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Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 80
Out of state elk hunting

I have decided that Elk hunting is waaaayyyyyyy to wonderful to only hunt once a year and am interested in branching out to other states. Being a resident of Oregon, I was looking at hunting Idaho, Washington or possibly Montana. Its not something I could afford to do every year but would be a nice addition every other year. I'm a DIY hunter and am starting my research to figure out where/when/what. I have/am reviewing the hunting regs for these states but if you are not used to that state or don't know the area, they can be quite overwhelming. Anybody willing to spend a few minutes answering some questions about hunting these states? Maybe give me a jumpstart to a possible tag, unit or area to start in. I would be willing to trade info on Oregon hunts if desired. (although if you are elk hunting in Idaho or Montana, not sure why you would come hunt in Oregon Big smile )

Of course with the posts I have seen on the Wolve situation in Idaho, maybe thats a bad idea? They definitley need managed before the game population is damaged to the point of no return.

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Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 80
Out of state elk hunting

P.S. After reading my post, I realized that it might help if i was a little more specific about what i was looking for. I am probably looking at a cow hunt for the first year or 2. This would give me a chance to learn the area and still have a fairly decent chance of success. I would be interested in either Rifle or Archery but first preference would be Rifle. Prefer areas with limited road access but not total wilderness hunt first year out of state. I know that in this state there are tags that look good on paper, but if you actually know the area aren't worth applying for due to game distribution, private land, etc. There are other tags not worth applying for because you won't draw for ten years. Thats the kind of info i am looking for help on.

I'm not trying to find out someones honey hole but more general ideas.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
Out of state elk hunting

Most if not all of these states that you mentioned offers a hunt that you are looking for. I would go to their websites and start researching the dates, draw odds and success rates. You can lock into some good units then hunt them for a couple of years, learn them and thus learn where the elk are and so forth.
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/hunt/
http://gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/hunting/index.asp
http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/default.html

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Out of state elk hunting

Is there a reason you aren't looking at Colorado or Utah? I get the Wyoming problem, with not being able to hunt the wilderness areas without a guide. Idaho and Colorado are the easiest to get bull tags. Don't worry about the wolf thing, that would be a problem in Montana too. Plus, there are units with little or no wolves in all three of those states. Here in Colorado we have the most elk and no wolves, plenty of public land but plenty of pressure(although I'm sure that's nothing new to you). Cow tags are easy to come by, bull tags are over the counter for much of the state during 2nd and 3rd seasons.
Oh, and New Mexico allows you to throw your hat into the drawing with nothing more than an application fee.
I've got an Idaho tag, and it will be my first time hunting there. If you act quickly you can still get a Middle Fork B tag which allows you to rifle hunt bulls in the rut. Season opens 9-15. I bought one on a whim, but I do that every year with a new state, and it usually works out just fine.
As for Montana tags, it's a tough draw, but they also have four backcountry units that allow you to hunt the rut with a rifle. Those are serious backcountry units, the boundaries for them are several miles in from the trailhead of the wilderness area, not just at the wilderness boundary.
So what are you looking for? A unit to focus on for cows? Would you prefer a bull tag? A convenient season that doesn't overlap with Oregon's? Tell me what makes a good unit for you?
You mentioned wilderness areas and limited roads. What else? We've got about 50 units here that meets that description. Idaho has lots like that also, so does Montana.

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Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 80
Out of state elk hunting

Having limted time and money, it comes down to being cautious of making a bad choice. Not having hunted out of state, it is somewhat intimidating.

I have been reviewing the hunting regs for various states but am feel that on the ground experiece can tell you a lot more than whats on the paper. I've thought about Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. I've hunted Utah before back in the 90s and from what I hear, the hunting should be much better now. Used to hunt the bookcliffs and up around strawberry reservoir. Hadn't looked to close at Colorado due to distance.

Unfortunately, yeah i have experieced areas with a lot of hunters. I would rather go to an area with fewer hunters where i might have to hunt harder or farther to find an animal. I've done some pack in Wilderness hunting and have access to horses but see that as a lot of expense and effort until i learn the area some. Ideally, i would like an area with few roads, or bordering wilderness so I can hike in but am probably not up for totally remote the first year or two. I know some of the tags have overlapping Deer tags, which would be kind of nice.

Rifle tag during the rut, probably a good bet and worht the risk.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Out of state elk hunting

