Deer/Elk Combo hunts. Big Opportunity or big Compromise?

2rocky

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Jun 21, 2012
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Question for folks who do Destination hunts (Where you set aside a week or two for an out of state, or away from home hunt) in The Rockies.

Would you rather have an deer tag and an elk tag on the same hunt or concentrate on one species?
 

johnnylaw

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Jun 4, 2012
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Maryland
i am doing this for the first time this season and if i had it to do over again i would probably focus on one. the way i look at it is, i plan on eating both tags. i have set minimal trophy goals that i wont settle below. i originally planned for 6 hunting days and i am now planning for 10 minimum. i feel that if you are hunting for a certain class animal that all your focus needs to be on that animal so i am trying to devote a week to deer and then a week for elk.
 

muleman

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I have done this once on an in-state hunt. The way it ended up, I got to hunt an area for deer with no other pressure. Elk were close but not in the same area and ended up not having much time for elk after harvesting the deer.

2008Muleys.jpg
Tall crabby deer was taken during the combo hunt.
 

MOHunter

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I'd rather focus on one species. I just don't see it realistically working out all that often. I hate the way MT does it where a combo tag greatly increases your odds for a deer tag. Much of the deer country in the east isn't even good elk country, but you can be sure to get a tag if you buy both. Just seems like a way to make more money in my opinion. I like WY version better, where you can buy a more expensive license if you want better odds, but at least it's optional.
 

larryschwartz

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Annapolis, MD
I don't necessarily go into a hunt planning to hunt multiple types of game animals, BUT I do go into each hunt knowing everything that is in season and normally have a tag for them if necessary and not too expensive. I like to be able to take something if the opportunity presents itself; for example, if I was sidehilling along a ridgeline moving to an elk glassing location and saw a nice whitetail/black bear/mule deer/etc. before he saw me I want to be able to switch gears and put on a stalk and maybe get some fresh meat for camp and the freezer.
 

Vids

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I also carry multiple tags but focus on one. If I happen to see something else I will take it if the opportunity presents itself.

My advice: Concentrate on the animal you want the most. If you really want an elk, devote the whole hunt to elk and only focus on deer if 1) you come across a nice deer you want to take or 2) you take an elk and have a few days leftover.
 

johnnylaw

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Maryland
that is exactly my plan vids, except since i am rifle hunting i am more focused on deer. i really want to bowhunt elk!
 

Backpack Hunter

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I only tend to get multiple tags when I am hunting for two weeks or so at a time, and am sure there is a high population of both species in the same general area.
For me, I find that less than two weeks means I am short on time for one species or the other and with the cost of out of state tags I honestly just don't want to spend the money if I don't have a realistic chance of tagging out.
 

In God We Trust

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Unless you are doing an out of state hunt and you only have one chance to go to said state and hunt I would only hunt one at a time. This is especially true during bow season. I used to hunt both deer and elk here in Colorado during archery season and I ended up half ass hunting both species. Now I gun hunt one and archery hunt the other ans switch off each year. This allows me to draw better tags and I can keep to my size goals for each species.
 

Brandon Pattison

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Michigan
I drew a mule deer tag and have been debating on buying an OTC elk tag for the same time. But like stated above, I don't want to half-ass each of them. If I kill a buck I could always go buy a bull tag. Good topic!
 

hunting1

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Feb 24, 2012
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Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
I will have a deer and an elk tag this year. Last year I was covered with mule deer and had no tag. It is up to the person knowing you will kill a day to butcher and pack out. If I had never killed an elk I might be hessitant. For me I will be happy with either animal.
 

flytrait

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Feb 24, 2012
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spokane, wa
I also carry multiple tags but focus on one. If I happen to see something else I will take it if the opportunity presents itself.

My advice: Concentrate on the animal you want the most. If you really want an elk, devote the whole hunt to elk and only focus on deer if 1) you come across a nice deer you want to take or 2) you take an elk and have a few days leftover.

Your success rate will go up with this advice..
 

bigmoose

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Apr 29, 2012
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Yerington Nv.
I will go with only a deer tag. If I were to kill a bull, I would lose all the time it would take to pack him out. Valuable time when the seasons are as short as they are. I have taken both on the Montana combo before I really got hooked on big bucks, but neither one was what I'm looking for now.

Moose
 

evan williams

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Jan 28, 2012
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Colorado Springs
My Mule Deer hunting here in Colorado is in OTC elk units so I always have both tags in my pocket. I focus on the mule deer tag. Typically what ends up happening...up in the morning glassing on a number of occasions I haven't seen the buck or bucks that I want to hunt so I have my lunch and snacks while looking and changing vantage points. It takes me about an hour hike around the basin and dropping off into another drainage and I am on elk for an evening hunt w/o disturbing any of the deer in the area. But glassing from the same spot for Mule Deer I have seen a 200" muley and a bull pushing the 350" mark and many in the 300-315 range.

I would agree 100%...focus on one of the tags but be an opportunistic hunter.
 

Hoytnut

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Mar 7, 2012
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Monticello, Utah
I like to be an opportunist. I killed my biggest archery buck to date on what started out as an elk hunt. I missed another great archery buck on another elk hunt. I think both tags are a great idea if the elk and deer are using the same habitat and you can realistically hunt them both, but I would pass on two tags if the habitat is mainly exclusive to one species or another and requires a lot of movement and effort.
 
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