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  1. Default Idaho Archery Elk Hunt Falll 2018

    Hey Guys,

    Last year around this time I had joined this forum to get some info on non resident mule deer and elk hunting. I was supposed to be going with my youngest brother and Uncle but had to cancel last minute due to family emergencies. I received a lot of positive feedback and help regarding information about planning a first time hunt in your wonderful state.

    This year I will be coming down (from Alberta), in September for the elk rut. I have backpack experience and will be hunting the backcountry and yes I am in great shape. I have read countless hours of information on several different websites but still need to fine tune my trip. I have from September to 12th to 29th off. I haven't decided the exact days I plan to hunt but I'd like to spend 10-14 days hunting. My work shift is 6 on 6 off so I will be making one or two trips in the summer to do some hiking and scouting where I was set up camp and maybe a few different areas in one region that may hold elk.

    My plan is to find a few spots, hike in to one spot hunt a few days if I am finding elk ill stay and hunt them, if I cant find no elk or no sign, I plan on hiking back to the truck and drive to a new spot and hike in and do the same thing until I find them. That's how I like to hunt them in Alberta. Usually try and cover as much ground as possible. I am wondering if this is a good idea or should I scout, pick a spot and have faith in that spot?

    Last but not least I am having the same trouble every non-resident has. If you guessed which Unit to hunt you've guessed right. I initially wanted to go to the ISLAND PARK ELK ZONE but after reading about the healthy grizz population there I figure its safest to not hike in there alone. I really want to hunt unit 36/36A/36B. I have done a bunch of reading on the units and I am getting the vibe that I might be trying to tackle something by myself that I shouldn't. I am in peak physical condition and have packed out animals on my own. I am just wondering if its doable or am I wasting my time planning on these zones. If you have any advice for a fellow hunter north of the border id love to hear it. I really appreciated last year all the support and advice I was given. I cant thank you guys enough


    Donnie M.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    great state of Idaho....
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    2,119

    Default

    Most hunters in 36s are horse back or motorcycle hunters, and it’s big country. i.e. horses, McCall Unit or the Weiser unit and the Elk City units are just as good. Hit google earth and find the type of terrain you like and go.
    Matt
    PronghornFreak.com DirtNapGear ARCHERY CENTRAL
    Death Harp Bowstrings ---- Onestringer arrow wraps
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    1,003

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    36's are fun country. But with the population estimates coming out of Elk City it's hard to argue against it.
    Elitist Hunter

    "Never let schooling [work] get in the way of your education" - Mark Twain

  4. Default

    I'd pick Elk City, Weiser, Salmon,or Pioneer for elk population. 36a and b have plenty of areas that would be fine for someone in good shape solo. Check a gradient map if you want to be careful and stay away from real rocky areas and greater than 35 degree slopes.

  5. #5

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    You absolutely have to go. Do not wait another year, you’ll thank us later. Maybe pass on grizzly country for your first trip here. But there are lots of zones with tons of elk. Elk are doing very well in most of Idaho right now.

    Weiser zone, smoky mt zone, elk city, McCall is decent, sawtooth is great. Pick one and go!

  6. Default

    Go. Hunt. If you’re in peak physical condition just know your limits and go kick ass!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    3,626

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Duck-Slayer View Post
    Most hunters in 36s are horse back or motorcycle hunters, and it’s big country. i.e. horses, McCall Unit or the Weiser unit and the Elk City units are just as good. Hit google earth and find the type of terrain you like and go.
    Matt
    What he said.
    "Talk low, talk slow and don't say too much." John Wayne

  8. Default

    Hey guys,

    I've been taking the information you have passed on and have been doing a lot of research on the areas suggested. I really like the looks of Unit 22 and 32 (Weiser Elk Zone) seems to have good success rates and less hunters then other zones. I still like the looks of the 36's but think I might hold off on those units for now. I've done some research into the sawtooth as well and really like unit 33 & 34. Looks like some really steep country there too though but I think it'd look promising. I also forgot to mention unit 19a.

    I haven't been able to find the elk population estimates per zone though. I know some say Elk city zone has a big population but haven't been able to find much on it online. The harvest statistics do not show much on their website. Any idea where I can find them?

    Thanks again for the tips. Looking forward to this trip big time!
    Last edited by dmcrobb12; 03-21-2018 at 06:44 PM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Ive hunted each one of the units you’ve mentioned in your last post, excluding 19a. Either myself or with someone else with a tag.

    Your splitting hairs, pick any one of those and you will have a really good hunt for sure. if you research and hike.

  10. Default

    Pick one and roll. I think the Sawtooth zone is less ideal because you're almost certainly not getting a tag this year unless you're really lucky and next year FandG said it's going to be a controlled hunt. If you're coming back in the future, picking a spot you can learn and return to every year is a major benefit.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Wherever the bugles are
    Posts
    672

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Idhikker View Post
    Pick one and roll. I think the Sawtooth zone is less ideal because you're almost certainly not getting a tag this year unless you're really lucky and next year FandG said it's going to be a controlled hunt. If you're coming back in the future, picking a spot you can learn and return to every year is a major benefit.
    when did FandG say that was going to a controlled? thats the first ive heard of it.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcrobb12 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I haven't been able to find the elk population estimates per zone though. I know some say Elk city zone has a big population but haven't been able to find much on it online. The harvest statistics do not show much on their website. Any idea where I can find them?

