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#6937237 - 10/28/17 06:46 PM Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year.
D6Ranch Online   content

Registered: 11/13/15
Posts: 212
After paying off my truck and getting a little more settled I'm ready to go "up north" for a hunt next year. Of course I'd love a big bull elk but as a first timer most likely doing it alone I'd be perfectly happy with a cow and am also looking at mule deer. Basically I want to experience the mountains and a different kind of hunt and of course I'd like to come home with some meat.

So I ask those of you more knowledgeable and experienced with this kind of out of state hunting; where would you go, what would you hunt as your first trip out of state?

Colorado seems fairly doable but I'm in the first phase of research.

Thanks in advance.

#6939202 - 10/30/17 09:38 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
PMK Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/10/12
Posts: 6195
Loc: Central TX (Gtown/Austin)
CO has many units with OTC bull tags, I believe cow elk is by drawing only? same with mule deer? Going by yourself, could be a challenge to find elk on national forest, could be a challenge even going with someone else for that matter. It's totally different style & type of hunting as compared to WT here in TX...
"everyone that lives dies but not everyone who dies lived..."


#6939274 - 10/30/17 10:15 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
SherpaPhil Offline

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 76
Loc: Dallas
Colorado would be a very good choice for elk. It has the biggest heard in the country and you can buy tags over the counter. Of course, that means you will have competition from plenty of other folks. If I wanted to focus on Elk, I would go to Colorado.

For mule deer, Idaho is your state. Best combination of over the counter tags, good deer and plenty of public land. Little pricier licenses and a longer drive, but worth it for the quality of the hunting.

If you want to get real ambitious and/or have a backup plan, you should look at Montana. You aren't guaranteed a tag there, but you have very good odds of drawing an Elk/Deer combo tag the first year you apply. That would let you hunt elk and mule deer in the same trip.

For a first trip out of state, however, I think I would go after pronghorn in Wyoming. As PMK mentioned, western hunting is a very different experience than what most Texans are used to. It can take some adjustment. I think pronghorn is a great starter hunt because all of the logistics are the same as far as picking a unit, finding a place to stay, identifying public vs private land, etc. However, there is a much wider margin of error with pronghorn hunting. As you learn to glass and stalk, you will inevitably blow a few stalks. Pronghorn are so plentiful that you will have plenty of chances and it won't be so disappointing as you learn. There are many units you can draw with no points, and most will have doe tags available OTC once you draw, so you can shoot several and fill the freezer.

#6939630 - 10/30/17 02:01 PM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
BOBO the Clown Offline

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 42702
Loc: Metroplex
First thing Iíd do is get a membership.
Then use it to create three plans.
A Point plan...for future hunts
A NM draw plan(closer, better elk to hunter numbers, easier physically as a whole)
And an OTC CO back up plan, or OTC Idaho(more OTC tag options)
ó>Note that there are few units in CO you could draw a Mulie tag with zero points and hunt elk OTC, but thatís somewhat of a stretch.

You are more then welcome to PM I can walk you through everything

#6940291 - 10/30/17 10:08 PM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
D6Ranch Online   content

Registered: 11/13/15
Posts: 212
Thanks for the advice gentlemen. Its given me some things to contemplate. I'm not too worried about the hunt being physically hard. I'm pushing 40 but am in the gym five days a week or more doing cardio and weights. Six months before a hunt I'll start doing stairs or rucks with a pack and increase the weight and distance every week.

I do have a friend that guided hunts in Idaho that I can reach out to for some help. Also have some family in Alaska that have been pestering me to come up for moose but the logistics and cost have deterred me considering they haven't taken a moose in a couple of years.

I may just reach out to a friend for a guided mule deer hunt or a aoudad in west TX.
I just really want to do something different, see some new land, suffer a lit bit and bring something home to eat.

Thanks for the offer BOBO and I'll most likely send you a message in a few months once I get a better idea of what I'm going to do.

