Where to go? That is the first question. What kind of a hunt do I want to do? That is the second question. How much am I willing to spend? That is the third question. Those are all bad questions and if you are thinking along those lines, throw them all out. What I focus on is where can I have the most fun. Then I try to pick the time that will work for my schedule. My wife and I like to travel in the fall and that is usually right around elk season in the mountains, so some of the places picked do not work for our schedule. What I want are good accommodations, good food, a one to one guide, and results. There are four outfitters that meet those requirements.
|In the camp|
Wind River Outfitters is a pure outdoor experience in the mountains. While I did not harvest a bull, the experience was outstanding. Mike and his wife provide excellent service, great food, excellent guides and the accommodations are very good for a totally outdoor experience. Check out their website for prices and more information. You will hunt in some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen.
|Beautiful mountain experience|
Notice the steepness of the terrain. This is scenic and rugged country. Placed on the side of a mountain we waited for elk to appear in the valley below. The shot would have been about 100 yards.
Depending on what you are looking for, this will be an excellent outdoor adventure with all the trappings of a hunt on horseback in the Nez Perce National Forrest.
Bob Barlow, owner of Barlow Outfitting out of Alpine, Wyoming, operates great hunting and fishing trips. I shot a black bear with Bob. Since he is a native of the area, Bob knows the Tetons like the back of his hand. Instead of camping, you stay at Teton Mountain View Lodge in Tetonia, Idaho. You stay in Idaho, but hunt in Wyoming. You can look up and see the back side of the Grand Tetons right next to Jackson, Wyoming. In fact, on two trips to the area I could always look up to my right and there were the mountains poking up into the sky.
The morning starts out with a breakfast in the eating area at the lodge, provided by Bob. The horses are trailored to a trail head and off you go into the mountains. If you want the mountain experience without the camping experience, this is a superb way to go. You can hunt elk in the morning, and then hunt bear in the evening. You have a heated private room with toilet and shower every morning and evening. The best part of this trip is having the company of Bob Barlow. You will have a great time with Bob.
I did not draw a tag for Wyoming for 2013 and did not have the opportunity to hunt with Bob this year.
|The beauty of the Tetons|
|Working through the valleys|
|On the mountain top|
|Black Bear hunt|
|The backside of the Grand Tetons|
Last year I hunted Smith Rancho northeast of Craig Colorado. A really nice 5 x 5 was harvested. Smith Rancho is part of a program developed by Colorado called "Ranching for Wildlife." Ranching for Wildlife (RFW) is a wildlife management partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and owners of large tracts of private land. A minimum of 12,000 acres of contiguous private deeded land is the minimum amount of land required for enrollment. Landowners improve habitat on their ranch for both game and non-game animals.
This is a first class hunt with bunk house accommodations and a plethora of elk that you can visually glass throughout the ranch. Dining is pure gourmet at its finest and Mrs. Smith is an outstanding cook. Their guides are all seasoned veterans at working for the customer in the outdoors. They work extra hard to put you on an animal.
I did not spend a full day on the ranch when my elk was harvested. I stayed until dinner because roast leg of lamb was being served. The elk was taken to Craig for processing at the Brothers processing facility. I was more than pleased with the results. Upon contacting Smith Rancho for this year, they were booked and wanted me to book for 2014, but I cannot plan that far ahead.
This is an outstanding trip for the person that does not want the horseback experience, but wants good accommodations and gourmet cooking. The Smiths will go out of their way to see that you have a great experience, but you must plan early.
The fourth trip is the one I just completed at High Adventure Ranch. I shot an Arkansas Razorback hog last January. To learn about the ranch and my experience, read next weeks blog. This was way more than I expected.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank.