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Joined: 11/21/2010
Posts: 3
Help a newbie for 2011 hunt

1st post here...I've learned a ton already.  I've come to terms that I need to go on an elk hunt while I'm still young and healthy.  I'm a typical midwesterner who passionately bow hunts whitetail, and know nothing about elk hunting except from what I watch on tv::help1 .  The question is...where do I go and how do I get started?  I've found that some states such as WY has an early deadline and I want to be ready.  Fellas...I've spent 8 yrs in college and this confuses the heck out of me!!  Here are the things I know:  I'd like to stick to Co,Mt, or WY due to driving distance.  I'm planning on using an outfitter to help my odds,and I'll be rifle hunting. 

Colorado seems to have the largest elk herd, but does that also mean more hunting pressure??  Wy has an early season rifle hunt, which would be nice to be in the thick of things with bulls bugling.  I'm not looking for a trophy, just a respectable bull.  So what should I do....apply everywhere and hope for the best??  I don't want to draw a tag, spend $4-6K, and have a subpar hunt due to the unit I'm in.   

 Any recommendations from the experts for me....

CVC
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Location: Kansas
Joined: 03/04/2006
Posts: 3586
There are lots of outfitters

There are lots of outfitters out there so selecting one can be daunting.  I would start by contacting the outfitter via email.  This will eliminate some since they won't respond.  Yes, amazing that some outfitters will have a website and not respond to contacts via the web.  My thinking is if they don't respond to my email before they get my money they won't respond to me once they have it.

Then I'd narrow it down further by calling and speaking directly to them.  Use you gut to get a sense about who it is on the other end of the line.  Have a list of questions to ask.  Others on here may help with what questions you should ask.  And then get references and check them.

Some questions I'd ask is how long they've been in business.  Who will be guiding you, how many in camp at once, the size of the area you will be hunting, accomodations, and success rate.

This should get you started and others will jump in to help too.

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Location: Hayden, Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2009
Posts: 45
If you are interested in a

If you are interested in a trespass hunt or general info on Colorado feel free to send me a message. Tresapss hunts are cheaper then guided hunts and still have decent odds of getting one.

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Joined: 11/21/2010
Posts: 3
I'm not sure what I want or

I'm not sure what I want or need.  I'm just trying to research the best way to obtain a tag without preference points and then what state is the best.  Is there really a better state or better units within the states.   Some outfitters charge $3K and some charge $6K....it's really confusing where to begin.  Of course, i want to make some educated decisions if I'm going to spend this kind of money. 

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4018
As far as getting a tag a lot

As far as getting a tag a lot of the elk hunting country in Colorado depending on the season is over the counter.  So any WalMart, service station, or the vast majority of stores can sell you a tag for most of the seasons.  The units and season that you need points for are ususlly the better areas for a larger set of antlers.  As far as how much a outfitter charges it all depends on what they are going to do for you.  A drop hunt is inexpensive, a back country horse trip for the full season is going to cost you more along if it is in a premium area.  Also a lot of the outfitters have land owner tags that they can sell you with your package when you book with them.  On thing that you might look at is the outfitters that have their land open to the Colordo Division of Wildlife Ranching for Wildlife.  These ranches have a number of tags that the outfitter uses along with tags that residents of the state of Colorado can draw. 

If you go to the Home section of this forum and then to guides and outfitters you can look at some that offer hunts here in Colorado.  One of them is Big Gulch Ranching For Wildlife.  I have not used them but know of others that have and haven't heard of any complaints. 

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Joined: 11/21/2010
Posts: 3
Ranching for wildlife is a

Ranching for wildlife is a new concept to me.  I did some basic research on this topic online.  Is this basically farmers who own an abundance of land and are allowed to hunt on this land for extended seasons???  Are these legitimate hunts...I'm not interested in high fences.  If I don't draw in Wy, this sounds very promising..Thanks

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4018
The hunts are leget and not

The hunts are leget and not high fence.  The Colorado Game and Fish will allocate x amount of tags for the ranch for their guided hunts if they allow x amount of residents of Colorado to have a chance to draw out on other tags that the Game and Fish set aside for resident hunters to hunt that ranch.  One thing about it is that nonresident hunter need to hire out the outfitter for that ranch in order to hunt it.  The nice thing about it is that residents do get to hunt on the ranch witch might otherwise be closed to hunting except for the outfitter. 

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Joined: 12/13/2010
Posts: 43
When looking for an outfitter

When looking for an outfitter make sure you talk extensively with all references, including folks who hunted there the last season, and those who where not successful.  Make sure you understand fees and regulations, and ask your outfitter if he will be in camp.  You would be surprised how many outfitters do not attend their own camps.  Ask about livestock and hunt days.  If you go on a 6 day hunt, and have a 14 hour pack trip, you are actually hunting only 4 days, not enough time IMHO.  Ask for an example of the menu, and ask about the age and expirence of staff.  Do all this before you talk to references, then compare what the outfitter said and what his references say.  You can ask about success rates, but honestly that is a relatively useless stat as success is determined by many factors outside the outfitters control.  A better approach is to ask references about their opportunities. 

 

Once you find an outfitter you are comfortable with, start to prepare for your hunt.  The number one reason our clients fail to get elk is being out of shape.  Either they cannot make it where they need to go, can't get up enough steam to intersect the bulls route, or if they do they are too exhuasted to pull of a shot under stessful conditions.  I don't believe hunters lie about the shape they are in, in fact, I think most really think they are in good shape.  However, breathing thinner air, stepping over blow downs on a slope, forging streams and burn areas takes is toll on even the fittest hunters.  Prepare aas best you can.

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