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Elk Hunting Kootenays British Columbia
Contributors to this thread:
Silent1 11-Apr-23
walking buffalo 11-Apr-23
Nyati 11-Apr-23
hunter12345 11-Apr-23
BCPYGuy 11-Apr-23
Kurt 12-Apr-23
Silent1 12-Apr-23
walking buffalo 12-Apr-23
Rackmastr 13-Apr-23
WhattheFOC 13-Apr-23
Nyati 13-Apr-23
From: Silent1
I am serious about possibly booking an elk hunt in the south east kootenays British Columbia and was curious what information one may have on the elk heard and expectations one should have regarding size of bulls. This would be a hunt of a lifetime for me and i've been saving for it for many years. I just can't seem to get enough decent information on the area. any help or any 2 cents is greatly appreciated. i thank you in advance.

Much of the Kootenays have had a serious decline of elk over the last 20 years, 90% in some areas. Yes, this is due to exploding wolf and grizzly bear populations.

To get any decent intel, you'll need to ask with much more detail on where you are interested in hunting.

From: Nyati
Just my opinion. I did 2 trips to SE BC. Unsuccessful on elk both trips. Did get a bear and a mountain goat. Then went to northern BC and my wife and I both got 2 great bulls.

May cost a little more to go to northern BC but it was worth it in my opinion

From: hunter12345
Nyati. Where and why year did you go north? I’ve been looking for several years but keep starting over as outfits change ownership and populations crash in certain areas. Still looking for a remote hunt for high success on mature bulls.

From: BCPYGuy
Steve I live in BC and used to live in SE BC. This area is generally referred to as Region 4 of the 8 Regions in BC. It was mentioned above to narrow things down to a specific area and that is a good point given the area is about 10,000 square miles in size. Within that area there are numerous outfitters and various topographies ranging from the Rocky Mountains to Valley bottoms. There are elk there but the numbers are way down and there can be quite a bit of variance in densities. As for the potential size the elk there are generally medium size with a good bull being 300”. Also, the archery season runs from September 1 - 9 and you can shoot any bull. There is very little productive calling during this period. After the archery season you can only harvest a 6 point or better bull and you will be contending with rifle hunters. I have friends who have hunted this area for well over 30 years and they say the best rutting bugling action is around the 20-25th. Last year four of them rifle hunted 10+ days and did not see a legal bull. The wolves and grizzly bears are plentiful. The Rockies is one of the most beautiful areas you will ever hunt if that is what you are coming for. However, if you want to kill a bull with your bow Northern BC is better and wilder but no gimme either. If you note more specific locations/outfitters I can add more thoughts.

From: Kurt
I've hunted elk in CO (35 seasons), AZ twice, OR once, California once and SE BC two times and have shot well over 30 elk with the bow.

SE BC is bottom of the barrel on where I'd go to hunt elk if I could go anywhere. Sad but that is what it is...over-harvest and predators have reduced elk numbers to almost nil where I hunted last fall, averaged seeing a single elk a day on a week long was a legal spike, the others were cows...including one calf. The same area was decent 8 years ago. Both of my SE BC bow hunts were during the Sept 1-9 bow season.

From: Silent1
I thank you all very much for your input. Really appreciate it. This is a tremendous help.

"over-harvest and predators have reduced elk numbers to almost nil"

With a six point antler restriction on bulls and virtually zero cow harvest, hunting harvest is not the issue. Habitat loss is not the issue.

Weather was an issue back in '96. Since then winter loss has been normal. The population crash is purely on predation, the lack of mature bulls is partially due to hunter harvest. The same thing has occurred in Alberta throughout All of the mountain areas.

I bring this up as a warning to what happens in areas with uncontrolled bear and wolf populations.

It's been a long time since I hunted the Kooteneys. Last time was around Castlegar in the late nineties. pursuing bulls well over 400", passing up bulls over 375". In the Okanagan, we passed on bulls under 350. Those days can be again, if the predators are brought into control.

From: Rackmastr
Really depends on which outfitter or area of the Kootenays IMO. I live here, and some great elk hunting still exists, but some areas I wouldnt invest in an outfitted hunt. A couple really good outfitters getting it done year after year though.

Shoot me a PM if you'd like and can give you a name of one I'd trust to book with.

From: WhattheFOC
My buddy is a BC resident. We spent 9 days hunting elk in the east Kootenay last fall. Had an arrow on my string twice. Never drew my bow.

We are going to go to Colorado next year.

From: Nyati
Hunter12345, we hunted with Stone Mt Safaris. Dave Weins owned it then. Everything was top notch when we were there . I had hunted with him before and got a big moose and Stone sheep

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