Re: Where would you go/should I go
Been a real long time, but we went to Colorado with an outfitter who ran drop camps. They took you back in on horseback and mule train and someone checked on you once every day. If you got an elk down, they'd come back with some pack mules and pack out the quartered animal.
The only thing they did besides packing you in and out was have a canvas wall tent set up. Everything else, from firewood to cooking to gutting and quartering, you were on your own. Took your own food and camp gear in on the mules.
Don't know if anyone still runs anything like that, I'm sure the guy we went with is long retired. But it was significantly less that guided hunts. Got you way back in, further than even the most dedicated hikers would hike. That's where you want to be, unless you have a real good local connection who knows where animals are in the easier accessed public lands.
Two of three of us got elk, mine a 4x4 and 32 inch spread, my buddy's a 6x6 with 38 inch spread and good mass. The other guy saw elk, one huge one, but no shot, less mule deer up where we were (around 9,000 feet I think), weather unusually warm that year. I did see an unreal mule deer buck the day after the season ended, I was taking down my trail marker tape. Probably a 3 to 4 hour ride on horses from base camp to the tent, then they dropped us off and took the horses back.
You smack an elk, you better have some good buddies with you, or make arrangements with a local outfitter to pack it out on a horse or mule. We passed two hunters who were hiking and backpacking in, camping light, everything carried on their pack frames. They made a deal with our guy to pack out an elk if they got one, the outfitter said he'd do it for $100 cash. You had to leave the hide on, and the genitals on one quarter, not as if you could bone it out in the field. Don't know the rules today, this was two decades ago. Couple years later the kids came along and now I've got six more years of tuition before I can think of that again, so my trips are confined to Ohio.
A closed mind keeps the truth out