WYOMING/IDAHO ELK, MULE DEER & BEAR WY #91
This outfitter and his guides are “some of the hardest working, most likeable people we have ever met” says Butch. Butch hunted mule deer with them in 2010 and Joan did a very successful lion hunt with them. Butch drew a Shiras Moose tag and took a nice bull moose with them in 2011. We have since sent numerous clients to them on hunts for elk, deer, moose and lion all with great reviews and good success. This is a tested and proven outfitter.
He hunts along the Wyoming/Idaho border and is licensed in both states. This far western area of Wyoming/Idaho sits about an hour south of Jackson Hole and is in some of the very best mule deer habitat in both States, even in the country. Deer in the 190-inch and up class come from here every year and the chance for 200-class bruiser is very real in this region. (Region G). Eastman’s Hunting Magazine touts this as the home of “Popeye”, a 230-inch class muley they took pictures of on his winter grounds. A 250-inch class monster was taken in this area in 2011. A 240-inch buck was also taken in 2012. This does not mean there are huge bucks on every mountain, but they are there! Not a ton of deer, but some giants if you are fit, work hard and are a little bit lucky. Hunts are at high altitude, from 8,000 up to 10,000 feet plus. Horses are used extensively. You need to get in shape for this hunt. The rewards for your hard work could be a true wall-hanger. You’ll find some good bull elk on both sides of the state line, too. We really like the Idaho elk hunts, although our Wyoming elk clients have done very well also. He also does drop camps.
Client Comments 10/17/17- Hi Brian. Just finished my Wyoming Region G Mule Deer Hunt #91 with this outfitter. I honestly have to say, you hooked me up with an outstanding outfitter. Ryan and Faylene couldn’t do enough for me and my 1×1 guide Brandon worked his tail off. I managed to harvest a nice representative 4×4 on day three. Not a lot of bucks to be found but I think the hard winter of 2016 had an impact on this year and for years to come. As you know, I am signed up for a Newfoundland Moose hunt September 2018. For 2019 I would like to return to this outfitter for an Idaho Archery Elk hunt 1×1 in his best Idaho unit on opening day. I didn’t see any elk on the Wyoming side but heard good reports about the Idaho side. In additional, possibly cat hunt for 2020. Thanks for setting me up with this outfitter and will hunt with them again. I will be happy to submit a trip report in the near future. Best Regards, Denny
His archery elk hunts usually produce 75% to 85% shooting! Bulls average 260 to 310 and will be mature 5X5’s and 6X6’s.
MULE DEER HUNTS
HUNTS: WYOMING SIDE: His success rate can vary with the severity of the winters, but currently deer are on the upswing. In 2012 this outfitter had a nearly 100% success rate with rifle on His Wyoming hunts, and a majority of his muleys were over 180-inches. The best was an impressive 204 incher! And in 2014 his hunts again produced some 180 to 190 inch deer. Region G is famous for its giants!
The outfitter has both guided hunts and drop camp hunts, and in both states, so you have a choice. In either case, you’ll horseback into different areas from several different trailheads. You will hunt the high country. Get in shape! Elevations can be as high as 10,000 feet and you’ll do a lot of walking and careful glassing, plus do some easy and some rough horse-back riding. You likely will have to lead your horse in some spots, but they have good horseflesh that rides well.
On fully guided, five -day hunts in Wyoming, you start from the trail head each morning, ride out, hunt all day and return to the comfort of the deluxe log cabin lodge for a home-cooked meal and hot shower. The lodge has all the amenities- pool table, satellite TV, and Internet access. On drop camp hunts, you stay in tents. Applications deer hunts are due by May 31st, with results around June 21.. Ask for help if you need it. The gun deer season usually starts Sept 15 in most of Region G, and runs for 3 weeks. One of the units within G has a 2 week gun season starting Oct 1. Bow is usually the month of September. This is one of the premiere muley units in the West, with the possibility of tagging a once-in-a-lifetime monster! Deer season is normally over when elk season opens on the Wyoming side, so only under a few specialized circumstances (check with us) can you do a combo hunt. You’ll have a genuine chance here to kill bucks in the 170- to mid-190-inch class. The Wyoming side in Region G is a tough draw for tags; points help (4 or 5). Talk to us if interested. License applications are due by March 15. Preference points are only $40 for deer, $50 for elk, and you are NOT forced to buy a license first! Points can be used state-wide.
