Best Wilderness Elk Hunts

David Lawrence
• Saturday, 23 January, 2021
• 8 min read

The best mountain guides and hunters I know have all spent considerable time hunting over-the-counter wilderness elk. These elk have the keenest senses and are the most unforgiving of all the mountain species.

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(Source: toaltd.com)


A mountain goat will tolerate a quick glimpse of a hunter, a ram will often just shake his head at the first whiff of a human, and a bumped mule will typically stop for a shot opportunity. Most of our hunts have a horseback component and most involve some wilderness camping in remote areas.

We hunt bulls like the old timers did fifty years ago. You have to have a patient mindset to hunt the first week of archery season.

It is also the time of year when it isn’t abnormal to go an entire hunt without seeing another hunter. The first season is a great time, with fewer hunters, better weather, and it is likely you will catch the tail end of the rut.

By the 2nd and 3rd rifle season, you need to be prepared for the possibility of heavy snow. These later seasons can produce massive bulls that are pushed out of high elevations.

The biggest variable for hunting quality is weather and snow accumulation. All of our rifle elk hunts average 50%+ shot opportunity on legal bulls.

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(Source: huntwithcody.com)

The majority of bulls are medium-sized, 4-6 point animals. These hunts are focused on mature bulls while maintaining comfortable lodging.

All of our rifle elk hunts average 50%+ shot opportunity on legal bulls. The majority of bulls are medium-sized, 4-6 point animals.

*Keep in mind that these hunts all from a comfortable lodge, but they still require considerable hiking and/or riding. These experts know the areas/species well, help guide hunters (where legal), deal with logistics of the hunt/travel, know professional taxidermy preparation and are an onsite resource to monitor quality control.

All fees must be paid in U.S. funds: Checks via certified mail. Credit Cards are accepted from corporate invoiced groups only.

5-15% of the total trip cost is typical if you are happy with your guide and service. For all wilderness hunts, we use horses and mules to access our camps and pack in gear, hunters and supplies.

elk hunting hunt
(Source: www.stormcreekoutfitters.com)

We use horses while hunting, if we need to cover distance to reach game. If we can get hunters into game within 1-4 miles from camp, we will primarily hunt on foot.

Because of the remoteness of our camps (2-4+ hr ride in), this interaction is usually limited. Hunters must be in incredible shape, have high-end gear, and extensive mountain experience to hunt these areas on their own.

We pack meat out of the camps within 24hrs (we shoot for 12hrs), during archery seasons. During the colder rifle seasons, we pack game out every couple days.

We only deliver to local taxidermists in Gypsum and Eagle Colorado. The 2018 and 2019 seasons posted solid elk hunting results with about average hunter success while not setting any records, the hunts were average nearly state wide.

The late and record setting cold spring did put a bit of a damper on our antler growth this past year. Many units, while seeing success rates hold very solid, did see slight dips in average growth last year.

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(Source: utahoutfittersandarchery.com)

The desert units saw slightly reduced growth measures as well leaving many who drew the very best tags in the state wondering, “where are the giants?” So far, our winter has been extremely mild in the Northern two thirds of the state, leaving most of us with high hopes for the 2020 hunting season.

If the trend continues, and we can manage to get good moisture up high and down low during the spring and summer, this could be a very solid year for Wyoming’s elk. Area 22-1- The Ferris Mountains hunt is always a favorite with many high point holders.

This is a very high-quality desert type hunt with only 40 tags on quota with a season the last three weeks of October. Because the country here is very arid, spring and summer moisture can be a make or break situation for big bulls, causing antler growth to fluctuate by nearly 30-inches from one year to the next on the bigger more mature bulls due to moisture levels and feed availability.

This unit is a very consistent producer for Wyoming hammering out good bulls in the 300-350 class. This area is vast and the elk densities are low, so this can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack.

