PDA

View Full Version : Advice on DIY hunt



Josh7277
08-12-2013, 11:15 AM
Hi all me and my brothers are planing an elk/mule deer DIY backpack hunt in Montana. We're new to Montana and wondering if y'all had any advice on areas to look into or just point us into the right direction. Thanks for your time.

tdub24
08-12-2013, 02:26 PM
Right direction............................N of Wyoming, E of Idaho, W of North Dakota. That is where you will find Montana.

Welcome to the forum.

mattdeere
08-12-2013, 03:56 PM
Are you planning on Archery or Rifle?

Josh7277
08-12-2013, 05:03 PM
thanks for the imput tdub and were planning a rifle hunt. not looking for a trophy just a good time and meat for the freezer

tdub24
08-13-2013, 10:26 AM
LOL, on a serious note, the best way to find a place to hunt is study some maps and pick an area with alot of public land and start hoofing it. Basically just pick a mountain and start walking. I was able to do this in Idaho in 2008, came home with a 6 point bull. Didn't have a clue what I was doing, but found elk just the same.

Not too many folks on this forum are going to just come out and tell first time posters where to go and hunt without seeing them contribute to other threads. It gives the impression that you signed up to the thread just for a handout, IMO.

Best of luck!

Josh7277
08-13-2013, 04:32 PM
isnt that the reason you post on here to get information from a more knowledgeable and a older generation. you know i try to do things the right way and ask and learn and recieve info how to get started because im new to this type of hunting and i want to start off on the right foot so i want to learn a thing or two from the people that know best but Its no wonder my generation gives hunters such a bad name and doesnt know anything about hunting because people like you will let the awesome herritage die with them because they could came less about passing on information because they are so worried some else my kill an animal. so if you dont have anything helpful or informationable why post at all?

In God We Trust
08-13-2013, 05:07 PM
tdub is right, most of us on here have learned areas the hard way. It is best to call the Game & Fish and talk to a few biologists about starting points. From there pour over maps and google earth for good looking elk country. Montana has a good walk in access program. Try to find public land that borders private property and hunt the border area. Once you narrow down an area ask about said area on the forum. Guys are leery of people with just a few posts on here because as soon as they get the info they need they bail and don't help other guys out.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-13-2013, 06:34 PM
isnt that the reason you post on here to get information from a more knowledgeable and a older generation. you know i try to do things the right way and ask and learn and recieve info how to get started because im new to this type of hunting and i want to start off on the right foot so i want to learn a thing or two from the people that know best but Its no wonder my generation gives hunters such a bad name and doesnt know anything about hunting because people like you will let the awesome herritage die with them because they could came less about passing on information because they are so worried some else my kill an animal. so if you dont have anything helpful or informationable why post at all?

Might want to change your tone, partner.

I love giving advice to new hunters. That sometimes includes general areas to hunt. Unfortunately some of us "older generation" worked really hard for our spots, and after letting a spot or two slip, saw the demise of those areas. It isn't personal.

Take a look around there is a bunch of good info for a new deer hunter in MT. I might help you out myself if you stick around and join the group, and let us get to know you.

WapitiBob
08-13-2013, 06:45 PM
A few years ago I posted up a blog on another site and outlined from start to finish how I go thru the process of data gathering, Internet scouting, and went thru the hunt. I already had the unit but if you read that blog it will show you one way to drill down areas in an unknown state.
As far as finding a unit, draw and harvest stats will be a benefit as well as the different game bios.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/dcforum/DCForumID50/12.html#.UgrQJKa9LCQ

hvfd21walker
08-13-2013, 07:02 PM
Yes if you want help you really shouldn't have an attitude. We do help each other out on this forum. But like everyone else has said we don't know you from adam to eve. We have put tons of time into scouting. You cant expect to jump on here and get a spot. Stick around do some digging and be polite. Welcome to the forum. It is a great place for info.

Old Hunter
08-13-2013, 07:09 PM
In 62 years of hunting. I've never asked where I should hunt. I consider that part of hunting, and I don't want someone else doing it for me.

It's better to spend your time learning how to hunt, then asking about it.

Ilovethewest
08-13-2013, 08:48 PM
ya your tone was a tad bit......whiney. I have numerous hunts planned in numerous states. I have asked and received information from many of the good people on this site. But I don't ever remember asking "where should I go hunt"...........I spend countless hours on Google Earth, game and fish sites, calling biologists and wardens........and talking to other people on hunting websites. You can go look at BLM maps to find areas with lots of public lands, look at data success rates for past years........I mean, I start planning for the next years hunt as soon as the current hunt ends.

