How would you plan and give guidance

Appalachia

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I recently managed to talk a two friends and and one of their Dads into going on a elk hunt for 2023. Originally, it was just the Dad.The destination will hopefully be Montara.

However, My question is how should I go about giving advice and prepping them all for a hunt next year. The reason that I am asking is that I'm still extremely new to hunting the west. I've gone twice to Colorado and it definitely was a game changer for me personally. Although, no one was depending on me.

I do plan on hunting out west again this year depending on what tag I draw. I'm putting in for a cow tag on WY and the draw for mule deer in Colorado. So this will put another year under my belt.

Guess, I just never realized how daunting it can be to lead a group on their first possible elk hunt... Everything I've researched has been more on solo hunting.
 

Jbaldwin40

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Have them be in shape. I wouldn't stress too much. Primary reason is to get out and try to find some elk and have a good time with your freinds right? Getting an elk is secondary.
 

seeth07

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Hardest part is usually getting everybody a tag. I.e. look at Idaho December tag grab. I.e. look at Montana NR point confusion and creep. Colorado is pretty much the only elk hunt a group of 4 guys can plan on doing any given year now.
 

elkduds

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Welcome to the forum. If you've been upfront w your group about your level of experience, their expectations should be reasonable. You'll have time to prepare, and I expect you'll find guidance here. I'm willing to answer questions, if that helps.

An important consideration is whether the individual hunters are willing to start getting points. When in doubt, buy points!

Be aware people's plans change, and there may be some attrition from your group before that hunt.
 

Wallydeuce

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I wish I could offer something more encouraging but you can't prep discipline. They will either want to come and be prepared or they won't. If you have to talk them into coming then they will probably find a reason not to, usually at the last minute. Tell them what's in store for them, good and bad. There's nothing more thrilling than chasing elk in the mountains but it ain't for sissies. Invite them but plan on going solo.
 

seeth07

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I agree with @Wallydeuce . My worst trips out west have been when I had to convince someone to come along. You either are so excited to head out there that it's all you can think about or you just don't care enough to really enjoy it.
 

Appalachia

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I definitely appreciate the insight and I believe the hardest part will be prepping them for how physical the hunt can be. Also, I do believe 2 of are more or less all in (I sound confident here...). And yeah, drawing a tag is going to be the hard part, especially because two of the guys are set on Montana. @Jbaldwin40 you are 100% correct, it's all about the friendship. My first hunt out west with my best friend. Even though there were a couple tough moments, I would not change it for the world. Worst case scenario as @Wallydeuce pointed out, I may just end up going alone. Either way, I'll still get to see the country.
 

ccc23454

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I would atleast have a "plan b" set up for any or all people who say there going in case mt falls thru
 

Addicting

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I would have a serious talk with them about Montana. That is a whole lot of money to spend to have crappy opportunity. I would do a cow hunt in WY any day over Montana. I’ve done both hunts and even though successful in MT. If it wasn’t for my injuries from my service it would not of been. I was gifted access that most will never see, I was lucky.

There is a search function on here. Search “war on elk” and see how much MT comes up. It’s no joke and if your two friends who insist on it knew or cared about the quality of their hunting experience they would go elsewhere.

WY reduced price cow tags are random with no points and good odds in some units. DO NOT apply for unit 6. Those cows are not huntable unless you have permission on some very select properties. There is a reason it’s 100% draw. It’s the same problem MT is currently having with cows on private property and no access.
 
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seeth07

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I would have a serious talk with them about Montana. That is a whole lot of money to spend to have crappy opportunity. I would do a cow hunt in WY any day over Montana. I’ve done both hunts and even though successful in MT. If it wasn’t for my injuries from my service it would not of been. I was gifted access that most will never see, I was lucky.

There is a search function on here. Search “war on elk” and see how much MT comes up. It’s no joke and if your two friends who insist on it knew or cared about the quality of their hunting experience they would go elsewhere.

