Based on how much the fully guided hunts cost, I would expect a quality hunt with good opportunity for success. Neither my dad or I have killed an elk, and while I would love to be picky and say success means a "trophy bull elk", in all reality any legal bull elk would be a success. Obviously, the bigger the better, but saving for multiple years and coming all the way from FL, we aren't quite in a position to be too picky.
We do expect a greater chance at killing a bull going with an outfitters fully guided hunt over a DIY hunt. We don't have the time or resources to scout and gain the knowledge required that would allow us to have a decent chance on our own.
Regarding the hunt, we are interested in a pack-in wilderness hunt. I do not know how the wilderness hunts compare to the ranch style hunts in terms of cost, ease, and success, but part of the hunt goes beyond the success, and lies in the memories made while on it. If we aren't succesful killing an elk, I feel the experience of a wilderness hunt with horse backing, remote wilderness camping, hiking, stalking, and scenery will all be memories for a lifetime (given that the outfitters guide/camp we choose is good).
I will look into the private land offserings, but if that doesn't work out I would still like to hunt the 1st rifle season in a limited draw unit, so I will do my homework and see what my options are with only 3 pts.
I have been looking in the SW CO area, but am going to expand my search to the Northwest area as well.
Does anyone have any comments on GMUs 66 or 65? Any other suggestions?
Thanks. All of your experiences and opinions are beneficial for me as I try to learn the ropes.