Dang, I took too long to write a response, so now I have to redo it. Brick Wall,)
This is gonna be the condensed version.
Best options:
Rifle hunts during the rut in Idaho and Montana. Wyoming is for resident only.
Montana has 4 units: 150,151, 280, and 316. The first three are around the Bob Marshal and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. 316 is north of Yellowstone in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. No limited entry drawing necessary, just put in for the general tag (which is limited to nonresidents). However, there is no road access to the borders of these units, they all start in the backcountry, which discourages a surprising number of hunters. I hunted 316 when I was in college and never saw anyone outside of an outfitter's camp.
Idaho has over the counter tags for the Selway and Middle Fork Units that open Sept 15. The Selway tags are sold out already, but a few dozen Middle Fork tags are available.
After that you have more typical states, but Utah has a pretty early general season. Their bull tag is available first come first serve, with a cap. There are two different versions, one for spike units, one for any bull units.
It's already too late to apply to Wyoming for elk, so you'll have to wait for the leftover list to come out.
New Mexico requires very little out of pocket expense to apply, just an app fee. So if you want to put in for a trophy unit down there, it only costs $12, unless you draw.
Arizona and Nevada both have great bull hunting, but they make you buy a license before you can draw.
Washington has a half dozen or so late september rifle hunts available through limited draws, but otherwise their general tag is similar to yours.
I think that pretty much covers everyone except Colorado.
We have a ton of options, the best of which are normally 1st season hunts. You don't want to be around for the OTC 2nd season hunt. Since you've hunted the bookcliffs in Utah, it wouldn't be much further to come to Colorado, plus we have 4 very large herds not far from the border of Utah or Wyoming. If you stick with first season, several areas have either sex tags. One of the best options for you might be the White River herd (Units 11,12,13,23,24,25,26,33,34,131,211,231), which encompasses a huge area, plus it has the Flat Tops Wilderness, but plenty of decent road access outside of that. Trophy quality is mediocre, but cow tags are only $250. You can draw the either sex tag with 0 points, or pick up a cow tag as a leftover. It's the largest migratory elk herd in the nation, pushing 40,000 animals.
Other options would be unit 62(Uncompahgre Plateau) first season, no either sex tag, good road access, but plenty of roadless canyons, and lots of elk. Unit 54, outside of Gunnison, also has lots of elk, good road access outside of the West Elk Wilderness, either sex tags,and good draw odds.
Even easier access is outside of Craig, in the Elkhead Mountains(Units 3, 4,5,214,301,441). Lots of hunters, no wilderness, but success is pushing 40%.
So you can have it anyway you want it, except Wyoming right now.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
Out of state elk hunting
exbiologist wrote:
Dang, I took too long to write a response, so now I have to redo it. Brick Wall,)
This is gonna be the condensed version.
Best options:
Rifle hunts during the rut in Idaho and Montana. Wyoming is for resident only.
Montana has 4 units: 150,151, 280, and 316. The first three are around the Bob Marshal and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. 316 is north of Yellowstone in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. No limited entry drawing necessary, just put in for the general tag (which is limited to nonresidents). However, there is no road access to the borders of these units, they all start in the backcountry, which discourages a surprising number of hunters. I hunted 316 when I was in college and never saw anyone outside of an outfitter's camp.
Idaho has over the counter tags for the Selway and Middle Fork Units that open Sept 15. The Selway tags are sold out already, but a few dozen Middle Fork tags are available.
After that you have more typical states, but Utah has a pretty early general season. Their bull tag is available first come first serve, with a cap. There are two different versions, one for spike units, one for any bull units.
It's already too late to apply to Wyoming for elk, so you'll have to wait for the leftover list to come out.
New Mexico requires very little out of pocket expense to apply, just an app fee. So if you want to put in for a trophy unit down there, it only costs $12, unless you draw.
Arizona and Nevada both have great bull hunting, but they make you buy a license before you can draw.
Washington has a half dozen or so late september rifle hunts available through limited draws, but otherwise their general tag is similar to yours.
I think that pretty much covers everyone except Colorado.
We have a ton of options, the best of which are normally 1st season hunts. You don't want to be around for the OTC 2nd season hunt. Since you've hunted the bookcliffs in Utah, it wouldn't be much further to come to Colorado, plus we have 4 very large herds not far from the border of Utah or Wyoming. If you stick with first season, several areas have either sex tags. One of the best options for you might be the White River herd (Units 11,12,13,23,24,25,26,33,34,131,211,231), which encompasses a huge area, plus it has the Flat Tops Wilderness, but plenty of decent road access outside of that. Trophy quality is mediocre, but cow tags are only $250. You can draw the either sex tag with 0 points, or pick up a cow tag as a leftover. It's the largest migratory elk herd in the nation, pushing 40,000 animals.
Other options would be unit 62(Uncompahgre Plateau) first season, no either sex tag, good road access, but plenty of roadless canyons, and lots of elk. Unit 54, outside of Gunnison, also has lots of elk, good road access outside of the West Elk Wilderness, either sex tags,and good draw odds.
Even easier access is outside of Craig, in the Elkhead Mountains(Units 3, 4,5,214,301,441). Lots of hunters, no wilderness, but success is pushing 40%.
So you can have it anyway you want it, except Wyoming right now.

Excellent Post. Thumbs up Great information right there.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Out of state elk hunting

Thanks, I went into real depth when I first tried to write it. Spent dang near an hour writing, only to have it all disappear and get asked to log back in. So like I said, that's the condensed version. I'm always dreaming about greener pastures somewhere else. I'm starting to think that my goal of killing a deer in every state isn't good enough, I may have to attempt to take an elk in all the western states that will let me.

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Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Out of state elk hunting

Great post!! I agree and hunted in NM and am collecting bonus points for a future I hope Utah elk. I'm booked for first guided hunt ever(53yearsold) in NM this year.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
Out of state elk hunting

I have had that happen to me before (being timed out), not on BGH but on another forum. Brick Wall,) that stinks big time!

We vacationed in the absaroka/beartooth wilderness area a couple years ago, absolutely gorgeous country. That September rut hunt was very interesting to me but I ended up hunting for elk that year outside of Gardiner by Deckart Flats, what a zoo that place is. The elk came through a couple of days before we got there but the snow had quit and they were staying in the park. We waited for 4 days or so but no snow. Saw some nice mulies though and even one whitetail buck right next to YNP.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Out of state elk hunting

Hiker,
That 316 hunt was a lot of fun, but I never managed to take an elk during the rut. I always got distracted by the black bears up there, but never managed to take one of them either. Would see one across a drainage, half mile or more away, then head off to hunt him up and always lose him. Beautiful time to be running around the mountains, but still got pretty cold at night.

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