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#6878932 - 09/05/17 10:36 AM Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt
Ox190 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4560
Loc: Grapevine,TX
Have a buddy wanting to do a guided rifle bull elk hunt for his 40th birthday. He's open to any type of hunt, he doesn't mind walking a lot and packing in a camp via horseback etc. He's wondering what a hunt like that would cost and where would be his best place for success (CO, UT, ID, MT, WY). Any input from folks with experience in this would be greatly appreciated.
"There has never been an occasion where a people gave up their weapons in the interest of peace that didn't end in their massacre." Louis L'Amour

#6879121 - 09/05/17 01:38 PM Re: Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt [Re: Ox190]
AZ_Hunter_2000 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 06/19/15
Posts: 30
There are a lot of variables when it comes to cost. Do you want to hunt during the rut (tons of excitement) or later in the year? Do you want a legitimate chance at a huge bull or will an opportunity at a representative bull suffice? Do you want to hunt in the aspens or do you want to hunt high desert?

Out of state tags and licenses can be expensive. Here is an example. For an in-state hunter in AZ a bull tag is $168 while an out-of-state hunter would pay $665; license is $57 vs. $160.

There are other costs that can quickly add up. I was very fortunate to get drawn to hunt bull elk during the rut in Arizona in one of the top elk areas in North America. The outfitter cost $5K (average price when I shopped around) which including a guide, food, and lodging. I then bought Swaro SLC 15x for glassing which added another $2K; my Vortex Viper HDs (8x) would not have sufficed if I had just brought them. I bought some additional hunting clothing, including better boots, which was another $1K. Meat processing was around $400. Taxidermy was $1K. I also used it as an excuse to buy a new rifle and scope which was another $1500 not counting a ton of ammo for practice. Since I live in AZ it only cost me two tanks of gas to transport the cape, rack, and processed meat; if I was out of state the cost would have increase significantly. I easily doubled the cost of the hunt on incidentals. Granted a serious chunk has been used for other hunts since then but it was still money that I had to pay. Now, I did get more than my money's worth from that experience. I learned a lot from the outfitter and guide (which has paid off on other hunts) as well as harvested a bull of a lifetime.

With all of that said, when I get interested in hunting a new animal I will go to Cabelas Outdoor Adventures to just get a ballpark idea of costs, what is usually included vs. excluded, etc. From there I will start doing more research and there are tons of web sites that will list individual big game by state and their cost to hunt along with contact information to various outfitters.

Here are a couple of things to consider. Take a look at doing a combination hunt. I've seen combinations including bull elk, mule deer, black bear, wolf, and mountain lion for not much more than the cost of just a bull elk hunt; overall score of the bull may be lower but you have more opportunities. You can also find deals on cancellation hunts. Find some web sites and check often since you'll never know what you will find. If this will be a one-time deal, consider renting high-end optics for glassing as you can save a buttload of money going this route.

I encourage you guys to do this. You'll have a blast.

#6879663 - 09/05/17 09:19 PM Re: Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt [Re: Ox190]
sparrish8 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 1598
Guided starts 4k on the low end and 10k on the high end for the trophy areas with big bulls and a tag. Obviously if you draw your tag it will be cheaper but you need to plan a hunt like this generally a year to 2 years in advance to have the most options.

#6881179 - 09/07/17 01:02 PM Re: Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt [Re: Ox190]
Fitzwho Offline

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 222
Loc: Midland, TX
Try 20K for the high end (think CWMA's in Utah or the Reservations in Arizona and New Mexico).

Guided private land hunts in New Mexico in decent areas will run you 6-10k with very high success rates.


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