I think you need to take a step back, and re-evaluate what you are getting into. This is not eastern hunting. I would first suggest picking a species to hunt (on your first western hunt I suggest hunting Antelope).......pick at state to hunt...........then call their Game and Fish dept. That is the place start. Once you get a few ideas from them, check them out yourself. Buy maps. get on google earth. Print off success rates. once you get an idea on where you want to go, call the local warden. How easy is the access? Do a lot of guys hunt there? Then..........start asking other people for advice. use questions like.........I am looking into a hunt in SE Montana, I have a few spots picked out, but does anyone have any advice or suggestions??

I spoke to several good people on here who have helped me with advice on hunts. But I would like to think that people see me as a knowledgeable western hunter who has done his homework, but is just looking to add more info to my stack of info I gathered. And that is why I think I have had success with garnering info. and I also give out info to anyone who has helped me any chance I get.

I wish you luck and I hope you get into the western hunting! It is a lot of fun. But I think you have a long way to go before your ready for a hunt.

Good Luck!!!!!!!! =:)

NDHunter
08-13-2013, 09:14 PM
Basically what everyone else said.

I've had a few people brand new to this forum send me a pm about an antelope unit in Wyoming that I've hunted in the past. I've given them the benefit of the doubt and sent them back a multi-paragraph reply with a lot of helpful info and never even got so much as a thank you back. Not all guys have done this a few have.

There is so much information in previous threads not just about Montana but all states that if you just put in a few hours looking at those threads, you will get plenty of info to get some ideas on where to go. Then it will be up to yourself and your brothers to do the research of calling biologists, game wardens, etc.

Ilovethewest
08-13-2013, 09:16 PM
I hope I didn't sound harsh............I will tell you a story. My family has been hunting the "west" and mostly Wyoming, since the 50's. My late grandfather shot 33 elk in his life, with the biggest a 360" public land bull. all DIY, no guides. I think when he shot it in the early 60's it was pretty high up in the record books, but he never scored it until decades later. a shame....

anyways, I missed most of the hunts. I went as a young kid riding along on eastern Wyoming hunts. as for now, Most of the ranches we had hunted are now bought up by outfitters. I was able to harvest my first deer in Wyoming (my dad let me shoot the gun and fill his doe tag)....and I shot a mule deer doe, my first deer! That is saying something since I am from Wisconsin. Not too many people who are born and raised east of the Missouri can say their first deer was a mulie! I was able to go on 2 elk hunts before age stopped my family from going as muc, and school stopped me. Then came work...and a wife...and kids. and before you know it, over 10 years passed of no western hunting. well, I said enough is enough and I started to get back in the game. Found an antelope unit close to a unit my family used to hunt.........called warden, biologists........bought BLM, National Forest maps, printed off walk-in area maps........spent countless hours on google earth, and planned a DIY antelope hunt for me and my buddy. And we had success. Our hours of map looking paid off. We were able to get back into an area that all the other hordes of hunters wouldn't go to, b/c they thought the road was private, along with the land. But it wasn't. It was a public access road to a parcel of public. A phone call to the warden confirmed our thought, and we got to untouched public areas teeming with speed goats. It took long hours and lots of work....but we did it. and we found a Lion kill one morning there too. fresh kill of a nice antelope buck. it was super cool too see. Buck was still warm yet. Lion tried to bury it in sage brush. should have called a warden/biologist to come see.

anyways, the point is, it took a lot of work other than just asking where to go. Nobody would have told me about this spot. We found it on our own. It will take hard work like that to get your foot in the door to western hunting.

I would scrap your elk/deer idea personally. If this is your first hunt, a deer/elk combo OTC tag is not the one to do. Go antelope hunting somewhere. I suggest Wyoming, and I suggest in the eastern half of the state. Look at the game and fish website for the units. Buy maps for those units. Look at tag levels, hunter levels, and success rates. Find a unit with a lot of public land. call the local warden and biologist. Then send in for a tag next year, and give it a go. Maybe it will hook you for life, and maybe you will realize it is not your thing. But that is where I would start. Elk hunts are hard. a deer/elk combo in a more mountainous unit, may be darn near impossible. Start small and work your way up.

Good Luck!

NDHunter
08-13-2013, 09:18 PM
A few years ago I posted up a blog on another site and outlined from start to finish how I go thru the process of data gathering, Internet scouting, and went thru the hunt. I already had the unit but if you read that blog it will show you one way to drill down areas is an unknown state.
As far as finding a unit, draw and harvest stats will be a benefit as well as the different game bios.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/dcforum/DCForumID50/12.html#.UgrQJKa9LCQ

Holy crap man! Did you crash their server with that thread?!?!?!?!?! I scanned through it and it looks helpful for hunting a new spot. I've got it bookmarked and will be looking at it again sometime when I've got more time to read it.

trkytrack2
08-13-2013, 09:54 PM
Point your vehicle west and follow the wolves....they know where the elk are or rather.....were.

