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This Iowa boy has an awful hankerin' to try Elk hunting (bow of course). I believe my first pick would be New Mexico then Montana or Idaho?? Would like a bull (who doesn't) with a shot at a good one. I'm a working stiff without a huge budget for this. So here's the questions. What would one expect to pay for a trip of this nature on wild elk ( no raised animals)?? Most likely be going solo at this point. Are all of these states on a lotto for tags?? Any light you folks could shed would be of great help (ain't got a clue). This will give me an idea on how long I've got to save to make this a reality.
 

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If your looking for your best odds. I'd go to Montana or New Mexico on a guided hunt. This will more than likely be between 3500 & 6000 Dollars but the success rate is pretty good. Of course that success rate is based on getting shot not killing the animal. This would be for a bull. If your looking to get a guarenteed tag and forget the lottery system (which both states have.) add another 800.00 to 2000.00 dollars depending on the area that the outfitter hunts. Or you can do it yourself in a state like colorado where there are a lot of over the counter tags. Lots of Elk and lots of hunters. If you have never been elk hunting before, I would go with a guide the first time. There are also many overlooked fees like game processing, travel expenses and tipping which you would need to plan for. It expensive but I'll assure you that whem you start hearing bugles andf chase those monsters that you will forget all about the money...and addiction....nothing more addicting, period !
 

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Cornfed, The deadline in Montana to apply is March 15th, cost of a general (non outfitter sponsored) is $578 for a non resident. The web site for MT is: fwp.state.mt.us Good Luck. If you want to PM me your address I will mail a current copy of the MT big game regulations to you.:)
 

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If you're still interested next year, let me know. I may have access to either or bow tags in area 53 in the form of landowner tags. In addition to the price of the tag, there is a $490 Out of State fee, for a "Standard" hunt, which 53 is. I'm leaving this Sat. for a 2 week bow hunt there. It seems like it will end up costing about $2000 when all is said and done. That includes deboning, 2 days of a guide, travel food, boots, packs.....etc.
 

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Back away now!!!! Once you have a bull bugling his head off in your face it's over!!!! You can kiss sanity goodbye and Aug. becomes the longest month EVER (feels like it's about 90 days long waiting for Sept. 1)!!!!! I'll be chasing them in exactly 5 days and 9 hours.......Hopefully I won't loose my job or wife during the month of Sept.......:D
 

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Cornfed,
A few years ago I got the same ich. After a year or two of research, I went on my first elk hunt (rifle) and last year I went on my second. I'm not going this year, but next year I hope to go elk bowhunting for the first time.
I see your from Iowa, so I assume you don't have much experince camping in the rocky mountians.

#1, Find somebody to go with who's camped in the high country before. Not only for the camping experince, but if ya get one, your going to need help packing him out. These things are a lot bigger than a deer.
#2 Get in shape, the air is really thin up there, it will amaze you how fast you get out of breath at 10,000 ft.
#3 Most states are on a draw, or lottery for elk tags, Colorado has over the counter elk bow tags, and I think Idaho has some.
Right now, write or call every state you'r thinking about and get a copy of the regulations, heck, get a copy from every state that has elk, most states will send em for free, and the others will only charge a few bucks.
#4 Expect to spend from $1200 to $2500 on a "do it your self elk hunt". Thats driving there, camping out, cooking your own food and doing it on foot. If you can afford a guide, do, but check em out REAL good before you decide on one, some are worth their wait in gold, some are crooks.
Expenses,
$475 to $1000 just for a tag.
From Iowa, $250 to $500 gas, round trip. (do you have a 4X4 ?)
$100 + for food
$100 to $250 for two nights in a hotel ( once on the way, and again on the way back, you WILL need a shower )
You will probably spend between $300 and $600 on new gear, depending on what you already have ( camping stuff, GOOD boots, optics ect )
Meat prossesing can cost well over $100, but I cut em up myself.
Incendentals stack up fast when you'r a thousands miles from home. Take extra cash.

Don't get your hart set on a monster bull, any elk is a trophy, especially with a bow. For my first elk hunt, I was ready to shot a spike, and on the last day, I did ! ( it tasted great )

Your best bet is to find a hunting partner who has experince bow hunting elk, there are a lot of pitfalls that can turn a good trip into a bad trip. Be ready for anything, and go with a good attitude, be ready to come home empty. It aint easy, but once you try it, you will be hooked for life, just ask my wife.

