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First elk hunt questions

Old 07-04-2020, 09:04 AM
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Spike
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Default First elk hunt questions

I am in the midwest (St. Louis) and I am looking for the closest place to bag an elk. This would not be a trophy hunt, cow hunt with only meat in mind. Also don't want to break the bank, but would like a reasonable opportunity to kill a decent cow. I have been hunting for 40 years and have never done a pay-to-play, but would not be completely against it. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:12 AM
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I would start looking at states that have over the counter tags, as getting a tag might be harder to do, than just finding a place closest to you might be!

and are you wanting to do a self guided hunt, or hire someone to take you hunting for things?

might be worth emailing some outfitters where tags are over the counter and asking if they do Cow hunts, as many ranches do try to control numbers this way and make a few bucks at the same time, but will get you on more prime land, with higher odds of filling tags,
unless again you wish to do the whole hunt yourself, then?? and if planning to do hunt yourself, are you sure you have all needed gear and skills and physical conditioning to get a downed elk out!
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Old 07-04-2020, 01:44 PM
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The are cow hunts posted on the classifieds here with very reasonable prices imo. Basically paying trespass fee onto private property.

There are also otc cow tags available in various places that can provide a challenging hunt with a decent chance of success.

One thing to plan for is getting it out of the woods. They are significantly bigger than a whitetail. You won't just tie a rope to it and walk back to your truck.

Good luck!

-Jake
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:17 AM
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I believe the closest is eastern Kentucky. Colorado next closest. I have no experience in elk hunting. But, I am under the impression that it is not simple for a midwesterner to self guide themselves to an elk. I have two friends who bagged one with archery equipment on their second year of trying. They were self guided, young, and determined.

If you can afford an outfitter, your options increase exponentially.

Archery elk is on my bucket list. Just haven't seriously moved towards making it happen.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:04 AM
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You are probably much too late for the 2020 hunts, but you have a chance at a 2021 hunt. Cow hunts are usually split into either regular season hunts and late season hunts. The regular season hunts in most states will require drawing a license, so a preference point (or a few preference points) is a good thing to have. Licenses are normally much easier to obtain for the late season hunts when many of the elk are at lower elevations on private ranches. You could possibly find a booking service that still has openings somewhere for this year. Most of these hunts are booked far in advance (often a year or so) but you might find someone with a cancellation.

You are too late for applying for most (I believe all) license draws. I am sure you can find a leftover license somewhere, but be advised that there is usually a very good reason that nobody bought these licenses (no public access, no game, etc.). Wyoming preference points go on sale soon, and I would highly recommend buying one if you ever want a regular season hunt in that state.

I know some fellows choose to shoot an elk on the private high-fence operations that are often located in the mid-West. It is not my cup of tea and I do not know much about that type of shoot, but I know that they exist are fairly popular.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:43 AM
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Speaking of high fence. I knew of an elk farm in Pike County, IL. I believe they cater to hunters.

I bought some elk meat from them when I was attempting to replicate my wild whitetail jerky using USDA inspected venison. I failed miserably. The meat was tough. Nearly impossible to grind. I bought both a front and a rear quarter. I expected the front to be more difficult to grind which it was. The hind quarter was not much better. Farm raised venison (at least from this place) is no where near the quality of a wild whitetail. I believe my other option was a fallow deer farm in northern Illinois. I gave up on the notion of commercially selling venison jerky.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:21 PM
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Thank you guys for the advise. I appreciate all of it!

A high fence situation is out for me. Some are OK with it and some are not, I am not.

Private property might be the best option for us, I just don't know how to go about finding someone. This is new to m, so if anyone on here would know of someone please let me know.


Thanks again for all the input!
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:03 AM
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I wish I could be more helpful, or at least optimistic but you will be lucky to find a hunt this late. You could go to the Colorado or Wyoming guides sites and start making calls, or the local game managers or wardens but first you need to find out where you can get a license. Getting a license is usually done through a draw system with guys with preference points getting picked first. If you can find a route to a license you might be able to find a guided hunt if someone has cancelled due to fear of the virus and traveling risks. It is possible to get an OTC tag in a few places but it would be very crowded and a very poor hunt.

