If you wait a week, the bow hunters from Colorado should be getting back and could get you some good info. I could not get out west this year, but I have two places in Colorado that we always do pretty good.
This is a great post b/c I was just thinking the same exact thing. I would really love to do an elk hunt. I've never done one and I don't really know the best way to go about researching everything that you need to research to set yourself up for a successful hunt.
Is it better to go guided, semi-guided, outfitted, etc.?
I live in NM and we have some really good bulls here. That being said If I were planning a first time elk hunt I would go where the numbers are.
Colorado has about a quarter of a million elk. It just makes sense to go where the numbers are. There are lots of outfitters too but I know lots of folks that do DIY hunts too. If you can't make it out to do some scouting get a reputable outfitter or guide and go that route.
Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana would be the three states I would be looking at for a first time hunt. Good luck
IMHO, if you are coming from a long way away ($$) and buying and out of state tag ($$), taging timeoff work ($$), etc - unless you have someone experienced to go with, you would be wise to look into a guided/semi guided hunt to increase your odds. Elk hunting is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I would be a tough pill to spend all that dough and never even see an elk. The scenery is top notch (here in CO, at least) but if your goal is to put an elk on the ground, do everything in your power to increase your odds. You can CERTAINLY get in to animals on a DIY hunt on public land but you'll have to be dedicated to learning, researching, reading, calling the DOW, etc. to put yourself in that position. I grew up hunting white tail in NY, moved to CO over 16 years ago and it took me 5 years to harvest my first elk - and that is with some very experienced elk hunters. I have made so many mistakes and have learned much from each - as well as from my more experienced hunting partners. The only substitute for experience is unbelievable luck - which I have seen first hand - but it is rare. Whatever you end up doing, it will be an experience you won't soon forget. Good luck.
If you are in pretty good shape and want the experience of a life time then take a look at Bliss Creek Outfitters in Cody Wy. Tim Doud runs a top notch outfit. He knows the area and the animals. You will go back 25 miles in the Sheshone wilderness area.
I went in 2000. I was unsuccessful but only because I refused to arrow a bull under 360. Tim brought in several bulls within 30 yards. And twice he brought in a 400+ bull. The biggest one I have ever seen. The only thing that stopped that deal from being closed was the wind.
No matter who you choose. Get in narrowed down to a choice few. Then ask for thier client list. Call the successfull as well as the unsuccessfull hunters. If the guys that didn't fill thier tags were happy then you have a good outfitter.
I grew up hunting whitetails in Alabama and Texas. I live in Colorado now and if you have never hunted elk, you should try it. It is very hard, but really worth while. I have never hunted a draw unit, but I am saving my preference point to do that one day. OTC elk are very educated and are somewhat call shy, but this is probably a good first or even second elk hunt. Once you get some experience you will want to try a draw area that offers better hunting.
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