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Good luck on your Idaho hunt. Not a lot of big bulls there but sometimes you can get lucky and nail a big one. This is my best raghorn Idaho bull...not super big or exceptional but still a nice animal

Here are some bone shots from one of the "coveted" areas...             Elk are a really awesome species to hunt and they live in some of the mos

This is key.  In most instances elk are highly mobile and much more of a herd animal.  Getting and staying in contact with the herd is your biggest challenge on public land.

PartridgeCartridge

Here are some bone shots from one of the "coveted" areas...

 

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Elk are a really awesome species to hunt and they live in some of the most beautiful high country in the land. If you want to eat one, kill a dry cow. Rutting bulls taste like an ammonia soaked rag.

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I Elk hunted on Public Land in Idaho and Washington for about ten years running from 1990-2000.

In Idaho, I was fortunate enough to join an established group that had been hunting the same portion of the River of No Return Wilderness Area for years.

We were able to drive into our base camp at 9500 feet and hunt on foot from there each day,

There were usually from 5-7 hunters, about half of us were active duty military, three Marines always in great shape, then the rest of us......not so much.

We were never skunked, the best year we took three Elk, two cows, and a nice 6x6 Bull.

I was fortunate enough to take a Raghorn Bull one year.

 

Without horses, having enough guys to retrieve the meat was key.  You haven't lived until you pack a quarter of an Elk out on your back, climbing uphill 3,000 feet to get over the ridge between you and camp.  

50 steps, stop and blow, 50 more steps, where did we stash that water guys?

Where is that log we can rest on?  

Crap (or insert stronger adjective) it's hot.

Are we there yet?

How much further?

 

That said it was a great run, ended by the torn meniscus in my right knee.

 

Just had my right knee replaced, don't know that I would take on what I experienced with my replacement, certainly not yet.

 

If you are going for the "Experience" I guess Archery could be okay, if you truly want to kill an Elk I think a guided Rifle Hunt would be a better introduction.

I'm a slow learner I guess, the first year I think I was "In Elk" but with no experience, I didn't recognize the fact and they got away unscathed.  

Had it been year five I would have done things differently and might have taken an elk in year one.

 

Good luck!

 

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Michael Stenstrom

A dream hunt for me.  Lots of sources of information you can access before the course, but if you think it is worth it, go for it.  Some outfitters will pack you into a drop camp if you want to self guide, but get back away and have more gear than you could pack on your back.  An added expense, but less than a full guided hunt.  Of course there are advantages to a fully guided hunt, but certainly changes the experience.  I tend to be a do it your selfer, but have left two moose tags unfilled by doing it myself with bow.  However I wanted the experience and loved every minute.

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PartridgeCartridge

I personally think a self guided elk hunt for someone that has never hunted the species or high country would be a waste of time and money. Self guiding would be an option once you understand the country, the elk and how many miles a day you actually need to cover just to locate game.

 

Like I said, this is not like whitetail hunting. IMO, a "whitetail" frame of mind will cripple you on alpine species like elk and mulies.

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PC, I would somewhat disagree, depending on what one wants to get out of it. For me, it was definitely not wasted time or money.  I had no problem not filling my tag, it was an adventure I'm glad I have had.  I learned a lot, and tend to like to learn things on my own.  I realized going in that the odds of filling an archery tag were slim at best.  

AND, with the cost of DIY, my wife has already stated that I could go again.  B| 

 

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1 hour ago, PartridgeCartridge said:

 

 

Like I said, this is not like whitetail hunting. IMO, a "whitetail" frame of mind will cripple you on alpine species like elk and mulies.

This is key.  In most instances elk are highly mobile and much more of a herd animal.  Getting and staying in contact with the herd is your biggest challenge on public land.

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PartridgeCartridge
1 hour ago, co_setter said:

This is key.  In most instances elk are highly mobile and much more of a herd animal.  Getting and staying in contact with the herd is your biggest challenge on public land.

No doubt. What many don't realize is that when elk get spooked, they just plain leave for another distant canyon. They will run ten miles or more until they feel safe and secure. It can take days, sometimes weeks, just to find them again. If they head for the big tracts of black timber, you can simply forget about that herd and find another one.

 

But when you do find them and the bulls are bugling and hot as a pepper, very few game animals rival the pure excitement and adrenalin of being among them in what is probably the most beautiful country in the world.

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Damn, I'm more determined to make this happen and less convinced we can do it on our own, I will be tapping everyone that has offered for information 

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Oh by the way Michael, I'm still cutting up birds with the knife i got from you ? years ago,still rides in my pocket on every trip.

mark

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Probably won't be an issue but if you're hunting in grizzly country it would be best to research what that looks like.  Especially if you're archery hunting.

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PartridgeCartridge
1 hour ago, Big Al said:

Probably won't be an issue but if you're hunting in grizzly country it would be best to research what that looks like.  Especially if you're archery hunting.

Good point. I've spent a fair amount of time in grizzly country and have been harassed by several, especially at base camp near the meat pole. Never had one claim an elk or a mulie.

 

They can be bold, defiant and aggressive, if not down right dangerous, critters. They can also be very timid. The most aggressive one I ran into was in Alberta, where there is no grizzly season. Conversely, just over the divide into British Columbia, we saw several that wanted nothing to do with us or our quartered game. Back then, they were a huntable species in BC and subsequently had a fear of most humans in most situations.

 

On an interesting note, I watched a large female tear apart one of our wall tents and then proceeded to eat a 50# bag of dogfood... the bag too. I glassed her from about 250 yards before returning to camp early one afternoon. She meant business and it would have been disastrous to  stumble back into camp and surprise her.

 

Always watch your camp/meat pole from a safe distance  before ambling back into camp, no matter how tired you might be. BTW, this same sow ate a half of a saddle the next day like it was a giant chew toy. These critters deserve the respect and distance that you can afford them.

 

But to my thinking, they represent all that is awesome and beautiful and primitive about remote wilderness areas. To hunt among them and the elk and mulies and sheep and goats and wolves just makes the whole experience  a pure and primitively elegant predatory event.

 

JMO

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 I was hunting elk with my guide and we were on a wide bench with little cover. Nature called so we rode over to some black timber where I could find a nice blow-down in a secluded spot to rest my tired ass and find a final resting place for my load. No sooner had I snuggled into a nice convenient tree when a grizz about 30 yards away exploded out from under a blow-down, ran across the bench and headed downhill FAST !!!  My rifle was leaning against a tree just out of reach and the only thing my guide had was bear spray. The guide came running over to me bear spray in hand but never said a word. I've always wondered if he was going to spray the bear with the repellent or if he was going to give me a good shot of that stuff on my bare lily white ass to make me run faster ?  Needless to say I didn't have to go much for the rest of the week. Some things you just can't prepare for.

 

 

Virgil  

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PartridgeCartridge

This one female grizz that would raid our camp in Alberta also had the odd habit of eating our turds in an area about 75 yards from camp. Everyone crapped in this one spot. There was no outhouse in a high country camp.

 

Anyways, every morning at about 4 am, I would have a cup of coffee and  meander over there to crap. It is difficult to squat, 25 degrees below zero, holding a Maglite in you teeth, cradling a loaded rifle, in the dark, surrounded by fresh grizzly tracks, while your nutsack is literally freezing, and juggling a roll of toilet paper and trying to drop a load.

 

That bitch ate every turd in camp, including the two dog's in camp.

 

It was exciting and frustrating and scary all in one very cold package.

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