Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by RedDirtRifleman, Jul 8, 2019.


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  1. RedDirtRifleman

    RedDirtRifleman New Member

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    I drew a cow tag for this once in a lifetime hunt in southwestern Oklahoma. It is two and a half days (Dec 17-19) of hunting, preceded by one day of orientation and scouting. You are expected to leave the refuge at sundown each day, so it is really two and half separate day hunts.

    I have never gone elk hunting, nor have I ever hunted in this kind of terrain. I’m used to hunting whitetail in eastern Oklahoma; dense woods, steep hills, the occasional rocky cliff, all staying within a couple miles of camp. To my understanding, WMWR is supposed to be rolling plains and rocky/bouldery hills, and way bigger.

    So, what gear should I be looking at?

    My winter gear needs a general upgrade, especially for layering options and/or weight savings. I have decent high cut waterproof boots. I’ve got my Savage .270 ready to go. I’ve got a few options of monoculars and binoculars for scouting/glassing.

    I have nothing in the way of a hunting/hiking pack, only typical urban/school backpacks.

    So, I welcome any advice you’ve got, and I’m happy to answer questions about stuff I have or to help you give me better answers.
     
    Buttermilk likes this.
  2. Buttermilk

    Buttermilk Well-Known Member

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    I'm envious... :)

    Congrats on the draw. I've acquired 19 preference points now myself...

    I can't offer much in the way of how to hunt them (I've only been to the refuge a couple times for sight seeing).

    Terrain looks rugged. Probably need some real good footwear, as it's quite rocky, and I'd describe the area as "small mountains" instead of "rolling hills".

    You'll be limited to 5 shells per day, probably a good pack for packing in what you might need for the day and also likely need to bring what ever you want for food for each day as well. The pack might be needed for packing an animal out as well (I know of some who got assistance from the hunt personnel in getting one out, but that might not be the norm). From what little I know, the advice given to you by those assisting with the hunt is well worth listening to.

    There's even some youtube videos on that exact place as well, plus the Wildlife Department also has at least one video out on the WMNR elk hunt too. It's worth watching.
     
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  3. RedDirtRifleman

    RedDirtRifleman New Member

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    “Small mountains” vs “rolling hills” is definitely worth noting, and since I’ve only seen the place on google I will definitely heed the warning. Thanks for the tip on the videos as well.

    Based on the information sheet, hunt guides/staff will help pack a carcass into a truck and to the check station, but only if I can get the carcass to the road by myself, or with the assistance of other hunters or one guest helper.

    I think I’ll make a day trip down there this summer and test out my boots while sight seeing some.
     
    Buttermilk likes this.
  4. Frog4aday

    Frog4aday Well-Known Member

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    The Wichita Mountains are beautiful and they are mountains, but not in the Rocky Mountain sense of the word, but you will be climbing and the terrain is rocky, but more the 'rounded' rocks vs. the sharp granite you might find further west (NM, CO, WY, UT, etc.) The good news is all the roads are low, so any elk pulling will be on level ground or downhill from where you shoot it (generally speaking.) Get a Deer Sleigh'R (magnum version) to help you get the elk to a point someone will help you with it. (Gutting it first gets rid of a lot of weight.)

    The mountains are right by the city of Lawton, so you have lots of hotels and places to eat and gas up. There is even a restaurant in the 'park' (buffalo burgers!) so you can get to food easily without having to go too far. It will be an 'easy' hunt compared to the mountains of CO/NM-type terrain. You'll see what I mean when you get down there to scout it out a bit.

    Get some WIND-BLOCKING clothes. When the cold weather comes through there, it is like the wind just 'cuts' through you. Stop the wind and you stay so much warmer.

    I'm happy for you. I saw elk nearly every time I went there with friends and family, so your odds of bringing one home is good. As for backpacks, consider:

    1) Kuiu Ultra; light; strong; quality (expensive!)
    2) Mystery Ranch Metcalf (I like the webbing straps for keeping the "deer sleigh'r" attached)
    3) Badlands 2200 pack; I like this one because you can get it in BLAZE ORANGE (and you know OK is serious about that crap) and it is more reasonably priced. It has a 'shelf' I like, too. Really this would be the one I could afford/buy AND the blaze orange helps you meet the 'so-many-square-inches-of-orange-must-be-showing' requirements.
     
  5. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

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    Never hunted OK but for elk hunting you need several key items.

    Good boots! Sounds like you got this covered.

    Layers. Kuiu, Sitka, Cabela’s/basspro, first lite, etc. all offer good layering systems. Chances are you will be both on the move and sitting for hours in the same day.

    Good binos. 10x40s work for me and I like my 15x50 vipers on a tripod. Good pack

    Good pack. Needs to be comfortable and capable of carrying 50-100 lbs. I’d suggest alps outdoorz, kuiu, mystery ranch, badlands.

    And that .270 will work just fine. Just use a good heavy (accubond, Barnes, Hammer, a frame etc.) 140gr+ bullet.

    Then learn the gutless method. In rough terrain you are not going to like trying to drag even a cow elk more than 50’. Just skin it and break it down and haul it out in pieces. I use a havalon knife these days.

    Congrats on drawing a fun hunt!!!
     
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  6. Buttermilk

    Buttermilk Well-Known Member

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    Medicine Park is close by. Worth staying at too.
     
  7. RedDirtRifleman

    RedDirtRifleman New Member

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    Feb 8, 2019
    So, since I now have a start for what gear to be looking for, what should I know about hunting cows in December?
     
  8. slas

    slas Well-Known Member

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    Did that same hunt a few years ago. It was an awesome experience and I loved the area. Had perfect weather, a bit warm for the time of year, but great memories. I ended up buying more "stuff" than I actually needed, dead sled, spotting scope, etc. Here's my take on what was important to me.

    Boots first. I screwed up and bought some new ones and didn't have them broke in enough and had blisters the second day after hiking up and down mountains (small) all day long. I had hiked (trying to get into shape) in them for a few weeks before the hunt but not to the degree I did there. My hiking was very minimal the second day, of course, so mostly hunkered down and waited at crossings.

    Be sure to keep your allocated 5 bullets somewhere other that a butt stock holder. I ended up losing several while going through heavy brush and didn't realize it until an hour later.

    Decent Binoculars. I enjoyed watching much of the wildlife even if I was unable to get to it most times.

    Ended up with my cow early the second morning. Was sitting on a mountain side eating granola when I saw two bulls and one cow come out and cross the road and start to go up another mountain side. About 300 yards and took the shot with my newly purchased Winchester Model 70 300 Win Mag, Nosler 180 Accubond. The cow didn't flinch and they all just stood there looking around. Wasn't sure how I could have missed but tried to relax and took my second shot and dropped her. Found out while cleaning that the first shot actuall did hit, just right of the heart on the broadside shot just slightly forward of the stomach. I was amazed that the cow had not reacted in any way to the hit. The point being that these are tough animals so be sure to have the firepower to put it down and probably more practice with your rifle than I had had with mine. Fortunately the cow was only about 50 yards from the road. I went ahead and had all in game bags and ready to go when the pick up arrived. Best of luck on your hunt.