East Frank church Elk

Gabmaltais

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Jan 4, 2021
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Hi guys. I'm a canadian planning on hunting in Idaho with an OTC tag in late october 2022. From home, it's about 8000km overall. Did a bunch of research and scooting on OnX and decided to hunt the Frank Church wilderness from trailheads in the north east portion (maybe thinking about the crags). We do not want to fly in, (and don't worry about carrying the meat back I have a plan) so that's why I chose this area. Whe are 3 young and experienced hikers.
My main questioning is, does anyone know if there is some elk in the Frank, especially near the eastern trailheads of the wilderness. I'm not looking for a trophy hunt and we know it won't be a simple and easy task. But I want to be sure we have, at least a chance to see some elks there.

thank you !
 
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RustyHazen

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Mar 15, 2014
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225
Location
Boise, Idaho
I just did about 50 miles all through the heart of the crags last summer. Amazing country, great fishing. But, if I’m being honest, you couldn’t pay me to wander in there with an elk tag. Just not great elk habitat, compared to other places that Idaho has to offer. Absolutely brutal terrain to cover off trail. I would definitely recommend you visit the crags, but maybe not to hunt elk. JMHO.
 

RustyHazen

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Mar 15, 2014
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Boise, Idaho
I guess I would clarify my above statements. It’s not that the crags don’t hold any elk, but the area you’re talking about isn’t the best habitat. Negotiating that country other than the main trail is no joke. Add to that the potential of high country weather in late October...if you’re up for that kind of adventure, have at it! No doubt it will produce some trophy memories and stories.
 

K-guns56

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Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Colorado
Hi guys. I'm a canadian planning on hunting in Idaho with an OTC tag in late october 2022. From home, it's about 8000km overall. Did a bunch of research and scooting on OnX and decided to hunt the Frank Church wilderness from trailheads in the north east portion (maybe thinking about the crags). We do not want to fly in, (and don't worry about carrying the meat back I have a plan) so that's why I chose this area. Whe are 3 young and experienced hikers.
My main questioning is, does anyone know if there is some elk in the Frank, especially near the eastern trailheads of the wilderness. I'm not looking for a trophy hunt and we know it won't be a simple and easy task. But I want to be sure we have, at least a chance to see some elks there.

thank you
 

K-guns56

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Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Colorado
Hunt hard and you will spot elk eventually! Ik great advise right? You know how things can change in the time frame your talking about. Droughts, fires, etc. Hit and miss situation especially being so far away without opportunities to scout.
 

williaada

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Sep 24, 2018
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133
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MI
Are you sure the board crossings will be open?

Right now all of the board crossing are closed except to essential business. I found out the hard way when I went to try and go fishing in Ontario last year.
 
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Gabmaltais

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Jan 4, 2021
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Are you sure the board crossings will be open?

Right now all of the board crossing are closed except to essential business. I found out the hard way when I went to try and go fishing in Ontario last year.
Yeah I know. Hoping it will be back to normal soon with the vaccin.
 
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Gabmaltais

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Jan 4, 2021
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Hunt hard and you will spot elk eventually! Ik great advise right? You know how things can change in the time frame your talking about. Droughts, fires, etc. Hit and miss situation especially being so far away without opportunities to scout.
If only there were elk in the eastern! I know its not the best scenario. I will pick 3-4 spots before leaving but I like the wilderness option due to its tranquility. I'm used to hunt moose and whitetail on my private land, alone in more than 100acres of land so I don't want to compete with locals on their spots. That's why I'm willing to pay the price in discomfort in exchange for less hunting pressure. But I don't want to drive 4 days to go in a place where there's absolutely no elk !
 

nphunter

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Jul 27, 2016
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Oregon
Tough is a huge understatement for the Frank. Not going to be competing with a lot of locals in the Frank, last time we hunted it we didn’t see anyone. I’ll do it again in Sept some day but it is a nasty giant wilderness that is brutal.
Most people have no clue how bad it actually is until they get there. If you do find elk you will have either gotten lucky or worked your ass off.
700D4A9D-811C-4B95-97FE-DB6CEE6DED24.jpeg
 
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Gabmaltais

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Jan 4, 2021
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Tough is a huge understatement for the Frank. Not going to be competing with a lot of locals in the Frank, last time we hunted it we didn’t see anyone. I’ll do it again in Sept some day but it is a nasty giant wilderness that is brutal.
Most people have no clue how bad it actually is until they get there. If you do find elk you will have either gotten lucky or worked your ass off.
View attachment 250080
Thanks! Will start to scoot some other areas 'cause it seems I did not understood how bad the Frank can be on someone ! Great photo! I suppose it's from the frank?
 
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nphunter

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Oregon
Thanks! Will start to scoot some other areas 'cause it seems I did not understood how bad the Frank can be on someone ! Great photo! I suppose it's from the frank?

It is from the Frank on the Western end. We did see elk and actually some bulls chasing cows, the problem was that it was 7 miles and 3K feet to get to them or 3.5 miles and 12K feet straight across the canyon. We also saw more wolves than deer or elk, a friend that went killed a small 3 point buck. We camped in a wall tent and had a pack of 8 or more wolves come into the meadow we were camped in and howl at us for like 30 minutes.

It is unbelievably giant rugged country, but beautiful as well. I think there are better places in ID to hunt that you can get away from people. Even the super pressured units are easy to get away from people after just a couple hours of burning boot leather.
 

K-guns56

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Jul 22, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Colorado
Are you sure the board crossings will be open?

Right now all of the board crossing are closed except to essential business. I found out the hard way when I went to try and go fishing in Ontario last year.
Elk hunting is essential business right?
 

BAKPAKR

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May 10, 2018
Messages
770
Location
Appalachia
I guess I would clarify my above statements. It’s not that the crags don’t hold any elk, but the area you’re talking about isn’t the best habitat. Negotiating that country other than the main trail is no joke. Add to that the potential of high country weather in late October...if you’re up for that kind of adventure, have at it! No doubt it will produce some trophy memories and stories.
You can have “high country weather” earlier than late October in the Crags. This photo was from an overnight snow at the Crags campground in mid-September several years ago. Note to self: don’t plan future trips to the Crags around the Cobalt, ID weather forecast. 😀

4E7B407C-1274-451F-A8D0-981B3204FF12.jpeg
 
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Gabmaltais

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Jan 4, 2021
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You can have “high country weather” earlier than late October in the Crags. This photo was from an overnight snow at the Crags campground in mid-September several years ago. Note to self: don’t plan future trips to the Crags around the Cobalt, ID weather forecast. 😀

View attachment 250148
Holy **** 😂
 
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Gabmaltais

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It is from the Frank on the Western end. We did see elk and actually some bulls chasing cows, the problem was that it was 7 miles and 3K feet to get to them or 3.5 miles and 12K feet straight across the canyon. We also saw more wolves than deer or elk, a friend that went killed a small 3 point buck. We camped in a wall tent and had a pack of 8 or more wolves come into the meadow we were camped in and howl at us for like 30 minutes.

It is unbelievably giant rugged country, but beautiful as well. I think there are better places in ID to hunt that you can get away from people. Even the super pressured units are easy to get away from people after just a couple hours of burning boot leather.
Can I expect the same conditions in the Bitterroots or Beaverheads ?
 

Akwoodchuck

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Dec 22, 2018
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If you crunch the numbers, the Middle Fork zone has the highest success rates for 6+ point bulls in an any weapon, general hunt over the long term....but yeah, you'll have to earn even seeing one :p . Good luck!
 
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