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backwoods
10-27-2009, 10:04 AM
I'm an avid hunter and really want to set up an Elk hunt out west (hopefully next year). Not looking to go thru an outfitter. Can anyone share there experiences or give me some direction. I'm not partial to what state, accomodations, etc. Thanks in advance.

brad_2001
10-27-2009, 11:14 AM
Sucess rate is better with an outfitter, if you don't want to go full guided, try doing a drop camp. The biggest problem you have is not knowing the country that you will be hunting in, and until you learn that the chance's of connecting are slim, it will take a couple of years in the same location to learn how to pattern the elk. I've hunted Colorado and Idaho for elk. Try to hunt the rut if possible, which will probably be a bow or muzzle loader hunt, but its easier to find them.

Bradzoo

landoman
10-27-2009, 07:46 PM
We have done a self guided hunt a few years in a row near Buford, CO (NW CO). We have done it a few different ways.

The first year, we rented a wall tent from a guy in Denver. Cost was like $250 a week of something like that. We brought coolers in an enclosed trailer with plans that if we got one, we would head to Meeker, CO to have the quarters frozen and picked up prior to heading home. We were scoreless that year but we did learn a lot. There are campgrounds near Buford with water and such or you can rough it up higher if you have a way to carry a ton of water.

Second year we rented an A frame home in Buford. This was nice cuz you could get your clothes dry where as in the tent, things always seemed damp. Cost was quite a bit more but was more comfortable. That year I think we got 2 cows.

Third year we rented a 30' or so travel trailer from the denver area and again stayed in Buford. This was nice but again we were challenged with the dampness issue. Not as bad as the wall tent, but none the less, it was present.

A few things to note - get in shape. Mountains take everything out of you. Get a good camera, spotting scope, and a range finder. There is alot of downtime and the fact that you are on a mountain side, you can glass the other side of the mountain most of the day to pick a spot for the next day.

If you plan on packing out your elk, make sure you have the young lads with you. We were fortunate to have 2 20 year olds with us (one was a mason, the other a carpenter so they were used to bustin arse all day). Buy frame packs from cabelas and game bags. Also make sure you know how to skin and quarter this animal as you will not be hanging it from a tree like a deer. It is an acquired skill and can take the better part of a day to skin, quarter, and haul the beast down the mountain. Remember a quarter weighs upwards of 100 - 130lb I would guess so try and workout with that just to see how it feels.

The other option that you have is there are usually locals hanging out at the campsite with horses and will pack out your elk for a fee. No idea why we did not do that?? They will not cut it, only haul at least our experience.

Our hikes were starting around 530am and went straight up the mountain each day. Just as with any outdoor adventure, the right clothes are key and you will want a good day pack with some spare clothes and also some emergency gear. This isnt hunting camp in Wisconsin where we go out in the dark and know our way around the woods. This is all new and much more risky in my opinion.

Site your gun for where you are comfortable. Everyone was telling us to site for 300yards. I call BS as i was not comfortable with that shot. I sighted at 200yards and was fine as the cow was at 50 yards when she strolled by. Go figure.

We were fortunate as a friend of mine was a game warden in the area and was able to tell us how to get started and which way to go. The thing that was the worst was seeing Elk on the YZ ranch which owned the valley between the mountains that we were hunting. This of course was where all the Elk were herded up. Big Elk. Frustrating watching them 200 yards away on the other side of the fence as we sat on the public land and they were on the private.

In any case, if you have other specific questions, please dont hesitate to contact me.