Wyoming Elk GT Planning

barrettm95

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
80
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Hello,

Confident I will be drawing the general tag this year with the amount of points I have. Would like to hear people's opinions on what you would do given the options I have available below. I am new to the elk hunting game as this would be my first elk tag, however have been on several mule deer hunts across the west so the game is not completely new to me.

1. Hunt a week during archery season and return for a week during rifle season. This gives me the opportunity to scout, but means I will need to drive to Wyoming twice during the season from St. Louis, MO

2. Hunt 8 days during rifle season with pack llamas, This option would allow us to carry more gear, be more comfortable, and move deeper into areas as the llamas would be carrying the bulk of our stuff (and hopefully the elk out). We would have a time constraint as the llamas need returned.

3. Hunt the beginning of rifle season until I either tag out or tap out. This would all be done on my back with the help of one or two others. We have a nice camper available to use so we would be doing a mix of spike camp and day hunts.

Would love to hear people's thoughts. I am new to the rifle hunting world as well as all my tags have been archery, however am looking to up my success odds with the rifle this year. My group hunts hard and puts in the work, just do not know what to expect in Wyoming. We are not looking for a monster bull, something in the high 200s would make us very happy for our first elk hunt.

My planning process is just beginning as I begin to look into units, but I would like to find 1 or 2 units that I am going to be spending my time in. If I pick too many units, I find myself moving around too much and not fully investigating and learning an area.

Thanks!
 

BDRam16

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
496
Personally, I would do 3. Not a general tag, but I was in WY for a rifle hunt in early October this year and got a foot of snow and 10* dumped on me. Would have been nice having the option of staying in a camper to ride it out more comfortably and be able to hunt harder during the day. The weather is just so unpredictable out there.
 

ez_willie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
120
Location
MN
I would hunt more days during archery season and shoot the first legal elk you get a crack at.
 

LaHunter

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 9, 2013
Messages
1,238
Location
N.E. LA
1) The elk very possibly / likely may have moved to another location (possible a long distance) from archery time frame to rifle time frame. This is dependent on the specific location and pressure and habits of the elk in the given area.
2) Hunting with livestock is additional work and planning, even with llamas. If yall are prepared for this, then this could be a good option. The danger in this is: a day to pack in and set up most likely, assuming no llama wrecks or drama. If your chosen area is a bust, then it is possibly another day to a new location for camp. You can eat up a lot of your time moving locations when packed in, either on your back or with animals.
3) This is probably your best option. Rifle season (October) can bring some massive snow falls some years with some brutally cold weather. Having a base camp location with the gear to pack in for a night or 2 or 3 gives you some flexibility and mobility. You may find that you may need to drive 15-20 miles in the truck to hunt another area. Having a base camp allows you to do this the easiest.

I am far from an 'authority' on western hunting, but elk hunting is WAY more physically difficult than mule deer hunting, or at least that has been my experience. Especially if yall get an elk on the ground. It may be wise to set up a packer with horses prior to your trip that you can message if/when yall get an elk down.
 

Jasper

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
13
Best of luck to you -

I've got a couple trips to WY hunting elk as a nonresident. This year, I'm in a similar situation - lots of travel time to get there- and will be holding a party tag with an archery hunter, though I don't personally bowhunt. Not sure where you're headed, but we'll be in a unit where archery closes on Sept. 25 and rifle opens the next day.

My plan is shaping up like this - show up in WY about a week before the rifle opener and spend that time hunting (read, scouting for rifle season) with my bow hunting partner. If he connects, great. If not, that time spent on the ground will give us a pretty good sense of what is going on. Sometimes knowing where elk aren't is almost as valuable as knowing where they are.

I'm going to make just one trip. That drive will cost at least a full day each way, maybe more, and so doing it twice burns at least two hunting days. And, once you get home from the first trip, it's going to be hard to motivate (and maybe more importantly, convince the home front that another trip is worthwhile).

