Over the last 17 years this outfitter has amassed a remarkable harvest percentage of 94.8% on branch-antlered bull elk. At one point, his last 320 clients had taken 307 bull elk! That’s an impressive record! In 2015, he was 147 bulls for 149 clients! And you can choose dates from August to late November. His deer hunting is just as successful, maybe even more so, and no draw to worry about. In addition, his main lodge has some awesome trout fishing with several miles of water available, plus some ponds. Bring fishing poles!
This outfitter leased an additional 56,000 deeded acres of some of the finest habitat in the State of Colorado. This brings there total to 107,000 acres enrolled in Colorado’s RFW program.
Here is what the outfitter has to say.
“Great hunting, it has a combination of big canyons and rough country that a guy needs to walk to hunt. Add in ponds and lakes and where a person can set and wait for elk to come in. There are several parks that several hundred elk come into nightly. Butch, I’m telling you, it is as good as any place I’ve seen in 35 years. It’s scenic and is some of the best habitat anywhere. I ran a well known competing operation in this area for 20 years and it is not even in the same class as my place, and that operation now charges $10,000 for their elk hunts. They have a BIG lodge, but they shoot the same elk and the hunting there versus here is not even close. This place is considerably better. With three different type/style camps, we can accommodate about any hunters preferences, from a lodge 4×4 hunt, to the physical horseback-type thing. “
Please realize that he operates several RFW ranches. RFW ranches are NOT fenced, but are intensively managed under the control of biologists and the State of Colorado. By enrolling in the RFW program, the outfitter gets more flexibility as the landowner is allowed to set his own seasons and can directly issue licenses to clients. NO DRAW!
You will be hunting on private ranches northwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The elk herd in this area is reported to be 22,000 head. The herd goal set by the CPW is 12,000 animals, which is good news for hunters. TOO MANY ELK! Most bull elk here will be good 5x 5s and 6x 6s, and some exceptional elk in the 320-inch class and above are harvested every season.
Due to the outfitter’s commitment to wildlife, cover, water and food management, and complete control of the property borders and boundaries, there is an amazing number of trophy elk available to clients. He now controls a massive amount of quality habitat. He literally controls every elevation, so regardless of what time frame might best fit your needs, he can provide an excellent fair chase opportunity to enjoy North Central Colorado’s wildlife at its finest. His historical success rate is 90% on all species! The outfitter also has challenging but highly-successful archery hunts available.
He has three separate camps, consisting of a main camp and two outpost camps. One outpost camp is exactly that – a remote camp with 3 small cabins for sleeping, and a small cookhouse, plus a shower house. If you want remote, this is the place, but it books full very quickly! The other outpost camp has a 3-storey log lodge and all the modern conveniences, including a TV to watch the games. The main lodge likewise is well equipped and has some superb fishing too. Success at all 3 camps exceeds 90% and often pushes close to 100%!
To explain a bit further about the RFW program, you should understand that is has 3 distinct advantages:
1. You get guaranteed licenses for all species you contract to hunt for. No need to hassle with the draw here.
2. Your outfitter has the legal ability to set his own season dates, which in this case run August 30 – December 7
3. You get your choice of weapon. So you as a hunter may use any legal weapon during any time frame (e.g. rifle during September elk rut; bow or muzzleloader during November mule deer rut).
Due to these advantages, if it fits your schedule, you can in September do a rifle bugle hunt for elk, and his higher elevation properties are loaded with bugling bulls during that time frame!! But also realize that his virtual 100% success tells you that he has large herds of elk in all months, including October, November and December.
This gives you a lot of flexibility in managing your hunt schedule. And in the later hunts, be aware that the majority of elk in this region migrate directly through his ranches, on their way to their historic winter range. So even more elk appear! The point is that regardless of which time frame fits your personal preferences, he has the ability to provide an excellent opportunity for a successful and enjoyable trip.
If what you’re looking for is a fair chase hunt where game is plentiful, where the hunt is relaxing, and where you are almost assured of harvesting a trophy bull or buck, then these ranches are for you. Bulls here are heavy, mature branch-antlered bulls, but do not expect to kill giants. You will, however, see plenty of impressive bulls during a typical hunt.
Hunting is done primarily on foot, with 4WD vehicles, horses, and ATVs to move around the ranches. Elevations vary from around 6,000 to 8,500 feet, but because of the ranch roads, there isn’t a lot of climbing required.
REMEMBER: RANCHING FOR WILDLIFE (RFW) RANCHES ISSUE THEIR OWN TAGS (NO APPLICATION NEEDED) AND SET THEIR OWN SEASONS, SO YOU CAN RIFLE HUNT IN THE SEPTEMBER ELK RUT. OR CHOOSE A LATE HUNT! BUY TAGS UPON ARRIVAL! NO DRAW!
