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  1. #1
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    Hunting on a budget

    Hunting on a budget is something that I run into every year. I have lots of high hopes and aspirations to travel and hunt different states for different animals, but there is never enough money to do all of this. I have been limited to a few days hunting locally, then usually a one week trip to South Dakota for mule deer. Prior to moving to Kansas, I lived in SD for 5 years, so it made sense to hunt in SD since it was only $35 for an archery tag. Now I'm paying out of state, which is still fairly cheap in the upper $200 range, but I still want to get out and hunt different species in different states.

    This year is shaping up to be one in the same. My first baby will be just over a year old when the early archery seasons open up. We are planning on building a house this year that I will be doing a lot of work on, so we will be short on money and short on time again this year. To add on top of that, I work in agriculture, so a lot of my hunting season is spent in a combine or a tractor, which brings me to my question...

    How the heck do you hunt on a budget (roughly $1000 to spend on hunting during the season) when you can only hunt the early season or late season? Where do you even try to go hunt? Living in central Kansas means I'm decently close to some pretty good hunting, but we all know fuel isn't cheap and I'm not really equipped to go way back in the mountains for a week on a backpack hunt yet. I don't have any points in any state except Utah and I only have 2 in Utah. Where can a guy go with a limited budget and limited points to hunt deer or elk from August to the second week in September or hunt in late November through December? I'm not looking for monsters. Any branched antler bulls and 140-150 class mulies are just fine by me. What I want is a fun hunt that doesn't break the bank with decent odds of getting a shot at a legal animal. Is that too much to ask?
    Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
    Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)

  2. #2
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    I used to hunt Idaho for about $1k each year for elk. Some years we went cheap and camped in a tent others we got a room and shared it. I think if you buy the OTC bull elk tag for archery and done fill you can take a cow with a rifle during the rifle season. I could be wrong but that's what I remember. We hunted in the Swan Valley area South of Idaho Falls. The $1k was food, fuel, tag and license for Reno Nv.

    Good luck
    I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.

  3. #3
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    You could apply for some of the TX hunts on the WMAs for MD. Before I read MD, I was thinking public land in TX for WT with fuel being the biggest expense. One license comes with the ability to kill 3 bucks and 2 does.

  4. #4
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    OTC either sex elk tag in Colorado is right around $550 for nonresidents. Archery elk runs 31 August to the end of September. My brother comes out here every year on a similar budget. If your not set up for a back country hunt I would suggest setting up a small camp, getting up extra early and doing a lot of walking. Just do the research, pick a unit and spend lots of time on google earth. Both my brother and I have taken elk hunting like this prior to getting set up for back country hunting. If you want more info PM me.

  5. #5
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    In Idaho A tags are more for archery and B tags are more for rifle. Both have some time you can hunt with the other weapon and some have a ML season too and generally there is 2 days or something like that that you can shoot any elk but it all varies from zone to zone so you have to check the regs for the area you what to hunt. I hear ya on working around farming. Seems like every year Im trying to finish planting winter wheat so I can make a mad run for some season thats already open! I would like to hunt Utah ML season but its at exactly the worst time, Nevada antelope I may not be done with harvest when it opens if I ever draw. Colorado ML I can pull off but was better when it was a week earlier.
    Your best bet for early hunts is archery. CO, UT, and WY all have some archery seasons that might work in your time frame and the Montana general season is open until late November. The earlier seasons would be cheaper to hunt because you dont need nearly as good of camping gear or a motel when the weather is warmer.

  6. #6
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    For the dates you have available, I'd hunt elk above timberline in a Colorado OTC unit. Central Kansas puts you only 6-8 hours away from a ton of OTC Colorado units. You really don't need the latest and greatest to bivy out and hunt the mountains, I'd say as long as you have good boots, you can do about whatever you want. A point or two will also get you an archery tag for mulies in some of the more wilderness heavy units.

    Or, you could just chase pheasants all fall.. If you do that, I'll go with you
    My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

  7. #7
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    Take a look at Nebraska for mule deer. It's close and 140" with a bow is doable. Season runs from Sept 15 to Dec 31st. Do some research on mule deer here and we occasionally have some great bucks. There have been several 200" bucks shot within 30 miles of me in the last 5 years. State record NT was shot 30 miles away 20 years ago. Google Charles Hogeland buck to see a pic. 265" with mass.

  8. #8
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    Maybe it is just a matter of timing. Buy cheap points now, like in Wyoming, and build for some opportunities when the kids are older and can join you.
    Grand Slam #1005 + 2: Dall (1986 Yukon), Fannin/Stone (1987 Yukon), Bighorn (1988 Colorado Unit S-26), Stone (1995 British Columbia), Desert (2001 Nevada Unit 161), Bighorn (2009 Wyoming Unit 5)

  9. #9
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    Im much like you, Im a farmer and the fall is a busy season, however I make it for usually 7-10 days for an archery elk hunt somewhere. That's usually done over 2 separate trips timed around farming and the rut as best I can juggle them. Im about 3 hours closer to the mountains than you, but my perspective is similar, short time off and you don't always know when those times will be (rain, too dry, etc....) This year I burned points in Wy and went on my first trip to wyoming. Other years I go to Colorado and hunt an OTC unit while I build points to hunt in either Co or Wy. This year I will have 3 PPs in Co and plan to burn them. I pick archery elk 1) because it's something I can do every year either burning points or OTC, 2) there are tons of opportunity to the closest states to me/you Co and Wy, and finally 3) because in my mind nothing compares to bow hunting elk in the rut. As far as the affordable part I can make it happen for around $1,000. I have the gear to get to the backcountry, but it's definitely not the lightest or most up-to-date setup, but it all works and Im elk hunting. I will say that this year when we (my dad, brother, and I) burned our 5 points in Wyoming we hired an outfitter, so obviously that wasn't for $1,000.
    This is how I approach the decision, but it's all based on me wanting to hunt elk. I also do my deer hunting here locally, and chase pheasants, coyotes without having to leave home. Other ideas to Texas, Nebraska Mule deer, and even New Mexico could all make sense for you, just depends on what you wanna chase.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by packmule View Post
    You could apply for some of the TX hunts on the WMAs for MD. Before I read MD, I was thinking public land in TX for WT with fuel being the biggest expense. One license comes with the ability to kill 3 bucks and 2 does.
    this is a great option for the price. 2 years ago I had talked to an outfitter about doing a hunt with him. Now Packmule can correct me if im wrong but The Outfitter said if you bought the NonResident General Tag you could get 3 WT bucks, 2 WT does, 1 mule deer, turkey (with $7 permit) and an antelope. That tag was right around 300 bucks when I talked to him. Definitely an option to look into to give you some diversity of animals on a budget but I have no Idea of the public land access down there.

 

 

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