Looking for ideas on one last elk hunt for my dad

elkocd

Active Member
Messages
247
Here's the deal. My dad has been my life long hunting partner. He's been a die hard backpack elk hunter and we've shared so many good hunts deep in the backcountry. Almost always ending in long hard pack outs. But... he's turning 75, has had some health issues he's overcome and he just can't do that sort of hunt anymore. He is very active and gets around fine. I just don't feel comfortable with him backpacking in very deep. So, I'm trying to figure out how to take him on one last WY general elk hunt. We have the points to draw so that is not an issue.

I am willing to fork over some $ for him to have a good hunt, but a guided hunt is out of my budget.

My current thoughts are:
1. Rent some Llamas and go into some NW country I have taken good bulls in before.

2. Find some private land that would allow some sort of trespass fee to hunt and would not require too much from him physically.

My concern with #1 is just him just getting worn out way back in and then I'm not sure what I would do.

My concern with #2 is not knowing what sort of hunting would actually occur. We've never hunted anything, but DIY public land.

If anyone has some ideas or know of some place that might work for #2 please PM me. This will definitely be his last out of state elk hunt and perhaps his last elk hunt altogether. He's worked his ass for me in the elk mts forever and I'd love to make his last hunt something enjoyable.
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,677
Just change the way you hunt. I have never once done a back pack hunt. I am willing to bet my success rates are about as good as anyone else (especially archery). Depending on you points there are many good general units you can hunt and find elk every day with a mile to 2 miles of a road. Several of the limited units in WY, you can road hunt fairly easy and not need to pack much at all, especially as they roll later into the year and the snow adds up.

Find a unit with decent access, use a wall tent or an RV have a celan warm camp every night, hike out each day and hunt. This year the 3 bulls I found over 340 were all with in a 1/2 mile of where I could park my truck.

If you really cant stand not packing, just to an overnight pack in then go back to a base camp for a couple days then back into the back country.

There are many places especially if you archery hunt that you can hunt from a vehicle all week and never once cross paths with anyone else. This year I had over 14 days archery hunting in general units and only 1 time did I see a person.
 

Captain_coues

Very Active Member
Messages
1,060
I agree, just change the way you hunt. Think less about it being a hunt and more of a time for you guys to hang out. You could hunt off of a camp next to the road in a camper or a tent and still have plenty of value. It doesn’t need to be an ass kicker like most hunts are.
 

brdhuntr

Active Member
Messages
808
Just change the way you hunt. I have never once done a back pack hunt. I am willing to bet my success rates are about as good as anyone else (especially archery). Depending on you points there are many good general units you can hunt and find elk every day with a mile to 2 miles of a road. Several of the limited units in WY, you can road hunt fairly easy and not need to pack much at all, especially as they roll later into the year and the snow adds up.

Find a unit with decent access, use a wall tent or an RV have a celan warm camp every night, hike out each day and hunt. This year the 3 bulls I found over 340 were all with in a 1/2 mile of where I could park my truck.

If you really cant stand not packing, just to an overnight pack in then go back to a base camp for a couple days then back into the back country.

There are many places especially if you archery hunt that you can hunt from a vehicle all week and never once cross paths with anyone else. This year I had over 14 days archery hunting in general units and only 1 time did I see a person.
Elks are you a resident.
 

elkocd

Active Member
Messages
247
Just change the way you hunt. I have never once done a back pack hunt. I am willing to bet my success rates are about as good as anyone else (especially archery). Depending on you points there are many good general units you can hunt and find elk every day with a mile to 2 miles of a road. Several of the limited units in WY, you can road hunt fairly easy and not need to pack much at all, especially as they roll later into the year and the snow adds up.

Find a unit with decent access, use a wall tent or an RV have a celan warm camp every night, hike out each day and hunt. This year the 3 bulls I found over 340 were all with in a 1/2 mile of where I could park my truck.

If you really cant stand not packing, just to an overnight pack in then go back to a base camp for a couple days then back into the back country.

There are many places especially if you archery hunt that you can hunt from a vehicle all week and never once cross paths with anyone else. This year I had over 14 days archery hunting in general units and only 1 time did I see a person.

Yes, that is always an option.

Don't have the points for an LE tag. If we did, we have hunted some WY units that we have/could do that.