In addition to elk hunts, this outfitter offers trophy-class mule deer and antelope hunts, with the possibility of a multi-species hunt. Over the years, the outfitter has had an over 90% success rate with deer hunters. You will see a lot of deer on his hunts. And some of these are true trophy mulies in the 160- to 195-inch range, with some going over 200”! The outfitter only harvests mature bucks, and for many years these ranches have produced some of the largest bucks taken in northwest Colorado! The outfitter has limited openings each year and booking a year in advance is usually necessary.
Antelope: This outfit, because it is a Ranching for Wildlife operation, can simply sell its antelope hunts with no worries about whether a client will draw the tag. Since every State in the West has a draw system for antelope, this is a huge thing for hunters. Instead of collecting points for years, and waiting for years, you can simply buy this hunt and go! And the area has some excellent antelope. Success is normally 100% and you will take home a nice speed goat. Hunts are 3 days and include guiding, lodging and meals. Tips are extra.
2019 PRICING (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
September 2-6 – $6,950
September 8-12 – $6,950
October 12-16 – $6,950
Pilot Knob Camp
October 12-16 – $6,950
You can usually add a management deer to an elk hunt for an additional $2,500 (your guide will select the deer to be harvested), or add trophy antelope for $2,750.
MULE DEER: (FULL FOR 2019)
November 11-15 – Silver Level buck (see below for explanation) $3,500
ANTELOPE: Three day hunts that include guiding, meals and lodging.
$3,500 or $2,750 if packaged with an elk hunt.
EXPLANATION OF DEER PRICING:
Deer hunts are priced on a sliding point scale starting at $2,500 for a Bronze on up to $15,000 for Platinum. All are very limited availability, with Platinum at just 6 per year and which are booked 2-3 years in advance.
Bronze: These are management bucks scoring up to 150”. There are normally 20 per year available. These can be stand-along hunts or added to an elk hunt. Cost is $2,500, and your guide will select the buck. No upgrades are allowed.
Silver: They only sell 12 of these hunts yearly. Most bucks in this category have a B&C score in the 160 to 170 range. This hunt was designed to take advantage of the diverse age and genetic structure of the deer herd within the ranch, while satisfying the unique demands and goals of each individual client. It is the intent to structure a hunt to provide you an opportunity to harvest a mature buck, while allowing for both flexibility in both trophy quality and economics.
Silver hunts begin with a base cost of $3,500, which allows a buck up to 160 inches to be harvested at no additional cost. However, unlike the Bronze hunts, upgrades are allowed for bucks to 185”. Bucks that exceed the 160” standard may be harvested at the hunter’s discretion, for an additional fee of $250 per inch over the 160” standard. Thus, for example, a gross 170” deer will have 10 extra inches @ $250/inch, total $2,500 plus the $3,500 base fee. This simply allows the hunter to make the harvest decision based on their individual situation.
The main goal on this hunt is to harvest ONLY mature bucks that they feel have reached their maximum potential but that have not nor will ever reach the standards of their Platinum hunts. NO BUCKS WILL BE HARVESTED ON THIS HUNT THAT THE GUIDE FEELS: (a) HAS PLATINUM POTENTIAL (b) SCORES OVER 180”, OR (c) HAS NOT REACHED AN ACCEPTABLE AGE. All scores will be based on gross score.
Platinum: Only 6 of these hunts are available yearly and the waiting list is usually 2 to 3 years long. Deer average over 190”. Pricing is currently at $15,000 for deer in the 180 to 200 and over class!
If you are looking for an incredible deer, a Platinum hunt is the one for you, but the Bronze and Silver hunts offer some great opportunity to put a nice buck on the wall at a reasonable price.
REMEMBER: RFW RANCHES (RANCHING FOR WILDLIFE ranches)- issue their own tags (no app needed) — AND CHOOSE THEIR OWN SEASONS- SO YOU CAN RIFLE HUNT IN THE SEPT RUT! OR BOW HUNT- OR BOTH.
LICENSES: Issued at the ranch. A Colorado bull elk license is currently $644, deer $389, and antelope $389. Hunts are all five days long.
TIPPING: This outfitter is trying to simplify tipping. You want top notch guides, and low tipping means the good ones leave! So it is to everyone’s benefit to avoid this problem. Same thing for cook staff – you want to keep the good ones. So he started a mandatory “TIP POOL”. You must pay $400 into the pool on arrival at camp. MUST DO, and it benefits all clients who follow you. And when you return the following year, you will have quality friends in camp and quality guides as well. This covers all staff and guides.
LODGING: Ranches are equipped with hot running water, electricity, beds and most modern conveniences. Meals are served daily and are some of the finest western cuisine available. The only equipment the hunter must provide is rifle, ammunition, sleeping bag and clothing.