The best mountain guides and hunters I know have all spent considerable time hunting over-the-counter wilderness elk. These elk have the keenest senses and are the most unforgiving of all the mountain species. A mountain goat will tolerate a quick glimpse of a hunter, a ram will often just shake his head at the first whiff of a human, and a bumped muley will typically stop for a shot opportunity. Wilderness bull elk will have none of that. These hunts will teach you more about hunting than almost any other, and the availability of tags allows you to hunt every year.

Most of our hunts have a horseback component and most involve some wilderness camping in remote areas. We hunt bulls like the old timers did fifty years ago. It’s an adventure of a lifetime.

Archery pack-in and pack-out dates are flexible because the season is four weeks. The second week of the season and the last week (after muzzleloader is over) are the most productive times for archers. You have to have a patient mindset to hunt the first week of archery season. However, some of the biggest bulls are killed in the pre-rut before they have gotten their cows together.

Archery season is the best time of the year to be in the mountains. The weather is good and the elk are bugling. It is also the time of year where it isn’t abnormal to go an entire hunt without seeing another hunter.

Our unit, 25, is one of the few Flat Top units that still offers OTC archery bull and cow tags. Our shot opportunity rate runs around 30-60% depending on weather/rut.

Guided hunters should expect a physical hunt. We prefer to use a base camp (wall tents) in combination with overnight backpack setups as spike camps.

*Call or email for pricing

Corporate/Group Packages Available

You must pack-in a day or two days before the season.

1st season is an easy draw, but you must go through the draw to get a tag. The first season is a great time, with fewer hunters, better weather, and it is likely you will catch the tail end of the rut. In 2013-2017 seasons, the elk were still bugling through 1st season.

4th season bulls tags are by draw but close to 100% of hunters draw without preference points.

2nd and 3rd season are over-the-counter purchased tags. By the 2nd and 3rd rifle season, you need to be prepared for the possibility of heavy snow. These later seasons can produce massive bulls that are pushed out of high elevations. The biggest variable for hunting quality is weather and snow accumulation.

All of these hunts are true wilderness hunts where being in good shape and being able to bare inclement weather will pay off with the hunt of a lifetime. All of our rifle elk hunts average 50%+ shot opportunity on legal bulls. The majority of bulls are medium sized, 4-6 point animals. Roughly 1/10th of our harvested bulls score 300+.

*Call or email for pricing

Corporate/Group Packages Available

This hunt is available for both Archery and Rifle Seasons. These hunts are focused on mature bulls while maintaining comfortable lodging. A mix of private land, forest service and wilderness area will be hunted via vehicle, hiking, and horseback riding. Lodging and meals are provided in our high-end lodge. A small wilderness spike camp may be available also.

Getting tags:
Archery season – You can purchase bull tags over-the-counter. Buck tags are an easy draw.
1st rifle season – Easy to draw bull tags for both residents and non-residents. No deer hunting.
2nd rifle season – You can purchase bull tags over-the-counter. Deer tags are an easy draw.
3rd rifle season – You can purchase bull tags over-the-counter. Deer tags are a 75%+ draw.
4th rifle season – Easy to draw for residents and a 95%+ draw for non-residents bull tags. Deer tags take 4+ points.

All of our rifle elk hunts average 50%+ shot opportunity on legal bulls. The majority of bulls are medium sized, 4-6 point animals. Roughly 1/10th of our harvested bulls score 300+.

*Keep in mind that these hunts all from a comfortable lodge, but they still require considerable hiking and/or riding. This is a high elevation mountain hunt.

*Call or email for pricing

Corporate/Group Packages Available

Trip Leader Add-On Service for Groups/Corporate

True Hunts will add an additional full-time staff member to any hunt (outside of the hunt package guides/staff). These experts know the areas/species well, help guide hunters (where legal), deal with logistics of the hunt/travel, know professional taxidermy preparation and are an onsite resource to monitor quality control. This service is a huge plus for groups that don’t want to worry about the logistical details of a hunt or individuals that want that “edge” added to their hunt. *Call or email for pricing details.

Pricing and Payment Details

  • All fees must be paid in U.S. funds: Checks via certified mail. Credit Cards are accepted from corporate invoiced groups only. Cash and money order are the only accepted payment for final payments received at the hunt location.
  • 50% deposit due at booking. Final 50% due before April 15th for all Spring hunts and August 15th for all Fall hunts.
  • Tips are appreciated for good service. 5-15% of the total trip cost is typical if you are happy with your guide and service.
  • Most of our hunt packages do not include cost of taxidermy, meat processing, shipping costs, travel to/from hunt area, tags/taxes/licenses, and other services not specifically described in the hunt contract.

Recent Harvests

Frequent Questions

  • Are these hunts hike-in, horseback or vehicle based?
    • With minimal exceptions on our lodge hunts, all of our elk hunts are horseback based. For all wilderness hunts, we use horses and mules to access our camps and pack in gear, hunters and supplies.
    • We use horses while hunting, if we need to cover distance to reach game. If we can get hunters into game within 1-4 miles from camp, we will primarily hunt on foot. All harvested elk are packed via horses and mules.
  • Are these hunts on private or public land? Will we see other hunters?
    • We hunt some private land leases on our lodge hunts, but we hunt public land on all of our wilderness hunts. This land is USFS designated road-less area or is designated federal wilderness area. Both of these designations make these area inaccessible to all vehicles.
    • During our 5 or 7 day hunts, it is likely that you will see other hunters. Because of the remoteness of our camps (2-4+ hr ride in), this interaction is usually limited. Hunters must be in incredible shape, have high-end gear, and extensive mountain experience to hunt these areas on their own.
  • What about the meat, antlers, and capes?
    • We pack meat out of the camps within 24hrs (we shoot for 12hrs), during archery seasons. During the colder rifle seasons, we pack game out every couple days. We can deliver meat/capes/antlers to local taxidermists and meat processors. They can hang quarters or package/wrap the meat for you. All taxidermy prices, timelines, etc… are between you and the taxidermist. We only deliver to local taxidermists in Gypsum and Eagle Colorado.

Scenes From Elk Hunts

Archery Elk Gear List
Rifle Elk Gear List

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