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Wanting to hunt Elk

Old 12-09-2007, 07:18 PM
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johnny2's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Towanda,pa
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Default Wanting to hunt Elk

I want to go on a elk hunt next year if possible,hell i'm
58 now and have had 2 heart attacks..I know I am way
out of shape and need to get my ass walking to get
tuned up before going out where ever....So anyway..

My question is where is a good place to go that aint
going to cost me a bundle of money..Some place that
might cater to an old fart such as myself...I am a darn
good shot out to 500 or 600 yards as I used to shoot
compitition...But then again I may apt for a muzzle-
loader hunt...What ever..I just want to get my hunt in
befor I get older....

So can someone please give me some ideas on where to
go or who to contact..I would be happy just going to a
private persons home or ranch I aint fussy,but would
like an opertunity to get my elk..I have also went and
took a hunter saftey course,because I heard somplaces
you have to have this card to get a license...

So if it isn't too much trouble I would really appricate
some information or advice...Thanks a lot to all who
can help me out here....Johnny
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:00 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

If you hunt at lower elevations, this typically means hunting on private land. If you don't have any good friends who are willing to let you hunt elk on their private ranch for free, this kind of hunting will be very expensive. I you hunt on public land, you can hunt for free, but this kind of hunting will often be at higher altitudes in steep, physically challenging country. You can hook up with an outfitted/guided hunt for somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,500 and maybe and extra $500 for a license in Colorado. It sounds like you really need to do your homework on this before you commit. One recommendation would be to take a trip out to your prospective elk area and do some hiking/scouting. This would be a good way to find out precisely what the physical challenges are like. If you want to avoid dieing during your hunt, you need to be prepared and know what your physical limits are. You seem to portray yourself as out of shape -- maybe substantially overweight, unconditioned. This certainly does not comport with a do-it-yourself elk hunt. Even a horseback hunt is going to involve some high mountain hiking that will be very hard on you if you are overweight and out of condition. What about thinking of a pronghorn antelope hunt? These can be done relatively inexpensively in Wyoming (look around Gillette, unit 23) and in relatively benign topography. I'm certainly not trying to insult or offend you. Just take the physical difficulty of elk hunting very, very seriously.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:42 PM
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

I think you need to define what a bundle of money is to you. For $5k you could probably come close to what you are looking for as long as you are after just a decent bull and not a record book bull.

Elk are not small animals, if you aren't in shape you could have a heart attack just quartering one up and getting it loaded in the pickup if you shot it 100 yards from the road.

Colorado and Idaho are the only states I know of that have over the counter Elk tags. Some of the other states have guaranteed tags if you apply through an outfitter but the deadlines for that are fast approaching for 2008. Wyomings deadline for non-residents is January 31st and Montana's is March 15th.

Good Luck.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:57 AM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

Dang, you are working with most of the deck stacked against you.
It can be done; however, IMHO it is going to take money to get someone to pick you up and plop you in the right place at the right time withessentially no expenditure of energy. Area will need to be low altitude, with ATV or horse access (you know how to ride?).

Maybe New Mexico, thru a top flight outfitter probably $10,000.
IMHO, a DIY hunt is out.... elk hunting is brutally hard work.

If you knew someone in elk country that works it and lives it and would take you onto their private property, then it could be done.... but hey, those folks are making an agricultural subsistence living and elk hunters are a source scarce income.... so that is going to be a scarce one.

This is a tough one.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Missouri
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

Here's what you "have" to do to start. Go to your doctor and explain to him what you want to do. He/she will detail out what your limitations are. Your doc will probably even set you up on a work out regiment. Let the thought of elk hunting be your motivation. Trust me you need to do more than just some "walking to tune up". Elk hunting is intensive. You need to be able to walk 5 miles non-stop to even start. Then you will need to be able to walk up the steepest hills you can find for an hour non-stop and this is a bare bones minimum. You'll still have a hard time, but you might survive.

Second, you have to get over the money issue. This is going to cost you about $5-6000. There's just no way around it. I just don't think that a public land DIY hunt is in the cards for you. Save up, take out a loan, or put it on plastic. If you really want to do this it will cost.

