Help with Elk hunting trip

TimeOnTarget

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Hey guys, My first Post!

I've been trying to plan a MT or CO elk hunt for my dad and I for this fall. This research has led me to this site.

It seems the more I research the more confused I get.

I'm looking for a elk hunt where dad and I can spend some time together and bring home some meat. A big bull would certainly be welcome but if we come home with a couple of cows, that'd be just fine. We are not afraid of putting a little wear on our boot leather to get where we need to go. We are willing to use either rifle or archery equipment.

Am I better off looking at Co or MT?

Can anyone help me out with planning this endeavor?

Thanks for the guidance.

TOT
 
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Mthuntinfool

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Welcome to HT. I'm not familiar with Colorado, but in Montana there are several districts where you can shoot either a brow-tine bull or cow with your general tag. that provides you with the most opportunities, and still gets you out in some great country. you can call the mt FWP headquarters and request a copy of the regulations and application forms, the number is 406-444-2535. hope that helps.
 

jryoung

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Cow tags will save you some money and increase your odds of success. IMO, it's the best way to get started out of state.

The best advice I can offer is to not overthink it. Pick a state, pick a region (leave some flexibility for changing units), call the bio, and start your internet scouting of the area. There are hundreds of thousands of elk in CO and MT, narrow your focus and go have a good time.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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+1 on starting out with a cow tag.

Don't rule out WY for some really good later season cow hunts. You can get cow tags for about 1/2 the price of a bull tag as well.
 

Firedancer

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Just my 2 Cents but in the MT archery season, you can shot a cow or a Bull of some type. Such as Browtined or Cow, or spike or cow. Once Rifle season opens most districts go to just Bulls. But then you have a few districts that open up to cow the last 2 weeks of the Season.
 

LopeHunter

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Sounds like this is your first elk hunt, correct? First elk hunt for your father, too?

As much as I like hunting without a guide, if you are hunting a species for the first time and especially if you are hunting in a region you have not scouted then consider the guide option. Your chance for success on the first hunt as well as your ability to be successful on your 2nd elk hunt will increase assuming you select the guide carefully. Some guides are terrible. Some guides are quite good but a terrible fit for your goals on this hunt. You can still eat tag soup even with the best guide.

If you had not mentioned you were hoping to bring meat home, no need for a guide. Go on the hunt and if nothing else enjoy being out in the woods or up on the mountain. Be in shape, stay safe, etc.

One tip. Look at the success rates for the tag you are considering and most likely will be under 25%. That 75% that had tag soup includes unsuccessful hunters that have previously successfully hunted elk many times and perhaps successfully in the same mountain drainage multiple times. That is why I mention the guide option.

Good luck on the hunt and spending time with family in the outdoors makes for wonderful memories.
 

buckykm1

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First, welcome to HT.
one thing to keep in mind, the deadline to apply for a general Elk tag in Montana is March 15th.
Cow only is sometime in June ?.
But there is also some great hunting in CO. there deadline to apply is early April ?.

Being your first Elk hunt, I would seriously conceder a Guided hunt, or at-least a drop camp hunt.
Elk are huge animals, and can be a challenge getting them out, specially for your Dad, If he is getting older ?.
and if you are a Flatlander like I am, that makes it even harder. IMHO.

Kevin
 

TimeOnTarget

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Sounds like this is your first elk hunt, correct? First elk hunt for your father, too?

As much as I like hunting without a guide, if you are hunting a species for the first time and especially if you are hunting in a region you have not scouted then consider the guide option. Your chance for success on the first hunt as well as your ability to be successful on your 2nd elk hunt will increase assuming you select the guide carefully. Some guides are terrible. Some guides are quite good but a terrible fit for your goals on this hunt. You can still eat tag soup even with the best guide.

If you had not mentioned you were hoping to bring meat home, no need for a guide. Go on the hunt and if nothing else enjoy being out in the woods or up on the mountain. Be in shape, stay safe, etc.

One tip. Look at the success rates for the tag you are considering and most likely will be under 25%. That 75% that had tag soup includes unsuccessful hunters that have previously successfully hunted elk many times and perhaps successfully in the same mountain drainage multiple times. That is why I mention the guide option.

Good luck on the hunt and spending time with family in the outdoors makes for wonderful memories.

Sorry I should have clarified...

I've elk hunted WY for the past 3 years. I've got 3 elk to my name. One each year. Certainly not a pro, but have an idea of what I'm getting into. Quartering elk and packing them out on my back with each one. I'm not really in a position to invite my dad on this hunt as I'm not the head cheese of the group. Last year was warm and I had roughly 50 miles on my boots before I even saw an elk. I'm in fairly good shape. Dad is in decent shape at 60yrs but might slow the pace a bit. I'm ok with that.

