First time for elk in Idaho

redneck19

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Mar 18, 2017
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Hey y'all,

I'm planning on heading out in 2018 for a rifle hunt with 4 of my best friends. We haven't spent alot of time out west, just really looking to spend time in some pretty mountains and hunt elk. Not commited to shooting 300+" bulls, although that would be nice, we would be happy with shooting cows.

Do y'all have any recommendations on general otc units to look into?

I've looked around on gohunt and was drawn to the Selway units, mostly because of the mountains, and the early rifle hunt, which I'm guessing would mean packing less cold weather gear than in the late hunts (maybe?)

Alot of folks I've bounced this idea off off tell me it'll be super crowded. We're thinking that we could hike 3-5 miles back and hunt from there. (We're in decent shape now, working out 3 days a week with weights, carrying loaded packs, etc.)

Alot of these are out loud thoughts, I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm not married to hunting the Selway if there's another option. I've been doing alot of reading and listening to guys who do it alot, which is one of the reasons I ended up here.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
 

sneaky

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3-5 miles in the Selway won't put you near the elk in most parts. You guys would be way better off paying an outfitter to pack you guys in and hunt. If you've never been in the Selway you don't realize how brutal that country can be, and with limited western experience it can break even the hardest hunters. Just because it's an early rifle hunt doesn't mean you leave cold weather gear at home. It can snow any month of the year in that country, and you don't want to get caught several miles in and be unprepared. Selway is beautiful country, but if you actually want to SEE elk, I'd look at other units. Just my thoughts.

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Hey y'all,

Not commited to shooting 300+" bulls, although that would be nice, we would be happy with shooting cows.

Do y'all have any recommendations on general otc units to look into?
there's very FEW OTC rifle hunts for branch antlered bulls. you've got one of them mentioned. 95% of the rest of the state are cow, spike ONLY on a B tag. not all B tags are rifle for that matter some are ML only. have you requested a set of regs or read them online?

FYI its almost becoming a yearly ritual that my camp gets snowed on for the archery opener. that's August 30th btw. the temps fluctuate anywhere from 20-80* in a matter of two days. it usually snows a few times during the month of September.
 
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martin_shooter

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there's very FEW OTC rifle hunts for branch antlered bulls. you've got one of them mentioned. 95% of the rest of the state are cow, spike ONLY on a B tag. not all B tags are rifle for that matter some are ML only. have you requested a set of regs or read them online?

FYI its almost becoming a yearly ritual that my camp gets snowed on for the archery opener. that's August 30th btw. the temps fluctuate anywhere from 20-80* in a matter of two days. it usually snows a few times during the month of September.

What? 14 of the 28 elk zones allow OTC rifle antlered elk hunts. Have YOU read the regulations? I will go ahead and link the general elk season regs for 17-18

https://idfg.idaho.gov/sites/default/files/seasons-rules-big-game-elk-2017-2018.pdf
 
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338edge

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That selway country is pretty beat up!! With that said it's beautiful unforgiving country that's worth a shot!!
 

woodmoose

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redneck

I took a trip to the Frank Church back in 2004 or so,,,,,unit 27 if I recall correctly,,,,,,,I was in fairly decent shape (was still on Active Duty at that time) and figured I'd hike in to get between the folks with horse camps and day hikers from the trail head,,,,,,so I was in that "3-5 miles" distance,,,,

there was only one group at the trailhead when I got ready to hike in,,,and they were going in deep (with horses),,,,we talked and laid out a game plan - heck they even volunteered to tote a few of my stuff in to lighten my load (it was basically straight up for the first 3 miles),,,,real nice folks from south Idaho,,,,we both started in 2 days before season started,,,,,,,,

anyhow,,,

what I didn't factor in (lessen learned) was people camping at the trailhead and riding horses up each day,,,,,,,they were all over me,,,,,made it a not fun hunt,,,,in fact one group (3 fellows from a state that starts with Ca) were down right butts when they ran into me in the woods (they were worried that I, as a lowly foot hunter, would spook there fine steads),,,,,,,,

and it snowed on day three,,,,,,,,so don't discount cold/cooler weather gear - it's September in the mountains, you never know what the weather will bring,,

no elk,,,,,didn't even get good sign,,,,,way to many people and I didn't have a solid "Plan B",,,,,,,,that was my first western trip (other than hunting Washington State when I was stationed there at Ft Lewis) and I learned a LOT!!

