Wyoming Wilderness Elk and Mule Deer #218

Wyoming Wilderness Elk and Mule Deer #218

Hunt one of the most remote wilderness areas in the lower 48!! Horseback, wall tent hunt.

WE love hunting bull elk with rifle when they are vocal and screaming. But very few states have rifle seasons during the September bugle, and those that do — tend to be remote wilderness areas (Bob Marshall and the Selway for example). Those two areas  DO NOT typically have success rates above 35%. The Bob Marshall and Selway frequently show 20-30% success- not good enough for us. This Wyoming outfitter in this Thorofare area has been consistently running between 70% and 85% over the last 6-7 years or more!!  And his elk herd in this SE corner of Yellowstone is steady in population.

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Also, IF YOU HAVE AT LEAST 5 PREFERENCE POINTS FOR ELK AND APPLY AT THE MORE EXPENSIVE SPECIAL LICENSE LEVEL, YOU SHOULD BE GUARANTEED TO DRAW! For a REGULAR license you will need 5 or 6 points to draw (but there’s always a chance of drawing without any points in the random draw!). We can help you. Deadline to purchase points (just $50) is October 31 of the year BEFORE your hunt. Elk application are due at end of January!).
You will rifle hunt here during the bugle season – not even legal in most States! It sure helps when a big bull screams at you, “Hey, I’m over here!”, and you have a 300-yard rifle in your hands. Puts a smile on your face quick! Great hunting for bowhunters as well; these bulls can be very aggressive.

This guide area borders southeastern Yellowstone National Park. This is the famed Thorofare Area, so named by Teddy Roosevelt for the heavy animal traffic he saw there. Some big mulies here too, and they are rarely hunted seriously! And in Region F, leftover deer tags are sometimes available to buy in July.

Hunt Nation founder Butch Manasse’s wife Joan did a solo hunt here about 15 or more years ago. She took a nice 6×6 bull, and 4 of the other hunters in camp also tagged bulls. This is the classic elk hunt: wilderness; horseback; wall tents; mountains and meadows; wranglers; camp cook; all during the prime bugle season, and you can hunt with a rifle or bow. Very hard to find in the Lower 48 with this type of high success! And this area is generally considered to be the very best General tag elk area in the State. Butch did this hunt when he was 71 and Senior Consultant Brian Stecklein from our Wyoming office did it too – we know this hunt! Been booking hunters into this camp for almost 20 years.

You will have an adventure you will never forget, and many are the clients who have said: “Even if we hadn’t killed bulls, it would have been worth the price of admission just to experience that incredible wilderness!”

And you can draw this tag every third year or so, provided you continue to purchase elk preference points online each year between July 1 and October 31 for just $50! It’s a good idea to buy a deer point too ($40). Your draw odds really spike with a point or two! Don’t forget, however, that there is also a random draw for those with zero points, with draw odds sometimes as high as 25%.

Now throw into the mix the fact that the odds to draw a GENERAL ELK LICENSE HAVE BEEN close to 100% ON THE HIGH PRICE TAGS! (Special License is $1071.) In 2014 only 391 hunters applied at the high price for the 386 licenses! That is almost 99% odds of drawing. In other words- you almost certainly will draw the tag!

Also realize that in Wyoming, once you draw your rifle tag, you can go to Walmart, buy an archery tag, and hunt both the bow and rifle seasons! Also that General tag is good in about 60% of the units in Wyoming.
There are of course wolf/grizzly depredation problems in some areas of Yellowstone. The western and northwestern areas have been devastated, to the point we will no longer book for some very good outfitters over there because in those areas the success rates have fallen below 30%. That is around the Gardiner area. But this outfitter’s area is in the southeast corner of the park, and it has been holding up well, and his success is consistent, unless snow hampers movement. You may see grizzlies and some wolf tracks, but populations are stable and hunting remains challenging but good. And wolf is now legal.

Client report:
“Hey, Butch and Brian: We just got back from the hunt in Gillette for antelope with the outfitter you booked us with – and then into the Thorofare with your outfitter there – both awesome. Everyone got elk, antelope and all but 1 got deer. A great trip and we will refer our friends to you. Thanks for your help in putting both hunts together.”Wayne P.

