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Old 10-05-2007, 06:18 PM
Fork Horn
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 457
Default DIY ELK

Hey everybody.

My dad and I are wanting to go into a DIY Elk hunt. We've been whitetail hunters primarily all my 25 years, but we've always talked about going after the Wapiti.

We dont really have the camping equipment for it, and dont have the cash for a big guided affair, so we're considering a drop camp type hunt. Where the outfitters provide the tents, the basic equipment and the pack animals, drop you off and it's up to you.

We've never been Elk hunting before, so I'm sure we'll get skunked, but I'm not too worried about that.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on it?
I like colorado, but dont want to rely on a draw permit system. Are there anystates that do non-resident over the counter elk tags? even for cows doesnt bother me.

I know we're looking at a LARGE chunk of change on this deal, even doing a semi DIY drop camp.... Hopeing to keep it under $4,000 (gas/groc/extra equipment we dont have/everything) for both of us together. Obviously the cheaper the better. I'm not worried about getting a 300" trophy. But you know how it goes.....

Any info helps, especially of any sites or books I should look. Especially for the how-tos on everything from elk tactics, to back country packing, to equipment lists(especially this).

Thanks everyone.
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:26 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Altmar New York USA
Posts: 1,247
Default RE: DIY ELK

Most Outfitters want their drop camp hunters to have some experience in Elk hunting, and Mountain hunting. I know when I did my first Elk hunt I had to fill out a contract, and questions about my experience. Not saying they won't let you do a drop camp, but prefer experienced hunters. Mountain Elk hunting is nothing like whitetail hunting. Its a whole new world. If you've never been into the Mountains at higher elevations pursueing Elk your in for a experience. If you have experience hunting out of camps with limited means that would be good. But if you've never really roughed it, relied on dried foods like Mountain house, no cooler means, limited water, having to cut all your own firewood, and prepare own meals on camp stoves, and fire pits. This isn't the hunt for you. You will also need to know how to quarter up your own game, and pack it back to camp. I know $ is a big issue. But trust me if you want to do it right, and safely the first time. Save your $, and do a fully guided service. Get the experience, and knowledge, and do the cheaper drop camps down road. I think you'll find you will have a much better experience your first time that way.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 13
Default RE: DIY ELK

Start contacting some elk outfitters. For 3500-4000.00 you can get an fully guided hunt. Most drop camps iv'e seen cost around 1500.00. My family are primarily Michigan deer hunters and we did a hunt on our own in Colorado. Elk hunting is certainly more demanding than deer hunting, but if one does enough research, there is no reason you can't do it on your own. Just use your head and be courteous to other hunters out there and you will do fine. My 10 cents. The Colorado DOW web site is a great starting point.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:36 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Eastern Colorado
Posts: 517
Default RE: DIY ELK

Colorado is not all draw and has some OTC tags. I would first start by researching that as to which area you want to hunt.My advice would be most areas NW in the are good. You may be able to get some leftover tags for those areas next August. Next I would spend 1/4 of that on camping gear, like a 300 dollar Cableas 12x12 Outback tent. (We had ours in 60 mph WY wind over the weeknd and it never budged.I don't know how I ever lived without it), camp stove, latern,good sleeping bags, cots, etc. You could easily do a DIY for less than 3000/both with some planning.
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Old 10-06-2007, 01:02 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 579
Default RE: DIY ELK

Just curious, why are you looking into a drop camp?If you want toDIY then "DIY"! Don't takethiswrong but you are starting early enoughin the planning process that with some diligent research,you could hunt elk far cheaper than the dollar amount you just proposed.What physical shape are you and your dad in?Are you planning a rifle hunt, or a bow hunt, or blackpowder? Colorado has otc rifle and archery permits for non-residents in certain GMU's. If you're interested in Colorado, then start here;, there is a ton of information if you spend the time researching.

One thing to remember about a drop camp. If an outfitter has fully guided hunters willing to pay full price plus tips, why would he drop a couple of DIY hunters into a prime area full of game? I would seriously consider either a fully guided hunt, or an exclusively DIY hunt! There are plenty of people on this site willing to help you out if you're willing to put forth some research effort. Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:11 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 138
Default RE: DIY ELK

I have been on fully guided elk hunts and drop camp hunts. This year is my first DIY hunt. Although I have been successful on the guided hunts, I really enjoy the drop camp hunt where you are own your own. The outfitter provided the horses to get to the camp and camp equipment. Then came and got us. Best hunt I have been on and did not see a bull.

