Getting Started Elk Hunting

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
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0
West Virginia
Hello, myself a long time whitetail rifle hunter in West Virginia. I am looking to get advice and direction to do an Elk hunt out west for one or more of my three sons. I am totally green on this subject but realise I have to start somewhere. I very interested in making this happen but need to get the wheels turning. Two area trophy whitetail hunters each suggested Eastman‘s for advice.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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You will get GREAT advice on this forum.

I am biased, but some of the best information you can consume is from the Journals and on Eastmans' TagHub. We also recently partnered with the ELK Collective and there is a LOT of great information there and Brian Barney and Dan Pickar are going to be doing a lot of content contribution.
 

JimP

Administrator
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
What state are you looking at and what weapon?

Colorado still offers quite a few over the counter either sex elk tags, but there are a number of units that are bull only. There are also quite a few OTC units for rifle bull hunts with 3 different seasons of varying lengths that you can pick from.

You can download the Colorado Big Game guide book from their web page.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
Guided or DIY? What state (s) are you interested in?
I was thinking of a guided hunt at least the first time to avoid mistakes and learn the ropes. The main reason is to get the meat in the freezer. Don’t want to stumble around in the dark with that. I had a person mention the “Kootenai Region” so I guess I would explore that advice and work from there.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
Guided or DIY? What state (s) are you interested in?
Guided or DIY? What state (s) are you interested in?
I was thinking of a guided hunt at least the first time to avoid mistakes and learn the ropes. The main reason is to get the meat in the freezer. Don’t want to stumble around in the dark with that. I had a person mention the “Kootenai Region” so I guess I would explore that advice and work from there.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
What state are you looking at and what weapon?

Colorado still offers quite a few over the counter either sex elk tags, but there are a number of units that are bull only. There are also quite a few OTC units for rifle bull hunts with 3 different seasons of varying lengths that you can pick from.

You can download the Colorado Big Game guide book from their web page.
I own a 7mm Remington Mag and a Winchester Model 70 270. I had a person mention the Kootenai region as a good place to explore. So maybe I’ll start there and explore that, but really no set area at this time.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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If Montana is where you want to start going the outfitter/guide route will help on the tag acquisition side with the Outfitter point. However...the hard part with that is a first hunt with an outfitter can make expectations tough for later. Especially if you have access to good private land with the Outfitter.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
If Montana is where you want to start going the outfitter/guide route will help on the tag acquisition side with the Outfitter point. However...the hard part with that is a first hunt with an outfitter can make expectations tough for later. Especially if you have access to good private land with the Outfitter.
It might help your understanding if I said that my main goal is to introduce my sons to elk hunting, an opportunity which I never had. Sometimes that first step can be the hardest to make. When I think back on whitetail hunting, it took me a few seasons before I knew when and where my best chances for success would be. But that being said, if I could see a clear path to accomplish that goal without an outfitter, that could work too.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Super Moderator
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
I assume you have never applied for elk in any state and you have no preference points. You should select a state where you can buy an over the counter tag.....no waiting for accumulating any points to start with. I live in Colorado (as does JimP who posted also) and our state has a lot of OTC tags as Jim mentioned too. Go to cpw.state.co.us and look at hunting and then look at big game hunting. You can also call (303) 297-1192 and get some help from Colorado Parks & Wildlife folks.

Your 7mm Mag is a good caliber with the right bullet.
 

JimP

Administrator
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
The one problem with going with a outfitter to get your feet wet is that they usually have very good ground to hunt. Quite often it will be private where the normal hunter can not hunt without hiring the outfitter.

But it is a way to perhaps see how to hunt elk, but with it being very good hunting areas you are likely to see a lot more elk and very few other hunters.

Then the next year and you start hunting public lands you are swamped with other hunters, and fewer animals with all those public hunters fighting for the same animals.

But it can be done.
 

kidoggy

Veteran member
Apr 23, 2016
9,646
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idaho
Ok, so if I said I wanted to follow where the universe would take me, I would say yes, Kootenai was mentioned to me by a strange coincidence. So yes, I would be willing to start in that region.
lots to take into account. do you want cow or bull? steep and rugged or flat and easy? time of year? early season or late? cost/ willing to spend? 270 is a great weapon for elk. IMHO! personally, I would not do the outfitter, but that is just me. doing it myself is the challenge that makes it worth doing. but to each their own.
best advice- study/learn the habits of elk, then go where the elk are. elk are really just stupid heard animals and fairly predictable.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
Since I grew up in the era of bucks only whitetail hunting, I guess my preference would be a bull. I agree that the diy method would be the most gratifying experience. Yesterday, in Maryland, I was in a warehouse/ food store, full of monster elk mounts, mule deer, whitetail, bear, you name it, it was there. I asked a person there who the hunters were and she said it was her and her family. She said that they hunt on public land in Colorado. It was quite impressive.
 

Rocky Point

New Member
Mar 5, 2024
8
0
West Virginia
lots to take into account. do you want cow or bull? steep and rugged or flat and easy? time of year? early season or late? cost/ willing to spend? 270 is a great weapon for elk. IMHO! personally, I would not do the outfitter, but that is just me. doing it myself is the challenge that makes it worth doing. but to each their own.
best advice- study/learn the habits of elk, then go where the elk are. elk are really just stupid heard animals and fairly predictable.
.
i would say that I am in it for the meat and the experience, but that being said, I think I would prefer to take a bull. I grew up in Bucks only whitetail hunting, so I think it’s in my DNA. I am willing to spend what it takes to get the meat safely in the freezer. Ahead mount would be a nice bonus.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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.
i would say that I am in it for the meat and the experience, but that being said, I think I would prefer to take a bull. I grew up in Bucks only whitetail hunting, so I think it’s in my DNA. I am willing to spend what it takes to get the meat safely in the freezer. Ahead mount would be a nice bonus.
Shoot me a message if you want to try it from an outfitter perspective. I can help you out with a couple to call.
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
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north idaho
I live in Kootenai county idaho
Kootenai national forest is in montana
The kootenays are in Britich Columbia Canada.
you might want to narrow it down a little bit.