My experience with general tags in WY, although we've only had 5 is the type of hunt we both like and the type of bulls we're after are harder to find around all the people closer to the roads. I'm sure if I was local it would be very different being able to find the nice little pockets. That is the case where I hunt locally. If we go that route I'll spend a month or so in WY scouting so I can find a good pocket.

I would like to just figure out something special for him. He's already shot a 375" bull so it's not all about finding a big bull, but I also just hunting from the truck for average bulls might not be the way I want him to go out.

The biggest issue is him packing out an elk. Even if it's only a mile or so. That's why I'm trying to figure something out that removes that part of the equation.

Just a little more info where my head is at... I shot a nice 320" bull last year in NW WY. He could not be with me because he was not feeling well. He helped me pack my bull out the next day. Was only 2.5 miles in. He was having trouble, but he has always just pressed through. Two days after getting back home, he had a minor stroke and had to go in and have his carotid artery cleaned out that was 95% blocked :(

Maybe I'm still holding onto something he can't do anymore, or maybe I find something he can do that will mean something to him.


dadelk.jpg
 

PleaseDear

Long Time Member
Messages
9,348
You don't need to go remote and deep for good Gen elk hunting.



I pack most of my elk out Solo and I have a rule of not hunting more than 3 miles in from camp or my truck.



Works quite well



Robb
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,677
You don't need to go remote and deep for good Gen elk hunting.



I pack most of my elk out Solo and I have a rule of not hunting more than 3 miles in from camp or my truck.



Works quite well



Robb
SHHHH!!! We need everyone to believe that the only way to find elk requires at least 4 miles pack in and if you need a bigger bull you have to go further...
 

elkocd

Active Member
Messages
247
You don't need to go remote and deep for good Gen elk hunting.



I pack most of my elk out Solo and I have a rule of not hunting more than 3 miles in from camp or my truck.



Works quite well



Robb

I shot a 343" bull this year that was bugling 200 yards from my truck when I opened the door. Shoot him 25 minutes later no more than 1/4 from the truck so I get it. Probably the least rewarding bull I've ever killed ;)

Again... just trying to figure out something special for him.
 

rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
268
I can certainly relate to your style of hunting and predicament. I live in western Wyoming...my dad is 76, same thing, some health issues, aging is a ***** when your a mountain hunter. A hill that once would take us 15 minutes to ascend suddenly seems like everest standing in front of you. Get a bunch of rain or snow, muddy up the trails and hillsides and suddenly going only 1/2 mile on foot is quite the task. And using UTV's is handy, but even at the end of the road, that damn ridge that you have to get up to is lurking. We've been fortunate to have horses on hand and let them cover those miles to where the elk live, but you still need to hunt them. Been lucky and he's killed some bulls near horse trails with bow and rifle since he turned 70. Guess we'd say one was a dandy, others have been 'average', but who care's, at that age I don't care if my dad wants to shoot a cow or a raghorn, truth is, when your in your 70's, how many more opportunities does one get. I'm the one walking out leading the horses, he's back there enjoying the ride out. However, even horses begin to become difficult when old joints and hips don't want to agree with that desire in your mind. It sucks....those hard choices have to be made, somewhere there's some compromise, what's best for your abilities.

Llamas will help pack a load for sure, handy, low maintenance, but they won't pack YOU where you still want to go. Rent horses, if your comfortable doing that. Do your research, go use some horses months before a hunt and to get comfortable around them. If that'd work for your dad, hunting from a base camp where you can feed them good everyday and get 2 to 6 miles from camp can open opportunities. You'll still need rest days. If you could afford an outfitter, they'd probably throw your dad on the most gentle one they have. If you're not comfortable around livestock, then motorized tools are the way to go and just spending as much time as possible hunting an area that you can carry on elk out within a reasonable time. Look at areas where you can possibly get glass on an animal from a distance. This year my dad decided to totally focus on an area 30 minutes from his house. Horses stay at the barn until the heavy lifting is needed. He walks to a few different spots no more than a mile from his truck. Trail cams show elk are around, its just a matter of time, which he has more than me to hunt...lol! I do expect that text to come through one of these days. Here's a couple of his 70's bulls.
IMG_1626 - Copy.JPG

IMG_3124 - Copy.JPG
 

HikeHunt61

Active Member
Messages
185
Where we hunt elk, you can find them within 1-3 miles of truck/camp. We have packed many out on our backs, but have often found game carts can cut the back pain part by 1-2 miles depending on where you harvest. Another option- find an outfitter or local ranch hand (ahead of time) who will bring two horses and pack it out for you. Not sure these days how easy it is to find someone- but I'll bet it is nominal cost compared to full blown outfitting/guide. Another option- de-bone the elk in the field and only haul meat and antlers. Keep pack weight to 50 pounds vs 90-110. We've done that a couple times when the elk were 3-4 miles back and had the time to do it.
 