    Thanks again for the tips. Looking forward to this trip big time!
    I wouldn't call the elk population in that zone big, at least not compared to what it could be. Additionally if archery hunting it you only get to hunt unit 15 and not in units 14 and 16 which are also in the zone. It has some cool country and lots of different things from good road access to remote but I think there are plenty of better areas. Looks like last year according to the harvest numbers only 30 some elk were killed in 15 with a bow, with about a 10% success rate and 54% of those were spikes; not what I would call a great hunt.

  13. #13

    Default

    Have hunted the Pioneer zone. Packed 3 bulls out, longest pack was 9mi/3days, shortest 3mi all were esentially downhill. Seems the roads end and all trails go uphill to where you pack hunt.
    In future i will be setting up a 'spot' message with an outfitter. Well worth a few 100$ for a horse to get meat out and i am gettin old now...hahaha.
    If you get an elk down early in your week & stay fresh, in an A-tag quota area, you can go purchase a 2nd tag at a 25% reduction & go hunt some more. Do us all a favor too & carry a wolf tag just to thin another out if ya see one.
    It doesn't get any better than this!!

  14. Default

    For info on the Sawtooth zone, see the Jan 18 fish and game press release where they said they plan to make it controlled. Right now, it's a pretty decent zone but ridiculous that you can be pushing the button to by the tag the second it's available and almost certainty be too slow to get one. It's far more popular than its stats merit, though I could see it getting good as a controlled hunt (likely with low odds).

  15. Default

    Hey guys,

    I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
    Last edited by dmcrobb12; 04-18-2018 at 10:30 PM.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcrobb12 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
    Good chance we'll be chasing elk in the same area this year.

  17. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcrobb12 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I appreciate all the input. After discussing with my hunting partners and a couple wardens we decided on the lolo elk zone. We understand the elk have been hit hard by the wolf population but have heard it is starting to make its way back. (Obviously not near what it used to be) We chose this unit for a few reasons, the main one being because we read and were told that area is one of the nicest places in the US. We also liked the archery harvest statistics compared to the number of hunters/days hunted. The game warden seemed pretty optimistic as long as we are willing to put in the leg work. We would rather hunt an area with fewer hunters even if it means fewer elk in the zone. I recently purchased a membership on onxmaps and have begun some online scouting of areas i'd like to check out in June or July (liking the northern part of unit 10). If anyone has any experience with the Lolo Zone and would like to share some information i'd be happy to hear it.
    Anyone know the griz status in the lolo?

  18. #18

    Default

    Have several plans as summer is coming and that means FIRES! Which seems to be more and more and they are burning thousands of acres anymore.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    1,003

    Default

    bring a rod. there's some real good trout fishing in that zone.
    Elitist Hunter

    "Never let schooling [work] get in the way of your education" - Mark Twain

  20. Default

    I've hunted the Lolo area 3 times for moose and twice for bear. Know the area fairly well. Forest fires can be an issue in September. Last 2 years had to go later because of all the smoke, can't glass if that is the case. There aren't very many elk, the wolves have decimated the population. Great bear and predator hunting though. There are some elk in the area, just tough hunting. I would go into the 36 areas, lots of elk and if you're willing to hike into the higher country that time of year, it would be easier to find elk and get away from other hunters. IMO

  21. Default

    Griz are few in the area and DNR will say none are there. The tracks and the stories about the problem bears from Yellowstone finding their way there say differently. In thirty years of hunting the area off and on I've only seen tracts. Have been face to face with a couple of Cats, so carry a side arm. Fishing is great!! I plan to go back for gun season this year, but will only be deer hunting. You'll love the mountains except for walking uphill through the alder thickets, which is almost every direction!! Idaho is an Indian word for "UP THERE!!"

  22. Default

    I think there are many better places which are just as scenic than Lolo but good luck.

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    Tags are bought already so i guess it is what it is. Ive been chatting with the biologists in the area and they've told me that if were willing to put in the work we'll do fine. Even if we don't get anything we will still have a good time

  24. Default

    I'm pretty sure you can still exchange until the hunt starts. Biologists come in all different personalities. Unless they point you to a spot that they've seen elk--and be wary because they probably do this for everyone--talking up their area doesn't mean much. Look at the population data and how they're divvying tags. The Lolo is hurting but may be recovering some from the high predation.

    You could have an amazing hunt there of course.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    great state of Idaho....
    Posts
    2,119

    Default

    Be a hunter and you will be fine.... if your not seeing elk or FRESH elk sign move, because the elk are not going to miraculously show up... LOL. Especially if you have never hunted there before. I've found elk on the first and on the 5th day, just keep moving till you find them and stick one right behind the shoulder.
    Matt
    PronghornFreak.com DirtNapGear ARCHERY CENTRAL
    Death Harp Bowstrings ---- Onestringer arrow wraps
    Facebook Team Slayer<------- Click here
    IDAHO BOWFISHING ASSOCIATION - President

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