View Full Version : 2006 Elk hunt

M.T. Pockets
09-27-2006, 12:02 PM
Hello all. Just got back yesterday from a 6 day hunt in the Thorofare area of Wyoming. Worked very hard and took a 5 point just at dark on day 4. It was tough hunting, we didn't see many elk and they were hard to hunt, they didn't bugle or respond to cow calls, in fact they ran away. Hard to believe since it should have been the prime of the rut and there was snow on the ground. The guide said last week when he bugled a pack of wolves responded to his call, he thought it is changing their behavior. He also said we were seeing about 25% of the elk we saw 2 years ago. No shortage of grizzly bears though, we saw a few and there were tracks everywhere. No trouble, but a couple of changed plans when we ran into them. Also saw a trophy class bighorn ram, that was fun.

I've hunted in quite a few elk camps now and have learned quite a bit. Here's some observations for what they're worth.

- The most important part of the hunt is choosing your partners. They can make or break any hunt. Go with someone who can handle adversity and has a positive attitude.
- Second, pick the best outfitter you can find. Talk to as many recent references as possible. I've hunted elk on my own too, but believe me, if you haven't hunted elk before an outfitter is well worth it. They have a lot invested in camps and horses, plus they know the area. They're worth the cost, save a couple years - if I can do it anybody can.
- Your boots are the most important equipment you'll have with. Get good ones with airbob soles and break them in.
- Leave your cotton clothes home. Your going to get wet from the inside & outside and the new synthetic fabrics are much better at drying out and keeping you warm. Stuff like thermax...Also, wool is still the best outerwear made. Get some quiet rainwear too.
- Be able to dry out at camp. Bring a clothes line and be able to build a fire in your tent.
- Shoot heavy, premium bullets. I visit with lots of outfitters and everyone I've talked to prefers their clients to bring a .30 cal or larger. They like magnums, but would rather have a client show up with a .30-06 with heavy premium bullets, than a .7 Mag with lighter fast bullets. The benchmark rifle in elk camps is still the .300 Win. Mag. You can handle one if you practice and don't apologize to anyone if you want to shoot a larger caliber, as long as you can back it up with your shooting ability.
- Go as soon as you can. It's not going to get any cheaper or easier. The mountains are steep so get in shape.
- Drink as much water as you can hold, you'll feel better and it helps with the altitude problems. Take it easy on the booze in camp, wait til you get out if you want a drink.
- Keep a positive attitude, tell yourself before the hunt that you're going to hunt til dark the last day.
- If you're scared of heights or bears, make sure you know what you're getting into in the area where you're going.
- Know a little bit about horses, take a few lessons and know how to tie them up. Your guide will do it, but it saves time if you can help.
- Bring or build a cooler large enough to hold your quarters, then you don't have to wait in town a couple days while your elk is processed.
- Take an extra day off work for when you get back, you'll be tired and your equipment will need care.
- Don't get too hung up on trophy size, the size of the rack doesn't relate to how great of a hunter you are. Go for the experience of hunting them and be happy with the one you get an opportunity to take.

These are just a few things that come to mind off the top of my head.

Say, can anyone help me with some advise on how to shrink down a photo so I can attach one ?


09-27-2006, 12:18 PM
Great advice, M.T. I hope to be able to use it on an elk hunt someday.

And congratulations on your kill. Looking forward to seeing pictures.

Brant Buster
09-27-2006, 07:39 PM
Congrats on an enjoyable and successful hunt. Glad you got a decent bull and had a generally good time doing it. (Hard work is still 'work', even if the result is fulfilling).

You touched on the 'wolf subject' ......

How prevalent were the lupis horribilus stupidous? :D

What part of the state were you in?

And how many wolves live in that vicinity?


Dan Morris
09-27-2006, 08:02 PM
Congrats, there has never been a easy elk hunt!LOL. Glad you had fun.

M.T. Pockets
09-28-2006, 08:50 AM
Brant Buster,

We saw a lot of wolf tracks and not many elk in the drainages we were hunting. When the guide said that wolves came in to his bugling last week it became my opinion that they moved the elk out of the area. If you were an elk why would you stay around ?

I also think it has an effect on why the elk weren't bugling. If you sound off and a pack of wolves close in on you why would you keep bugling ?

I don't know how many elk are killed by the wolves, but I know that 20 miles of travel doesn't mean much to an elk if their home gets invaded by wolves. It definitely affects their behavior. I'm from Minnesota so I'm no stranger to wolves. Here they feed on deer, the deer get more wary, but they don't leave an area. Elk behave differently and I think if wolves move in their area they get the hell out of there.