TX_Diver

Active Member
Messages
257
If the packout is the main concern I bet you could line up some packing help if you're far enough in advance and explain the situation. Having a backup packer would still be a good idea though.
 

elkocd

Active Member
Messages
247
Where we hunt elk, you can find them within 1-3 miles of truck/camp. We have packed many out on our backs, but have often found game carts can cut the back pain part by 1-2 miles depending on where you harvest. Another option- find an outfitter or local ranch hand (ahead of time) who will bring two horses and pack it out for you. Not sure these days how easy it is to find someone- but I'll bet it is nominal cost compared to full blown outfitting/guide. Another option- de-bone the elk in the field and only haul meat and antlers. Keep pack weight to 50 pounds vs 90-110. We've done that a couple times when the elk were 3-4 miles back and had the time to do it.
We always bone out our elk and just pack meat. We've done around 25 elk together that way the last 15 years. I usually pack 2/3 and him 1/3, but even doing 40lbs over a couple miles has become hard. Just in the last 2 years.

I appreciate all the suggestions. They are all in line with what I have thought.

Yes, I have thought about horses, but neither of us have any real experience with them. The llamas seem like less risk, but yes he would still need to be able to get around hunting. He can do that.

I know a place in NW WY that we could get back 4-5 miles and then be right in the elk. Only needing to hunt maybe 1 mile from camp. Also has a Oct 1 rifle opener so we could hunt archery for a week to 10 days then use the rifle if needed. Of course it's thick with bears, but we are ok dealing with that. That hunt is mostly why I'm thinking of the llamas.

Truth is just a few years ago I never had to worry about this stuff, but time is what it is and eventually we are all going to be on our last hunt.
 

HikeHunt61

Active Member
Messages
185
Truth is just a few years ago I never had to worry about this stuff, but time is what it is and eventually we are all going to be on our last hunt.
Just went through that a few years back with my dad. At 77, he told me he was done, just too hard. I always knew it would come. My son will have the same thing to go thru someday as well. I really relish those last hunts, especially the ones with all three of us...
 

junior

Very Active Member
Messages
1,381
25 elk...Wow and in 15 years! Are you sure he want to kill another bull? Or is it just you? I see you mentioned "We" several times.
 

SS!

Long Time Member
Messages
3,842
There’s a lot of road accessible country around cokeville where you can have your dad sit (even in truck) and push the trees. Road hunt mornings and evenings. Minimal physical effort.

Another spot is near pinedale. Same scenario. Can push trees and road hunt. Nothing wrong with either.

Looks for areas that open oct 15th and close at end of oct. these spots typically have high harvest so the season is short. High harvest means accessible. Hell guys like @Homer could kill an elk in these spots.
 

JPickett

Active Member
Messages
834
Guess I’ll be that guy. You say your dad has been in on 25 elk or better between the two of you. He’s killed a 375 bull already, he’s 75 and had a stroke last year after yet another successful elk hunt with you. Maybe just hang it up instead of killing dad for one more bull. Camp from the road, drink some whiskey and enjoy time with your father. What are you pushing for anyway? Sounds like its been a pretty good run
 

elkocd

Active Member
Messages
247
Guess I’ll be that guy. You say your dad has been in on 25 elk or better between the two of you. He’s killed a 375 bull already, he’s 75 and had a stroke last year after yet another successful elk hunt with you. Maybe just hang it up instead of killing dad for one more bull. Camp from the road, drink some whiskey and enjoy time with your father. What are you pushing for anyway? Sounds like its been a pretty good run

Because he wants it!! It's a lot harder for me to hunt with him than without. It has nothing to do with me.

He went to NM with me an my son this year just to be in elk camp. It killed him to not be there when we took our bulls, but it was in really steep country.

He talks about one last hunt in WY every time we talk about elk, which is a lot.

I'm just trying to figure out one good one to go out on that he can do.

Thanks for everyone's input. I'll come back next year and give an update on how it went.
 

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