Livestock are great. Hunting is also great. The two don't mix well unless you have been using livestock to hunt your whole life. Spend your energy on the elk learning curve instead of the llama learning curve. It's not specifically necessary to get super deep for elk - Our group has killed a bunch within a couple miles of major highways. But be mentally and physically ready to travel that couple miles and couple thousand vertical feet up in the dark.

Your camper idea is solid - nice to have a warm place to get back to every few nights. I agree with EZ - take the first legal one you have a good shot at.

let us know how it goes.
 

Indian Summer

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,774
#1 - You don't get a General tag that often. Put the time in - you won't regret it later in life.
This! No question about it.

First I’ll talk about 2 and 3. As mentioned any livestock is work. My question there would be have you ever worked with llamas or horses? But… it’s your first hunt. Skip those for sure. You don’t need to pack in to get into elk. Yes it can make daily life easier by throwing your daypack, game bags and extra water on for the initial hike in. But at your stage of the game I’d suggest just traveling light. You don’t need game bags until you kill. You can carry enough water. I always say livestock only really earns their keep if you get to use them to pack elk out. That brings up the question are you sure each and every one of them will pack bloody meat? Not all animals will. The biggest negative of 2 though is it’s less time. Time is everything. 8 days is only enough for a hunter with a little elk hunting experience and some boots on the ground experience in his area.

Number 3 is actually better than 2 but for the same reason it’s not your best option. Also I can tell you for sure that before you drag a camper from Missouri to anywhere in elk country during rifle season you’d be much better off using the gas money to buy a wall tent. The tent is an investment too by the way not a cost. Gas money is a cost. Many an elk hunter in that neck of the woods had to bail out before it got to the point of not being able to pull the camper out until spring.

Number one is hands down a great option! You get to hunt before more wintery weather. You can locate bulls by sound which is great for a guy in a new area. You could kill an elk on any given day and even if you don’t you’ll be LIGHT YEARS ahead of the game come gun season. I think your chances of success in gun would be roughly double if you do that. You’d have a damn good idea if llamas would be beneficial. You could be heading home in 3-4 days.

And as Laramie said you won’t get to hunt the Cowboy State every year so enjoy as much hunting as possible with that tag and the points you’ve saved away. Good luck!
 
OP
B

barrettm95

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
80
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Best of luck to you -

I've got a couple trips to WY hunting elk as a nonresident. This year, I'm in a similar situation - lots of travel time to get there- and will be holding a party tag with an archery hunter, though I don't personally bowhunt. Not sure where you're headed, but we'll be in a unit where archery closes on Sept. 25 and rifle opens the next day.

My plan is shaping up like this - show up in WY about a week before the rifle opener and spend that time hunting (read, scouting for rifle season) with my bow hunting partner. If he connects, great. If not, that time spent on the ground will give us a pretty good sense of what is going on. Sometimes knowing where elk aren't is almost as valuable as knowing where they are.

I'm going to make just one trip. That drive will cost at least a full day each way, maybe more, and so doing it twice burns at least two hunting days. And, once you get home from the first trip, it's going to be hard to motivate (and maybe more importantly, convince the home front that another trip is worthwhile).

Livestock are great. Hunting is also great. The two don't mix well unless you have been using livestock to hunt your whole life. Spend your energy on the elk learning curve instead of the llama learning curve. It's not specifically necessary to get super deep for elk - Our group has killed a bunch within a couple miles of major highways. But be mentally and physically ready to travel that couple miles and couple thousand vertical feet up in the dark.

Your camper idea is solid - nice to have a warm place to get back to every few nights. I agree with EZ - take the first legal one you have a good shot at.

let us know how it goes.
Thanks!
 
OP
B

barrettm95

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
80
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
This! No question about it.

First I’ll talk about 2 and 3. As mentioned any livestock is work. My question there would be have you ever worked with llamas or horses? But… it’s your first hunt. Skip those for sure. You don’t need to pack in to get into elk. Yes it can make daily life easier by throwing your daypack, game bags and extra water on for the initial hike in. But at your stage of the game I’d suggest just traveling light. You don’t need game bags until you kill. You can carry enough water. I always say livestock only really earns their keep if you get to use them to pack elk out. That brings up the question are you sure each and every one of them will pack bloody meat? Not all animals will. The biggest negative of 2 though is it’s less time. Time is everything. 8 days is only enough for a hunter with a little elk hunting experience and some boots on the ground experience in his area.

