Planning a Dream Hunt for Mule Deer or Elk for the First Time!

amedeo1227

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Storytime:
After a long time of getting significant projects behind me, and life milestones, I have one final battle. Build a house. Once that is complete, I want to go on a dream hunt. Think of it as a gift to myself for building my wife her dream house. While this is going underway, I want to plan out a dream hunt.

Reason for Thread:
I grew up hunting in Louisiana, where I currently live. I want to go on a Mule Deer or Elk hunt out of state. I guess I will use a guide? I don't know. And, to be honest, I know this is where it gets complicated. Correct me if I'm wrong, but:
you can go unguided on public land
you can go guided on public land
guided on private land
semi guided on private
blah blah blah

At first i wanted to go Archery on Public, which I may do. However, after thinking, maybe guided rifle somewhere. What I do know is, I don't know much about what Im getting into, and I know I need help.

So any advice from people who would "do it all over again" or "if I were you" or "this if how you should do it the first time" would be appreciated.
I do want to have a high probability of success, and if I'm going to spend $4k, I might as well spend $6k, ya know. I realize there are demising returns on investment, and I do not wish to piss money away - just because.

Looking forward to capitalizing off of other's hard work and mistake! lol Seriously, any help would be appreciated.
thanks,
Mike

@rfurman24

 

FURMAN

LRO Rifle and Gear Review Editor
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This will be a discussion more than advise to start. I will start by saying you can hunt out west every year on public land with the appropriate tags. Are you wanting to get started on diy hunts every few years or just a one and done once in a lifetime hunt?
 

Broz

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What are you expectations for a Bull Elk? Would a 5x5 with the hope of a 6x6 fulfill your expectations? What about a Mule Deer? Would a 145 to 150" Buck be of interest?

For reference, a guided Bull Elk hunt with accommodations and meals here in Montana start at $5500 to $6K and go up. That is with a repeatable outfitter.
 

Gillettehunter

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I'm currently in Shreveport, La. Be there until around Jan 1. Grew up in Id and been in WY for 34 yrs. If your close lets get together and I'll make a few suggestions.
Bruce
 

amedeo1227

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What are you expectations for a Bull Elk? Would a 5x5 with the hope of a 6x6 fulfill your expectations? What about a Mule Deer? Would a 145 to 150" Buck be of interest?

For reference, a guided Bull Elk hunt with accommodations and meals here in Montana start at $5500 to $6K and go up. That is with a repeatable outfitter.
Yeah, that sounds awesome. Im not on TV, and I dont care if someone has a bigger one than mine hanging on the wall. I would be ecstatic with any of those you mentioned.
 

amedeo1227

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So, what about tags? Is it possible to get a rifle tag in these states or do I need to put in for years before you get picked?
 

RBanta66

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So 2016 was my second year driving to Colorado from Virginia. Here's the bull I killed on that trip. This was a second season over the counter tag. It is absolutely possible to harvest animals on over the counter tags. Failure WILL happen wrap your head around that and the success you have is even sweeter. I even did my own euro mount that now hangs on my wall
d6714d29b55038a91908cbdda787b8a4.jpg
cb415405b78f126651bb5496b3535998.jpg


Sent from my moto z4 using Tapatalk
 

willfrye027

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I’m not an elk hunter but here’s my .2c on deer. If you NEED a nice deer to be happy with the experience, then go with a guide. By nice I mean a 4pt buck that’s not a dink…140in or better.

If you just want an epic adventure, to see beautiful country and lots of animals…and would be happy taking home any buck, then Take 2 weeks off and drive out west. Personally the adventure of DIY matters more to me than the size of the animal at the end of the day, but I totally understand if it’s a bucket list thing and youre looking for a wall hanger deer to show for the efforts.

For DIY there’s a bunch of states that will fit the bill. If you can plan it a year or two out, you can get a preference point in and open up more units/opportunities. The research can seem overwhelming but it really is as simple as picking a unit with good success (I’d say 40% or higher), good amount of public land, and somewhere you wouldn’t mind driving to. No reason to drive through a bunch of deer country on the way to something else. It does not take a whole lot to find success on public land, but finding a big deer is one of the more challenging hunts in the west.
 

AXEFORCE6

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I did an archery elk hunt in New Mexico in 2019. Please take my advice. Research as much as you can. Check forums. Don’t be shy to ask around about the outfitter. I got burnt on that hunt and learned a lot. If the outfitter is newer and doesn’t have a lot of reviews or next to no references please do yourself a favor and just move on. Doesn’t matter what pictures they can produce to sell you on the hunt. Sometimes an outfitter can loose their right to have a license and will have their son open an outfitter fyi.

 

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