I live in Florida and have been interested in elk hunting for some time now. Down here we only have deer (very small ones) and hogs. Public land is limited and hunting pressure is very high. I think it is time to get out west for a change of scenery.
I found this website a few weeks back, and have been spending all of my free time learning everything I can. I know online forums are no substitute for real workd experience, but I could use all the help I could get. Planning a western elk hunt, while living on the east coast, is way more difficult than I originally planned.
The hunt would be an unguided, public land, rifle hunt. I have lots of backcountry experience, and don't mind long hikes or wilderness hunts if it gives me better odds. My goal is to harvest a public land elk. It doesn't have to be a trophy... doesn't even have to have antlers.
I would like to go on my first hunt within the next 2 years, and probably plan on other hunts every 1-2 years. I am still trying to decide what state(s) to apply in. I would like to start building bonus/preference points. Ideally, I would like to find one state where I can return every few years, and gain knowlege of a specific area. The 3 states I am really considering are Colorado, Montana, and Idaho. Colorado seems to be the popular option. There are lots of elk, but also lots of hunters. Montana and Idaho have good elk populations, probably less hunters than Colorado. It looks like I can draw a Montana tag about 50% of the time, which works for me. Idaho has lots of public land, a good elk herd, and tags are fairly easy to obtain. How does one decide?