I'm glad I went on the guided hunts first so I saw how things are done. Its not nearly as technical as it sounds on this web site. But it is a lot more work that you expect. I think elk hunting is tougher than two-a-days when I played football in college.

The biggest drawback to a drop camp is that you normally need a group of 4 before an outfitter will take you. You could maybe team up with some strangers but that is not wise. To get a good hunt go to Kevin is the head guy at the Williams East Fork Ranch by Yampa, CO. He will not pamper you but he will take care of you.

It is not too late to get a left-over draw tag for Colorado.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:59 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fallbrook CA. USA
Posts: 322
Default RE: DIY ELK

First off lose the negativity !! Don't start out thinking you are not going to get anything or you won't,there's a couple of ways to go without learning on the curve about camping and elk hunting. Colorado 2nd and 3rd season are over the counter or you can buy a landowner tag for around $1000. Area #77 near Pagosa Springs can be very productive if you are not looking for a wilderness experience, stay at the Sportsman supply and hunt on your own, nice cabins and all you need is your food, or Larry Bishop ...Rocky Mountain Ranches has landowner tag's or tresspass fee hunting on private ranches in the Craig area and you can stay at a local motel.Elk hunting can be as hard or as easy as you make it, not everybody is looking for the backcountry wilderness experience just get your feet wet and see how it goe's . I first started elk hunting in 94 and have taken 8 bull's all on my own DIY, I now have the fever and have my own wall tent but I've never needed horse's . Do yourself a favor get a GPS and learn how to use it but also always carry a compass and get in the best shape that you can. The best thing you can bring with you is common sense.I'll be happy to share info with you about the Pagosa [email protected] , Bill
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:59 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 171
Default RE: DIY ELK

Subscribe to, Jim Deeming gives some great advice.

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Old 10-15-2007, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 53
Default RE: DIY ELK

Living here in the Mountain West. DIY was the only way we ever went hunting. Usually we drove over to the hunting area Friday evening. Hunted Saturday & Sunday and brought our kill home.

I never ever figured it was rocket science to go hunting and the concept of hiring a guide was never considered.

Guides will increase your odd of being successful, since they know the land and habits of the game animals and you don't.
It may take you a trip or two to figure this out on your own. But it can be done. With the right research, you might do it on your first trip.
A drop camp gets you into an area where elk MIGHT BE. Even a drop camp you will have to figure out where the elk are and how to find them.

I like to use horses. But there are a lot folks harvesting elk off ATVs or back packing on their feet. Even with horses, I hunt on foot and just use the horses to retrieve the downed animal.

As far as equipement. I've spent more nights in a simple inexpensive dome tent, with a sleeping bag rolled out on a Therma rest pad. You don't need Cots, Wall tents, camp stoves, dutch ovens .
They make it comfortable, but they are not needed to successfully hunt an elk.

If you are back packing, Learn to "Bone out" your meat. I don't haul out any bones. Too heavy. I can bone out a entire elk and carry it out on one horse. or I can quarter it, bringing limited bones and use two horses. Same applies to back packing, do you want to make two trips or four.

The mountains of the west will test your endurance. Coming from sea level to 8000' elk camp causes a lot of folks to suffer altitutde sickness. Climbing over the 10,500 foot saddle above camp in the early morning darkso you can be in position will definitely cause you to suck wind. Be in shape, drink LOTS of water, avoid the booze, at least until you know if you can handle the mountains. Some days will be 70* and sunshine, next day it will snow 24" and be 10*. Come prepared for both. Bring the tools you need. Maps, compass, GPS. What ever it takes for you to find your way back to camp. Cell phones probably won't work. Elk are big. You will not drag a elk back to camp like a deer. Bring a pack frame. A good knife, a small bone saw ( your not bringing out the whole head are you? just the antlers and cape) I once had a hunter beg me to go get his elk. He had exhausted himself packing out the whole head of a 4x4 raghorn.

All states have Division of Wildlife websites that list the elk hunts and what can be purchased over the counter and what needs to be drawn. Most states offer antlerless tags to control elk numbers. These are often late in the season when the elk are lower and more easily reached and don't require lots of preference points to draw.

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Old 10-15-2007, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 125
Default RE: DIY ELK

Painted Horse: Didnt you will the sheep drawing last year in Salt Lake? Just wondering where the goods are!
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