Researching a Hunt - Outfitter Camp Locations?

NoWiser

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Myself, my cousin, and my dad have decided to do a Wyoming elk hunt on a general tag this year. We have narrowed the location down to a unit in western Wyoming. This will be an archery hunt in mid-late September, though we may head back out for rifle season if it works.

I've done all of the usual research regarding unit boundaries, motorized trails, nonmotorized trails, water sources, fire history, etc... I'm confident that we can backpack into some great country (this will be a backpack hunt) and get on some elk. One thing I have never figured out how to do is get reliable information regarding the location of outfitter camps in the area. I'd really prefer not to spend 5 hours hiking into a drainage only to find an outfitter camp there. Our hunting days are too valuable to waste much time.

Has anyone found a good way to figure out where historic outfitter camps are located? I have contacted well known outfitters in the area but they will not divulge the location of their camps (understandably). I have had zero luck getting a response from the National Forest district that we'll be hunting regarding any questions, let alone specific information like this. I have had very good luck talking to Wyoming Game Wardens, though I have not spoken with the one in this area. I hate to bother him, though right now would probably be a good time without much hunting going on.

Does anyone have any ideas on other avenues to take? Or, is it even important? Maybe I'm worrying about something that isn't a big deal. I'd love to hear any thoughts on this.

Thanks!
 

BuzzH

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I would think talking to the NF again would be your best bet. Ask for a resources person, don't just talk to the front desk.

As a worse case you could file a FOIA request, but I would doubt it would come to that.

I really wouldn't worry a lot about where the outfitters are though...I've not found many outfitters or their clients that are much competition to someone that knows what they're doing.

In fact, many times their hired help(guides) are not very experienced at all.
 

NoWiser

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I really wouldn't worry a lot about where the outfitters are though...I've not found many outfitters or their clients that are much competition to someone that KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE DOING.
.

This is what worries me ;) 2 of the 3 of us are still trying for our first elk!

Thanks Buzz. I may try the forest service again or I may decide to just not worry about it. Either way I can't wait to get out there!
 

jlh321

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Some new elk hunters from minn. are looking for where the outfitters camp and hunt, so they can stay away from them, lol. Long distant scouting at its best.
 

NoWiser

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Some new elk hunters from minn. are looking for where the outfitters camp and hunt, so they can stay away from them, lol. Long distant scouting at its best.

What is so funny? Do you think I WANT to hunt a drainage that has 5 wall tents set up in it? Do a search and look at a few of the write ups I have done on past hunts and I think you'll see that your assumptions are 100% wrong. You'll also see that we are not exactly "new" elk hunters.

I'm not worried one bit about finding elk. I'll hike until I do. What I don't want is to be bumping into other hunters around every corner. That will ruin the experience for me. One way I can lessen the chances of that happening is knowing where a few of the bigger outfitter camps are.

Thanks for questioning my motives, though....
 
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BlakeA

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Some new elk hunters from minn. are looking for where the outfitters camp and hunt, so they can stay away from them, lol. Long distant scouting at its best.

I think he is wondering about tactics-resources that backpack hunters use to steer clear of common outfitting and guiding grounds in certain areas so that he isn't wasting an entire day hiking into an area he studied on google earth for hours all offseason only to find 6 guys and a string of horses with their yearly camp setup in the drainage he hiked all day to get to. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, from personal experience, a warden once helped me immensely by giving me a heads up about a popular outfitter almost always hanging in a certain drainage or two. Driving 14 hours and being on limited time to a arrow a bull I appreciated the tip and didn't burn precious time in that area nor did I waste time studying it via google earth.
 

Jwill

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I hiked about 5 or 6 miles into a wilderness area once only to find a circus of outfitter camps, won't do that s- again... I have since asked the same questions, got the same run-around with the FS (probably for good reason), but they said I could come into their office and look at a map w/ them. I've found you'll probably have more luck narrowing down what drainage's you're planning to hunt and let them tell you if there is a camp there or not.
 

CU93elkstalker

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"Some new elk hunters from minn. are looking for where the outfitters camp and hunt, so they can stay away from them, lol. Long distant scouting at its best. "



NoWiser, I think that is a great post and question, often wondered myself how to find this out. A shame you have to get a smart ass comment when you are just trying to prep for a hunt with family and friends. There was a prior thread asking that same question, I will try and locate it for you and shoot you a pm. have a good day.
 

VAspeedgoat

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Agreed, it's a shame that you ask a legit question and get crap about it. I will be anxious to see how the thoughtful replys go, as I have wondered about this also. It may be a few more years to utilize it though. Good luck.

