I am going to put in for a RFW cow hunt this upcoming year. A buddy did this this year and saw and incredible amount of elk. He didn't harvest due to some mobility issues with his dad in the snow. What are your experiences?
From what I have read and heard it depends on the RFW operator. There are good ones and bad ones and a few of the people that I know that have gone on hunts on the properties have had bad ones. There are a lot of rules and regulations that they want you to abide by and the couple that I actually looked at had some strange ones. One of them wanted you to check in at their ranch head quarters at 7am to learn where you are alowed to hunt for that day, now I am usually where I want to hunt by 6am so that would of put a crimp in what I like to do. That along with not alowing you to change locations during the day didn't sit well with me.
If your friend had a good experience I would suggest that you go with the same ranch and cross your fingers.
There are good and bad RFW ranches for sure. However, in the few we've hunted we haven't had any trouble with hunting where we wanted. I have read the "ranch rules" as posted on the DOW website for many ranches and some seem overly restrictive as Critter pointed out. But in our experience most ranches aren't nearly as restrictive as their rules would imply. And most ranch operators I've had personal experience with have been very accomodating--letting us use their gambrel to dress and skin our elk, driving their 4-wheelers into difficult terrain to haul out our kills, opening roads or allowing us access to get to kills in the field, and making sure my son was having a great time. If you're a respectful hunter then you probably won't have much trouble getting along with the ranch operator.
It's not too hard to figure out which ranches are the "good" ones. If it takes 0 points to draw a tag, chances are it's not a great ranch. If it takes 1-2 points, chances are pretty good it will be a worthwhile hunt.
He not only saw a BUNCH of elk, but said the ranch and outfitters that were their reps were good folks. He got it with a second choice last year so I think I will give that one a shot. For me this one is all about the meat. I will still go to the mountain for 2nd season (even if I only have a deer tag) but the freezer is getting a little lean after munching on tag soup this year.
I wouldn't put the elk in the freezer just yet. Your buddy may have seen a bunch of elk, but actually getting an opportunity to harvest one is entirely another matter. That said, the hunting is usually better when there are more animals to hunt, eh?
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