Guided horseback trip for older hunter?

CoStick

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My father in law is older and has balance issues, but is incredible on a horse and has a lot of determination. We put a lot of miles in the mountains but he is challenged hiking in dark or low light and slow due to the concentration each step takes. Adding a horse/backcountry camp might just be the added edge to get him his first. Elk he has no preference a cow is totally fine. He really liked eating the elk I got and decided to get after one himself. Any outfitters you all would recommend? We are in CO, but also open to other states. Price is relative, but this certainly is not a trophy hunt. Appreciate the suggestions.
 
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jjohnsonElknewbie

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I think it may be tough to go on a guided pack-in hunt without riding in low light or the dark. That being said I just hunted the Bob Marshall in September and we had a 71 year old man from AR that was able to hang with us younger guys (late 40's) on horses and hiking up and down the mountain side. We rode in the dark every morning heading out of camp and followed the guide leading the train with his headlamp. Lots of branches slapping you in the face or trying to take your hat off in the dark. We returned every day after sunset in low light/ twilight.

Regardless, I hope you can get your FIL out on the trail and are blessed with the opportunity to shoot an elk. If my FIL didn't suffer from vertigo so bad I would love to take him out West.
 
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CoStick

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I think it may be tough to go on a guided pack-in hunt without riding in low light or the dark. That being said I just hunted the Bob Marshall in September and we had a 71 year old man from AR that was able to hang with us younger guys (late 40's) on horses and hiking up and down the mountain side. We rode in the dark every morning heading out of camp and followed the guide leading the train with his headlamp. Lots of branches slapping you in the face or trying to take your hat off in the dark. We returned every day after sunset in low light/ twilight.

Regardless, I hope you can get your FIL out on the trail and are blessed with the opportunity to shoot an elk. If my FIL didn't suffer from vertigo so bad I would love to take him out West.
He can ride in low light and dark. hiking is hard in those conditions off trail.
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

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He can ride in low light and dark. hiking is hard in those conditions off trail.
Roger that and in the steeper areas we hiked the horses back down the mountain until it was safe for both rider and beast to mount. It was all downhill, but some of those trails were extremely challenging.

If seeing and shooting an animal is top priority I would recommend going elsewhere. However, if he is interested in a truly remote wilderness area experience and shooting an elk would be icing on the cake, I would highly recommend the Bob. It is absolutely stunning.
 

Dennis

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As an older hunter, I might suggest trying a private land elk hunt that would allow him to access areas from a vehicle rather than horseback especially when looking for a cow elk or non trophy bulls. It would seem safer and would increase both of your chances for success I would think. Two years ago I was on a Wyoming horseback hunt when I witnessed an older hunter being lead from camp by his guide disappear into the darkness and moments later the horse appeared with the older guy hanging off the side of the saddle and quickly bucked off on to rocky ground next to a horse trailer. I don't know what really happened, but your example of balance issues might have been the cause. The guides were surprised as they thought that was one of their most stable horses and the hunter didn't seem to know what really happened. The hunters injuries were not life threatening, but he did require a trip to the ER and the hunter was not able to continue his hunt. Hats off to you for including your father-in-law and some of the private land hunts are priced similar to horseback hunts. Good luck
 
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CoStick

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He is doing long’s peak next summer with me, was recently ranked in the top 10 world wide for seniors horse cutting. Has mountaineered and ice climbed. He is fully capable, just takes more energy and time. I was under the impression horses helped saved time and energy. I do appreciate the elder care help though, does anybody have outfitters they are comfortable recommending?
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

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I was under the impression horses helped saved time and energy.
They definitely save time and energy getting to camp, getting to hunting spots, and packing out animals. However, IME, in the steep country you walk them a lot coming down the mountain for safety.
 

3325

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Since you are in Colorado, I suggest exhausting your Colorado options before looking out of state.

If you can afford it, consider a guest ranch that offers horseback hunts from the ranch before going with an outfitter that has a backcountry tent camp. I’ll bet your FIL, even though he’s good on horseback, will appreciate returning to the ranch after a hard days hunting and getting a good meal, shower, and sleeping in his cabin. He’ll also be more recovered for the next day’s hunt.

See what you can find in SW Colorado/San Juan Mountain area.
 
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3325

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Interesting old article about hunting in SW Colorado. It seems this particular place also had a tent camp but I’d bet there are places where some outfitters hunt out of the ranch.

 
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CoStick

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Interesting old article about hunting in SW Colorado. It seems this particular place also had a tent camp but I’d bet there are places where some outfitters hunt out of the ranch.

Thank you
 

Lelder

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Rivers Bend Outfitters in meeker Colorado
Tel Gates is the owner/outfitter hands down the most professional and accommodating guide I have ever used. My buds and myself were unsuccessful but that was no fault of his operation. Pm me for his cell phone number. ( I am not affiliated with them in any way, just happy with the hunt)
 

Jmoore

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Another recommendation for Tel Gates and rivers bend outfitting. Hunted with him this year and as mentioned above, he’s very professional and has his business lined out.
 

Deadfall

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Sun canyon lodge. Augusta mt. If nothing in Colorado works out. Top notch joint.
 
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