Also, I would take a hard look at the advise buzz gave, he's usually right on this sorta stuff.
 

jlh321

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Outfitters advertise the units they hunt, show pictures of the quality of animals, and give their success rates. You called the outfitters to find out where they hunt and they would not divulge where their camp is so now you are trying to find a backdoor approach. Why do you think they do not give their camp locations out?
I am sure for every outfitter camp in the area there will be 10 other camps set up in same general area that are not guided. The chance of finding a drainage that has an outfitter in it is slim, there is a good chance that the drainage is hunted by others.
After your hunt if successful, you should get on this site and give the GPS location of your camp so in the future others can try to avoid it.
 

windymtnman

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Not only do you need to be cognizant of where an Outfitter may be camped, but also the other hunters like yourself, and particularly the other DIY hunters that have their own pack stock. I know where the Outfitter camps are, and on occasion, have tried to use that to my advantage, by hunting fringe areas where I know their clients won't venture too because of the distance and country. However, I've also run into DIY hunters that when talking to them, I hear stuff like "I've been hunting this area for 20 years", etc.. The fact is, here in Colorado, there's an Outfitter in almost every drainage in the State that has some degree of remoteness and good habitat in it. You sometimes just have to deal with it.
 
M

MN Public Hunter

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I have to say this is an interesting question I never even thought to ask, but I guess if it were me I would pick a trail head and if there are no trucks or just a few I would give it a shot. Then again, I have never hunted elk so I'm pretty useless :)
 

VAspeedgoat

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Outfitters advertise the units they hunt, show pictures of the quality of animals, and give their success rates. You called the outfitters to find out where they hunt and they would not divulge where their camp is so now you are trying to find a backdoor approach. Why do you think they do not give their camp locations out?
I am sure for every outfitter camp in the area there will be 10 other camps set up in same general area that are not guided. The chance of finding a drainage that has an outfitter in it is slim, there is a good chance that the drainage is hunted by others.
After your hunt if successful, you should get on this site and give the GPS location of your camp so in the future others can try to avoid it.

Being a [email protected]$$ once wasn't enough?
 

chadv

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I used to hang out on "bowsite" daily but found this site to be so much less arrogant and friendly. You should check that site out jlh321, you would feel at home there. I wish I would've asked the very same question on my trip to WY near Jackson Hole, it would've saved 2 days stepping in horse apples while trying to locate elk.
 

jlh321

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The way to ask the question is tell everybody where you plan on hunting and ask if there is outfitters in that specific area, not by trying to find a backdoor way to figure out where the guides camps are, when the outfitters he called would not divulge their camp areas.
 

Gerald Martin

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jlh321 does have a point in regards to asking the right question. Not very tactful about expressing it, but a valid point.

I doubt outfitters are going to give specific drainages where their camps are located out of fear that the person asking has ulterior motives and wants to find out where they are figuring there are elk around that area.
To a lesser extent that might be why FS personnel are not specific either, but I doubt it.

I would try doing what Buzz suggested in speaking with a resource manager at FS and saying something like, "I've been researching unit 123 and I'm looking at backpacking about 5 miles up Cabin Creek. Could you tell me if there are any outfitter camps permitted in that vicinity that I may be competing with?"

The trouble with trying that same approach with an outfitter is a certain percentage of them will say something along the lines of, " Yeah, we actually hunt that pretty hard with our clients and you probably won't do to well in there." Never mind that he would have said the same thing if you had asked him about any other drainage within 5 miles of his camps. :)
 

MNElkNut

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I have read NoWiser's posts and if they are indicative of the type of guy he is, I would love to share a campfire with him sometime. His question was simply how to find out where they were so he could avoid them. Jumping to conclusions is not helpful. I will take him at his word.

To answer the question, I think you did yourself already! Why not call the game warden? I have had no problem with them telling me where the camps are and also the area biologist did it for me recently. It was a win/win for both me and the outfitter (and he didn't even know it!). I stayed out of his area. Many of us want backcountry experiences without other hunters and I for one applaud NoWiser for doing what he can to avoid the outfitter.
 

Epfd217

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Some new elk hunters from minn. are looking for where the outfitters camp and hunt, so they can stay away from them, lol. Long distant scouting at its best.

What a dick! I'll say it. Internet bullying at its best, mister I have 30 posts now.

Sorry Randy if thats against the forum rules, but its the truth. jlh's response is not what this forum is about. The question is genuine and something 90% of NR hunters worry about. We don't have days and weekends to devote to scouting an area because we are 1000 miles away.

Go figure that the question that merely states, "how can I get info about established camps so I don't trip over them and they don't get pissed at me?" turns into a discussion about somehow assuming that someone is asking for the location of the best places that someone else has found to hunt, as if some "new elk hunters from MN" are going to be any threat to you jlh.

My personal experience was discovered by hunting in zones that were near wilderness. Due to the rules surrounding wilderness, we found it better to avoid the fringes of the wilderness because of the number of guide outfits near there. Hard to determine unless they make significant camps and you can tell from google earth.
 
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