There are places that people hunt for very little money. I know of a group of hunters that goes every year to colorado. They hunt a private ranch, don't have to pay much, heck the rancher even moves out of his trailer and lets them use it while there. You are going to be hard pressed to get into one of those type deals. Because they are becoming more and more scarce, and the ones that are still out there someone has to die to open a spot. Heck, the group I know of has been going for as long as I can remember. The same 5 guys every year.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade. I hope you don't take my comments as attacks. This is just the reality of elk hunting. You can do it, you will just have to commit. It takes a lot physically, mentally, and fiscally.
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

Dam you guys are wearing me out just reading these post...And you all have told me how it is..And I really appreciate that..Thanks and i'm serious...I know that my ass is out of shape..I aint worked in 6 years now..But dam,I want to do this..When is the elk season anyway? Maybe I will have to plan it for 2 years from now..I am getting into walking and carrying my rifle at least 2 miles every other day rain sleet hale or snow..Even a flood...****,I aint getting any younger..

And I rode horses alot when I was younger. Afriend of mine has horses so I can go there to ride any time..

I thought of a prong horn hunt,but aint they like eating a goat??[8D]

I have tried for 10 years to get a moose permit in Main with no luck..So I figued I would go the other way..Perhaps your right about the hunt not being in my dreams...But you can't blame a fellow for trying...I am 6 foot 2 inchs and weight around 260 lbs...And it aint all fat either...I am just out of shape is all..The heart attack **** will really slow you down,plus the meds,they put you on....Maybe I could fly over in a chopper and shoot one that way.

I really appreciate all of your concern,you sound like good folks to get to know..May God bless you all and have a happy holiday...
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:44 PM
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

Good luck Johnny2 with your hunt. I am 59 and have been out there on a DIY hunt 2 years in a row. Like all the guys have said it will be tough physically especially if you are DIY on pub lands. Walking is certainly good exercise but let me tell you the altitude is a real killer. I live at 118' ASL and hunted the past 2 years at up to 10500 feet. It is hard to breath and even a small climb will leave you sucking air and not feeling like you are getting anything. It was all hiking and we had to pack out the elk we shot. I was hunting with a guy in his 40's and another in his early 50's both years. We hunted South Central Colorado and have taken 3 bulls and 2 cows during the 2 hunts. All of them had to be packed out in quarters on frames. If successful you just take your time and walk a short distance and rest a bit. Eventually you get them out and that is the way it goes. This is nothing like a deer hunt and you really do need to get checked out and given a pass by your doc. If you are lucky enough to get a hunt in, be prepared to see some really beautiful country and meet some real characters from the local scene. I wished I had taken up elk hunting years ago. IMO it is the most fun I have ever had while going for game. Good luck and I hope it happens for you. OBTW it is way better than moose hunting in Maine.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 53
Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

It has been so hard to draw Mature Bull tags in Utah, We started to put in for Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico hunts. A few years ago we drew a New Mexico hunt. We have been very successful at harvesting big bulls in Utah, so we thought the New Mexico hunt would be a piece of cake. The hunting in new Mexico was nothing like we do in Utah. As we struggled to find elk, we talked to anybody that would talk to use. We learned a lot in 5 days of hunting.

The area we were in, the guides can put you in a stand over a water hole and the elk come to you. If you shoot one the guides will drive a truck in and pick up your elk. For us we didn't control any of the stands, we would hike into a nice area only to find a stand and have guides claiming it was their stand. Even though it was public land. The elk in the area come into the water holes, so hunters watch the water holes. This would be a whole lot easier than hiking up and down 9000 foot high steep ridges.

Look into some of the guides in the Luna - Pie Town area.
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

"I thought of a pronghorn hunt, but ain't they like eatin' goat?"

