Elk Hunt


Active Member
Hey guys,

Just booked an Elk hunt in British Columbia with my Father, brother and two friends this coming October. I can't tell you how excited I am. My two friends have hunted this area several years ago. They are both pretty experienced trophy hunters while this will be my first hunt of this kind outside of whitetail hunting in South Carolina. The fact that I'm getting to do it with my dad and brother really make it special. My brother and I live an hour apart but don't get to do much together outside of a few weekend hunts on our property due to family and work obligations.

My dad and brother drove out to Colorado this past October to hunt on public land (first time for them) but didn't have much luck and that's when we started talking about a guided hunt. This is an eight day hunt with the opportunity to shoot mule deer, whitetail and black bear. I don't have a desire to shoot a bear (unless it's trying to eat me) but I think I will get the mule deer and whitetail tags also.

This hunt is also motivation for me to get in shape and lose a few pounds. I would love to hear some stories or advice from you guys who have done this kind of hunt before.

I've had the opportunity to hunt all over the world for lots of different things. Of all ,my favorite hunt ever was an elk hunt in Utah. Fantastic! The mountains were on fire. It was full rut with elk bugling everywhere all day and night. I was with good friends, a great guide service on a ranch full of elk. What a blast. Like turkey hunting for a large 4 legged critter.

By all means get in shape. While elk hunting isn't as physically challenging as sheep hunting or other mountain sports still the quality of the experience can be defined by your ability to conquer the mountain. Besides it is the way to live life.

Go have a blast and get a big one.
Get in shape. Great shape. I've been on 4 elk hunts and been successful on 3. Elk cover a lot of ground. So should you, especially in more open country. I don't recommend blowing through the dark timber Willy nilly but you will see more elk if you cover a lot of ground.

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Make sure you know what terrain you will be hunting and have the right cloths and boots.Are you sleeping in tents and need good pad and sleeping bag?I have guided,done guided hunts and done DIY back pack hunts.Bad boots can ruin a trip.Know your weapon
Listen to the guide. Don't try to manage the situation.

You'll have a ball, I have a Alberta bow hunt for moose lined up this year and WY bow hunt for elk in '18 Both trips with buddies. Dreaming about them and the excitement that builds prior to the hunt is as fun as going.
who are you hunting with for moose,I am wanting to set up a mule deer spot and stalk in Alberta.I have moose hunted in CO and WY carried my bow a few time but used ML and rifle
I'll tell you if I don't book another hunt after our Sept hunt. He's sold out through 2019. We went in 2014 and had a ball. Even with 90F record highs, about as horrible rut conditions you could ask for and only one shot, 3/4 of us rebooked. I had 7 encounters. No shots but I never shook so bad in my life. The one who didn't rebook was because he has a hearing problem and couldn't hear the moose grunts. We've booked the whole camp with friends this year

He has extreme repeat customers. Moose with a gun he has 100% success for years running. Bow is about 50%. It's filthy with moose

When I booked the hunt I asked him what I needed to do to prepare. He said the moose stand 7' tall and you need to be able to hit a 5 gallon bucket every time at 60 yards (huge kill area). We will have one on one guides and our average shot distance is 8-12 yards. I'll call either as a hot cow wanting to be bred or a dominate bull infringing on the bulls territory. The bull will come in either wanting to breed you or beat the heck out of you, I don't know which is worse. Youll need to put an arrow in him before he does one of those.