I really like to do things on my own. That's part of the fun of it. Dad and I really cannot afford guide services either.
 
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TimeOnTarget

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First, welcome to HT.
one thing to keep in mind, the deadline to apply for a general Elk tag in Montana is March 15th.
Cow only is sometime in June ?.
But there is also some great hunting in CO. there deadline to apply is early April ?.

Being your first Elk hunt, I would seriously conceder a Guided hunt, or at-least a drop camp hunt.
Elk are huge animals, and can be a challenge getting them out, specially for your Dad, If he is getting older ?.
and if you are a Flatlander like I am, that makes it even harder. IMHO.

Kevin

I think I'm even more of a flat lander than you! That elevation really gets a guy who is used to living at 1000ft. The 1st year I went elk hunting almost flat out sucked. My vision was blurry half the time from lack of oxygen to the ol' noggin.

I made a promise to myself to never be that guy again. The last 2 years I train/workout year around so I can elk hunt in comfort and actually breathe!
 

Jwill

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You should be able to find some units in CO where you can draw either-sex rifle elk tags for 1st or 4th season with 0 points. Also, there are many units where either-sex archery tags are over the counter.
 

LCH

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A big advantage to MT would be the longer season, rather than CO's short season structure.

I am partial to Wyoming, myself. Would it be an option to get cow tags there, and plan a separate trip from your regular Wyoming hunt? Too late for the draw, but there will be leftover cow tags in some good units.
 

buckykm1

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I think I'm even more of a flat lander than you! That elevation really gets a guy who is used to living at 1000ft. The 1st year I went elk hunting almost flat out sucked. My vision was blurry half the time from lack of oxygen to the ol' noggin.

I made a promise to myself to never be that guy again. The last 2 years I train/workout year around so I can elk hunt in comfort and actually breathe!


Actually it is 850' where I live, and I am 62 years old, I work out every other day 10 months out of the year, I am not in great shape, but I am in good shape for my age.
I have been going out west Elk hunting for over 20 years, and each year now is getting a little harder on me. I know that I can't do what I was able to do 10 years ago out there.
I think it will be harder on your Dad then you think ?. the older we get the more that thin air kicks our butts.
I would be extremely surprised if he can keep up with you. JMO
but keeping that in mind, you should still have a great time, and be able to get a Elk.

Kevin
 
F

fwagner

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Welcome!! The first thing I would do if I were you and your father is to sit down and define what a "successful" elk hunt is to the two of you. Do you need to kill and elk to make it worth it? Just see elk? Hear elk? Do you want to call them in? etc. etc. Answer those questions first and then go from there. If you need to put a elk on the dirt then get a guide, you will save money in the end. If you want to call in a bull, probably need to go archery. I have only hunted Colorado but it couldn't be simpler in my opinion when it comes to over the counter tags. Randy actually has a few episodes both on "On Your Own Adventures", and "Fresh Tracks" showing how out of state friendly Colorado is. Also consider muzzleloader, there are some units (like unit 41) that you could draw a cow muzzleloader tag without any preference points. Good luck!!!
 

TimeOnTarget

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Actually it is 850' where I live, and I am 62 years old, I work out every other day 10 months out of the year, I am not in great shape, but I am in good shape for my age.
I have been going out west Elk hunting for over 20 years, and each year now is getting a little harder on me. I know that I can't do what I was able to do 10 years ago out there.
I think it will be harder on your Dad then you think ?. the older we get the more that thin air kicks our butts.
I would be extremely surprised if he can keep up with you. JMO
but keeping that in mind, you should still have a great time, and be able to get a Elk.

Kevin


Hey you got me beat! I'm actually about 1300'. Dad is 58yrs old. He would rather walk or ride his bike to work. Does this most of the winter too. That being said, I know I'll have to slow my pace for him. That's fine.

I work out for 1-1.5hrs a day, 5-6 days a week ever since that very 1st elk hunt, cardio and strength training. NEVER again will I be that guy.
 