We were in the Thorofare area in Wyoming, which is on the SE border of Yellowstone. The wolves released in Yellowstone have a good foothold here, I don't know how many are here now. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the wolves because I didn't get a 350 class bull, but I don't think it's a coincidence why they're seeing 25% of the elk they saw before the wolves were in the area. The moose are way down too, the Fish & Game Dept. says it's because of the dry conditions, but the moose habitat was overgrown where we were. The moose calves are pretty easey prey for the wolves and grizzly bears.

I don't like the wolf reintroduction, it has a much larger impact on the ecosystem and animal behavior than most realize. They've spread way beyond the original area where they were released and if they're not in the area where you hunt, they will likely be there soon. I don't want to open a can of worms on this thread, but wolves do have a significant impact on a hunting area. A much larger impact than most realize.

It was a good, hard, rewarding hunt and I'll be picking the meat up from the locker plant next week. Eating elk meat for the next year is one of the best parts of every hunt.

Hope everyone has a good hunting season wherever you may be hunting.

Brant Buster
09-28-2006, 11:00 AM
So don't misunderstand me!

EVERYWHERE I have heard about the godd@mn wolf being re-introed biggame numbers have plummeted, other species have been affected and peoples' livelihoods have been adversely affected (ranchers, guides, anyone in agriculture/animal husbandry).

Besides the wolf-reintro being a failure in a good or benevolent sort-of-way,[/I] it was done dishonestly and sneakily in many ways! Even in places the red wolf was reintroed (a lesser wolf) the gray wolf kills and drives it out too.

A search of the Web will turn up stories of wolves in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and other states the grey wolf wasn't "formally" reased. Wolves have not only moved out of Yellowstone, but into other states.

One grandmother I read about witnessed (from her kitchen window) a wolf run up on the extended enclosed porch of her home and grab the family cat! This all within "feet" of her 5yo grandchild.

Shoot, shovel and shutup. I'll repeat that and reapet that to whomever will liston.

I wish to God we could catch 100 Yellowstone wolves and release them in Central Park New York, downtown-Boston, or other "eastern" cities. Then how would they like it?


09-28-2006, 01:31 PM
Good, solid info for anyone considering an Elk hunt. I used to "do-it-yourself" Elk hunt but that taught me how worthy a good Guide is. After prepping the horses before YOU eat breakfast, you ride out in the darkness and hope you get to where your going before first light. Hunt all day in the wind and cold and return to camp after dark only to take care of the Horses BEFORE you eat dinner. Then who wants to clean up the dishes? Your tired and wore out and ready for bed, because you have to get up extra early in the morning to TAKE CARE of the Horses :D I totally agree: a good Guide is worth his weight in gold. If your going Elk hunting for the first time, get your gear and yourself in shape. It will pay off in spades. Congrats on getting your Bull! grayghost

09-29-2006, 10:47 PM

Appreciate your observations. I'm with Brant Buster all the way.

As I said in your pic post thread for years the grizz has come to the shot figuring on a gut pile. This year, already, wolves are coming to the bugle.

Talked to a local hunter who bugled and received a response from a bull about 200 yds up the hill. The next sound was a wolf howl about 125yds up the hill then the pack response from aways away.

More than one report of that.

Seems the wolves are learning fast. Not sure if they are targeting bulls this early or use the bugle to learn where the herd is.

Any way, M.T. Pockets sure knows how to get'er done. If I recall correctly this makes two successful elk hunts in a row. Good goin'!!!!

10-05-2006, 07:03 PM
Great observation. Glad you had some good luck. I have an acquantance that hunts in the Thorofare every year he can get drawn. He took a nice 6 point this year. Pretty much said the same as you with the bears. Everyone that shot and elk close to night fall had a bear on it come morning when they returned to pack it out. They were charged a couple of different times but he's seen enough of them to remain calm and get out of the way. For him the grizzly was a bigger threat/nuisance than wolves. They didn't run across any of them. By the way Jack has taken 8 bulls out of the Thorofare so far and he never gets tired of the scenery. Sometimes the 8 1/2 hr ride in harder than others but horses will be horses.

Dan Morris
10-05-2006, 08:51 PM
Kinda off subject, any of you guys coming through Denver
give me a jingle at the office.800 869-9025 X13. Kinda like to meet a few of you. Petey and myself missed connections when they were through a couple of years back.I'm just off I70 toward
downtown Denver.