Elk Camp or Lodging?
Plan Your Sleeping Arrangements Carefully

If your elk hunts are conducive to sleeping in a lodging facility in a comfortable bed, it can be done. Perhaps even in your own bed, if you live in elk country like we do. I do it that way much of the time. In fact, Ican’t camp near many places that I hunt, because they are on private land that is open to hunting, but closed to camping. Here’s how that might look on one of those typical “bed hunt” days:




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Hunting From a Bed

3:30 a.m.: Quick breakfast. One hour drive or so.

5:00 a.m.: Start long hike and/or mountain bike ride uphill from locked gate.

Daylight: Begin locator bugling (during archery), cow talk, spot and stalk.

After Daylight: Hike several miles, if necessary, until successful or discouraged for the day.

Evening: Dinner with the family and early to bed again.

It can be done. I’ve killed several elk that way and encountered many. Depending on where you are elk hunting, your sleeping arrangements might allow the comfort of this method.

Following that process, I’ve been blessed several times to be sitting in the hot tub by noon listening to geese fly over, or at least by dark with elk meat safely stored or in process. (My sweet wife takes over at home. See the information on home game processing, wrapping, etc.)

Many hunters wouldn't even consider skipping the romance of a soft glowing elk camp to cozy into after a hard day’s hunt. (If you're really up to it, try a BackCountry elk hunt!) I don’t blame them. But I usually hunt elk or help someone else 50 to 60 days each season. Sometimes I even follow the process above and am at work by noon. That way I can save some annual leave for later! (I have understanding bosses.)

Local Lodging

Plush hotels don’t get built very close to good places to hunt. Local lodging can range from surprisingly comfortable, or worse than sleeping on the ground. If well located, demand can drive the price up during hunting season for even a low-rate motel.

If “hunting from bed” is the way you want to go, a little research online and some phone calls will avoid unacceptable lodging provisions upon arrival. The employees or owners might even give you advice on where to hunt. Some may even prepare a quick box breakfast for you to pick up on your way out.

Private Campground or Cabin

I’ve had friends that slept in a nice 5th wheel camper in a local rental campground near where they hunt, or some that do the same in a cabin they had built locally for that purpose. There are many privately owned cabins for rent in elk country. You can find those by searching the Internet for “lodging” in your area. These can get expensive.

Forest Service Cabins

Some USDA Forest and state forests have primitive cabins for rent in the mountains.

The price is usually quite affordable and often firewood is provided for the wood stove. Lighting is usually from a lantern (often provided) and bring-your-own water. An outhouse is the norm. Search on the ‘net way in advance for forest cabins in your hunting area. They go quickly! Sometimes a year in advance. Click here to do a cabin search on the USDA Forest Service website. (Opens in a separate window.) Scroll down to see if your state, if listed.

A Traditional Elk Camp

A well outfitted elk camp is comfortable, cozy and a great place to share elk stories, but it requires a lot of work and expense. Often elk country requires the use of an elk camp, simply because of its remoteness. Many prefer it that way. We’ll provide a complete discussion on elk camp equipment and the process soon.

Plan to Sleep Well

Getting to bed early enough and sleeping well enough to feel fresh for the pre-daylight trek is always important, even in a fully outfitted elk camp.

Sleeping arrangements are important factors to consider before determining where to hunt. Hunting while tired dulls the senses, increases injury risk, lowers success and decreases the enjoyment of your elk hunting trips. Not getting enough sleep or spending too much time getting to your hunt location from your lodging location can ruin an otherwise well-planned hunt.

Plan sleeping and lodging conditions carefully. Sometimes trying to shuttle back and forth to the comfort of a motel bed and shower can wear you out!

The best motel night I ever experienced was when I checked in with bloody arms. I cleaned up and drove back out to haul my elk meat out the next morning. The best camp night I've ever spent was after an opening day elk kill. I ate a huge dinner after packing out half my elk meat, went to bed, then woke up and fixed a huge breakfast! Then I spent several hours rested and well-nourished packing the remainder of my meat out on my back.


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Forum Topic Discussions:


How often should I use my cow call?, I am new to the sport of bow hunting elk and my question is how often should I use my cow calls?

295 yard kill with a Kimber Montana 325 WSM, by Don from Dallas: My ELk did not even twitch once. He was dead when he hit the ground.

325 WSM is worth considering, Palmer Lake,CO: I believe that the .325 WSM is the ultimate elk caliber...

30-30 for Elk? : I have a 30 30 with 170 grain round nose bullet. Will this work to shoot an elk ?