I'd go the that area again,,or similar,,,,but with either an outfitter or local (those fine folks invited me the next year, but was not to be),,,,,,,,

good luck
 

KurtR

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Last year was the first time i went out elk hunting. We went to an otc unit in Idaho and it is hard to put in words how rough the land is. We drove to a trail head each day and hiked in we saw lots of elk sign and spotted two different herds of elk just could not close the deal. Saw some people camping along the road going to the trail head and talked to alot of them. I will say the local Idaho guys were some of the nicest that i have met and they pointed us in the right direction. We saw a couple people when we hiked back in there was an outfitter who was back in way far and talked to them a bit on there way out. What i will say is we learned alot this year we are going back to the same area but will be going about it differently to maximize our hunting time. As for the weather we had rain and some snow so i would not leave anything out. Overall i left looking forward to coming back. It is not an easy hunt but you get to hunt trophy country and the accomplishment of killing an otc bull will keep me coming back till i cant do it any more
 

Lowe43

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May 1, 2017
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I hunted Selway 2 years ago hunting 12 to 15 miles a day never saw or heard a animal other than birds and squirrel so last year we hunted macaw and did well got a 6x5 bull and a huge 190 inch 5x5 mule deer so check that place out
 

robAK

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Do they still have leftover cow tags? WAY back in day before I moved to AK you could get those if you were quick to the F&G offices. That would be a great beginner hunt for you guys. After you get one down and you see the size of what your putting on your back to get out of that hole you'll appreciate it if you get a tag closer to roads or trails.
 

nphunter

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Looking at the state website i would say most ID units would be good elk hunting. None are going to be too crowded for you to find and elk. Go places other hunters don't want to go and hunt hard, you will find elk, the areas that are hard to hunt have early season rifle hunts. You are better off to go on a regular OTC rifle hunt in Oct. IMO, find thick nasty holes and hunt them, doesn't have to be 5 miles into the back country.
 
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redneck19

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Wow. Thanks alot guys!

Lots of stuff to think about here.

I'm definitely a noob at this, but I do my best to learn the regulations (have zero desire to take the wrong thing in the wrong place!!).
I don't want to overestimate my potential (physically and knowledge wise) , would rather underestimate and come out emptyhanded but safely. I'm fully aware that the chances of us coming home emptyhanded are really high (to be realistic). However, I feel this won't be the only time we do this, so I'm more in it for learning experience and if we happen to shoot something, we'd be tickled pink.

At the same time, we have no problem working hard and putting in long hard hours to get what we're after.

As I'm talking with my friends, we're leaning 1 of 2 ways: research a different zone or switch to Colorado.
 

David Gough

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Wow. Thanks alot guys!

Lots of stuff to think about here.

I'm definitely a noob at this, but I do my best to learn the regulations (have zero desire to take the wrong thing in the wrong place!!).
I don't want to overestimate my potential (physically and knowledge wise) , would rather underestimate and come out emptyhanded but safely. I'm fully aware that the chances of us coming home emptyhanded are really high (to be realistic). However, I feel this won't be the only time we do this, so I'm more in it for learning experience and if we happen to shoot something, we'd be tickled pink.

At the same time, we have no problem working hard and putting in long hard hours to get what we're after.

As I'm talking with my friends, we're leaning 1 of 2 ways: research a different zone or switch to Colorado.

Have you thought of picking up a bow? Lots of OTC archery season and if you have until 2018 it's plenty of time to practice.

I'm going back to Idaho for the third year this fall and the best advice has already been said. Going up rough, vertical country will get you into the elk. We found a pocket with plenty of elk in it last season that hadn't been visited by hunters and it was mid September
 

idahohikker

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I'm happy to share info on the Frank Church, if you're interested. PM me. If you are good with rugged country, there's no better place in my opinion. Stats are pretty solid too; I like the deer/elk/bear combo possibility and early rifle. I've hunted no further than 6 miles in on foot and rarely see other hunted.
 
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redneck19

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Have you thought of picking up a bow? Lots of OTC archery season and if you have until 2018 it's plenty of time to practice.

I'm going back to Idaho for the third year this fall and the best advice has already been said. Going up rough, vertical country will get you into the elk. We found a pocket with plenty of elk in it last season that hadn't been visited by hunters and it was mid September

Maaaan...don't tempt me like that! Lol!
Yeah, my ultimate goal is to get a bow and completley switch to bowhunting. However, we decided to rifle hunt, since we already have large caliber rifles for deer. It'll be easier on the budget and we all get to hunt together.
If it was just me and another guy, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Thanks for the advice!
 
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redneck19

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I'm happy to share info on the Frank Church, if you're interested. PM me. If you are good with rugged country, there's no better place in my opinion. Stats are pretty solid too; I like the deer/elk/bear combo possibility and early rifle. I've hunted no further than 6 miles in on foot and rarely see other hunted.

Thanks dude! PM inbound.
 

David Gough

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Maaaan...don't tempt me like that! Lol!
Yeah, my ultimate goal is to get a bow and completley switch to bowhunting. However, we decided to rifle hunt, since we already have large caliber rifles for deer. It'll be easier on the budget and we all get to hunt together.
If it was just me and another guy, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Thanks for the advice!

No worries. Don't underestimate the physical part. There were guys there last year from the Midwest and the elevation was killing them. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
 
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