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  1. #11
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    I this on the other thread as well. There are at least 6 outfitters that operate in the Absaroka-Bearthooth wilderness area, that I know of. Together they probably run 100 guys through a year between them. According to the MT FWP harvest stats, 14 elk were harvested in 2012 in that area. That included cows and calves.

    Its gorgeous country but not the most productive area in the state to harvest an elk. Access to that unit is very limited and unless you are using horses or are planning on bringing five guys or more and going home after the first elk is harvested you are probably not going to have an enjoyable hunt. The wardens in that neck of the woods take meat spoilage very seriously... However if you do decide on a hunt in that area the closer you stay to the park the more likely you are to catch a bull possibly coming out to look for cows coming into estrous that time of year.

    Best of luck to you in your planning and hunt. Not to discourage you in any way from hunting in MT but Colorado has many great options as well for the budget conscious DIY hunter. They also have a muzzeloader season for elk that would fit your timeframe.

  2. #12
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    I am in the process of planning a similar hunt to the original poster. I have received mixed feedback with respect to how necessary horses are. Some have said horses are only necessary to access the "deep parts" of Absaroka while others have said horses are necessary to hunt any part of it.

    My friend and I are extremely fit and have a lot of wilderness backpacking experience. We would limit ourselves to the distance that could be realistically covered in order to get an elk out if harvested before spoilage would occur.

    My timeline is a mid to late September hunt. It's either early Montana/Idaho rifle season in the backcountry or Colorado archery elk. Personally, I'm leaning toward the Montana hunt - I know odds of success are low, but it's about much more than that for me.

    Anyone who has experience travelling in the Absaroka or backpacking the Absaroka, I would appreciate hearing from you either on this thread or by personal message. All input welcome.

  3. #13
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    Welcome to EF, buckchaser!

    You may find it hard to get specific area information on your first post.

    Stick around and join the conversation!

    Perhaps I should have noted in my earlier posts that I do have experience backpacking the A-B. The early districts are "deep" in their entirety, in my opinion. If you were hunting deer, an early backpack hunt is a bit more feasable, but for elk, I really think stock is necessary. In any case, good luck on your hunt as well!

  4. #14
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    Thanks for the welcome. I'm from Ontario, Canada. In a bizarre twist, if I want to hunt Western elk I can't do so in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta unless I hire a guide or know someone who can "host" me. Thus, as a Canadian my best chance to hunt Western elk is actually in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, etc.

    I've been trying to track down a good map of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the boundaries of Unit 316. I've found some decent ones on the Montana DNR website and such - but nothing great. If anyone has a link to one, would really appreciate it.

    My hunting partner and I have decided to focus on the Absaroka instead of the Bob Marshall after hearing from a few sources that Absaroka is more "backpacker friendly" - although I fully understand this is a relative term!

  5. #15
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    I don't how much more "backpacker friendly" the A-B wilderness is than the Bob. The Bob has a very extensive trial system that is quite impressive and fairly well maintained IMO, at least from what I have seen. The A-B on the other hand, many of the trials are on the verge of closure due to lack of funding. Bridges are in bad shape and deadfall is quite common. If you do bring stock, make sure to pack a good saw.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckchaser View Post
    Thanks for the welcome. I'm from Ontario, Canada. In a bizarre twist, if I want to hunt Western elk I can't do so in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta unless I hire a guide or know someone who can "host" me. Thus, as a Canadian my best chance to hunt Western elk is actually in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, etc.

    I've been trying to track down a good map of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the boundaries of Unit 316. I've found some decent ones on the Montana DNR website and such - but nothing great. If anyone has a link to one, would really appreciate it.

    My hunting partner and I have decided to focus on the Absaroka instead of the Bob Marshall after hearing from a few sources that Absaroka is more "backpacker friendly" - although I fully understand this is a relative term!
    This map is a pretty good tool. It can show you boundaries and districts. You can also switch between topographical and satellite views.

  7. #17
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    I am chiming in late here, but these guys are right on, I would side with BB and drop camp or go to another district with a bow. I live near this area and these mountains are no joke. Even most of us local boys stay out of there because the effort versus the quality isn't worth it for most hunters. It can be done, and there are elk in there, so with that said, don't let us push you off. But pack your lunch, and hammer hard!

  8. #18
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    Mr Breshears I see you are in Ennis. I spent some time around there about 10-12 years ago. At that time in the winter you would see lots of elk wintering in the Madison valley and I saw herds of over 1000 elk many times! Is it still like that or have the wolves really taken their toll on the elk herds?

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musket Man View Post
    Mr Breshears I see you are in Ennis. I spent some time around there about 10-12 years ago. At that time in the winter you would see lots of elk wintering in the Madison valley and I saw herds of over 1000 elk many times! Is it still like that or have the wolves really taken their toll on the elk herds?
    Musket,
    It is not the way it was, that is for sure. But there are still hundreds of elk in the flats during the winter. It's a sight to see
    but over the past 5 years I can see a very noticeable change in the numbers of elk on the wintering ground. Not to mention, 5 years ago we could take the kids over to the foothills in September on a private ranch and have 400 plus head feed out into the alfalfa in full rut. It was quite the experience! but now adays that same herd is hard to find and when you do, they are usually only 60-100 strong. Times are changing! gotta keep on them wolves.

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  11. #20
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    Thanks for the update! I was worried it would not still be how it used to be. It was definitely an incredible a sight to see that many elk together!!! I used to see them down closer to Cameron. Had a friend that their dad lived just south of Cameron and I went there a few times.

 

 

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