WY cow tags are random with no points and good odds in some units. DO NOT apply for unit 6. Those cows are not huntable unless you have permission on some very select properties. There is a reason it’s 100% draw. It’s the same problem MT is currently having with cows on private property and no access.
For someone with no points invested in WY, there are some great type 4 cow tags that take zero points with near 100 percent draw
 

Addicting

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For someone with no points invested in WY, there are some great type 4 cow tags that take zero points with near 100 percent draw
Absolutely, if I wanted a group hunt with a guaranteed draw tag, the type 4 would be it. It would be a way more enjoyable hunt than fighting for a spot in MT to maybe see a elk.
 

recon6036

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I started hunting out west in 2011. I’ve went every year since. I’ve had numerous friends tag along, but only a couple have become die-hard and reliable every year. Some have tagged along only to find out “it’s too much work”, “too cold”, “too warm”, their out of shape, “don’t like sleeping on the ground”, “didn’t see anything”, etc, etc, etc. Guess over the years, we developed a small crew who enjoy the hunt and time spent together. Plan the trip, let them know what to expect, then go and have fun. If they enjoy it, they may become part of your go-to out-west crew; if not, oh well
 

Stocker

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I find the mental side is much more difficult for people to overcome, even if they are in good shape. For some people not seeing elk, or doing what seems like senseless wandering in rugged country is too much. I’ve had this happen to me a couple times with different guys. Not sure your camp set up, but some guys also get defeated sleeping in uncomfortable conditions. I’ve got endless stories about seeing in a guys eyes it was over and I haven’t been immune to that feeling either. I will say ~80% of the time when I get over my pity party and push on something good happens. 2020 I was into elk almost all day everyday. It just seemed something always went wrong. 20” of snow and -19 the 2nd day of the season. I blew 2 stalks on 2 groups of bulls before noon. Went back to camp and pouted. Was just gonna rest up that afternoon. My wife in so few words told me to quit being a baby and we were gonna make an easy 2 mile loop to find elk. So I went along. 1 mild into it she spots 2 bulls, I make a move and killed one. So everyone gets down, you just gotta get back up.
 

Shortbowshot

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From experience in trying to get a group on the same page with applications. As well said above unless everyone is strongly on board it's a pain to get everyone tags. You have your apply early all in guys then there's the guys calling the day after deadline asking. Now which unit were we supposed to put in for? Oh man too late! Oh Montana! For some reason I had Colorado in my head.
 

Steiny

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The worse experiences I've had on these deals is when one (or more) of the group is really stretching to do the trip financially, struggles to get the time away from work or family, or has a spouse that is opposed to it. If they don't have a bang up trip and come home with game it can lead to a lot of griping and unpleasantries.

You can't control the game, the weather, other hunters, etc. If someone can't accept that they're not always going to be successful hunting, they should find a different hobby.
 

2rocky

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Make a summer trip to the hunting unit to go camping and fishing with them. The ground truth will drive it home with them.

When we changed Elk units we did that with my parents. Camped at trailhead with the family and got to know the trails. Just that made us so much more effective when we got there in the fall.

The other thing i did was to shoot an Archery 3D shoot with them to see how their personality came out after bad shots, hot, tired etc. That saved me some bad decisions and solidified many friendships.
 
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WesternRookie

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I recently managed to talk two friends and and one of their Dads into going on a elk hunt

I would be making THEM talk YOU into why you should let them hunt with you.

What happens most often is they will have excuses and drop out due to some financial or family related reason.

I hear big talk every year from folks who say they are going to go on an elk hunt, but it never happens, however....

Last year I went on an OTC bow hunt in Colorado and brought 3 brand new elk hunters, who had never hunted anything west of the Mississippi. I sent them countless texts and emails (most were not even acknowledged) about training progress or gear prep over the year leading up to the trip:

1 showed up at the trail head with a bunch of his gear (water filter, water bladder, broadheads, msr, tent, headlamp, you name it) still in the package....didn't even know how to work the straps on his pack.

1 showed up out of shape.....did nothing to prepare himself physically.

1 showed up knowing everything because he watched Elk 101 and youtube videos the week before we got there. He knew exactly what we should be doing at every moment, and if you disagreed there was an argument.

Needless to say I will not be hunting with any of them again in a DIY setting.

YMMV
 

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