Our bow hunts take place in the Madison Range. These are eight day expeditions. The first and the last day of the trip are travel days and there are six days of self-guided hunting in-between. The pack trip into camp requires a six hour ride by saddle horse. All hunting is done on foot.
Our archery hunts coincide with the elk rut which begins in early September and runs through the cows second heat in mid-October. Normally as elusive as ghosts, elk are easy to locate during the breeding season because they are so vocal. Bugling serves three purposes for the bull; to assert his dominance over rival bulls, to advertise his virility to receptive cows, and to vent frustration during the rut.
A hunter’s bugling and cow talk can often be used to lure in either bachelor bulls looking for cows or satellite bulls prowling the perimeter of a jealously guarded harem. Herd bulls are much harder to get close to. It’s not that its difficult to find them, the really big bulls will be at the center of a whirlwind of bugling, fighting and breeding activities. It’s simply a problem of too many sets of watchful eyes in the harem master’s court and a reluctance on his part to move very far from his cows. To get close to a herd bull requires radical strategies and more than a little luck.
Bugling and cow calling are useful skills for hunting elk, but they can easily be overdone. Spot and stalk, still hunting, drives, and posting travel lanes, wallows and primary trails are all other hunting techniques that produce.
Through the years better than eighty percent of our bowhunting clients have had the opportunity for reasonable shots at one or more good bulls during their hunt with us. Actual kill statistics vary greatly from year to year and from hunt to hunt. Getting close to a big game animal in a wilderness environment and taking it with bow and arrow is a very challenging task. Elk are intelligent animals with extremely keen senses. They are the product of countless generations of successful predator avoidance. Shooting them with a rifle is one thing, killing them with a bow from close range, quite another.
While the challenge is great in hunting elk with a bow, so are the rewards. The necessity of getting close enough to use a bow effectively provides for a degree of contact with the animal rarely experienced. Countless hours are spent observing their daily routine from a proximity that allows you to smell their sweet musky odor and hear them call to each other. The bull’s bugling is one of nature’s most exquisite sounds. At a distance it is melodic and haunting; up close it is a powerful challenge that will make your heart race and rattle the arrow off your rest.
This bow hunt is primarily an elk hunt but there are good populations of mule deer here as well. During the early fall mule deer, in bachelor groups of two to four head, can be found in protected pockets close to timberline. These reclusive old-timers are wary. They will often pick an isolated patch of alpine fir to bed in during the day. Each chooses a bed facing a different direction and depends on his companions to watch his back side. Located by glassing from the high ridges, the bucks are sometimes vulnerable to a carefully planned stalk or drive.
If you are successful in taking both elk and deer then we will charge a $500. trophy fee on the second animal. If you only take one species, whether it be elk or deer, there is no trophy fee.
We will book six guests per base camp. A cook/camp tender staffs camp. All food is provided.
A packer will check in regularly to pack game. This hunt is priced at $2500. per guest.