DEER HUNTS-IDAHO SIDE: IDAHO SIDE IS WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE! He has two areas he hunts. One is over the counter for mule deer ( Area76). He kills some very good deer in this over the counter unit! He was 100% kill in 2015 in this deer unit!! AND- his pricing on this Unit 76 deer hunt is a real steal! In fact in Oct 2016 we had a father/son do thishunt, taking a mid 160” and another pushing 180! And at a bargain price for mulies of that size.
Here are the pix of their two 2016 bucks:
In the other unit he gets one or two allocated and guaranteed outfitter tags (78). There’s some exceptional elk hunting in these units too, and a deer/elk combo is possible. Hunts in these Idaho units are from a tent camp or from his extremely nice lodge. Horses are used, but some travel is by 4WD. Either way, expect to do hours of glassing. The Idaho hunt is a bit easier than his hunts on the Wyoming side. You have a legitimate chance of taking a buck in the 160- to 190-inch range on these hunts. The Idaho hunt dates for deer run from around Oct. 10 to late October during the pre-rut.
If you live at low elevations and think you might be prone to altitude sickness, get a prescription for Diamox and start taking it a couple days before your hunt. It could prevent a serious problem and make for a more enjoyable adventure.
On unguided drop-camp hunts, the outfitter will take your group into the mountains, drop you and your gear and food. You are responsible for setting up camp. The outfitter knows the country like the back of his hand and will pre-scout to make sure you are in good game country. However, you’ll be on foot, so be in good shape for the best chance for success. There’ll be plenty of ups and down, but stay high and glass for hours. The more terrain you can view the more likely it is to spot game. On these drop hunts, you can stay as long as you wish. However, be aware that if weather turns warm and game can spoil. You may have to climb to find cell reception to call out for an extra pickup. A little advance planning helps. They will allow you up to eight horses to use as you see fit to pack in and out. Example: use four for riding; four for packing game. This is a great option for the budget-minded hunter. Hunt for trophy deer without spending a lot of money, but you will earn them. There is a list of places to rent gear at bottom of this write-up.
WYOMING ELK HUNTS: Wyoming elk hunts are based from their new log lodge. You’ll drive to the trailhead early each morning and horseback in daily. This gives hunters range and flexibility in that if an area is not producing then making a move to different area is easy. This is a super outfitter with good horseback hunts at a reasonable price. The outfitter’s guided elk hunts are a bargain. These guys will work their tails off for you, too!
Elk hunting requires a Wyoming general license either sex tag that you need to apply for by Jan 31. The draw odds are about 50% with the higher price special license ($1071) without any points. With a preference point or a portion of a point (maybe your buddy has one) your odds approach 100% for drawing on the Special license rate. The lower priced regular license will reduce your odds to under 20%. But again, if you have points, your draw odds will zoom – even on the regular priced license. For example, in 2016, with 2 points, your odds were 100! Lesson is buy the points between July 1 and Oct 31, on line. There is also a second type of limited quota elk tag (Area 91) for the outfitter’s area. Some of these areas can be accessed by ATV’s for you who are non-horseback hunters.
Here is his comment on the ELK season: “Butch and Brian everything is still the same as far as prices. We are really pushing our archery elk hunts both in Wyoming and in our pack in Idaho camp. The Idaho is the over the counter area and we were 90% shooting opportunity at 5 and 6 point bulls under 40 yds Archery this year in Wyoming we had 3 hunters 2 of the 3 shot bulls that were not recovered. This hunt is from the lodge. Idaho is a camp hunt an hour and 45 minutes ride in. We had 7 hunters in camp this year all but one had shots at bulls all shots under 50 yds, Killed two bulls in the 280 class. had several bulls in the 300 class that were missed.