Number 3 is actually better than 2 but for the same reason it’s not your best option. Also I can tell you for sure that before you drag a camper from Missouri to anywhere in elk country during rifle season you’d be much better off using the gas money to buy a wall tent. The tent is an investment too by the way not a cost. Gas money is a cost. Many an elk hunter in that neck of the woods had to bail out before it got to the point of not being able to pull the camper out until spring.

Number one is hands down a great option! You get to hunt before more wintery weather. You can locate bulls by sound which is great for a guy in a new area. You could kill an elk on any given day and even if you don’t you’ll be LIGHT YEARS ahead of the game come gun season. I think your chances of success in gun would be roughly double if you do that. You’d have a damn good idea if llamas would be beneficial. You could be heading home in 3-4 days.

And as Laramie said you won’t get to hunt the Cowboy State every year so enjoy as much hunting as possible with that tag and the points you’ve saved away. Good luck!
Great advice, thanks!
 

willy

Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
83
Location
NE
Go hunt elk as soon as you can as one never knows how many tomorrows one has and the way pt creep is going one needs a lot of tomorrows to go a few more times in the state of WY. Go in September and then again when rifle opens if you still have an open tag.

I've hunted two general units and have seen 6 pt bulls in each. I have seen a pile of other bulls all the way down to spikes. In one unit I didn't see a lot of other hunters the two times I've hunted it. The other has increased each year with it blowing up in 2020(had a cow tag and hunted during general rifle opening) but then hunted there again this year and it was reduced by at least 50% of hunters seen. I've seen the same amount of nonresidents each year I've been in this unit but resident hunters have increased each year, exponentially in 2020, and then dropped considerably this year.

The elk numbers in this general unit have seemed to have grown as much as if not more than the hunter numbers have. Not sure why that's so but I'm not complaining.

Get in better shape than you think you should be, only take livestock if you've been around them and be prepared for plenty of added detail/logistics needed for their care. Frankly I wouldn't bother with them unless you have someone that is going to be staying at camp with them.

Good luck and have fun.
 

1bwoody1

Newbie
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
1
Hello,

Confident I will be drawing the general tag this year with the amount of points I have. Would like to hear people's opinions on what you would do given the options I have available below. I am new to the elk hunting game as this would be my first elk tag, however have been on several mule deer hunts across the west so the game is not completely new to me.

1. Hunt a week during archery season and return for a week during rifle season. This gives me the opportunity to scout, but means I will need to drive to Wyoming twice during the season from St. Louis, MO

2. Hunt 8 days during rifle season with pack llamas, This option would allow us to carry more gear, be more comfortable, and move deeper into areas as the llamas would be carrying the bulk of our stuff (and hopefully the elk out). We would have a time constraint as the llamas need returned.

3. Hunt the beginning of rifle season until I either tag out or tap out. This would all be done on my back with the help of one or two others. We have a nice camper available to use so we would be doing a mix of spike camp and day hunts.

Would love to hear people's thoughts. I am new to the rifle hunting world as well as all my tags have been archery, however am looking to up my success odds with the rifle this year. My group hunts hard and puts in the work, just do not know what to expect in Wyoming. We are not looking for a monster bull, something in the high 200s would make us very happy for our first elk hunt.

My planning process is just beginning as I begin to look into units, but I would like to find 1 or 2 units that I am going to be spending my time in. If I pick too many units, I find myself moving around too much and not fully investigating and learning an area.

Thanks!
Hey! So did you get drawn for a general tsg?
 
OP
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barrettm95

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
80
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Hey! So did you get drawn for a general tsg?
I ended up not putting in for the draw and going with an antelope tag in WY and hopefully a SD deer tag in late November. Decided I wanted another year of prep and saving some more $ to give the elk hunt a full 14 days in 2023.
 
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