#6940673 - 10/31/17 09:42 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
SherpaPhil Offline

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 76
Loc: Dallas
Depending on how close the family in Alaska is, you might think about going up there for a sheep hunt. If you hunt with a close relative, you don't have to hire a guide for sheep. I did it DIY when I lived up there and it is by far my favorite hunt I have ever done.

#6943126 - 11/01/17 11:10 PM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
budward Offline

Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 127
You can Easily do an over the counter bull hunt in Colorado for 1200$. We do it every year, our success rates are generally 50/50 but you gotta work for it! Can't be scared or out of shape. Gotta be in good enough shape to pack your meat out on your back.

#6943656 - 11/02/17 11:13 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
GotMyTag Offline

Registered: 06/26/14
Posts: 128
Loc: utah
Lots of good posts above. My personal plan is build points in many states and then go on hunts where the success rates are really high. If you do not pick the very highest trophy areas as they can take many years. But just high success hunts then very few if any points are needed. Especially if you only want a cow. plus if you are buying the license then in many states you can get cow tags and still build points for your trophy hunt. You already paid for the license so applying is inexpensive.

Edited by GotMyTag (11/02/17 11:14 AM)
Know your families and friends points including Texas.
1. Application deadline reminders.
2. Be the first to know your draw results
3. Looks up your points

Download at

#6946567 - 11/04/17 08:31 PM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
drg@USAF Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 28
Loc: Del Rio, TX
Iím in the same boat as you but for a first time elk hunt I will be more than happy saving some money and going after a cow elk. With that being said due to draw success and amount of public land I am taking a trip to Montana and taking my dad and hopefully brother with me. Itís a good drive but It should be worth it.

#6946879 - 11/05/17 08:35 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1443
Loc: Tyler, TX
If you really want to be successful, you need to hunt as far away from the crowds as possible. This means either paying to hunt on private land, or getting as far into the back country, Wilderness Areas as you can, or draw a tag for an area the severely limits the number of hunters there. Drawing the tag is the best option, but it can take years, it adds up in fees, and in a lot of cases, the guys who draw those tags usually hire an outfitter to improve the odds of success. Getting into a Wilderness Area has proven the most successful for me. I've hiked into them and done well, but prefer to hire an outfitter with a pack string of horses to take me there and all my gear. Some will just take you there and back, others will have a camp set up for you all ready to go. I've never seen another hunter when I was 20 plus miles into a Wilderness Area. One time, I backpacked into a Wilderness area by myself and never saw another human for 6 days. That actually got kind of weird. The first thing I did when I got back to my truck was turn on the radio just to hear people talk again.

If I was looking to go on an Elk hunt next year, I would google pack trips and outfitters who do drop camps into wilderness areas. Idaho has been very good to me for this type of hunt, but I wouldn't rule out any of the other Rocky Mountain states either.

Go to Dallas Safari Club and see who is there. I like talking to people in person when booking a hunt.

Subscribe to The Hunt Report. It's worth the price to avoid a bad hunt!!!

#6946926 - 11/05/17 09:16 AM Re: Looking for advice on a DIY elk or mule deer hunt for next year. [Re: D6Ranch]
Wytex Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 12/07/16
Posts: 254
Loc: Wyoming
An additional cow/calf tag in Wyoming is very affordable for en elk hunt. You do not need an outfitter or wilderness areas to fill it. Most areas with additional cow tags have elk number problems and some HMA and walk in areas to access the wintering herds. General areas In Wyoming are also producing good bulls on public land, numbers are high and calf production is also very good.
A cow hunt can also be paired up with a doe antelope hunt for meat and no PP are needed.
Lots of camping spots to just pulled into and set up on public land.
DIY is way more satisfying than an outfitted hunt and much less expensive IMO, I've done both.
Too late to buy a PP this year for Wyoming but look into the random draw and apply for a cow tag, some good areas also get drawn in the random , somebody has to draw the tags and you can't have a chance if you don't apply. Apply for a any e;lk tag and maybe the random will be your friend, worst case you get the PP and increase your odds for next year.


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