DIY hunt in Absaroka-Beartooth
I posted this in the Montana area, but maybe this is a better place...
This year my friends and I are looking to go on a backcountry elk hunt. We're from Kansas, all experienced whitetail hunters, active outdoorsmen, and one of our group has been on a guided elk hunt in Colorado. We know the hunt itself will be a great challenge, but that's half of the draw for us. I guess a middle-aged macho thing.
We are hoping to get the early rifle combo tags for September and have been torn between the Bob Marshal Wilderness and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness... leaning toward the latter. Either way, we have up to two weeks of vacation already scheduled and are looking to hike in at least a few miles from the roads or trails.
That said, we won't be able to go early to scout the area so we'll be going in blind, so to speak, with maps and a GPS.
Any tips and pointers--especially places to shoot for--would be greatly appreciated.
Find horses and cary a big gun. You will have to travel a long ways to get into critters. Also it is teaming with bears. I know a guy that hit a grizz in the chest twice with a 300 wby and didn't hardly slow it down.
Don't get me wrong it is a great hunt and an adventure of a lifetime. And defiantly on my bucket list, but I wouldn't do either without a pack string.
Either place, make sure your first stop in MT is to get some Counter Attack bear spray. Keep it handy enough to be able to spray in seconds should you need to. That will stop almost any bear a whole lot faster than a bullet to the chest, no matter what caliber.
^^^^ Bears are a serious issue, also... 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 coming out to look for cows coming into estrous that time of year.
Best of luck to you in your planning and hunt. If you would be open to suggestions on other areas feel free to PM me and I would be happy to point you in the right direction.
Yeah I second that about the bears/ rugged and vastness of the country. Not at all trying to doubt your competencies but a bob or absaroka trip for a first time backcountry hunt is a heck of a undertaking. I think you will have a lot more fun and success if you try a other areas. Seems like there are a few people on here that would be worth a PM about a alternate area.