This is an Oregon outfitter who specializes in rifle, muzzleloader and archery hunting for Rocky Mountain bull elk in central and eastern Oregon. He hunts mainly private land, with a bit of public ground too. About 30,000 acres of private ground, plus some large tracts of landlocked BLM ground. You have a very realistic chance at taking something in and around the 300” class, with most bulls in the 280” to 310” range, and they have taken them to 362”. Each year they manage to take several 330” to 340” size bulls. Importantly, he can virtually guarantee that you get a tag, which these days can be an issue elsewhere. Just book and go!
The outfitter was originally in law enforcement until he retired to do this full time. He keeps one guide on full time year round to scout, line up properties, assist with turkey and coyote guiding, then bear and then elk. He also does a large number of depredation cow elk hunts late in the year, and those can run into early March. He realizes that for many folks a trip like this may be a once in a lifetime hunt, and they work hard from dawn to dusk to ensure your trip is a happy one. Here are several recent references:
I just wanted to leave a review for our hunt with Oregon # 193 in Sept. of 2019: The hunt exceeded our expectations in every facet. Everyone was very friendly and professional, food was great, and the hunting was even better. The guides were incredible; very knowledgeable and helpful. We were into elk almost every day and together Cody and I had 7 different opportunities to harvest a bull on a 6 day hunt. There were a plethora of elk and bulls on the property, including multiple bulls over 300″. We ended up not harvesting an elk, at no one’s fault but our own (missed shots). I would recommend this Outfitter to anyone and we will definitely be returning for a hunt in the future. Thanks.” – Dylan H.”
“I have hunted two seasons with him and will be returning this year for my 3nd. They have some really nice property for Oregon land. My first season with them, 30 minutes before dark, I saw one of the biggest bulls I have personally ever seen in Oregon at 85 yards with about 20 cows. I would like to say he is on my wall, but dark set in before I could close the deal. I also that same season had an opportunity on a 290” to 300” class bull and got busted trying to draw my bow. Second year, I hunted the open week and saw a few smaller bulls and cows. Rut wasn’t on yet really, but the cams had nice bulls showing up. Gordon wanted to make sure we were successful so he invited us back for the last week of season for no charge; just asked we cover food at $20 a day per guy! – Dan M.
“Three of us hunted with him in central Oregon during the last week of October. We spotted elk every day we hunted, and eventually harvested 2 nice bulls. Both were symmetrical 6 points with one (mine) much larger than the other. See attached photos. We were all very happy with the hunt, guides, and lodging. The two guides knew the property very well and were also great guys to have a drink with at night. The cook had every meal ready and hot for us in the morning and night, and always packed us a field lunch. The price was great and we would definitely consider returning. The only improvement would be to have better equipment. The Polaris Ranger broke down; luckily this happened after we had tagged out. Overall the operation was well run and very professional. A great hunt for the price. I hope this helps, Butch. Also, I will be subscribing to your site. Thank You.” – Vince
One of his areas of private ground is in the Northside GMU. Various parcels total about 25,000 acres. Here they do archery and rifle elk hunts for both bulls and cows. He has guaranteed tags for all these elk hunts. This area has a mix of alfalfa fields and open country, plus juniper and big pine forests.
The cow elk hunts are very successful and consist of 2 days of hunting with a maximum of 4 hunters at any one time. No food and no lodging – that is on you. The outfitter assists with licensing, but you must pay for them. Lodging is about 20 minutes away in John Day.
During the 1st, 2nd and 3rd weeks of the season, he offers DIY treestand/ground blind hunts on 8,000 acres of private land. This will include lodging at a cabin or in canvas tents (spike camps) on the property. If you are a proficient elk hunter who likes to do it themselves, this is a great hunt. You will be responsible for your own food/beverage, but the outfitter will supply cots, cooking stoves, etc. Directions on how to hunt the ranch and a map of blind/treestand locations will be provided to you. They will have numerous proven treestands and blinds already in place. Patience is the key to be successful during this time of year. The temperature is generally 80-90 degrees or sometimes hotter. The elk will still be on their summer patterns and won’t have been pressured, so sitting over water or near wallows is the best bet. Trail camera pictures tell the story year after year, and they prove that if you sit, odds are in your favor. The outfitter will be in touch with you on a daily basis during these hunts. If you harvest or wound an animal, they will be there to help in the retrieval process. They have a skinning station and walk-in cooler available for your use.
Outfitter says this on his DIY bowhunts for elk:
“We will have all equipment there for cooking. They just need to bring cooler of food; closest café is about 20 minutes. The tent camp will sit right next to a log house we have there. We just don’t like sleeping in it that time of year as it’s too damn hot and the only sleeping area is a loft, so instead we set up tents with nice cots for sleeping. But the log house does have a shower/generator, etc. It’s off the grid but a fairly decent place to stay. If they do harvest an animal, we will help with retrieval process, skinning, gutting, and all that good stuff. We also have a walk-in cooler for hanging. The only difference with the DIY and the other hunt is there won’t be a guide with them, however, they will probably be checked on daily by my head guide and they will get a good amount of help. The cow elk hunters stay in the town of John Day; there is a couple motels there along with restaurants. Oregon hunting license cost for non-residents is $160.50 and an elk tag is $549…On all the hunts I have, the tags are guaranteed draws.”
