Get Eastman's Hunting and Bow Hunting Magazines. They helped us a lot and plan on doing it again this year.
Here's one I haven't seen mentioned but I know that a lot of "new" elk hunters fall victim to, including me at one time. Once you actually find the elk don't run around so dang excited that you forget to keep your whits. What I mean is when you run into another hunter, or go back to town for a hot meal and shower, don't think you are just being friendly by telling everyone that you have found the elk. I know I get it, you are excited that you found the elk, and you want people to hear about your achievement. But mark my words it will bite you where the sun don't shine when the other guy shoots a bull right where you told him they were. On second thought just PM me where the elk are and I will go and help keep people out of there.
first trip last year and the best advice I was able to find with all my research was the gps hunting maps.. It was invaluable and kept us out of trouble and able to navigate around some private land and led to one of our party getting a mule deer. hunted with danbuilder and one other hunter. eastmans has been a great resource as well.
Going back again this year and cant wait to learn some more.
I moved to Idaho from California in the 90's to go to college. I moved back to CA but Hunting the Western 11 states has been my constant passion every year since 2005.
I found I had to "Think BIGGER" meaning; look farther when glassing, drop down deeper into the river canyons, conserve your energy for an all day hunt. You are going to be hunting multiple draws and fingers, not just the canyon behind the ranch.
Learn to break down animals without a saw. You don't drag Mule deer up out of a canyon like blacktails.
You have to find the elk before you can hunt the elk.
Be persistent, I think it's not stressed enough, how much the mental aspect plays a part in success. When things go bad (weather, no action, physically worn out etc.) It's easy to get discouraged and head back to camp,the truck or home!
Most people are capable of pushing a little farther, longer and harder than they realize! Obviously, you need to use your head and be safe, but I have had many occasions where I have almost mentally gave in, then dug deep and scored on some of my very best critters! Remember to have fun!
Always check the zero of your rifle at the elevation you're at. Makes a big difference if you are a flatlander hunting at 11,000 ft. Mine was 3" high coming from Kansas. A buddys was 5" high coming from sea level in Texas. Took a while for it to dawn on us but thin air makes a difference. Lots of really good posts on this subject.
Persistence is my key to success, very rarely does a hunt go as planned on day one for me. Good advise gh247!
I'll add a couple things... While your trekking through the backcountry, chasing elk, turn around and look behind you. Look at the country you just came from and remember key features and land marks. This may help you later on in the hunt.
Last year was my first backcountry, backpack bowhunt. I was in Idaho, deep in the mountains and a long ways from town. I was driving from one area back to camp along an old, muddy trail and came across another hunter. I just waved and kept on driving, not thinking anything of it. When I got back to camp I told my hunting buddies and they asked me if I stopped to talk to the man. You know... to make sure he's ok or see if he needed something. I was shocked I didn't even think about doing that! For all I know, the guy could have been starving or dying of thirst and I just smiled, waved and kept on driving. I felt so bad. I could have at least checked to make sure he was ok and didn't need anything. So if you're up in the mountains, far away from civilization, make sure you check on others.