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out of state public first time elk
Contributors to this thread:
elknewb 09-Jan-22
Jaquomo 09-Jan-22
KSflatlander 09-Jan-22
elknewb 10-Jan-22
azelkhntr 10-Jan-22
Inshart 11-Jan-22
JohnMC 11-Jan-22
DonVathome 11-Jan-22
TheGreatWapiti 14-Jan-22
WV Mountaineer 14-Jan-22
Dale06 14-Jan-22
Beginner 14-Jan-22
Bake 14-Jan-22
JL 14-Jan-22
Jaquomo 14-Jan-22
WYelkhunter 18-Jan-22
APauls 18-Jan-22
MA-PAdeerslayer 18-Jan-22
grossklw 18-Jan-22
[email protected] 18-Jan-22
Deercy 18-Jan-22
llamapacker 18-Jan-22
Cheesehead Mike 18-Jan-22
YZF-88 21-Jan-22
SteveD 21-Jan-22
BTM 22-Jan-22
wytex 24-Jan-22
From: elknewb
does anyone have any insight on first time elk bow hunting on public land? i know some states require guides depending on hunting territory but i would like to possibly draw a tag and possibly hunt with a resident. sounds weird but its something ive always wanted to do. if anyone is interested i would love to hear from you and get some info. Im just an average guy from Mississippi that loves Jesus and his family but cant exactly spend 10k on a guided hunt. i feel like going to public land without ever having elk hunted at all would be a waste of my time. i deer hunt and am an avid archer. looking for new game. thanks yall

From: Jaquomo
Go on Amazon and buy Bowsiter Matt Dworak's book, "Public Land Elk Hunting"

From: KSflatlander
Logan- I have likely made every mistake in the book. I can probably tell you what not to do lol. Jaq knows what to do so I would take his advice on anything and everything. Only advice I got is to start getting in shape now. Cardio, legs, and core.Personally CrossFit class works best for me. I’d also suggest a backpacking trip this summer if you never hunted the mountains. There are some great trails and terrain in southern Arkansas. I do Arkansas and Colorado backpacking trips. I usually do 3-4 backpack trips a year in the summer to test out gear, body, and mental.

If you’re in shape it will increase you chances of success and make it more fun. But no matter how good you prepare if you don’t find where the elk are you won’t get opportunities.

Good luck.

From: elknewb
ive been running and stair climbing but need to do more actual mountain hiking/ ill check the book out/ i appreciate the quick replies/ hopefully i can find brave soul that may want to take a first timer to tag along and learn/ no broke back mountain nonsense.

From: azelkhntr
The mountains are calling and I must go......

From: Inshart
Google search "Cory Jacobson" --- listen to his pod casts with Randy Newberg, LOTS of great information. Another good one to google search is "Elknut" good info.

From: JohnMC
Hunt CO OTC you will get to hunt with plenty of residents and non residents;) but in all seriousness you are on the right track trying to go the draw route. Get a handful of points and hunt a limited entry unit will improve your odds. Also I would recommend finding some one in your area that you are compatible with, planning hunt half the fun. Then come out together vs a strange on the internet. When you come out have a few spot picked out cover lots of ground you should finds some elk to hunt. If you don’t measure success by if you tag a elk or not, you most likely with have a blast and be planning your second trip on the drive back to MS.

I would go to Idaho. Far less people, especially if you hit some of the really steep units

Our guided hunts are 5k and I'm a lifetime resident....;)

From: DonVathome
A good draw tag makes for a great trip A bad tag, OTC makes for a maybe fun camping trip. There is a significant difference in elk hunting areas. I cannot understate how big the difference is. More elk. Bigger elk. Less hunters. Less call shy elk. Less nervous elk.


TheGreatWapiti's embedded Photo
TheGreatWapiti's embedded Photo
  You are correct. Just showing up and trying to be successful is nothing but dumb luck. You have to know the area!!

I am an experienced archery elk hunter who does everything DIY in the backcountry. I plan on hunting September 6th - 13th and September 16th-23rd near Fraser, CO. I will provide most of the equipment and an amazing experience. There is so much land to cover and I have been hunting alone for the past 5 years. This is a super tough hunt at 10,000 ft and requires you to be prepared physically. It would be great to make a new connection. Let's talk. The tag is about $700 for an out of state, over the counter, either sex archery tag. Todd

I’d go with Forestbows if guided was my interest. If not, I’d make sone phone calls, buy sone maps of different areas after researching, and go diy otc while starting to build points for the future.

From: Dale06
My advice first time out of state elk, don’t DONT GO DIY. Been there and done that more than once, but obviously there was only one first time. You can get in great shape. But if you don’t know where the elk are and if there’s hunters all over the place, there’s a chance you will not see an elk, let alone one in bow range. I’d guess the success rate, dead elk recovered for first time DIY elk hunters hovers around 5%. I’d go for a guided hunt, and if the $$ allow, go on private land guided. One other thing, there’s lots of learning opportunities on how to find elk, call elk, etc, etc. I’m sure there’s some value in them, but others are watching the same and are competing with you for that elk.

From: Beginner
Google earth areas you intend to hunt. Good way to look at potential spots for out of staters.

From: Bake

Bake's embedded Photo
Bake's embedded Photo
Just go. Pick a unit and a back up and go learn. Be an optimist. It DOES happen for first timers, I’m proof positive. I shot this bull on day 5, first time, DIY, OTC , all those things. About half a mile from a parking lot.