As far as what state, most any of the rocky Mt. states will be fine if you do your research on what unit and where in that unit . If ya want a sure tag, Colorado has lots of elk, but they sell lots of tags, just be perpared to hike well away from the roads & trails to get away from the other hunters, and be ready to pack you elk out. Hiking three miles in the high mountians is like hiking twenty miles in Iowa farm country.
 

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I went to Idaho last year bow hunting elk/deer with my wife. My first words of advice: DO NOT DO THIS, you will love it and whitetail deer hunting becomes boring and you will spend all your time trying to dream up ways to get back out there!

Few things from my 1 trip experience:

- Its costs $$$, we went fully guided 7 day hunt, 2 hunters/guide. Things that probably aren't in the outfitters price he gives you: license/tags about $700 give or take a bit (that's what ours ran for non-resident license, elk tag, deer tag). Butchering. Flying the meat home is will be "excess baggage". It will run somewhere around $3000+ for a guided 7 day hunt, this is just the hunt, not licenses etc.

- GET IN SHAPE you might be hunting at altitude, but even if not, at least in Idaho, they had a saying, there are only two directions in Idaho, up and down.

- Be HONEST with the outfitter, he will ask you questions about hunting style you want to do (stand, stalk, bugle), your max shot distance, do you want to stay out all day etc.

- Will you take a cow if legal? Be honest with outfitter about your expectations in terms of size/sex of what you will shoot.

- Some states have a draw system, some are over the counter, some outfitters can get the tags. Know which you are in and what happens in a draw state if you don't get drawn.

Neither of us got a shot, but we both saw elk, I had bulls inside 50 yards 3 times screaming their heads off at me, just shots didn't happen. First time you have a bull coming into the bugle screaming back at the guide, your HOOKED. They are NOT quite like deer, you can hear them walking/running in to the call and it sure gets the adrenalin moving. I am sure they can also be quiet, but the ones we called in were far from quiet.

After spending a week in north central Idaho, I would love to go back and might figure out someway, but after that sitting in a tree waiting for a whitetail to sneak by, well it just isn't the same.

--Bob
 

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I leave for Co. tomorrow at noon.:D Buying the tags, cow or bull over the counter for our area. Camping at about 10K and I'm so excited I think my nipples are hard.:eek:
 

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elk

Hollowpoint !0: Are you sure about those $578 tags in Montana? I haven't checked lately, but I seem to recall that Montana raised the price of their tags substantially last year (+ $200?). I know that Wyoming is scheduled for a big increase for non-residents next year.

IAcornfed: Idaho has over-the-counter tags but the non-resident elk tags are usually gone by September. A non-resident elk tag costs $338.50 plus $128.50 for a lhunting icense (the deadline for applying for a controlled hunt was May 31st). However, keep in mind that "to purchase an archery permit, all bowhunters must show proof that they have completed an approved bowhunter-education course in Idaho, or show evidence of being previously licensed for an archery-only hunt in Idaho or another state." Also, keep in mind that Idaho doesn't have "archery only" tags. They do have archery seasons, but with your tag you can also hunt with a firearm during rifle season.

My suggestion is that you do your research and decide on an area you wish to hunt (in Idaho you must pick an "elk zone"). Talk to other hunters familiar with the region, make phone calls, and study those maps!

As to cost, it all depends whether or not you are going to camp or get a motel. My hunting buddy and I hunted Wyoming last year and we got by for the price of the tags, food and gas money, and a little spending money. However, we already had all the camping gear we needed to spend time in the woods.

Finally, let me suggest that you also get the applications for states like Wyoming and Oregon. In Wyoming the application period is in January. For Oregon the application period ends on May 15. The nice thing about Oregon is that if you don't draw your tag you can get a preference point and still purchase a tag for the general season hunts.

Hope this helps. And good luck!
 

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Rosselk, ya $578 is correct for 2003. $628 with deer added. Both include upland bird hunting (excluding turkey) and fishing.:) Good Luck Cornfed.
 

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Oops!

You're right, Hollowpoint10. My mistake.

Geez, my parents live in Billings. And $578 isn't too bad. Perhaps I should consider putting in for a Montana tag next year!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey everybody thanks for the info, I'll probably go guided at least for the first time, If I can stiffle a fish trip or two the next 2 or 3 years this is doable. Can anyone tell me what a proper tip is for the guide?

Thanks again for your help.
 
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