ID, MT, CO Elk

Hoyts n Mulies

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
173
Location
Spokane, WA
Hi All,

I don't post much but do a lot of reading and research on this site. My hunting buddy and I have decided to change gears this year and give up our early high mule deer hunt in hopes of getting on some bulls this year. Given we don't draw a bull tag in Washington (unlikely we will) we're looking into Idaho, Montana or Colorado for an OTC archery elk tag. I know it's early but I like to plan early :) .

Idaho - pros - Elk hunting within 2 hour drive from where we live, which means more time in the woods with an option to go back with a rifle for a week if we're unsuccessful in archery. I have some familiarity with the area due to fly fishing a few of the panhandle rivers quite often. Scouting trips could be done with relative ease.
- cons - From my research it appears that harvest rates are down compared to past years. Also, we generally like to pack in somewhere and stay a week or more and we don't know what area would be best for this.

Montana - pros - I've hunted elk successfully several years and have a few locations that I know well. Similar to Idaho we can come back and hunt with a rifle if we don't get it done in archery.
- cons - Tag prices are up a lot from the last time I went (5 years ago), Family that has been hunting the area are not seeing the elk they used to but are reguarly seeing wolves or sign on each trip. The driving distance makes a 1 or 2 day follow up trip to hunt difficult.

Colorado - pros - We've never been there :) . Tag prices are affordable. From my research they have the largest # of elk of all three states.
- cons - Longest drive that would take two days of already precious vacation time. Never set foot in the mountains and scouting trips would likely not be possible due to time and money.

I know this is personal decision but given you were in our shoes, what would you do?
 

2rocky

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,047
Location
Nor Cal
Being in Spokane, Idaho is going to be nearly the closest place to get to elk country. You could scout a lot of country on weekends all summer. Were I in your shoes, I would make Idaho Elk an annual event.

Check out the A tag and B tag options for each unit. I don't recall a lot of B tag rifle options off the top of my head.

That said you could be in Western MT at the drop of a hat as well. I'd say if you find yourself liking Idaho country close to the border a MT General license might let you extend your season.

Seriously, anything that is Highlighted National Forest below should be in your Range....Click the photo below for full size...
MapCapture.jpg
 
OP
Hoyts n Mulies

Hoyts n Mulies

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
173
Location
Spokane, WA
Thanks for the replies guys. Being able to do some scouting trips in Idaho is definately a large advantage. I'll do some more research on what areas we can back into and get away from the roads.
 

ohhiitznik

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,750
Location
Rochester Hills, MI
I would do panhandle of Idaho. Unit4 up there has a decent amount of harvest and I don't think the wolves are too bad there. I hunted unit 7 2 years ago and had a few good encounters with small bulls. Had a grizzly come into camp as well, now that was scary. I have a buddy who lives in Spokane and he hunts the panhandle because he can scout it within just a short drive. Look into the wilderness areas as they don't get that much pressure, we noticed a lot more hunters in the areas where ATV/Dirtbikes could go. When I go back to hunt Idaho, I'll be in the wilderness area just for that very reason.
 

ohhiitznik

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,750
Location
Rochester Hills, MI
X2. Still a lot of elk in the Idaho panhandle. But don't expect too much help from locals...

Mike


We went into the local dive bars there and got some locals to talking with a few beers. It worked for us but were friendly midwestern guys with charm! Hahah, they put us on some good elk!
 
OP
Hoyts n Mulies

Hoyts n Mulies

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
173
Location
Spokane, WA
I've got an uncle thats elk hunts out of St. Maries and has lived there his whole life. I might be able to get some info out of him. He hunts differently than I do though so we'll see how that works. I think you guys make good points though. With it being close, I can reasonably expect to make several overnight scouting trips before season.
 
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