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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to book a hunt for the 2012 season out west. I no absolutly nothing about elk hunting and need some advice on where to start. Several buddies and I have been thinking very hard about a drop camp in Colorado. Anyone with experience with dropcamps? What should I expect? would it be cheaper/better to just find public land and do a totally DIY hunt?
 

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go with an outfitter or at least other hunters who have been there hunting. If not, your hunt will mostly be a scouting trip because you won't know the land or animal movements.
 

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The first year is a learning experience. Don't expect much if your going DIY. You need at least a few days to scout. Make friends with the locals, ask questions, and forget about the way you hunt here, its a different world. The best thing to di if you can afford it is go out in the summer and spend a few days doing all the above. Get a good gps and plot all the good spots you find, saves alot of time when you are new to the game. Oh, drop camps sound like a good idea, but seldom are, after hoofing 15 or so miles a day, a cheap motel room is like heaven compared to a tent or camper, trust me on that one ! Good Luck.
 

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If you are looking for a outfitter check out Ron and Debbie Hilkey owners of Adams Lodge in Meeker Colorado. I know they have a web site. They have excellant drop camps in the White River National Forest. (Camps are in the Flat tops wilderness Area) They pack you in by horse and pack your kill out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the input. Blueeagle, I did not receive the PM.

I was thinking a drop camp would be better then DIY because atleast the outfitter would be putting you in the right area. I Looked at an outfitter at the Hburg Expo who is charging 1500 for a 9 day drop camp. Best part is that includes packing your game out if you drop one.

My friends and I have decided we do not want to do fully guided because of both money and we feel we would not get the full experience of a true wilderness elk hunt.
 

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2 talking to 2 bears.Couple hundred more but he offers ALOT more.Elk are,on average,bigger in Mt. too.I suggest going in archery when bulls are vocal.If you want some great diy imfo go to elknuts.com.He's got the best dvd's and playbook on elk hunting there is.If your doing a drop camp, you better learn as much as you can about elk
Archery elk is my addiction, and I'd HIGHLY recommend going that route
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It is in general an unfair statement but...I have heard that from a lot of ppl over the last few days. Thats why I really want to do my homework and contact refrences.
 

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If your not going with someone already experienced in western elk hunting then a drop camp is probably the way to go if you want some of the DIY experience. Outfitters will set up camps reasonably close to where you can expect to see elk.

$1500 sounds awfully cheap for a 9 day drop camp hunt. Most are 5-6 days with a day on each end for travel and setup. Make sure you get clarity on the game hauling. I've talked to a lot of outfitters that want the game hauled to a nearby trail otherwise they charge extra.

Hunting elk is nothing like hunting PA whitetails.

It takes a lot of work to get your gear off a trailhead and into the elk country if your carrying your camp on your back. If your successful, you'll also need to get 250-300lbs of boned meat and possibly a head back to a processor.
I've seen DIY guys setup camps in locations where they should be hunting. Elk don't tolerate pressure and can easily move to the next mountain. That can put them well out of reach for someone hunting on foot.

If your not already on a rigorous exercise program, start now.

The thin air at 7,000-10,000 or more will affect you for at least a day or two. The better shape your in the quicker your body will acclimate to the altitude.
The elknut.com website has some good info, so does many western state wildlife agency websites.
Good luck with whatever avenue you choose.
 

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i don't know if it's unfair but if i was paying 10 12 thoudand for a guided hunt, the guide better take me to his honey hole and not have to deal with any of his drop camp hunters in the same honey hole.
 

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I don't think they save their best spots for guided guys.The advantage going guided is you have horses to ride you deep into different areas.I would never pay a guide who took me out on foot around camp.As was said earlier,you don't want to camp in the elk;they WILL move.You should be walking at least 1/2 mile each morning before hitting the elk.Being in the BEST condition will improve your odds,and those mountains are no joke.You should be getting your legs strong now and then start doing some hikes with a full backpack.If your legs aren't ready they will feel like jello in a day or two and your hunts pretty much over.Again, do archery, its much more exciting to call in the bulls.don't look at success rates.Know your guide will be putting you where there are elk and its your fault if you don't succeed.I go on my own now,and its not as difficult as some people think.Theres a guy on bowsite that offers rented gear for the week and he'll pre-scout your area as well.May be alot cheaper then $1500,but you have to haul out your own kill.He supplies everything you will need;including packs/food
If you go with a drop camp, ask for a topo after giving the deposit and start checking out the area.Google earth is awesome for this
 

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Name of the diy site with pre-scout;western hunting rentals.com.Check them out!!If your a decent hunter and learn all you can about elk this is the way to go,IMO.These guys are great elk hunters that will set you in a good spot and recommend certain units for you.With the backpack style hunt rental they offer, if you don't like the area or blow the elk out from pressure,you can pick up camp and move in farther.This type hunt is not for unexperienced hunters or the out of shape.If your an experienced camper/hunter this will save you alot of $$.Just an option for you to check out.Call him and talk to him before you decide its not for you.This way is affordable for everyone to be able to do this trip each year
 

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REdgar7mm said:
I no absolutly nothing about elk hunting and need some advice on where to start.
Go to bowsite.com and elk in the big game section. All the info you want plus a good group of guys.
 

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Topo maps and get in shape. those two things will put you further from 95% of the hunters. DIY hunts are the most rewarding imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well after doing more research and speaking to others who are familiar with DIY elk hunting, I think my final destination will be near or around Afton, WY in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. I have been doing a lot of reasearch on this area and it seems to hold nice elk and mulies.

Anyone ever been hunting in this area??
 

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I did a drop camp last year in Colorado and its true that they do more for the guided camps but out of 8 guys in our camp we got 4 Elk and a Mule Deer and the guided hunters got one elk and crippled two others it got so bad that they came over to our side with the guided hunters one of the days but we had a good time and thats what it is all about spent some quality time with my dad and two boys in the mountains couldnt have been nicer.We are putting a hunt together for 2012 in Montana
 
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