He has two openers for his two different Wyoming elk areas. The first hunt opens on October 1. This is a smaller geographical unit but with good success and he can generally bring the bulls in with a bugle or cow call. This elk hunt is conducted on horseback but there is some access on ATV. This is a lottery tag that you apply for in January. Hunter guide ratio is 2 on 1. In the past he has averaged about 80% harvest on 5 and 6 point bulls which fall in the 280 to 320 class.
The second Wyoming elk area has an opener of October 15th. This is a much larger area and also is conducted on horses, and some area available with an ATV. This hunt is also a 2 hunter to one guide ratio. And it is also a tag you must apply for and draw. Bulls also range in the 280-320 class. Both hunts are based out of his lodge and they truck and trailer to various trailheads. Shots on this hunt can be from 50 feet to 500 yards. Again the better you know your weapon and limitations the better.
Again we can assist you with applications and with leftover tags as well. This outfitter hunts some rough country, with good elk populations, but you generally must work for them. But sometimes it is easy, as last year two of our clients killed bulls less then a ¼ mile from the lodge! Season is Oct 1 to 31. The early hunts in October often have some bugling still. And the tag is an any elk tag- even cows.
ELK HUNTS – IDAHO
The outfitter offers three different elk hunts in Idaho. The first area is a very hard to draw and is home to outstanding branched-antlered bulls that consistently score exceptionally high. This is controlled hunt Area 66A. There are only 200 bull tags available. The outfitter gets 4 outfitter allocated tags (no draw) – for this area but you need to book this a year in advance! Even average bulls will score in the 300-inch plus class range. Shot opportunity at 40 yards or less is normally 75-100%
The second Idaho elk area (78) is an over-the-counter open bull area, which also has good elk numbers. This area produces solid 5- and 6-point bulls every year in the 260- to 300-inch class. You drive into the tent camp, which has all the modern-day amenities. Hunting is on horseback. Both of these Idaho areas can be combined with a mule deer hunt. In the first area, you can purchase a deer tag over-the-counter and the second area is on a lottery draw. Shot opportunity averages around 75% at 40 yards or less.
His Idaho hunts for area 78 are over the counter rifle and bow tags and that area has his most reasonably priced hunts. He will also do drop camps in both states if you want DIY. Area 78 is over the counter and Area 76 is archery over the counter tags. Note well that his archery 76 area becomes his premier Area 66A rifle hunt @ $5550- same area- diff # for rifle. Hint- do bow here!! It may be possible to add on deer- check with us on that!
The third Idaho elk area (76) is a sleeper, in our opinion. Shot opportunity runs 75% to 100% over the last few years! And bulls can exceed 300 class, with most in the 260 to 290 range. You will horseback in a couple of hours, then stay in tent camp. You may well hear bugling bulls from camp!
ON THE IDAHO ELK HUNTS they tend to take place on slightly EASIER TERRAIN, but are still no cake walk. You are in mountains at 5,000 to 8,000 feet, so be in reasonable shape.
DROP CAMPS: The Elk and deer drop camps are in the areas described above in Wyoming. The drops are a very reasonably priced way to get a good wilderness hunt for small cash- but you will work hard as you will be ON FOOT during the actual hunt, unless you arrange to keep horses. Still, be fit and you can get a Wyoming elk or deer hunt cheaply, with horses to pack you in and out! You need your own food and equipment. You can rent equipment from REI in Denver or via email and have it delivered. This is a very good, very solid hunt for those who are fit! In 2011 some guys we spoke with said they were covered up in elk.
COW ELK: Check with us for latest success rates. You will need an Area 91 tag or an unused General tag. He will run the late cow hunts from mid-Dec to late Jan. Two days at the lodge, fully guided, with meals, lodging and game retrieval. Use ATV’s and snowmobiles ONLY $1200! Do 2 cows for one hunter for only $1500!! Success lately has varied from winter to winter, so ask us first.