AT Hiker
08-14-2013, 06:15 AM
Here is what helped me;

1.) My first year I knew absolutely nothing about Western hunting, I knew I wanted to hunt something but didnt know what. I was on a limited time schedule (I tacked the hunt on the end of a Yellowstone vacation) so I decided to go with an outfitter. I had 3 days and my wife was with me, so I did my research and found a great outfitter and booked a 3 day antelope hunt. This by far is some of the best money I spent, I learned more in 3 days about antelope and mule deer hunting than I learned in 3 years of Eastern whitetail hunting.

2.) Once I knew a little about Western hunting I started researching the public land options and figuring out the tag systems, this is a long process and if you just jumped right into it with high expectations you will likely be disappointed. 2 years later I went on my first DIY antelope hunt in a poor access area of WY, took me 2 days to even see a antelope on the public land. However, those 2 days were not a waste. I seen some awesome country and unintentionally scouted some great deer country and discovered the majority of hunters really do hunt within sight of the road (hint, hint). Ended up taking a 13" lope on public land, a memorable hunt for sure.

3.) BUY POINTS! It is never to early to plan, get your buddies to buy points too. Once they see how much fun you have they will want to go.

4.) When you do a DIY hunt, think of it as a outdoor trip with the added bonus of being able to hunt. If you go totally focused on killing something you will likely be saddened. I recently went on a DIY Black Hills, SD turkey hunt and loved every single minute of it. I only hunted a couple hours in the morning, and spent the rest of the day hiking and exploring. Ended up killing a immature bird, but even if I didnt I had a wonderful time with my wife and I have already started planning another trip with a buddy of mine.

5.) Purchase a good GPS and a top quality downloadable map. One of the best peices of equipment you will have. Plus purchase the BLM, National Forest, etc maps...a delorme gazetteer is good to have, dont trust to boundary lines and road system but I find it easy to look over a general area to find a starting point.

6.) I do not know anything about MT, but I am slowly starting to research it. So far I have discovered the eastern side is more private and the western side is more public, a obvious trend for other states as well. I also like that MT has a later mule deer season, main reason I want to hunt there.

Not many people are going to give you a specific "spot", but they will help if they can. Do research and ask specific questions, i.e. "does such and such road lead into this piece of BLM land or does it become private property"

Like others have said, the planning is part of the hunt. Acquiring gear, pouring over google maps, etc is all part of the hunt. You will feel much better about yourself if you do it this way (at least I do). Regardless make a great trip out of it, ignore the "big buck" hype as you will only disappoint yourself, and have fun.

Here is a link to my blog; http://walkinghomeloughery.blogspot.com/
The last two post are about DIY turkey hunts, one in SD and the other in AL. I had a blast and truly matured as a hunter, I consider myself more of a naturalist now.

Good luck

Colorado Cowboy
08-14-2013, 07:05 AM
Your getting a lot of good advice here. Short of someone actually giving you direction of an area and where to hunt in it, the basics are there.


Time to get started!!!

25contender
08-14-2013, 07:13 AM
I would go to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website and look at the Hunt Planner section. This is a great place to start. You will get all the stats for each HD in Montana by species. How many animals killed and the sex of that animal, How many hunter attempts res & Non-res, and it will tell you if you need a limited draw permit. Real good resource. Once you find a area you are interested in hit the http://svc.mt.gov/msl/mtcadastral/ site or google earth.

tdub24
08-14-2013, 07:50 AM
isnt that the reason you post on here to get information from a more knowledgeable and a older generation. you know i try to do things the right way and ask and learn and recieve info how to get started because im new to this type of hunting and i want to start off on the right foot so i want to learn a thing or two from the people that know best but Its no wonder my generation gives hunters such a bad name and doesnt know anything about hunting because people like you will let the awesome herritage die with them because they could came less about passing on information because they are so worried some else my kill an animal. so if you dont have anything helpful or informationable why post at all?

What more needs to be said Josh, these "older generation" men gave you tons on insight. Hell, they gave me tons of insight and I have been Western hunting since I can remember. I am on this forum daily (unless out hunting) and yet I don't contribute too much cause these nuts on here have far more knowledge than I. I just read and learn, just like NDHunter mentioned.

When I decided that I needed to elk hunt, I bought an over the counter tag in unit 39 of Idaho. Didn't know jack squat about the area, just knew it was only about 5 hours from home. I researched google earth all most religiously, looking for every nook and cranny I feel elk could hide. I made 4 or 5 trips throughout the season scouting, walking up this mountain and down that. In all those trips, I only saw 1 elk, and it was a cow at that. I never dawned on me that 4000 folks, probably most from Boise, would be hunting this unit at the same time. But, I knew folks are lazy, if the animal wasn't next to the road, they would most likely eat there tag.

