Thank you all for your time, Joe
Timing is a tough call. Early = hot temps but unpressured elk. They can still be called in.
Mid = more pressure but more bugling.
Late = slightly less pressure, still some bugling but a higher chance of bad weather. It was a mudfest the last week this year. However, if you are in a ways dealing with weather odds are pressure will be low.
This is my .02 cents. You will need two days driving out and two days driving back. It is a long way! When you figure in stopping to buy groceries, setting up camp and breaking camp down it is a long process. On the way out I stopped in Kemmerer Wy. Then made it to Pocatello ID the next morning to get groceries and a wolf tag. Then headed to the hills to make camp and was ready to start scouting the next morning. On the way back I left early thinking I could make it back to KS. Started driving down the canyon around 0500. 4 miles in I almost hit an cow and calf elk. 10 miles in I almost hit 4 mule deer. After that I slowed down. Made it to western Colorado before I called it quits and got a hotel. My GPS showed me getting home at 0300 in the morning if I had not stopped. To me it's not worth it to push that hard.
The hunting was good but not great. The were deer and elk around. Locals said last year was hard on the deer. We got lucky and were able to find a few. The elk were there but I have a curse so they were never in any real danger. My friend who is an Idaho resident hunted a lot and was not able to fill his tag either. The elk we were on, were still bugling but I never heard a cow call. In fact cow calls seemed to make them run to the next hill side. Your experience may be different.
I am not an expert. I have hunted Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah for elk. I will tell you this is BIG country. I Colorado if you walk 5 miles you feel you are getting close to a road or trail that is coming in from the other side. In Idaho if you walk 5 miles you are just 5 miles away from where you started waking. The area we were in was also very steep. All the states I have hunted have had steep areas. It seems like everything in ID is steep! Not trying to scare you. Just my observation.
Talk to the biologist and game wardens. They were very helpful. I did get checked in the field one day. The warden was very professional and helpful. As a matter of fact he forgot to tell us we were getting close to a unit boundary when he checked us. He came back to the trail and ran up to our location to let us know we were getting close to going into another unit. The Idaho Fish and Game people I talked to were great.
On that note. Make sure you have a good map or GPS. I used On X and Avenza to make sure I stayed in my units.
As for gear make sure you have an ax or chain saw. It snowed on us and took down tarps we had set up and knocked down trees in camp. Has to cut them up to get out of camp to go hunting. I would have snow chains as well even in September. I used Crispis insulated Nevada boots. They were just about perfect. There were a few days were it was single digits in the morning and my feet got cold. But my feet are always cold. I used a military sleep system as I was staying in a wall tent. In September I think you could get away with a good 20 degree bag. Might need a local to chime in on that one. I would have a good pack frame ready to go. But I also would have a light weight set up with daypack or lumbar pack with the bare essentials. I used both setup. Like I said there are some really step areas. It's nice to grab a bottle of water, a power bar and a lighter and go for a walk in some of that terrain. If you go by yourself make sure someone know where you are headed.
Great state for an adventure. I was there for two weeks. I will go back but only after I have enough leave to stay for two weeks again. It's a long drive and there is a lot of country for the elk to hide in. Throw in the wolves and a snow storm and it can be a tough state to hunt. I would stay longer if you can somehow manage it.
It is rugged country. You will need much more time like others said. Many areas get so much ATV pressure, regardless what the laws are.
There are many other options out there.
It’s great that your planning now, it gives you plenty of time to research.
Idaho is beautiful country.
Thank you everyone, Joe
Some crowd control on the holiday and on the wknds but during the week not bad at all. Lots of grazing Sheep/cattle in many area's.
Good luck, Robb
Much of Idaho really has no trails. On another hunt the guy with horses told me to not hunt down several canyons because he wouldn't go there with the horses.