6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/27/2004
Posts: 2
Elk Outfitter help needed

Hi there, I'm thinking of sending my husband on a big game hunt for his birthday this fall, but from looking at a few of the sites suggested on other posts, I realized that I may not be very equipped to make this decision. Not to mention that I might be too late to book anything.

Do you need to book before a certain time to ensure a license? As a first timer, would you recommend a guided tour? Is Colorado the best place to go (he will be traveling via plane, so it really doesn't matter where he goes). I suppose I should make sure he has the right gun before I do this, or else we'll end up spending a heap for a new gun too ) (he has a 300 win-mag, thats all I know). Any advice would be appreciated, as I know that these outfitters will be biased.

Many thanks!!!

Location: Kerrville, Texas
Joined: 04/18/2004
Posts: 29
Elk Outfitter help needed

The 300 win mag is a great elk gun! Doesn't mean he won't try to buy a new one, but don't let him snow you. The 300 is plenty of gun for the job.

What kind of hunt would he enjoy and how much is your budget? In other words, would he most enjoy a pack in hunt in a wilderness area (public land) in which he rides horses and does some riding to hunt, but will be required to be in great shape and hike uphill at 11,000 ft? Or would he prefer a private ranch hunt in which he can get around to hunting areas in 4x4's or ATVs.

You have several type of hunts to choose from. Here is a partial list:

1) Private land tresspass hunt. This type gives exclusive right to hunt some private land, usually to a small group of hunters, but is not guided. This can vary from having to stay in a hotel or tent to having a cabin to stay in. This is usually the cheapest way to hunt (other than on your own on public land). You could pay anywhere from $1000 and up depending on game quality and success rates.

2) Private land with a guide. Usually higher success rate since they know the ranch. Prices start at around $3000 and up for a decent ranch. Really trophy ranches get $5000 +

3) Outfitter that guides you on public land. Less expensive than a quality ranch hunt because they don't have to pay the landowner. Start at about $2500 + Requires the hunter to be in great shape physically. Being able to hike lots of miles can make the difference between success and failure.

Colorado is a great place to think about hunting because it has a ton of elk and success rates are good, but trophy potential is not great. However, if he has never elk hunted before, and elk will be a trophy. Idaho and New Mexico are still possibilities because Idaho does have some over the counter tags and New Mexico has ranch hunts that have guarateed tags.

I am going on a muzzleloader elk hunt next fall with an outfitter in Southwest Colorado that I have checked out pretty well. Although I have not hunted with him yet, my family stayed at his ranch last summer and he seems to run a good operation. The country is beautiful and holds lots of elk. You may want to do a web search for Circle K ranch and check him out. He hunts public land on horseback and has a decent success rates.

And remember, the prices above don't include the elk tag. Price in Colorado is $490 and this is one of the cheapest tags out there. Also, there will be other costs. Does he have a good quality sleeping bag rated down to 0? That and other things can up the ante too.

Hope this helps. You can ask here or email me if you have further questions

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
Elk Outfitter help needed

Txhunter58 did a nice post for you, Tracy, so I'll only elaborate a little more.

This is a nice gift idea, but if it were me, I'm not sure that I would like it given without input. I realize that this kills the "suprise" element of the gift, but their are many variables. For one, some folks are strongly opposed to using outfitters. Not that there is anything wrong with outfitters, just that some people like "to do it themselves" only. If your husband, fits this mold, then I suggest discussing the trip with him in advance.

None the less as a first timer and if he is not used to the mountains, yes, I would recommend an outfitter, only for simple fact that he will not have to go alone. On the other hand if he has packed around the mountains in past years, then he probably can hack a go it alone hunt. Give him a good pack frame backpack though, for hauling out the elk.

About the license, no it is not too late, although your options are limited now for 2004. Colorado has basically three tag groups: draw, over-the-counter (OTC), and "priviledged".

The draw deadline is over, you can no longer get in on these, this leaves OTC and privileged tags. OTC are simple, you show up, you buy it. If your husband is doing a "go it alone", he just shows up at a local store, buys the tag and walks out. Done. Unit 62 is a popular OTC location.

Privileged tags (that is my name for them, you'll never hear that name used in a DOW manual/meeting Wink) include land owner tags and ranching for wildlife tags. In general these are more expensive because they present better opportunites to take bigger game. The outfitters will usually disclose if you are buying these type of tags. Some outfitters are working ranches and will just sell you the tag, then you can go hunt on their property.

As you can see there are many variables and this does not even get into some other things that TxHunter mentioned like gear, season, and physical fitness. Good Luck!

Joined: 05/03/2004
Posts: 3
Elk Hunt

I have signed up for a elk hunt in montana 4 months ago. It is my first trip out west. If it is your husbands first time big game hunting, I would suggest you go with an outfitter. I looked over the internet for 6 months before I finally choose an outfitter. It was recomended to me by a friend who has hunted with this outfitter before. There is alot of info. out there. However you need to know where to go. Also it will help to know a few things, would he like a high mountain pack in trip on horseback, or a camp that is not that primative. The gun he has is plenty, but if he is like me he will want a new one. If you look for a hunt with an outfitter checkmout there credentials. All outfitters must be licsenced. Also call their references, I did and it helped me pick my outfitter. Good luck! Big smile

Joined: 04/27/2004
Posts: 2
Elk Outfitter help needed

Thank you everyone for taking time to reply. I think that I will have to get his input on this - although some things I know (he would not like/be in shape to pack in on horseback, for example), I would hate to spend that kind of money and not have EXACTLY what he wanted. You have been kind with your replies and advice - thank you!

Location: Illinois, Missouri, Texas
Joined: 05/18/2004
Posts: 8
Elk Outfitter help needed

You have recieved some great advice. My advice to the hunter is exercise! I hunt Colorado every September for Elk. Proper gear is very essentual if you do it yourself. I learned the hard way!

My first time up there, I was not use to the altitude and got altitude sinkness. Yes I'm a flat lander, but love the mountains. What is it like to be out of "mountain" shape, well: Pack a backpack with 50lbs of gear, hike 2 - 4 miles a day and get enough oxygen when you breath as if breathing in a paper bag. You can see how my first hunt transpired. I was unsuccessfull on that hunt for harvesting an elk, but I can honestly say that was the most self gratifing and rewarding hunt I had ever been on and I hunt as a profession.

Go to my web site and print out the hunting / Camping gear list. It will be over kill, but it's better to have it and not need it. http://www.tcxtremewhitetails.com

I footed it the first couple years, but now use horses. I would make a recommendation of sending him to "COAGS" Colorado Outfitters and Guides School. This teaches you how to be prepared for most any situation in the mountains, to include survival, horsemanship, calling elk, scouting ... This is a event that will last a life time by giving him the knowledge to make the right decessions as to do it himself or to hire a professional guide. Worth the expense.

I just ordered a new backpack from Kifaru Backpacks. The best for rough country and light weight. Hunter or Military versions. Mine is the military version MMR in Desert Tiger Sripe.

T. C. Xtreme Whitetails Logo.jpg
T. C. Xtreme Whitetails Logo.jpg22.33 KB
Joined: 08/31/2003
Posts: 132
Elk Hunt for Husband

Tracey if your still looking for one, I sent you a private message. Check your private messages.

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