Learning

sep0667

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
21
Location
Iowa
I've never elk hunted, but it is a something I will do. It has been a dream to do this for a while. At 31 I'm finally in a place where its time that I am really starting to dig into it and the wheels are starting to turn in my head and am trying to get some plans made. I'm at a point where it doesn't have to be a dream, I can make it happen. I have quickly learned that its not something that you just plan to do one year and go get a tag that fall and go hunt. Its never going to happen if I don't start buying points, unless I were to do otc inCO, which from what I have read it sounds like there a more hunters and pressure than anything. I want to start accumulating points in multiple states so I can starting hunting sooner and more often than later and less often.

I've started going on several states sites to see how the process starts etc, (WY, MT, AZ). I feel overwhelmed with how many different avenues there are and things to follow and processes. I have read that getting a subscription to GoHunt is a good way to help narrow things down and get through the process. Does anyone have any other resources that may be helpful to help dumb it down for me? For example I just want to buy a point for MT and learned that tomorrow is the last day to purchase a point for 2021. I just want to buy a point, but I don't see that option on their site, do I have to pay for a full license and get a point if I am not drawn and then get refunded that full price? I have emailed FWP asking that question, but i'm probably to late to get it figured out in time to have it done by the 30th, and it kills me that I am now likely another year behind on MT.

I'm from IA. I have 3 weeks vacation a year at work. So I don't have a lot of time to devote to scouting areas etc. Having never hunted elk before I am thinking my first couple hunts go through an outfitter/guide so I can learn how to elk hunt, when to do what, when to move, call, what types of areas to hunt etc. Other than watching youtube and reading on forums or facebook groups like this I have no firsthand knowledge on it. Then maybe start to do DIY on public land hunts. I don't have a desire to go after 300+ bulls at an outfitter/guide, I just want to get my feet wet and learn and would be happy with any bull elk, which would hopefully help with the price. I am an avid bowhunter for whitetail here in IA and spring turkey here, going on a pronghorn hunt in WY this fall. But my dream is to go on a handful of elk hunts in my life and taste success a couple times.

Any tips/thoughts appreciated.
 

Slm864

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
357
Location
Pennsylvania
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the whole process. You got a point for Montana which is a step in the right direction. Just know that if it was a preference point you purchased you will need to apply for a combination license within 3 years or your point goes away. It takes time to learn the systems but you will figure it out. Pick a state and go hunting and enjoy the experience
 

GrantK

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
75
I'd say by all means get in the point game in the states that make sense, I'd not write off the OTC options though, you may as well learn to elk hunt before you get a good tag and burn it learning how to chase elk, I'd also question how much you are going to learn about DIY public land hunts going with an outfitter? if you go guided, even on public, it is usually a different enough experience that the lessons learned might not help you on a DIY hunt (I'm saying this as someone who guided public for years, we had the hunting dialed in such a specific way that it didn't resemble DIY at all.)... three weeks is tons of time, you should be able to roll into a unit cold and get on plenty of elk in that time frame, and once you get it dialed in it would be pretty reasonable to fit one or two hunts in a year, adding in the better hunts once you start to draw them... and by the time you draw something good you will have the confidence and skills to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

also to the "not something you just get a tag and do that year" I make it a point to do exactly that most years, I have my favorites for sure, but there is some serious reward to just picking up the random tag in a unit you have never seen and figuring it out, you will learn more and have more options in your toolbox for the next time if you continuously learn to use different methods and hunt different dates, weapons, and terrain, and again, when you do draw a good tag you will be ready to get the most out of it..

in short, sure, start applying, but go hunting in the meantime.
 