All of the outfitters that I know were fully booked months ago on their cow hunts. Cow hunts are relatively inexpensive and have a high success rate so most of them are booked a year (or more) in advance. I hear that some of the more expensive cow hunts can be booked later but even those are probably gone by now.

My guess is that either Colorado or Wyoming would be you best shot at getting a DIY cow hunt, but I doubt that it will be in 2020. I believe you are too late to even get a preference point for next year in Colorado but you can still buy one in Wyoming. A preference point would help in drawing tags next year.
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Old 07-13-2020, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevin Ross View Post
Thank you guys for the advise. I appreciate all of it!

A high fence situation is out for me. Some are OK with it and some are not, I am not.

Private property might be the best option for us, I just don't know how to go about finding someone. This is new to m, so if anyone on here would know of someone please let me know.


Thanks again for all the input!
well I doubt anyone is going to post a name and place on an open forum they know of, as if they do, a good place will soon be over crowded, if you understand my point here,
so,m that leaves some leg work in this for you
I would again like above start with asking the state game depts, your considering hunting, and ask if they know of land owners that offer Cow elk hunts ONLY, to folks that can have a shot at a elk, but not looking for a bull, or a trophy!
THIS is ONLY if your planning to do the hunt your self, and again are you UP to the task if so, if not, your nest best suggestion from me, is again, ask the wardens, in states your thinking of, the same question and ask if they know of any outfitters/that offer semi or full i guided COW ELK HUNTS, I am sure more states know who there outfitters are that are OK< good and well, IFFY!, I am also sure most wardens know of private land owners in there area that have elk problems, damages, complaints and likes!, and many get friendly with owners over the yrs, and have inside views on possible tips for you to , LOOK Into on your own!

if not that, do a online search for private land COW ELK HUNTS, and the options should be endless with, outfitters offering them, , then like always its up to you to do your homework, the more effort you put into this the higher the odds are you will have a hunt you will enjoy and be happy with.
and by this I mean you have to ask all the things you want to know and expect, so when you get there your all on the same page, this also means asking or references and looking into them, asking about there history on skills and success and just how long doing things, and also, check them with wardens and state game dept, to see if there is issue's with them\, can even call local stores where there at as ask about them, like gun shops, archery stores and so on, word of mouth can get around a smaller town fast!

I did a quick search and found this place right at the top of the list, NO clue on if there good or bad, but price seem fair, pending what you get for the $$$


keep in mind if you get a elk, do you know what your going to do with it , all the more so if weather is warm?, will you stay there till its butchered and frozen before heading home, and if so, do you have a butcher there info?
its details like this can make or ruin a hunt some times!, so like I said, the more you pout into the planning BEFORE the hunt, the better most hunts end up in the end!
I am never a fan of trying to find things after you need them, all the more so when far away from home!, before any far away trip I make sure I know things, from other lodging options, food places, stores, hospitals, dr, and Vet(when I traveled a lot with my dog) I rather spend the time BEFORE a trip and make notes and records than be far away and scrambling to find something!
and trust me, many times over the yrs I NEEDED that info!, Granted I did a lot of trips before the world wide web was so handy, but it taught me to know before I go!, added peace of mind to me while hunting that I had a PLAN for WHAT IF"S
and made most all my hunts go smoothly due to making the extra efforts to plan them!
also, gave me alot more options on places to hunt in a general area, as I always had back up plans there too!

link to the first place I seen when I typed in Private land cow elk hunts

http://kiowahunting.com/lets-go-hunting/cow-elk-hunts/
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:47 AM
  #10  
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You've received a lot of good advice above for a 1st time DIY elk hunter. When you're researching possible hunts, we also have a classified section for outfitters and hunter at this link. If you don't see a hunt that you like, remember that a lot of the outfitters also have other hunts available.

https://www.huntingnet.com/forum/hunts-outfitters-57/
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