I went 3 for 3 my first 3 hunts. (One of which was a limited entry tag). Then went a couple years without filling tags. I had a lot better luck when I didn’t have a clue ;).

From: JL
I think alot also has to do with how much time can you dedicate to the hunt. If your time is limited, that can add to the challenge of being successful.

From: Jaquomo
Bake didn't kill one when he hunted with me in WY year before last. If he had been hunting by himself in that valley he probably would have killed one. I was like a boat anchor for him. His advice is good. Pick a unit, do some research, have a plan B, C, D, E, and F. Hunt from a mobile camp and keep hitting spots until you find elk. Then hunt them carefully because if you blow them out you will never see them again. Good luck!

From: WYelkhunter
Elk hunting public land for out of staters isn't easy but it isn't an impossible task either. as some people would like you to believe. figure out what area you want to hunt. Do lots of research. Plan on getting there early enough the first day to spend some time driving around and seeing what the area looks like in person. Make a game plan and go for it. Elk are great creatures to hunt but not mythical like some lead you to believe.

From: APauls
Just do it. Don't count on anyone else. If you are waiting for someone to help you, you will prob eventually have it happen. But you could have done twice as many things and become way more independent and had more satisfaction if you just do it.

With the information available on the internet today you can all but shoot em from home. There is no reason not to be able to plan anything yourself. If you can't, you just don't want it.

I think it was comedian Chris Rock that talked about having a flat tire on the side of the road. When standing there looking for help no one stopped. The second he got to working on it himself loads of people stopped to help him. PEOPLE LIKE TO HELP PEOPLE THAT HELP THEMSELVES and take initiative. Plan a trip, go, and odds are you'll run into people and make new friends.

I'm sure I sound like an a$$hole for saying that stuff, but everyone knows it is the truth.

Ya adams right. I’m more apt to help someone doing anything who’s helping them selves versus helping someone who has no interest in helping them self. I think most people think that way.

From: grossklw

grossklw's embedded Photo
grossklw's embedded Photo
Like others have said; it is absolutely possible. Pick a spot and go. Similar to Bake, I killed this bull on day 5 of a DIY first time hunt on public land, and had shot opportunities earlier as well on a similar sized bull. I killed elk on my first 4 hunts and struck out this year but still had a good hunt. You won't know until you go. Up until this year I've averaged one good encounter per day, some days you may get 3 or 4 and other days you may get none...All it takes is one...

Its a little intimidating until you actually go. Then you will be kicking yourself for not starting sooner. Experience and time afield are giant multipliers for success. Go for as long as you can. Even as a noob, if you spend a week in an area and there are elk around, things will start to fall into place.

You don't need a ton of fancy gear. It's just camping with long days of exploring country. Pay attention to the wind and how thermals are working in your spot, use common sense. You have to respect their senses but balance it with being aggressive enough to create opportunities.

From: Deercy
I'm going to tell my first elk hunt and the time leading up to it. I'll apologize right now for the length. When I was still living in Kentucky a friend called me. His cousin from Colorado was out chasing whitetails without any luck. I ended up taking him on my farm and he arrowed a buck and a doe the first morning. When I moved to Colorado in 2015 I called him because I was of the opinion that he would be glad to pay off old debt. He told me of a unit and some very specific details. Where to park, where to hike in, where to camp..... I was eager to get going. After hunting it for two days and not seeing any sign even, I pulled out. Went about 10 miles, climbed up the highest mountain, and spent two days glassing until I found elk. The next morning I was right there. It had snowed a couple inches and I found a single set of tracks. I followed them for an hour while the snow melted really fast. All of a sudden 30 yards in front of me I spotted a bull bedded. I shot him right there. In the 6 seasons since I've been back to that specific place to times and shot more bulls. I later found out that the advice I got was totally a misdirection backstabbing. But I really don't care.

From: llamapacker
I would also recommend Idaho. Plenty of units with good elk populations and plentiful public land. It may not have the largest bulls, but on a first hunt you should shoot any bull or even a cow. Costs are average for most western states. Cover ground until you find elk. They are NOT like eastern whitetails, and you have to find them first. Agreed that it isn't magic, and you really don't need someone holding your hand. Be prepared to hike hard in rough country and you can do an elk hunt with a reasonable chance of success. Nobody fills their tag every year ( a few legends excepted) but you will have a great trip seeing some incredible country. Bill

You don't need a guide, you don't need private land, you don't need to draw a great tag. You don't need to "know" the unit other than what you can learn from cyber scouting.

That is IF you're a good hunter to start with, are self sufficient, are in good physical condition, have a positive attitude, enjoy a challenge and are able to learn on your own.

Some people enjoy the challenge of learning and achieving goals on their own, others not so much. Those people would probably be better off with a guide.

From: YZF-88
I’ll triple down on what has been said about not needing a guide, special draw or private land. Some great resources like ElkNut and Elk101.

From: SteveD
Cheesehead MIke, well said.

From: BTM
Lots of good tips already, so I'll add two new ones: (1) Stay out of griz territory for your first hunt, especially if you're going solo. You'll have enough to worry about without adding yogi into the mix. (2) Make sure you're ready to deal with over a hundred pounds of boneless meat in warm weather. Don't hunt farther than you can pack out the meat, and keep a big cooler full of block ice back in your rig.

From: wytex
Why not consider a cow tag for Wyoming. Random draw, no PP and many open way before bull season. You could get in some archery hunting and rifle on the same hunt if you draw the right license. Mountains will be less pressured and you will learn a lot about elk without buying an expensive license.

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