I moved to Moscow area last year and was able to get into the St. Joe a bit for my first ever time elk hunting and archery hunting. After ambling through the thickest forest I've ever been in and seeing five cows, no bulls, all season, I'm thinking of changing it up this year. McCall is on my list; I picked it because the terrain looks more conducive to hosting elk populations however the IDFG success stats do not back that up (unit 6 actually had/has better success rates it looks like).
Are there any recommendations for St. Joe vs. the McCall area? My goal, in my three years in Idaho, is to kill a bull elk with my bow. I can afford to take a week off in September but not much else (I teach NROTC classes at the University) and I am here for two more seasons before the Navy sends me back to a coast. I'd prefer to DIY, however am open to reputable outfitters.
All of my previous hunting experience is gun whitetail in Wisconsin, and archery elk is the challenge I have been looking forward to for the last few years. I have a climbing stand and rifle out here but it's not my preferred hunt method. No horse experience, but I do have an ATV.
And you're welcome!
Keep in mind you are looking to go to the closest area to the largest population base in Idaho if you choose mccall. You might find easier terrain but that also will contribute to a higher population of hunters to compete with. There are some awesome places up in the northern part of the state for elk hunting. It would be easier to hunt on weekends (or single and 2 day off times). I would focus on the right spot up there.
Just my .02
You are overlooking some great hunting in your back yard....not that the joe isn't a steep brushy SOB, but there are a lot of elk in 8 and 8A. The area between Bovill and Elk River deserves some scouting.
PM me if you want more specifics.
I'm not sure how to check my PM box on here...I'm used to vBulletin style forums.