First Time Elk Hunt

This will be our third year elk hunting. The first year we went on a limited draw in Colorado and had a blast. Did not kill an elk, took three days to hear one bugling at us and if you are bow hunting, you BETTER understand that the winds swirl 360 degrees about the time you are ready to draw. Unless you have a personal recommendation, I would not spend my money with a guide. We saw, smelled and had elk bark at us. Walked over 30 miles in 5 days up and down the mountains and enjoyed every pain and ache with it. Like others have said, success rates are very deceptive. My success was 100% once I crossed the Rocky Mountains and spent 5 nights in a tent with the crisp mountain air and low humidity in September. I could have filled a semi with mule deer we walked up on. When buying your gear, buy once and cry once. It is not cheap for good gear but some it is not necessary either.
 

Mac

Senior Member
I have hunted twice DIY San Juan NF, north of Delores. Once 2nd rifle and once ML, the weather can be a big factor during the 2nd rifle, it was on our hunt terrible weather. The ML hunt was lots of bugling but on private land joining the NF. Saw cows and bear several days, but no harvest.

IMO, I would not pay for a guided hunt on public land. They have no control of who and how many folks will be in the area. Also, San Juan, you have the issue of ATV's riding the trails and roads.
 

godogs57

Senior Member
If you want to hear bugling I would go in archery or maybe muzzleloader. They are mostly done by October when the first rifle season starts, we didn't hear any bugling until the last day of the season despite plenty of elk in the area.
I generally go to Northern NM the first week of rifle season, Oct 1-5. Every year I've been fortunate to be covered up in bugles, fights, and having a ball calling em in, mostly with my mouth alone! The latest I've heard bugling and responding to calls has been October 17th.

Nothing can compare with elk hunting during the rut. Nothing.
 
DO not go with a guide. You get more satisfaction killing a bull without a guide. Elk are not hard to kill. Go in September and go as high as you can even if it is above the tree line. Best piece of advice is DO NOT OVER CALL. Bulls will bugle all year long. Also, if you can find a limited entry hunt or hunt Montana, migrating bulls are fun to hunt. I saw 150+ bulls in November and December this year. I saw 45 bulls on Thanksgiving.
 
I generally go to Northern NM the first week of rifle season, Oct 1-5. Every year I've been fortunate to be covered up in bugles, fights, and having a ball calling em in, mostly with my mouth alone! The latest I've heard bugling and responding to calls has been October 17th.

Nothing can compare with elk hunting during the rut. Nothing.
Do you hunt private land? Looks like it would be hard to draw a tag every year in NM.
 
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