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Thread: First Time Elk Hunting Questions....

  1. #1

    First Time Elk Hunting Questions....

    I want to go on an elk hunt. First, I am from Michigan and have never elk hunted before. Second, I want to hunt the mountains. I am 33 years old and in pretty good shape but would get in better shape for the hunt. I hunt with a lot of buddies, but most have never elk hunted. I am in a place in life where I can go to an outfitter and hunt. My questions are:

    What state would you hunt, why?
    What time of year would you go?
    Is there an outfitter you would look at?
    What about combo hunts where I could hunt mule deer and elk? Is this a good way to go? Hunt two species while paying for travel once.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    An Elkwoods Near You :)
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    What state would you hunt, why?NM, because we got big bulls. you might get lucky and kill one
    What time of year would you go? sept rut
    Is there an outfitter you would look at?no, diy
    What about combo hunts where I could hunt mule deer and elk? Is this a good way to go? Hunt two species while paying for travel once. no combo for me, i could care less about deer when elk are screamin
    "The Arrow is everything"
    "Never Give Up........Ever"
    "I Call, They Come, I Kill Them" Gregg Stevens
    "Not all Elk Encounters are Created Equal" Paul Medel aka ElkNut1
    "The Rockies are no place to find out you are not in shape" Trophyhill

  3. #3
    Although I've never used one, if you can afford to go with an outfitter I'd say do it. I think Colorado might have the most opportunities for out of state over the counter tags and I'm sure you can find a lot of info about outfitters on this and other forums (MM, BS).

    I live in Utah and you can buy over the counter elk tags but the general areas are a pretty tough hunt. Not that you will have it "easy" anywhere else though. In Utah you can hunt deer at the same time but the general deer tags have gone to a draw and I doubt any will be left over after it's done.

    The archery seasons generally run from mid August to mid to late Sept

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Western Colorado
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    1,088
    Colorado due to the opportunities for a DIY. Go in Sept and forget the combo for now. Use the time to learn the area and about elk. Save the combo for another hunt. There's plenty of info on here to help you out and some of the guys may give you some good insight if you PM them. Definitely get with Elknuts and get his videos and playbook. Paul's an awesome guy who can really help you get started in the right direction when it comes to elk. Now if I could just get him down here to call for me. LOL.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    123
    Try a elk and antelope combo in Montana or NM. Go with an outfitter for your first time if you have no experience. Mid Sept for bowhunting (rut), or mid November for rifle. Hunting elk in the snow is a great experience!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    71
    Colorado is the place I hunt the elk there every year + I am only 2 hours from my hunting spot. The reason I say this is because there are units for everyone here. You can wait and get a tag before you come over-the -counter or you can put in for the draw like a lot of people do. There are a lot of elk here all you have to do is get away from the people and you can land yourself a nice bull or cow. Good luck on what ever hunt you do. Don't pay someone when you can DIY.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fruita, CO
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    40
    If you are going to pay someone, look at the High Lonesome Ranch in western CO. I here they stalk big bulls all year long
    Elite Energy 35, 70lbs, 27.5 draw, smack down,stokerized,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wyoming
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    598
    I would choose Colorado as well. Tons of opportunities for the NR DIY hunter. I personally wouldn't hunt with an outfitter. Do it yourself is much more rewarding and you'll actually get to learn about elk hunting, not just follow some guy around as he "hunts" and you shoot. That's just my 2 cents.

    Another thing. Head on over to elknut.com. Buy his dvds and his "playbook". There are years and years and years of elk hunting experience all poured into the book and the dvds. Can't get your hands on better info if you tried. Lots of guys here will back me up on that statement!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    345
    Lots of good info here. I would try and go late sept rather than earlier. I disagree with some people though and I'd buy the deer tag. I agree that when the elk are screaming, I could care less about deer. But sometimes in the afternoon when you'd rather not chase the bedded elk out of the country, you can glass up some mulies and entertain yourself trying a few stalks and heck, you might just get lucky!! Plus it keeps you out in the woods hunting when you'd normally be back at camp and you never know when a bull could light up when you're trying to glass up a mule deer.
    2010 Destroyer 340 Black Ops