MOOSE HUNTS: Butch took a good Shiras moose here in 2011. Lots of moose in his Wyoming Unit 23 area and in 3 units on his Idaho side! If you want a good moose, with almost 100% success, then please talk to us about applying to draw a tag. This area- both states — normally produces a trophy Shiras bull in 2 to 3 days! And with all his cat hunting, elk guiding, deer guiding etc- he knows the area intimately. His moose areas in Idaho are 76, 78 & 72. Bulls range from about 35” up to close to 50”, and somewhere in the 40” to 45” range is doable, with patience, a bit of luck and decent weather. If you opt to pay for some flying and want to hunt late on the Idaho side (black moose stand out against the snow); then the general area of a big bull can be located. You then wait a day and head into his general area.
This Outfitter does just about everything well- and that includes his bear hunts. Here is his fall report:
“I do have some spring bear openings left for lodge based hunts – over bait or with dogs – 5 days with meals and lodging for $3000. We were 95% on color bears the last week in may/ first week of June this year. 2 on 1 hunts. We have been 90% opportunity with 80% harvest over a 5 year average. Most bears are between the 5’10” and the 6’6” range – and we have harvested one or two bears a year over the 7 ft. mark.”
NOTE WELL: This entire area also has some superb trout fishing, both guided and unguided – just ask us for help!
Mountain Lion Hunts
One of our Favorites! These hunts take place in December thru February. They are conducted with use of 4 x 4’s, ATV’s, UTV’s, and snow machines. You stay either in Motels or at the lodge. This hunt is a one on one hunt with multiple packs of hounds and Houndsmen to accommodate multiple hunters.
In the past 8 years we have had 95% success with our Hunt Nation clients. This is a very exciting hunt with the use of plenty of top notch and very experienced hounds and houndsmen. Top physical shape is a plus; but average guys who prepare in advance will do fine. You should be able to cover a mile pretty quickly as a rough guideline. And this is high country so please get in decent shape. Cats can tree close to a road, or very deep in the wilderness.
Butch’s wife Joan, at 68 and a grandmother, did a 4 hour marathon to killher lion deep in the wilderness where no machines were legal! It just takes guts and fortitude. And the experience willnever be forgotten. Joan’s hunt was not a typical hunt, they usually are easier- but it is good to be ready. . You will see lots of deer, elk, antelope, moose, mountain goats, and mountain sheep on their winter range while looking for these cats. Then when the fresh track is located the race IS ON!
This outfitter does everything well and that includes his bear hunts. “I do have some 5-day, 2 x 1 hunts spring bear hunts left. They’re lodge-based hunts, over bait or with dogs, with meals and lodging for $3000. We were 95% on color bears the last week in May/ first week of June this year. We have been 90% opportunity with 80% harvest over a 5 year average. Most bears are between 5’10” and 6’6” range and we have harvested one or two bears a year over the 7 ft. mark.”
|Antelope||$1500 area 88,89,91|
|Drop Camp||Starting at $1000 per person|
|Elk Area 66A Allocated outfitter tag *trophy hunt||$7500|
|Elk Area 78 Over the counter tags||$3300|
|Elk Area 76 Archery- o/ctr tag- and he has allocated tags||$4500|
|Mule Deer Area 76 Over the counter tags||$3500|
|*Trophy Hunt* Mule Deer Area 78 Allocated tags||$5500|
Drop camp hunts– Elk or Mule Deer: Additional horses $250 each. Price is to bring everything in – and everything back out. Maximum gear weight per horse is 150 lbs! Remember your game takes up extra horses unless you walk out.
PLACES TO RENT CAMP GEAR: www.lowergear.com; (they UPS stuff in early for pickup.) You clean it basically —and then you UPS it back TO THEM. Sounds handy!!.
Another good source for folks driving/flying thru Denver: http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html#colorado. REI has lots of basic gear from back pack tents to sleeping bags and stoves. Pick up and return to Store in Denver. Pretty convenient!!
DIRECTIONS: Fly to either Jackson Hole, WY or to Idaho Falls, ID. Both are about an hour away or so. Pickup may be possible, depending on availability. You must pay extra for pickup, or rent a car.
CALL US AT: 1-307-637-5495
PLEASE CALL FOR LICENSE APPLICATION DETAILS AND TO RESERVE HUNT DATES!