points required (it is for residents that's for sure) First season has better weather, but the elk are typically much deeper in the mountains, which really isn't a problem for a guided hunt on horse back as you can get way further in than any one on foot. Second season has higher success rates, because the elk tend to come out of the high elevations when the snow starts to set in, we hunted first season on foot and some of the locals sympathized with us that we had made a mistake and said that they all prefer to hunt second season as the elk are easier to find when they get pushed out of the deep wilderness. I believe last year was 14% for first season and 22% for second

    Since the Minam unit is squarely in the eagle cap wilderness (some of the unit extends outside the wilderness, but these areas are way over hunted by your normal folks who don't wan to hike or who don't have horses) there is no motor vehicle or even wheeled vehicle access, so there are a lot fewer people deep in the unit than just about any other oregon unit.

    here's a link to the oregon stats for 2017 and 2016 harvests - https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-hunting-harvest-statistics
     
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  11. Idaho Lefty

    Idaho Lefty Well-Known Member

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    Don't throw Rock's at me, BUT,.. Idaho has been seriously, over rated, since about 2005/2009 as from, 1995 to 2009 or so, the Wolves ATE 40,000 PLUS, Elk out of Central Idaho ! Our F & Game sells same amount of Tags, to support their Wages, tho ! I apply for Utah and Arizona and "Special" Draws, here ! Idaho WAS in the TOP 3 or 4 States, to Hunt Elk BEFORE the Canadian "Tundra" Wolves, were introduced by 2 groups of people, who don't know anything,.. about Game management !
     
  12. ID Hunter

    ID Hunter New Member

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    Check with Storm Creek Outfitters. They hunt the head of the Selway river in Idaho. Not sure they have any openings for this year. Wilderness hunt with mules and backcountry camps.
     
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  13. Triple BB

    Triple BB Well-Known Member

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    Unless your dads prepared to horseback 20 plus miles, the Thorofare and Hidden Ck Outfitters wouldn’t be my first choice. However Bill Perry is a stand up guy. I’d be searching the net for hunts in Colorado. If you do your homework, you can find good hunts for $7 - $7.5k.
     
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  14. 257Tony

    257Tony Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if you are interested I can recommend an outfitter in Utah with guaranteed tags on private land, and high success rates on nice bulls. In the 9k range. Pm me if interested.
     
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