Au contraire mon ami! Pronghorn can be very tastey indeed. I think it is like any wild game meat -- if you don't take care of it properly before the kill, after the kill, and when you cook the meat, the food on the table won't be very good. "Before the kill?" In the case of pronghorn, I have been told that a pronghorn that has been run hard immediately before the kill -- for example when pot shotting stampeded pronghorn from a recently parked truck -- will not taste very good because the meat is full of adrenaline or the meat has been heated up too much from the running. The proper kill is to stalk the pronghorn and make a clean kill without running the animal. With pronghorn it is important to field dress the animal immediately and to begin cooling the carcasse quickly. I have read that some recommend putting a couple of bags of ice inside the body cavity immediately after field dressing to accelerate this cooling process. In my case, my son and I took two pronghorns on successive days. In both cases the animals were field dressed immediately and were skinned, quartered, and on ice within three hours. I butchered my son's pronghorn, a buck, after a day on ice. I butcherd my pronghorn, a doe, after just a few hours on ice. After butchering -- cutting into meal sized pieces and wrapping first with plastic wrap and then in freezer paper -- the meat was put into ice chests with ample dry ice to flash freeze the meat and keep it frozen. I put about 1/4" thickness of newspaper on top of the dry ice in the bottom of the coolers and 1/4" thickness of newpaper on top of the meat and below the dry ice at the top of the coolers, thereby keeping an insulative barrier between the meat and the dry ice.I've been told not to leave the dry ice in direct contact with your packaged meat, I don't know why. I then taped the lip of the coolers substantially air tight closed with duct tape. Of course, this would not be an air tight seal, but more to the point a seal that would attenuate the rate of off-gassing of CO2 and therefore slowing the warm-up of the CO2.Cooking methods include the usual treatments for good venison. Roasts should be cooked with moist heat for about 3 hours on moderate to low-moderate heat.

My family -- wife, two daughters, my son, and I -- all loved the pronghorn meat from our pronghorns taken in Wyoming unit 23. My wife and oldest daughter liked the pronghorn better than my venison that I bring home from Oklahoma. They like the delicate, subtle spiciness that they detected in the pronghorn meat.

So . . . don't count the pronghorn hunt out. It is a lot of fun, physically a piece of cake, success rates are high (90% in Wyoming, I think I've read), and the meat is tastey.

Not to discourage your elk hunting dream, but you have to really understand the physical challenge involved and prepare if this is definitely in your future. I went on my first elk hunt -- DIY in San Juan mountains of Colorado -- in 2006. I'm 6' 2" weighed about 205 LBS when I started the hunt (lost 12 LBS in 7 days in the field -- 2 days before the season began scouting/setting up camp). I was running 4.5 miles every other day at 5.5 MPH with 6 degree slope dialed in on the tread mill and strength exercises on days I didn't run including lunges and squats and others. It was a big struggle and physically challenging for me . . . and I have been to the mountains a number of times before, and specifically backpacked into my exact area in July before the hunt. I will prepare even more next time (more lunges and squats, my aerobic conditioning was OK). I didn't take an elk, so I didn't have the even greater physical challenge of packing out about 200 LBS of elk meat on my back from about 4 miles into the woods -- 4 loads of 50 LBS each load (that would be about 32 miles all totalled, 16 miles fully loaded). Of course, it isn't just packing the meat out, it would be skinning and taking the meat off the carcass while it lays on the ground -- a process that must take several hours and must be tiring in and of itself; and it would be cutting up these 200 LBS of meat into meal sized portions and wrapping it back at camp, as I butcher my meat myself. And this is at elevations from 10,500' up to 12,000'. Notwithstanding my failure, I loved the elk hunting, I put in for a preference point this year, and I have OK from my wife to go in 2008 (the trick will be finding the money, my son enters college August 2008, but I remain hopeful). I made a lot of mistakes and hope to be a much better hunter next time by having recognized these mistakes.

Frankly, if it is something that you want to do, it ought to be worth investing the time, trouble, and sweat to get into the appropriate physical condition. A wonderful and valuable benefit of this elk hunting aspiration is that you will be much healthier and feel much more energetic and have a much higher quality of life by getting into condition. Do consult your doctor about whether tough physical conditioning is OK with your heart condition. It is worth pointing out that you won't get in good shape overnight, this will be a long term project. Take it easy getting started, and increase your intensity slowly. Pulled muscles or other injuries that come from pushing too hard too fast will slow your progress more than just being patient. You may wish to initially focus on losing weight, but later you will want to focus more on physical conditioning, particularly on endurance. For any given 15 minute time interval elk hunting, the maximum power exerted isn't going to be a big deal. The challenge comes from keeping it going for 10 hours for 5 days in a row. Endurance and stamina. Good luck if you choose this path. If you aren't sure you are ready for this kind of commitment or the doctor puts the kibosh on this program, do seriously consider the pronghorn hunt idea.
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Default RE: Wanting to hunt Elk

you might think about some of the Alberta hunts they have deer elk combo or even a moose hunt in NF
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