First archery elk hunt planning

sdhunters

New Member
Dec 22, 2018
38
27
Eastern South Dakota
Latter 50 yr old in moderately good shape.....Is my brain writing checks my body can't cash? Planning for a archery elk hunt to Wyoming in 2019 or 20. Plan to apply for general tag and looking at the southern units(9-15 & 21). My biggest concern is the terrain and ability to navigate thru the unit(s). I hope to make a trip to the area this summer but meanwhile need to apply for a tag. Looking thru Google Earth there appears to be a mix of terrain and it appears that most areas can be accessed with some work excluding the wilderness areas. I have hunted and scouted thru the SD BH units and find the terrain very manageable, but found Montana 9500 ft difficult first couple days. Any general information on the area would be appreciated. It appears there are trails/roads that are within a few miles of each other going thru most of the units....is this true?
 

bullelk

New Member
Mar 1, 2011
36
0
62
Idaho Falls, ID
I?m nearly 59 and I still hunt hard in some rugged Idaho country. Start training now. The challenge is dealing with an elk if you get one down. It?s darned hard work to take care of one.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

87TT

Very Active Member
Apr 23, 2013
502
783
Idaho
I didn't even take up elk hunting until I was 63 and that was 3 years ago. I agree with Bullelk, the hard part is the getting it out.
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
770
238
Southern Indiana
I've hunted a couple of those units. There are some steep areas, but overall terrain isn't bad at all IMO. Deadfall sucks in a lot of areas though, sometimes stacked 8 feet high, and that's what the elk like to hide in. I got my cow this year 2.5 miles from the truck, about 0.25 mile was through the deadfall, the rest mostly rolling sage. It took longer to fight through the 0.25 mile deadfall than all the rest of the pack back to the road. The elk move through it effortlessly and surprisingly quietly.

There are a lot of roads, but hunting pressure has never been real heavy when I've been there. You'll see people riding/driving through pretty regular, but not many out humping the hills.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,659
1,877
Eastern Nebraska
I agree with LCH. In general the terrain isn't very aggressive through much of the Snowy Range. The beetle kill has been rough though so there are some pretty tough to get through areas with all the deadfall. There are roads all over so you can avoid long hikes. With the great road access comes a lot of other hunters so plan on plenty of competition, even during archery season.
 

sdhunters

New Member
Dec 22, 2018
38
27
Eastern South Dakota
Thank you for the information you have all provided. I will continue the planning to make this hunt come true. Have more confidence in attempting first DIY archery elk hunt. Did not run into deadfalls on MT hunt and glad for that. Terrain was primarily steep but travel in forested areas was not overly difficult. Couple days of sucking wind at that elevation was eye opener. Coming in couple days early sounds like a good plan. Hopefully a little luck drawing a random tag this year or will use PP's next year. Thanks again for any and all the info/suggestions you shared.
 

highplainsdrifter

Very Active Member
May 4, 2011
703
124
Wyoming
The units you are considering (9-15 & 21) are in the Snowies and Sierra Madres. There is a big difference between the two. The Snowies see MUCH more activity from hunters, ATVers, wood cutters, lookie loos as well as everybody and his brother. I gave up archery hunting the Snowies for elk long ago. Not saying it can't be done in the Snowies, but I suggest you focus on the Sierra Madres.

The terrain will be a little more rugged, but you will see more elk and a lot fewer people.

My two cents worth.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,659
1,877
Eastern Nebraska
The units you are considering (9-15 & 21) are in the Snowies and Sierra Madres. There is a big difference between the two. The Snowies see MUCH more activity from hunters, ATVers, wood cutters, lookie loos as well as everybody and his brother. I gave up archery hunting the Snowies for elk long ago. Not saying it can't be done in the Snowies, but I suggest you focus on the Sierra Madres.

The terrain will be a little more rugged, but you will see more elk and a lot fewer people.

My two cents worth.
I hunted area 21 for a day this past season and also spent several days in the Snowies. I saw more hunters in one day in 21 than I saw in several days in areas 9, 110, and 12.
 

highplainsdrifter

Very Active Member
May 4, 2011
703
124
Wyoming
I hunted area 21 for a day this past season and also spent several days in the Snowies. I saw more hunters in one day in 21 than I saw in several days in areas 9, 110, and 12.
As the saying goes...your individual results may vary. But I have repeatedly been annoyed by the level of human activity in the Snowies. Among the most annoying experience was motorcyclists driving off trail through the very woods I wanted to hunt. I hunted many years in 110 and have NO desire to go back there.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,659
1,877
Eastern Nebraska
I will agree on the recreation activity...Especially during the archery season while the temperatures are comfortable. Too close to the university and Laramie population.
 

ssliger

Very Active Member
Mar 9, 2011
901
0
Laramie WY
One thing to add about area 21. They have paved the road all the way from Rawlins to the forest boundary. Which increased the amount of people this last fall a ton. Haven?t hunted the Snowies the last few years because of all recreational activity.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

wy-tex

Veteran member
May 2, 2016
1,035
307
SE Wyoming
Plenty of areas to get away from crowds in either range. Yes road hunters will seem to be everywhere, but take a hike and you'll find spots with little pressure.
Closer to a paved road the more folks you'll see. Some smaller roads are not suitable for larger trailers and campers, they can lead to a closed off road or roadless area with good hunting.
Weekends bring out the locals who have camps set for the season. You may see camps seemingly at every wide spot but most are only used for a few days at a time and many times on weekends only.
Weekends seem like a constant parade of vehicles down the roads, weekdays you may not even hear one except on the main roads through . Elk learn to recognize atvs that are just riding around, when the engine stops they take notice.
Plan around Labor Day weekend, lots of last weekend campers out then.
 

daddyomolly

New Member
May 11, 2018
13
8
Central Wisconsin
SD...I am similar age with very similar plan for 2020 so I will be following this thread closely. I am not sure it is necessary but have been searching somewhat unsuccessfully for a packer for that area. That sort of seems to be putting the cart before the horse but I also think meat care is the highest hurdle to clear. Thanks everyone for the information)
 

sdhunters

New Member
Dec 22, 2018
38
27
Eastern South Dakota
Good luck Daddy! I should be able to make a trip or two to the area as I will be in Black Hills area couple times scouting elk later on this year and may take couple days to visit the area. It appears you could camp along the roads and make day trips into the unit, but getting back a couple miles would be preferred. I too am concerned with retrieval if one should get lucky and harvest an elk. In BH units we can drive in much of the unit for retrieval and trails/roads are common every couple miles or so. Not familiar with ATV rules to assist retrieval so need to research that too.
 

sdhunters

New Member
Dec 22, 2018
38
27
Eastern South Dakota
Luck came thru on the draw! Friend and I pulled a random draw NR elk tag. Lots of planning and research to be done since this will be the first trip to Wyoming for both of us. Let the fun begin!
 

wy-tex

Veteran member
May 2, 2016
1,035
307
SE Wyoming
If you hunt the Snowies you should not need a packer, you will not be that far from a road at some point. That being said , I do not know of anyone who does packing out of Laramie. You would probably need to talk with an outfitter since packers must be licensed also to charge for their services.