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Joined: 06/17/2011
Posts: 3
Need Help Setting Up a Hunt for Dad

I am giving my Dad what I hope will be the best Father's Day gift he's ever had:  An Elk Hunt out West with his two sons!  There's just one problem:  I know nothing about this process!  Obviously this year's season is out, but I figured I should start planning as soon as possible.  I have always been enamored with the idea of Montana, but I'm not married to it. 

Here is what I know (or think I know) so far:

1.  We should probably hook up with an outfitter who has tags so we won't have to draw.

2.  Shooting a cow wouldn't really do much for any of us.  We have plenty of does in Tennessee, but decent sized racks are scarce.

3.  Dad will enjoy the scenery just as much as the hunt.

4.  We would want an outfitter with a good success rate since this will most likely be our only hunt of this kind, ever.

5.  I don't want to be a cheapskate, but since I am paying I would like to keep expenses to reasonable.

I would greatly appreciate any insight the community can offer.  Big Thanks in advance!

-Jake

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4084
Welcome to the forum.  I

Welcome to the forum.  I can't help you as far as a outfitter is concerned but if you would like a list of them go down to your local magazine shop and see if you can find a issue of Bugle Magazine that is put out by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  In the back of it you will find quite a list of outfitters that you can start checking out.  Also you presume that this year is out just because of the time frame.  Well, I can tell you that you just may find a hunt for this year that is discounted because of somebody canceling their hunt and if you can pull it off it may save you some money. 

I'm not sure about Montana but here in Colorado a lot of the outfitters hunt in units where you can buy a over the counter bull tag, if you want a deer tag also then you need to find one that have landowner tags or put in for the draw in April.  One thing is not to get caught up in a high success rate of an outfitter.  If you want a quality bull you are going to have to work for it and may go home empty handed.  This if for Colorado as well and Montana and any other elk state that you plan on hunting.  I know that in a lot of the areas that I hunt you can find a lot of bulls that would score under 300, along with a few between 300 and 350 and very few above the 350 mark.  So if the outfitter tell you that you'll be seeing bulls over that 350 mark every day he may be exaggerating a little bit.  Now I do know that you could put in for the draws in Utah or get a outfitter that hunts on a CWMU unit which is mostly private and find the 400 point bulls quite regularly.  Also here in Colorado you could have outfitters that are in the Ranching For Wildlife program and would have some good tags for the area that they have access to. 

Good luck on your searches.   

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Joined: 06/17/2011
Posts: 3
Very Helpful

Thanks for the quick reply!  I went to Bugle's website and they have a resource showing available hunts in various states.  I'm assuming these are basically advertisements that the outfitter/guide has placed on the site, but it was really nice to see when, approximate price, some success rates, etc.  After looking them over, we may need to add Colorado to our list.  I sent emails to several asking for more info, so we'll see what turns up.

Thanks for the thought on picking up a cancelled hunt for this year.  I hadn't considered that, and a discounted rate would really help the ol' wallet.

Thanks a lot for the info!

niceshot_smitty's picture
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Location: Los Alamos, NM
Joined: 06/08/2011
Posts: 452
What state are you looking

What state are you looking at.  Here in New Mexico they have the draw and landowner tags.  There is some good spots for elk out here.  I am not a outfitter, but thought i would let you know on the New Mexico game and fish web site if you click the picture of the deer that says hunting, the next page will pop up and about half way down there is a list of land owners that have numbers and how many tags they have.   I would look to the northern part of the state and look in Units 4,48,54,55,56,57 and 58.   All good units.   Like 4 and 55 the best.  Lots of elk and big bulls. 

If you are intersted in the draw hunts the draw already took place, and you will have to wait tell next year.  The hunts will come out around the new year point.   All apps are due around april.  

But your best bet for you is the land owner tags.    

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Joined: 06/17/2011
Posts: 3
Good Idea

Dad might be okay with a self/semi-guided hunt, so I will definitely look into the land owner tags.  We have gone through draws in Tennessee for Whitetail and really don't care for the whole process.  We would much rather buy over-the-counter and pay a higher price for guaranteed tags.  We haven't really considered New Mexico at this point, but that's not to say we would write it off completely.  The scenerey will be as big a part of the excursion as the hunting itself, so we are keeping that in mind.

Thanks for replying!

niceshot_smitty's picture
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Location: Los Alamos, NM
Joined: 06/08/2011
Posts: 452
Northern New Mexico is a

Northern New Mexico is a great place.  Its not all desert like most think.  Some of the range is breathe taking.  i don't go to Northern New Mexico with out a camera in hand. 

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