    I'd rather be lucky than good any day!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Grand Island, NE
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    6,858
    Quote Originally Posted by IdahoD View Post
    Lots of good info here. I would try and go late sept rather than earlier. I disagree with some people though and I'd buy the deer tag. I agree that when the elk are screaming, I could care less about deer. But sometimes in the afternoon when you'd rather not chase the bedded elk out of the country, you can glass up some mulies and entertain yourself trying a few stalks and heck, you might just get lucky!! Plus it keeps you out in the woods hunting when you'd normally be back at camp and you never know when a bull could light up when you're trying to glass up a mule deer.
    If anything I would get the muley tag just in case I stumbled across one while elk hunting. But I wouldn't break away from my elk strategy to actively seek mule deer. And where I elk hunt in WY I have never seen a muley worth stalking. I found a skull once with a good rack attached but that's it. I have never been back to camp during the afternoon, unless I was passing by on the way down to the truck with a load of meat. We hunt the elk all morning, spend the early afternoon eating lunch and moving to the area we plan to hunt the evening, and maybe take a quick power snooze on the hill before the action heats up again at 4pm or so. Then we walk home in the dark. Walking all the way back to camp for lunch would be a waste of time and energy for us. I know people who take horses can ride back to camp for lunch and make it back out to the prime areas for the afternoon hunt, but horses aren't part of our arsenal.

    If I were in your shoes I would buy a license from an outfitter in New Mexico and have him pack me in. If I was going alone I might hire a guide to take me around. If I was going on the trip with a buddy I would hunt unguided. I don't know what the best part of the month to hunt in NM is but the outfitter could tell you.
    You can't shoot a big one if you shoot a little one first.
    You can't shoot anything if you aren't out trying.

  11. #11
    Colorado is going to offer more opportunity because of OTC tags. There are many draw units throughout the West that are better hunting than OTC units in Colorado. There is also landowner tag options in states like New Mexico and Colorado. I have no idea what outfitter to recommend because I live here in Colorado and do it DIY. An outfitter might not be a bad option unless you can hunt with someone that has hunted out here numerous times. If you can find someone to come out here with and split up the cost of the trip you probably could come 2 or 3 times for the price of an outfitted hunt. If you can afford a landowner tag and an outfitter your chances of success will be greatly increased though. You have many options, you will have to see what you can afford and what you want to do. Be careful, elk hunting is addictive. It is much harder than whitetail hunting (I grew up in Texas and Alabama so I have whitetail hunted a good bit in the past), but it is a real adventure. There is nothing like the Rockies in September.

  12. #12
    Well i am from montana so i am going to say montana if you do get a chance to come to montana hunt the breaks or the elk horns if you can get a tag also be sure to stop by bugs n bullets sport shop for all of your montana hunting needs check out the sight if you want link bellow

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Albuquerque NM
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    1,782
    I would also look at northern Arizona. Try the Jicarilla Apache nation for a guide service. Every time I hear reports from there, it is about another huge bull. Also, Trophyhill is just on it always, he has forgot good places because of all the places he knows of, you can trust him. Happy hunting, elk hunting lead to elk hunting addiction. You might just have to feed it every year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    2,562
    my opinion only... i am from ohio and use an outfitter every time for national forest elk in NM. i have been 5 times, know where we have camped and hunted, yet will hire the guide every time. elk are VERY different than whitetail and they will be in one place one year, and 10 miles away the next depending on rainfall. only someone who lives and scouts in the area will know where to look. secondly, the elk tactics are quite different and you need someone to show you the ropes and bounced ideas off of. elk are roamers and not nearly as habitual as whitetail. third, a local guide knows the private land and which gates can be crossed. Local residents typically have very little patience for the "lost" hunter, particularly from out of state.

    outfitters do not guarantee success by any means, but they certainly help the odds of seeing elk. another point is i prefer to show up at camp and be ready to go instead of having to drive everything out there, set up, take down and come back. at the end of every hunt, i am beat and beaten up.
    Shooting Hoyt now, dabbling with Bowtech...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    NW Colorado
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    pm me ill take you for free
    Cutty Creek Outfitting LLC
    Specializing in private land Elk,Deer, and Bear hunts
    Outfitter #2831
    Justin@cuttycreek.com

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