We are about 2-3 hours north of Edmonton
Good physical condition and good gear make a world of difference. Doing a solo wilderness hunt in CO this fall for elk.
Sounds like a blast Keith, especially with family. I think you will love it. I've fished and hunted Canada several times over the years. Even summer, the weather goes from wearing shorts, to snow within the same day. As for hunting, my last trip, temps stayed around 15 below. And as you probably know, the deer are built like horses up there. Even a spike will look like a mule, sometimes making the rack appear smaller. Practice on looking at deer of that size in pics so you can quickly recognize true size. Personally, the best advice I ever got up there was to forget the binocs, and put scope on deer, elk, etc and make your decision. They typically dont give you but a second to make the choice and if you use binocs then reach for your rifle, the game can be over.
If you get chance, do a little fishing, no where else like it. Have fun, a return trip is not in my immediate future, so I'm envious.
Make sure you have your firearm papers in order and keep them handy. They can be royal pain in butt on inspections. Also on a hunt, our guns made it but clothes were day later making it .
You might check on moose tag, not sure that is an option at that time. Some really nice ones up there.
And airlines change, and can be fussy about transferring meat/racks on plane. I went thru bad year they were being stupid and had to ship rack back seperate from airline.
To me there is nothing like elk hunting. If I had to make a choice, I would take a week out west hunting elk over the entire deer season at home. It is like taking the best parts of turkey hunting and the best parts of deer hunting and combining them together. IMO, hearing a bull bugle is the most majestic sound in nature followed by a gobbling turkey. And to have the ability to call a bull and hear him respond and come to your calls is a mind blowing experience. It can be very similar to spring turkey hunting. I bow hunt for elk and have had a bull's nose a foot from my face, close enough to smell his breath. There is nothing like it and it is very addicting. Be prepared to make it an annual trip. Hunting in such a beautiful place as the Rockies is just icing on the cake. You will have a blast and I encourage anyone who loves to deer hunt to make an elk hunt a bucket list item.
Well the time is almost here. I've acquired all of the clothing I think I will need. I've broke-in a pair of Danner Pronghorn's, practiced shooting out to 300 yards and feeling pretty good with it. Flying out of Charleston Saturday morning to Kalispell, MT. Renting a Suburban and driving from there to Cranbrook, BC to meet up with the guide. Hope to have some great pictures to share when I get back. Would love to have a nice elk mount to put in the cabin!
I'm back. I did not bag an elk but I learned a lot about hunting elk, saw some beautiful scenery, tested my physical endurance (I have a limit apparently) and spent some quality time with my father, brother and two friends. It was also the longest vacation I have ever taken from work (8 business days). Being so far away (and generally without communication) made it easy to forget about work and other obligations which was a nice benefit.

I am disappointed that no one bagged an elk. In the area we were hunting a legal elk must have six points on one side. The outfitter told us the elk were not in their usual places. Possibly due to an unusually dry summer and wildfires which nearly burned one of the outfitters camps. I had one close encounter on a mountainside with a 5x4. During the climb we had a total of four different elk bugling within several hundred yards of us. The guide said one of them sounded older but he seemed to move further away everytime we headed in his direction. I have a new respect for these animals and the terrain they live in. Everything seems to be in their favor, the wind, the weather, the trees, the brush.

By the end of the hunt I was physically exhausted from waking up a 5 am (3 am eastern standard time) and getting back to camp at 7:30-8:00 pm in the evening and doing so many hikes. I was fortunate to be in a small log cabin with a real mattress and a propane heater so I was not completely roughing it. The guides stayed in wall tents with wood burning stoves, so they usually woke up to a cold tent and apparently there was a huge mouse invasion in which one of the guides woke up during the night with a mouse in his shirt!

While the disappointment of not bagging an elk lingers, I have no regrets. My father and brother have not spent that much time together probably since before I went off to college. During the down time (glassing or resting between hikes) I realized how much I missed my wife and kids. I need to be more engaged and make them a priority because time is starting to fly by. While I felt I did ok physically, I need to make excercise a priority because I'm no spring chicken. Trying to keep up with a 25 year old physically fit guide (who was sandbagging to make me feel better) was an eye opener. 10 days of not having to think about work, not coaching kids sports and not answering a cell phone have rejuvenated me and will hopefully make me a better husband, father, friend and co-worker...until the next hunt. It may be a few years but I'll go back.
Reviving an old thread. In my last post I said I would go back...well I did and it was a successful trip this time. This trip was to Chama, New Mexico with my dad, brother and one of his friends. Three of us got elk (first for all of us), my brother was the unlucky one. Unfortunately he never had an opportunity to take a shot. Shot mine on a morning hunt at about 9900 feet in a mountain meadow. Dad killed his on an evening hunt in some timber on a different ranch, but I was along for the hunt and got to watch him take the shot at 220 yards making a perfect double lung shot. We found the elk 30 yards from where he shot it. This hunt couldn't have been scripted any better for me and my dad. I could write a book on the experience but going to keep it short so here are a few pics. Much credit goes to our guide Travis who is in several of the pictures.

My 5x5 elk

Me and the guide

Dad's 5x5 Elk

Dad and the guide
I’m happy for you, nothing like a western hunt with family and/or friends. I’ve only ever killed one elk, a cow, but I’ve been on eight antelope hunts, (six successful), two mule deer hunts, (one successful), and enjoyed them all very much. Most of these occurred at a time in my life that I was in the oilfield construction business, (a 24/7/365 job), and the down time from the business was extremely helpful. I was fortunate to have a partner to handle the business end, and good employees to handle the work. Sometimes you just have to re-charge !

I’m gonna edit this to say that I misused the word “successful”. They were ALL successes in that I got to see new country and had an adventure. The one mulie hunt that I didn’t fire a shot, (except on a coyote running at top speed) was a really good hunt. Yes, I killed the coyote. Even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then !