Opening morning, I was running late getting to the top of the mountain. On the way up, every pull off spot had a vehicle with folks peering out. Hell, I even saw a Ford Tempo car half way up the mountain. Not really sure how that car made it that far. Anyways, thought to myself, no way am I going to be able to find elk amongst this many people. When I got to the top and to the trail head, there was all ready 6 vehicles parked. I told Pop to drop me off anyways and I would walk all the way back to camp (7.6 miles). My buddy and I started walking, seeing folks glassing every 150 yards or so. But, after about 1.5 miles, the people stopped. No more than another quarter of a mile, elk were out and about feeding.

I knew from research (google earth, summer trips, talking with locals) that the elk are there, just needed to get away from the pumpkin party.

Moral of story.....................research, research, research!!!!!

Once again, I wish you the best of luck!!

tttoadman
08-14-2013, 07:29 PM
I was a newbie who had already done a ton of research(so I thought), and through out a fishing post early on. Most people on here are more solitary minded, and that doesn't lend itself to a bunch of chatty Kathy about where we hunt. We share methods and gear tips that help all of us save money and time. All that banked time and money can be turned into your own field time. That makes a successful hunt even that much more rewarding.

I thought I had done a lot of research, but I soon found out how much more information there was that I could get on my own. Spend hours on this forum, along with a map, and you will likely pick out the clues that you are looking for. Nothing gets you credibility better than some scouting picks that shows you are in the fight for real.

I don't even tell my friends where I hunt anymore. I might give up the unit, but that is where it stops. Watching how guys like Bitterroot Bulls conduct themselves on this forum has taught me that some info a guy just needs to get on their own.

Now get after it, and good luck!!

WapitiBob
08-14-2013, 08:16 PM
If you have picked out a unit, dissected it to the point you have a few areas, its real easy to simply ask if you can run those areas past guys who hunt that unit. Chances are you'll find out if you're on the right track and often they'll thro in a cpl spots.

canvsbk
08-15-2013, 06:51 AM
Some great info here from some of us old guys....
Wonder if the OP is even following along at this point and doesn't it irk you to no end when somebody starts blasting out info on an area that you've busted your butt to learn over the years?
Some great guys on here, I admit to some begging at one time or another myself...

tkeslar
08-18-2013, 11:46 AM
I too am new to posting on this forum, but I have been reading and gaining knowledge religiously here for months. I'm from southeast Texas and am about as far from mountains, mule deer, and elk as you can get but have a burning desire to hunt them. I got bit by the mule deer bug last winter when I went mule deer hunting with an outfitter and was fortunate enough to take a very respectable first mule deer. I've hunted whitetail here in Texas for years, but that's grown old and I'm wanting to start doing DIY hunts in the west but was overwhelmed by the daunting task of narrowing down an area to even start looking at. This post alone has taught me a ton. Thank you WapitiBob for the link to your post on the other site. It will be a wealth of knowledge for me and a lot of help to learn how to internet scout areas that are too far for me to even consider a scouting trip to before I get there on my actual hunt. It doesn't get said enough, but thank you guys for sharing the info you do, even if it gets read and used by guys that probably don't deserve it like me that don't have a whole lot to share or contribute. I'm going on my first DIY hunt this year, probably in southeast Montana, and look forward to sharing anything I pick up that y'all could possibly gain from. Take care and good luck out there!

Old Hunter
08-19-2013, 08:33 AM
It's the new generation. They want it quick and easy, and they want it now! What did we do before the internet? Oh yeah, I remember. We worked hard, and did it ourselves. It still works.

Tag stew
08-19-2013, 09:03 PM
That was a great read as well as some of the best pointers I have gotten on how to mix old school boot leather scouting with todays high tech tools. Thank you.
A few years ago I posted up a blog on another site and outlined from start to finish how I go thru the process of data gathering, Internet scouting, and went thru the hunt. I already had the unit but if you read that blog it will show you one way to drill down areas in an unknown state.
As far as finding a unit, draw and harvest stats will be a benefit as well as the different game bios.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/dcforum/DCForumID50/12.html#.UgrQJKa9LCQ

Elkoholic307
08-20-2013, 11:41 AM
Unfortunately some of us "older generation" worked really hard for our spots, and after letting a spot or two slip, saw the demise of those areas.

Ain't that the truth! I made that mistake last year.

packmule
08-20-2013, 01:13 PM
I've noticed ppl aren't as tight-lipped about units they may only be able to draw once in their hunting lifetime.

WapitiBob
08-20-2013, 03:08 PM
That was a great read as well as some of the best pointers I have gotten on how to mix old school boot leather scouting with todays high tech tools. Thank you.

your welcome.
Hopefully it helps.