During the 3rd and 4th weeks of the season, they offer a treestand/ground blind hunt, as well as their fully outfitted hunts. On the fully outfitted hunts, you will hunt over 25,000 acres of private lands throughout the Northside Unit. Depending on animal movement, moon phases, and estrus cycles, that will determine how your hunt will be done each day. They try to take everything into consideration when planning a day’s hunt for you. You can take advantage of a 1×1 guiding opportunity or a 2×1 guiding opportunity. If you book a 1 on 1 hunt, one of their guides will be dedicated to you for the entire hunt.
You need to prepare yourself to go from daylight to dusk and be in good physical condition. You will hunt modest elevations between 2,000-7,000 ft. If you choose to book a 2 on 1 hunt, they do prefer there be 2 of you in your party. They dislike putting 2 guys together that don’t know each other, as this just makes for an uncomfortable hunt when that bull walks in at 10 yards and one guy gets a shot and the other doesn’t. I am sure if you are an archery hunter you know what I am talking about. It’s much easier to congratulate your friend rather than some guy you don’t know.
The Northside Unit is located in Grant County. Statistics show that Grant County has one of the largest populations of elk in the State of Oregon. These hunts are a full 6 days of hunting, with departure being the morning of the 7th day.
Basically you will need to talk to us to see which ranch has openings and when they are, then make your choice. Dates vary from early September into November for the rifle hunts.
One final elk hunt is his public land hunt in the Heppner Unit in eastern Oregon. The Heppner Unit is the most applied-for unit in the State, and is a tough unit to draw a tag in as a non-resident. The hunt he is offering is only available to non-residents. The hunter will be issued an outfitter tag for this hunt. The terrain in the area is fairly flat and easy to hunt, with a mix of pine forests and meadows. They use 4×4 vehicles to get around and do a fair amount of walking. This hunt is fully outfitted with 2 hunters per 1 guide. Lodging is in heated canvas wall tents with good hot meals prepared by a full time cook and camp host. For this hunt, they have included the license and tag fee in the final cost of the hunt. All other hunts require you to buy the license/tag.
Dead-on-the-ground success rates for all of his elk hunts, including bulls and cows, is around 50%, with nearly 100% opportunity, including archery hunts.
PRICING (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
August 28-September 2 – Treestand/ground blind archery hunt. Lodging included but must bring own food (cooking facilities provided). Guides on site for game retrieval and scouting purposes to make sure you have best opportunity. But this hunt will be strictly from stands/blinds. $4,000 per person for 6-day hunt.
September 5-10 – Fully-guided and outfitted archery hunt, including food and lodging in 3-bedroom house (or large canvas tent on platform with roll away beds as an option). $5,000 per person 2×1 for 6-day hunt.
September 11-16 – Fully-guided and outfitted archery hunt, including food and lodging in 3-bedroom house (or large canvas tent on platform with roll away beds as an option). $5,000 per person 2×1 for 6-day hunt.
September 21-26 – Self-guided archery hunt. Outfitter will provide GPS coordinates of ground blinds/stands, but hunters are not limited to sitting in a blind or stand. Bulls will be full rut at this time. Lodging included but must bring own food (cooking facilities provided). Guides on site for game retrieval and scouting purposes to make sure you have best opportunity. $4,500 per person for 6-day hunt.
October 28-November 1 (Heppner Unit) – Fully-guided and outfitted rifle hunt, including food, lodging in 3-bedroom house with comfortable amenities. $4,500 per person 2×1 for 5-day hunt.
November 6-10 (East Northside Unit) – Rifle hunt on both private and public land, and the tag is good for any elk. 100% opportunity rate in 2020 (4 hunters). No food or lodging included, but both are readily available nearby. $4,500 per person 1×1 for 5-day hunt.
October 28-November 1 (Murderers Creek Unit) – Fully-guided and outfitted rifle hunt, including food, lodging in 3-bedroom house with comfortable amenities. $5,000 per person 2×1 for 5-day hunt.
Rifle Cow Elk – August 3-21, early October, or March. Guided hunts on private land in Northside Unit. These are 2-day damage control hunts with no draw for tags. Success is usually around 90% success rate, with near 100% opportunity. Hunter is responsible for food and lodging (about $100/night in John Day about 10 miles away), but guide takes care of game retrieval, field dressing and skinning. Hunt cost is $1,700 per person 2×1.
Rifle Mule Deer – October 2-6, October 9-13. 5-day hunts on 2,200 acres of private land. Generally see lots of deer each day. Average bucks are in the 130”-150” class, with occasional buck in the 150”-160 range”, but must be patient and willing to sit behind spotting scope. $3,300 per person 2×1. Food and lodging is NOT included. Add a cow elk for $700.
Oregon hunting licenses/tags/permits are extra and will total approx. $1,000 for bull elk, $700 for cow elk, and $750 for mule deer.