sep0667

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
21
Location
Iowa
I'd say by all means get in the point game in the states that make sense, I'd not write off the OTC options though, you may as well learn to elk hunt before you get a good tag and burn it learning how to chase elk, I'd also question how much you are going to learn about DIY public land hunts going with an outfitter? if you go guided, even on public, it is usually a different enough experience that the lessons learned might not help you on a DIY hunt (I'm saying this as someone who guided public for years, we had the hunting dialed in such a specific way that it didn't resemble DIY at all.)... three weeks is tons of time, you should be able to roll into a unit cold and get on plenty of elk in that time frame, and once you get it dialed in it would be pretty reasonable to fit one or two hunts in a year, adding in the better hunts once you start to draw them... and by the time you draw something good you will have the confidence and skills to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

also to the "not something you just get a tag and do that year" I make it a point to do exactly that most years, I have my favorites for sure, but there is some serious reward to just picking up the random tag in a unit you have never seen and figuring it out, you will learn more and have more options in your toolbox for the next time if you continuously learn to use different methods and hunt different dates, weapons, and terrain, and again, when you do draw a good tag you will be ready to get the most out of it..

in short, sure, start applying, but go hunting in the meantime.

I guess part of my problem is not really wanting to devote all my vacation time for the year to an elk hunt. Family events etc demand some of it.

I just figured going guided the first couple times would help me learn what to expect and how to move, cover the landscape etc. How to react when you find some elk and how to make the move etc. Plus I would think it would allow me to have better chance at success that going in solo and no experience.

I wasn't aware of other OTC options other than CO?
 

GrantK

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
75
I guess part of my problem is not really wanting to devote all my vacation time for the year to an elk hunt. Family events etc demand some of it.

I just figured going guided the first couple times would help me learn what to expect and how to move, cover the landscape etc. How to react when you find some elk and how to make the move etc. Plus I would think it would allow me to have better chance at success than going in solo and no experience.

I wasn't aware of other OTC options other than CO?

totally understandable, In all honesty, I wouldn't go for three weeks straight, that's plenty of time to get in two good hunts, maybe three;) (I'm not all that popular with my wife when elk season rolls around)

for sure hiring an outfitter will up the success rate, usually a lot.. that is usually due to a couple of things, access to private ranches or landlocked public, or horses packing way back, and a finely tuned knowledge of exactly how to hunt a specific area... it usually isn't due to being that much better at hunting elk than the average DIY guy if the access/knowledge of the area is the same... you can probably learn quite a bit about how to hunt the outfitter's area and elk herd, how that translates to general knowledge of how to hunt general public land is where I think the idea doesn't work all that well, if you are hunting lightly pressured elk you are going to learn how to hunt lightly pressured elk, that usually doesn't set you up for success when it gets tough, you are probably also not going to be exposed to many different tactics, the outfitter knows what works, or what he likes, and you are pretty much along for the ride.

I think if you want an elk without having to trial and error your way to one an outfitter is a great shortcut, however, if you want to get good at elk hunting then I don't think most outfitted hunts help as much as you would think, there is far too much that goes on behind the scenes that the clients never see and far too little variety.

CO is the easiest OTC for sure but definitely not the only option, there are capped tags in some states, there are tags that take no points in several states, there are leftovers... get creative and it's pretty easy to get 3-4 tags a year with no points.
 

Slm864

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
357
Location
Pennsylvania
Going guided might help lessen the learning curve a bit but I have talked to plenty of people who go DIY and are successful on their first try with a lot of hard work and preparation.

I believe Idaho and Oregon also have OTC opportunities and there are probably more. There is also the option of picking up tags off of leftover lists that would normally take several points to draw. That option requires some decent luck though depending what tag you are after.
If you stick around on this forum you will pick up on things and slowly start to understand everything a little better. I can honestly say I have learned a lot just by reading threads on hunt talk when they pop up, especially during application and draw season.
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
2,829
Location
WY
Going guided might help lessen the learning curve a bit but I have talked to plenty of people who go DIY and are successful on their first try with a lot of hard work and preparation....
There are also plenty of guides I wouldn't want to learn jack from. Most years I glass some guy cowboying his way into a herd with a client(s) in a way that couldn't possibly be described as hunting. Some great ones out there, some idiots out there, just like everything.
 
Caribou Gear

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
94,506
Messages
1,408,359
Members
29,645
Latest member
Markleathers
Top