Idaho Archery Elk Hunt Falll 2018

dmcrobb12

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Dec 5, 2016
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19
Hey Guys,

Last year around this time I had joined this forum to get some info on non resident mule deer and elk hunting. I was supposed to be going with my youngest brother and Uncle but had to cancel last minute due to family emergencies. I received a lot of positive feedback and help regarding information about planning a first time hunt in your wonderful state.

This year I will be coming down (from Alberta), in September for the elk rut. I have backpack experience and will be hunting the backcountry and yes I am in great shape. I have read countless hours of information on several different websites but still need to fine tune my trip. I have from September to 12th to 29th off. I haven't decided the exact days I plan to hunt but I'd like to spend 10-14 days hunting. My work shift is 6 on 6 off so I will be making one or two trips in the summer to do some hiking and scouting where I was set up camp and maybe a few different areas in one region that may hold elk.

My plan is to find a few spots, hike in to one spot hunt a few days if I am finding elk ill stay and hunt them, if I cant find no elk or no sign, I plan on hiking back to the truck and drive to a new spot and hike in and do the same thing until I find them. That's how I like to hunt them in Alberta. Usually try and cover as much ground as possible. I am wondering if this is a good idea or should I scout, pick a spot and have faith in that spot?

Last but not least I am having the same trouble every non-resident has. If you guessed which Unit to hunt you've guessed right. I initially wanted to go to the ISLAND PARK ELK ZONE but after reading about the healthy grizz population there I figure its safest to not hike in there alone. I really want to hunt unit 36/36A/36B. I have done a bunch of reading on the units and I am getting the vibe that I might be trying to tackle something by myself that I shouldn't. I am in peak physical condition and have packed out animals on my own. I am just wondering if its doable or am I wasting my time planning on these zones. If you have any advice for a fellow hunter north of the border id love to hear it. I really appreciated last year all the support and advice I was given. I cant thank you guys enough


Donnie M.
 

Duck-Slayer

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great state of Idaho....
Most hunters in 36s are horse back or motorcycle hunters, and it’s big country. i.e. horses, McCall Unit or the Weiser unit and the Elk City units are just as good. Hit google earth and find the type of terrain you like and go.
Matt
 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
36's are fun country. But with the population estimates coming out of Elk City it's hard to argue against it.
 

Idhikker

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Sep 11, 2017
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I'd pick Elk City, Weiser, Salmon,or Pioneer for elk population. 36a and b have plenty of areas that would be fine for someone in good shape solo. Check a gradient map if you want to be careful and stay away from real rocky areas and greater than 35 degree slopes.
 

twsnow18

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Apr 4, 2013
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Boise, Idaho
You absolutely have to go. Do not wait another year, you’ll thank us later. Maybe pass on grizzly country for your first trip here. But there are lots of zones with tons of elk. Elk are doing very well in most of Idaho right now.

Weiser zone, smoky mt zone, elk city, McCall is decent, sawtooth is great. Pick one and go!
 

Steelhead

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Dec 28, 2009
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Go. Hunt. If you’re in peak physical condition just know your limits and go kick ass!!!
 

dmcrobb12

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Dec 5, 2016
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Hey guys,

I've been taking the information you have passed on and have been doing a lot of research on the areas suggested. I really like the looks of Unit 22 and 32 (Weiser Elk Zone) seems to have good success rates and less hunters then other zones. I still like the looks of the 36's but think I might hold off on those units for now. I've done some research into the sawtooth as well and really like unit 33 & 34. Looks like some really steep country there too though but I think it'd look promising. I also forgot to mention unit 19a.

I haven't been able to find the elk population estimates per zone though. I know some say Elk city zone has a big population but haven't been able to find much on it online. The harvest statistics do not show much on their website. Any idea where I can find them?

Thanks again for the tips. Looking forward to this trip big time!
 
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twsnow18

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Ive hunted each one of the units you’ve mentioned in your last post, excluding 19a. Either myself or with someone else with a tag.

Your splitting hairs, pick any one of those and you will have a really good hunt for sure. if you research and hike.
 

Idhikker

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Sep 11, 2017
Messages
123
Pick one and roll. I think the Sawtooth zone is less ideal because you're almost certainly not getting a tag this year unless you're really lucky and next year FandG said it's going to be a controlled hunt. If you're coming back in the future, picking a spot you can learn and return to every year is a major benefit.
 
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Wherever the bugles are
Pick one and roll. I think the Sawtooth zone is less ideal because you're almost certainly not getting a tag this year unless you're really lucky and next year FandG said it's going to be a controlled hunt. If you're coming back in the future, picking a spot you can learn and return to every year is a major benefit.
when did FandG say that was going to a controlled? thats the first ive heard of it.
 

TheTone

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Sep 14, 2002
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ID
Hey guys,

I haven't been able to find the elk population estimates per zone though. I know some say Elk city zone has a big population but haven't been able to find much on it online. The harvest statistics do not show much on their website. Any idea where I can find them?

Thanks again for the tips. Looking forward to this trip big time!
I wouldn't call the elk population in that zone big, at least not compared to what it could be. Additionally if archery hunting it you only get to hunt unit 15 and not in units 14 and 16 which are also in the zone. It has some cool country and lots of different things from good road access to remote but I think there are plenty of better areas. Looks like last year according to the harvest numbers only 30 some elk were killed in 15 with a bow, with about a 10% success rate and 54% of those were spikes; not what I would call a great hunt.
 

cascadehunter

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Feb 3, 2015
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46
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Easern Idaho
Have hunted the Pioneer zone. Packed 3 bulls out, longest pack was 9mi/3days, shortest 3mi all were esentially downhill. Seems the roads end and all trails go uphill to where you pack hunt.
In future i will be setting up a 'spot' message with an outfitter. Well worth a few 100$ for a horse to get meat out and i am gettin old now...hahaha.
If you get an elk down early in your week & stay fresh, in an A-tag quota area, you can go purchase a 2nd tag at a 25% reduction & go hunt some more. Do us all a favor too & carry a wolf tag just to thin another out if ya see one.
 

Idhikker

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Sep 11, 2017
Messages
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For info on the Sawtooth zone, see the Jan 18 fish and game press release where they said they plan to make it controlled. Right now, it's a pretty decent zone but ridiculous that you can be pushing the button to by the tag the second it's available and almost certainty be too slow to get one. It's far more popular than its stats merit, though I could see it getting good as a controlled hunt (likely with low odds).
 

dmcrobb12

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Dec 5, 2016
Messages
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Hey guys,

I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
 
Last edited:

BishopB7

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Mar 19, 2018
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77
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Reno
Hey guys,

I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
Good chance we'll be chasing elk in the same area this year.
 

IdahoPotato

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Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
53
Hey guys,

I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
Anyone know the griz status in the lolo?
 

IDFireLass

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Sep 11, 2015
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Location
Idaho
Have several plans as summer is coming and that means FIRES! Which seems to be more and more and they are burning thousands of acres anymore.
 

elker

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Jul 4, 2012
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Location
East Idaho
I've hunted the Lolo area 3 times for moose and twice for bear. Know the area fairly well. Forest fires can be an issue in September. Last 2 years had to go later because of all the smoke, can't glass if that is the case. There aren't very many elk, the wolves have decimated the population. Great bear and predator hunting though. There are some elk in the area, just tough hunting. I would go into the 36 areas, lots of elk and if you're willing to hike into the higher country that time of year, it would be easier to find elk and get away from other hunters. IMO
 
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