With a new season opener on the 7th of October this hunt is even closer to the peak of the rut. The bulls will tend to be very pocketed and broken up by the time the hunt rolls around.

hunts elk
(Source: www.nmbiggamehunting.com)

This is a great bow hunt and an even better hunt for an older hunter who doesn’t want to hump the hills and mountains anymore chasing a bull. As one of the few remaining somewhat late season (11/1 – 11/15) elk hunts in Wyoming this hunt is a bit of a gamble when it comes to the right weather, but the pay-off can be huge.

With only ten tags available there, the draw odds are stiff, but you won’t have to worry too much about hunting pressure. In the past three years over 90% of the hunters here have killed bulls and this hunt area is over 95% public land.

If you are looking for a true Wilderness hunt, that is deep enough in the back country for you to experience a true horseback, fair chase experience, in wild country that supports excellent elk, whitetail and mule deer habitat with an opportunity to harvest a respectable bull or buck, then this hunt is for you. The Highest hunting elevation is about 8600 feet along ridges that look into high mountain basin lakes.

The combination of these habitat types create an excellent location to hunt for mule deer and bugling elk. We will be offering Rifle hunts that start at the peak of the elk bugle season.

The early Back Country Rifle season opens on September 15. The Brow-tine regulation has been effective in producing bigger more mature age class bulls.

hunts elk booking colorado matt
(Source: journeyhunts.com)

Other species that you can hunt are moose, black bear, mountain goat and wolf with the proper permit or license. In addition, you can fish some of the best trout waters to be found anywhere and only a stone’s throw away from camp.

Wolf hunting is generally opportunistic when we focus on elk and deer. Bring a group of up to 8 hunters to hunt elk from our hunting camp at Hawks Rest in Yellowstone Meadows, the most remote area in the lower 48 states.

This riparian area serves as a major migration corridor for Yellowstone elk as they travel to their winter feeding grounds. In a fun daily ritual, guides draw cards to determine their pecking order for hunting grounds.

Then two hunters pair off with a guide to spend the day in spectacular Eton Wilderness working to fill their tags. At the end of each day, you'll return to camp for a hearty meal with all the trimmings and a chance to swap hunting stories around the fire.

While we can find good hunting in easier terrain, most of the best hunting will be in the steep high country, mountain plateaus, across rocky ridges, and in spectacular mountains best accessed by foot. No matter where you kill out, we'll get your animal back to civilization for you.

elk colorado hunts trophy guaranteed inch hunting hog whitetail texas hunt
(Source: seversonoutfitters.com)

That's vital when you're farther from a road in any direction than you can be anywhere else in the continental U.S. (Elk Only During Migration) Also based at our remote Hawks Rest Camp on the Yellowstone River in the Eton Wilderness, you can choose to hunt elk with a Wyoming tag during prime migration season.

Since the animals are migrating, they tend to spend more time in accessible valley floors. That means these hunts have the potential to be much less strenuous.

Location: Pack in 28 miles from base camp at Turpin Meadows to Hawks Rest Camp on the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Our exclusive camp is sited between the Yellowstone River and the Therefore River (Area 60 on a Game & Fish map).

Not only will you be hunting in one of the best trophy elk camps in the United States, but you will also be hunting in a country that looks the same as it did 100 years ago. Accommodations: Our fully equipped camp has earned its excellent reputation by hiring reputable licensed guides, maintaining a clean, comfortable camp, serving good food and supplying good horses, mules and equipment.

Camp Amenities: Cook tent Shower tent Sleeping tents with cots, foam mattresses, lanterns, and wood-burning stoves Endless firewood supply for warmth and comfort General Gear: Your gear should fit into one or two Duffel bags, with your bedroll rolled separately.

horses hunt had ifish
(Source: www.ifish.net)

However, it's better to use two or three shorter Duffel bags than one big one. We want you to take what you need, but please remember that all gear must be packed in nearly 30 miles by mule.

Please bring a rifle with a high-velocity load and flat trajectory with which you're familiar to ensure your best chance at your trophy elk. We recommend you sight your rifle in at 200 to 300 yards.

You may wish to insure your rifle and other valuable equipment against damage or loss during the hunt. Yellowstone Outfitters accepts no responsibility for lost or damaged personal gear.

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