TimeOnTarget

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Welcome!! The first thing I would do if I were you and your father is to sit down and define what a "successful" elk hunt is to the two of you. Do you need to kill and elk to make it worth it? Just see elk? Hear elk? Do you want to call them in? etc. etc. Answer those questions first and then go from there. If you need to put a elk on the dirt then get a guide, you will save money in the end. If you want to call in a bull, probably need to go archery. I have only hunted Colorado but it couldn't be simpler in my opinion when it comes to over the counter tags. Randy actually has a few episodes both on "On Your Own Adventures", and "Fresh Tracks" showing how out of state friendly Colorado is. Also consider muzzleloader, there are some units (like unit 41) that you could draw a cow muzzleloader tag without any preference points. Good luck!!!


A successful hunt for us is just getting away from the day to day grind and having fun together. Elk on the ground will just be icing on the cake. I do have a real sweet tooth though:D


I've (we) never have archery hunted elk. I think it would be isane to get into them about that 3rd week of Sept. and have them screaming at you. It's enough of a rush tipping one over with the rifle in Oct!

All kidding aside, Traveling that far and the expense incurred to do so, We would both like to bring home some of that fine tasting venison. Certainly would not deter us from going again if we came home empty handed though.

Are you recommending CO unit 41;)

Thank again fella's I really appreciate all the food for thought.
 
F

fwagner

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According to last years draw statistics Unit 41 is easily attainable without any preference points. In fact a lot of people put it down as their second choice, which allows them to gain a preference point and still get a muzzleloader cow tag. It's the only unit I have ever hunted so I'm probably not the best Colorado representative in terms of places to go. But last fall I cashed in my preference points and shot a bull the opening morning in 41 :) Good luck!! Hope your dad doesn't make you carry as much of his gear as mine does!!
 

TimeOnTarget

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According to last years draw statistics Unit 41 is easily attainable without any preference points. In fact a lot of people put it down as their second choice, which allows them to gain a preference point and still get a muzzleloader cow tag. It's the only unit I have ever hunted so I'm probably not the best Colorado representative in terms of places to go. But last fall I cashed in my preference points and shot a bull the opening morning in 41 :) Good luck!! Hope your dad doesn't make you carry as much of his gear as mine does!!


Thanks, I just hope im not carrying dad!;)
 

TimeOnTarget

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Can someone explain the montana draw for me? Im looking into unit 410 archery. Im confused on what all i have to buy to be able to hunt here.

there are permits and then there are Licenses. I have to apply for and draw a permit for this unit before i can apply for a tag for this unit which i may or may not draw?

Plus the archery equipment license.

Im not officially confused on MT.
 

JLS

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Can someone explain the montana draw for me? Im looking into unit 410 archery. Im confused on what all i have to buy to be able to hunt here.

there are permits and then there are Licenses. I have to apply for and draw a permit for this unit before i can apply for a tag for this unit which i may or may not draw?

Plus the archery equipment license.

Im not officially confused on MT.

You apply for the elk tag and the permit at the same time. If you don't draw the tag, you won't get a permit (obviously). You are pretty much guaranteed to draw the tag as there have been leftovers for about the past three years.

If you don't draw the permit, you can opt to return your elk tag. You can't just buy bonus points for the permit drawing, you actually have to put in for the drawings for tags/permits.

You can buy the archery license at any time after you decide if you are going to keep your tag.
 

Gerald Martin

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Time on Target, as JLS explained, by applying for both you will certainly end up with an elk license (general) and possibly end up with a special permit which would allow you to hunt unit 410 and all the general units. If you heart is set on only hunting 410 and you did not draw you would have the option of returning your general tag for an 85% refund. Or you can keep it and go hunt in any of the general units.
Honestly, if killing any elk is your goal, you will probably have a better chance to kill an elk in some of the general units than in 410.
You can also apply for an extra elk B license in June which allows you to take an antlerless elk in the specific unit or region it is good for. Thus you can potentially kill two elk in one year. If you only wanted to hunt antlerless elk in a specific region, you could just apply for this license in June.

One thing to remember about Montana tags. A "license" is valid for an animal and may be filled in a unit according to the specific regulations and seasons of that unit. A "permit" simply allows you to use your "license" in a unit where other "license" holders are prohibited from hunting.

As a general rule, most units in the western half of the state are considered general units and are open to anyone with an elk license. Once you decide on a specific unit you'll want to familiarize yourself with the regulations for that unit. For example in a hypothetical unit say 321, the regs would allow you to shoot an antlerless elk or a brow-tined bull in archery and brow-tined bull only during the general season. Over in unit 322 you might find the regs would allow either sex elk during archery and brow-tine bull for the first three weeks of the season and antlerless only for the last two weeks. * These unit regs are hypothetical and don't correspond to the actual regs in 321 or 322 . Knowing what the specific regs are for certain units may help you plan your hunt according to your priorities.
 

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