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DKD
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Joined: 11/05/2011
Posts: 5
Elk Fever in Florida!

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?

I know questions like this come up all the time, but I would really appreciate any advice on getting started in elk hunting.  Even after all my research, it is still confusing. I am not looking for anyone's secret spot, just a point in the right direction.
 
 
prhunter's picture
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Location: El Paso, Texas
Joined: 02/22/2009
Posts: 537
Welcome to the site! Glad to

Welcome to the site! Glad to hear you intrested in a western elk hunt. 

If the state of New Mexico crosses your thoughts, let me know and I can probably give you some info. 

Hopefully I'll be doing an elk hunt in NM this year myself (If I get drawn).  Thumbs up

buckykm1's picture
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Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 336
Welcome

I am going to start with a question, you say you have back country experience ?. if you have never hunted out west ?. you will find it is totally different then any hunting you have ever done,

Co, is good lots of hunter, MT is good, and from what i have heard so is ID, but both MT & ID have lots of Wolves, and some Grizzles.  i would consider WY too.

I made my first trip out west hunting in 1986, DIY, i have been on several guided hunts, but now all my hunts are DIY and have been for the last 10 years or so.

there is one trouble with hunting out west, if you do ?, you will be hooked for life. being a flat lander myself, i would recommend going with someone that has hunted out west before, or a guide for your first trip, to kind of learn the ropes.

The wheather in the Rockies can be unreal, 70 one minute and a hour later 30 and 6" or more of snow on the ground.

I am not trying to scare you, hunting out west is AWESOME, but you need to pay attention to what you are doing.

Kevin

DKD
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Joined: 11/05/2011
Posts: 5
buckykm1 - Long before I

buckykm1 - Long before I started hunting, I used to do a lot of backpacking.  While I am new to hunting out west, I am not new to the muntains.  I have spent a considerable amount of time in the national forests, and know what to expect in terms of weather and terrain. Wyoming seems to have great success rates, but my understanding is that public land hunts are very limited.  I have also considered Arizona and Utah.  While they are a bit harder to draw than the other states, the weather might be easier to deal with than some of the more northern states.  I am still trying to figure out the odds of drawing a decent tag in those states (ok with antlerless, just don't want to end up in a unit without any elk).

 

prhunter - NM seems like an awesome state for elk, but being a nonresident, odds in NM seem horrible and it looks like there is now a guide requirement for nonresident hunters. 

buckykm1's picture
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Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 336
elk

AZ is a tuff draw, it will take many years, Utah actually has some over the counter tags, i believe most are for spikes only ?. i looked at it a few years ago. but decided against it, it would take to long to get a good tag,  there is a lot of public land hunting in WY, the only thing there is a non res can't hunt a wilderness area without a guide, which sucks, i think.

I have hunted MT the last 3 years, and am thinking about trying WY myself this year.

Kevin

ndemiter's picture
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Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
unfortunately, the units in

unfortunately, the units in wyoming where you stand a chance at getting an easy tag are pretty over hunted. not only is there few animals, but there is lots of local pressure.

the units that aren't as easily drawn are better and the units that are in wilderness areas are the best. 

you can hunt national forest lands as a non-resident, paces like the bighorn mountains offer decent chances with fair access. but forest land west of there gets pretty scetchy with little wilderness areas thrown in.

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