Client report:

“Hey Butch and Brian:  we just got back from the hunt in Gillette for antelope with the outfitter you booked us with — and in the Throughfare with your outfitter there– . everyone got elk, antelope and all but 1 got deer .. a great trip and we will refer our friends to you .. thanks for your help in putting both hunts togetherwayne perkins”

Hunts are 2 hunters per guide, with no more than 4-6 hunters normally in camp, so expect personalized attention. One-on-one hunts are available too. We can help with your elk applications – January 31 deadline! Mule deer have the same season as elk but a different application time. If you wish to do a combo, apply for ELK FIRST then, if you draw elk, apply for the deer. BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT ELK APPLICATIONS MUST BE FILED BY JANUARY 31, DEER BY MAY 31, BUT ELK DRAW RESULTS ARE NOT RELEASED UNTIL EARLY MAY, SO THE TIME WINDOW IS TIGHT!

This operation has been consistently around 80% on shooting opportunity on mature bull elk, but weather can always be a factor! That is about as good as anyone can expect any outfitter to do on wilderness elk. It is up to the clients to do their part by shooting quickly and accurately. You must be ready at all times – scope turned to low power, your moves memorized so you grab the gun and get on target fast! Many hunters shoot fine on the range, but never practiced the moves to get ready to shoot. So they lose the chance by not being prepared. Also, often success slips by due to missing and wounding or because clients just give up. This is high mountain country, and the autumn weather is very unpredictable. Hunting at higher elevations and over a variety of terrain can be a real challenge. You can have 70 degrees and sunny, and that afternoon get a foot of snow! To help prepare yourself, please be in at least good physical condition and able to walk a few miles at high elevations under these conditions. Call it about a 7 out of 10 in terms of physical requirements.

Practice shooting your rifle and have it sighted in for at least 200 yards, and know where it shoots at 300 yards! Bring shooting sticks or a bipod – you just can’t afford to miss. You might only get one chance at that giant! High quality, deep penetrating bullets are a must on 600-800 pound animals. Shots can be point blank or out to 450 yards. Be ready, practice off a back pack, bipod or shooting sticks, not just a bench. AND PRACTICE OFF-HAND – A FAST 100-YARD SHOT CAN HAPPEN IN AN INSTANT. Also make sure your clothes and boots are broken in and comfortable, and water-proof them if possible.

Now another plus: there are some good mulies here. Perhaps not as many as years ago, but still enough to be worthwhile hunting, and the wilderness experience here is the best you can find. His last hunt of the season is usually the best for migrating deer, but they can show up anytime. We like the deer-only hunts for very solid success at a very reasonable price, and with a grand adventure to boot. We do not consider his deer hunts to be big trophy hunts (although it can easily happen). Most deer taken are representative 4x4s in the 155”-175” class, with a chance of much larger. But the wilderness experience is beyond almost anywhere else we know of. Please understand that these muley hunts are very weather-dependent. Get the right weather to start the migration, and you can see a bunch of deer and up your odds on a true trophy. Otherwise, you hunt the resident deer.

If you’ve never hunted in the remote Wyoming mountains, you are in for a special treat. This area offers spectacular scenery and wildlife just outside of Yellowstone National Park. The main creek is a tributary of Thorofare Creek. As the photos below show, you are in the true wilderness, with scenic vistas and truly wild animals – this is an adventure worthy of a book! We do suggest you do some horseback riding in advance. You will go in about 20 miles, so figure about 7-8 hours in the saddle. You can get off and walk a bit if you get stiff (you can walk almost as fast as a horse for short distances). Be realistic with yourself and, if unsure, just phone us and discuss it with us. We have done the trip so can give you an honest opinion about your physical condition for the trip.

As with most remote mountainous areas in Wyoming, there’s always a possibility of grizzly bears being around, so please don’t attempt sneaking snacks or treats into your tent without the outfitter knowing. This could put you and others at an unnecessary risk. A bear’s nose is 2,000 times that of a human, while a blood hound’s is only 300 times that of a human. Bear spray is therefore incredibly effective due to that high sensitivity. Bears can find kills at 10 miles and more! We also urge buying the strongest bear spray you can find (forget the cheap stuff). Note that airlines do not allow transport of such sprays, but you can buy it in Cody at a sporting goods store. Some grizzlies have been known to be aggressive. Odds of a serious problem are about equal to getting hit by lightning, but take some precautions. We think this adds to the adventure, and a griz sighting always fires up the camp. Actual charges are rare. But always keep your gun close, and always partner up with someone watching, especially if a bull is down and you are focused on cleaning it or taking pictures. The odds of a real problem are slight, but it pays to be aware. We actually relish the additional challenge. This is the real McCoy! You will see and be into bulls, riding horses through gorgeous mountain scenery; night time campfires too. This is the classic horseback wilderness elk hunt we all dreamed of as kids. Make Jack O’Connor proud!

2024 PRICES (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
Elk: $9,000 per person 2×1, plus 3% Forest Service fee

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  PHONE: 1-307-637-5495  Email: info@hunt-nation.com