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Elk Hunting Outfitter Advice

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Elk Hunting Outfitter Advice

Old 12-27-2021, 07:09 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Elk Hunting Outfitter Advice

I am new to Hunting.Net however I am an avid hunter of everything from whitetails to squirrels. I want to go Elk hunting through an outfitter as it is on my bucket list and I am now 52 and I think it's time.
After reading some of the older forums I have read some real horror stories about bad experiences with outfitters and after looking at several outfitters online they all claim to be excellent.
I understand that their claims are to put money in their pocket.
Can anyone recommend a good elk hunting outfitter?

Thanks
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Old 12-27-2021, 09:57 AM
  #2  
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I can't, as I've not used an outfitter.

But do the leg work required to make sure you have a good match.

Make sure you know what to expect from the outfit and know what they expect from you as well.

Call references. Speak to both successful and unsuccessful hunters.

And if you end up using an outfitter, make yourself available to others who are seeking similar advice in the future.

-Jake
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Old 12-27-2021, 12:00 PM
  #3  
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The first thing the OP needs to know is what type of elk does he want. And before anyone thinks that is a dumb thing to ask they need to understand that there are outfitters in every elk state that can easily get someone onto a cow elk and then there are outfitters that are really good on average sized bulls and then there are the very few outfitters that specialize on big trophy bulls. Each of these types of outfitters will hunt in different ways and in different areas. And the OP needs to decide which state he wants to go in since they have different regulations and season. The OP also needs to decide is he wants a true wilderness hunt with wall tents and pack horses or if he would be content on a ranch hunt where he may stay in a local motel. Or does he want the full monty and go on a backpack hunt in a wilderness area.

In other words, the OP has not given enough info for anybody to give them a serious recommendation. As for me, and I grew up in elk country, I have always thought that someone should focus on a cow elk for their first elk. First off there are a lot more cows than bulls so you have a better chance of filling the tag and a cow is a whole lot easier to handle than a big bull. If a hunter finds out that can't handle the carcass of a cow elk then they are well advised to not shoot any really big bulls. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 12-27-2021, 12:05 PM
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What Jake said. It helps to read what others say about an outfitter and we have a forum (see link at the bottom) for doing that. Reading is only part of doing your homework though. You didn't list what state you're in. If you're anywhere near Pennsylvania, they have a huge sportsman's show each year where a lot of outfitters an guides attend. That gives you a chance to mingle with them and talk face to face instead of just to a voice over the phone. You can also see how they interact with other hunters asking questions, see if they have reference lists of prior hunters maps, brochures and information about their hunt area, etc. Find out from them how hard their hunt is and what they expect of you as a hunter. The entrance fee to one of these shows is nominal, the food is usually pretty good and you will be surrounded by thousands of other like minded hunters. It's an experience you will enjoy and want to repeat each year.

Once you have a reference list from the outfitter, there simply is no substitute for talking to people who have hunted with that outfitter as they can tell you a lot. The outfitter or guides can tell you a lot but talking with other people of a similar age or fitness level will tell you a whole lot more about what YOU should expect. Like what is the hunt area like. Is it at high altitude which could cause you to have altitude sickness if you're not used to such altitudes? Does the outfitter use horses, quads, UTV's to get you closer to the game or are you hiking several miles uphill to find the game? What kind of shape are you in? Other previous hunters could tell you what kind of shape you'll need to be in.

What kind of bull do you want? Usually the big trophies cost more to hunt with an outfitter because they can get that kind of money from trophy hunters. What size bull will be good enough or a trophy for you? For some, it's just a decent size bull that they can hang on the wall and enjoy the meat all winter. That brings up another issue to consider. Most people don't get to hunt elk a lot so want to have their bull mounted. That takes extra preparation and obviously costs more.

Are your guide(s) ethical? Having a non-ethical guide can ruin your hunt, not to mention exposing you to possible legal problems. Are the guides interested in getting you on a bull elk and do they work hard to make that happen? Lazy guides are basically worthless to you. What are the accommodations like? Are you sleeping in a warm tent or hoping your sleeping bag will keep you warm? What's the food like? Are you hunting private or public property or both? How hard is it to get a tag? i.e., is it some OTC tag, an outfitter guaranteed tag or are you in some hard to draw area where you're probably not going to draw a tag and waste your deposit with the outfitter?

I don't hunt guided very much as it costs more obviously. But, if you're hunting in another state, don't have any hunting buddies to go with and simply don't have time to scout for elk or even know where to start, using an outfitter and guide makes sense if you can afford it. As you can see, there are a LOT of questions to ask and get answers for. The questions I gave you are a starting place but by no means is this an exhaustive list. Hopefully this helps some.

https://www.huntingnet.com/forum/hunts-outfitters-57/
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Old 12-27-2021, 12:41 PM
  #5  
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The only outfitters I have used were in Newfoundland 3 times on woodland caribou hunts. The outfitters were a legal necessity for a non resident hunter. We used the same outfitter each time and had a quality experience. My hunting partner Rob did all the fact checking and called for references. I think that is important and urge you to double check everything. For what it is worth DIY elk hunts on public land can be difficult for someone who hasn't hunted elk. My suggestion is for that first time hunt to hire a good guide and learn the ways of western elk hunting from them.
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Old 12-27-2021, 02:56 PM
  #6  
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You could attend the PA Sportsman's show in January at Hbg PA. There will be a lot of outfitters from all across the nation you can talk to.
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Old 12-27-2021, 05:20 PM
  #7  
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You could go through a booking agent. A good booking agent will vet all outfitters they represent. Their business is based on repeat business so the good ones will due their diligence to represent excellent outfitters.

I have know this agent for 20 years and booked my first hunt with him this year for elk. Give Glenn a call and discuss what you are looking for. The WY Hunt is fantastic, but you will need preference points. Tell him Rob sent you.

https://www.tundratour.com/elk.html
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Old 12-27-2021, 05:40 PM
  #8  
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My 2021 Wyoming bull.
Attached Thumbnails Elk Hunting Outfitter Advice-b0212476-2a1f-4cda-b8d7-dd0e5a21a7a4.jpeg  
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Old 02-11-2022, 08:47 PM
  #9  
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Where is the cheapest place to hunt elk?
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Old 02-12-2022, 06:07 AM
  #10  
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I will tell you this fact. If your priority is finding the cheapest outfitter, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. It is better to save up for several years to have the money for the hunt than to spend less money and be very disappointed. I am from PA and I applied for 17 years foe a PA elk tag before I got drawn. After I got over the excitement of being finally drawn the next thing I did was do do some research with Game wardens I knew in the county where I got drawn and surrounding counties and asked them who would they recommend for an outfitter for my elk hunt because if anyone knew, they did. Right after that my phone started ringing because the outfitters were at the drawing and took names of successful hunters. I already knew who I was hiring and thanked them and told them I ha made my decision on my outfitter. I saw a eld for the 1st two days but nothing that offered a shot. I had an elk tag and everything in range was bulls. On the 3rd day the planets lined up and I took a almost 700 lb cow at 7:30 am. I tagged my elk, my guide gutted her her and went to get the transportation to get her to the truck which was a Percheron horse with a sled. We got her on the truck and went to the skinning pavilion where she was immediately skinned and hung. When I left for home the next morning she was quartered and put in my truck bed by the outfitters crew. I do not regret for a second the money spent, I had an enjoyable hunt and the hard work was done for me so every memory is a good one. I also use an outfitter when I hunt wild hogs in the south.




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