(More comments about Best Elk Rifle below)

Submissions

2013 elk bow hunt around Pagosa Springs: by Bobby (Little Rock , Arkansas), looking for someone to join my DIY hunt!...

Unique Elk Talk by Idaho Steve (Hailey, Id ), In the middle of the night, a herd of elk came traveling through the drainage and right past my tent...

Smelly Elk Areas? by Jimmy (New Mexico), I've come across many areas that just stink of elk, literally. I have heard two somewhat contradictory stories...

DIY Gear List Must Have's! by Craig (Florida) "Here are some of the items I use on my DIY hunts in the CO backcountry..."

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Solo archery hunting -- tips for calling/set up?, by Idaho Steve (Hailey, ID )~ I hunt by myself a lot...I'd love to hear your thoughts on strategic set-ups when solo hunting and calling.

Non- Lead Bullets for Elk?, by Dave, Elk Hunting Tips.Net (Garrison, MT)~ What do you ballistics guys think about the use of non-lead bullets for elk? According to this story...

Rage Broadheads by Chris, ...my buddy gave me a rage practice tip and when I shot it you could not pick out the broadhead from the field points. I was sold...

Recent Submissions:

Finally filled the freezer..., Colorado Rockies~ "I was bummed when I got to the property and no elk, nor any hoof prints in the snow. ...I pulled each of the elk into shade then started gutting..."


Wounded Veteran Elk hunts, by Joshua FL), I am a disabled veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and have always dreamed of hunting elk. I am posting this to see if anyone would know of any elk hunts free to disabled vets....

First Elk with a Bow, by Ryan H. (Colorado), ...Finally after many years of hunting with a bow "I got er did"!

First Elk!, by Tater (Sheridan, Arkansas) I took the advice I received from this website and was successful…I wanted to Thank You and Your Forum and the folks that share on here for the knowledge and information that helped me find an elk I was quite happy with.


Questions

Any success in Unit 14?, by: Dave (MI), "I'm planning on doing a DIY in Unit 14 for 2012..."


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Bugle in Herd bulls, by Swiltbank (Az) The key to calling in a herd bull is to get into his bedding grounds and threaten his herd. Start off sounding like…


Best Big Game Rifle?

Best Rifle Caliber?, by Buglemup (Superior, MT), "I've been reading what people have been writing about rifle calibers and here is what 16 years of guiding elk has taught me."

7mm Remington Magnum, by Dean (Helena, MT. USA) I use my Liberty Ruger M77, 7mm Rem. Mag. for antelope, deer, elk... Comment: "What do you guys think about the idea of hunting elk with a 270? I also know a guy who kills elk with a 243."


338 Marlin Express, "Light, fast shooting, hard hitting, manageable recoil, and for a lever gun - very accurate."


Guns I like for Elk, by Mountain Walker (Kootenays east B.C. Canada),"I think the gun you shoot Elk with should be one you shoot a lot with... "


.35 Remington, by Bill Smith "...my .35 Rem appears to have dropped a medium deer flawlessly, but I now have serious doubts as to its capability to take an elk."


Arizona Elk Hunting

Where to hunt in Az unit 3B?, by Cliffjumper (Tucson, Az) ~ I got a late bull muzzle loader hunt in Arizona unit 3b. Does anyone know how to hunt bulls in the late season?...

First time elk hunter hunting Arizona unit 6A , by Rob Marchio (Omaha, Ne)~ I'm a first time elk hunter hunting Arizona's unit 6A. I'm planning on staying in the Pine Grove campground...


Elk Hunting Colorado

Help needed for 1st DIY Hunt w/Son, by Patrick (Parker, CO), "I was looking for some advice on my 1st DIY hunt for 2014 in CO with my 13 yr old son. I have countless hrs going over stats, topo maps & Google Earth"

Elk Hunting Colorado in 2013, By William (Midland, TX) "I am planning an elk hunt next year in Colorado and I wanted to know if hunting Gunnison National Forest..."

Unit 60 Elk 4th Rifle Season Nov 13-17 Either Sex 2013, By Chester "...Any general advice about the unit would be appreciated!"


Idaho Elk Hunting


Elk Hunting Idaho Unit 8 8A 11, This is my first year seriously trying to track down some elk. Is there anyone that has hunted in any of these units and can give me some friendly advice? Mitchell, Moscow Idaho

Elk Hunting Pocatello by Cameron (Pocatello) Where is the best place to elk hunt around Pocatello, Idaho? I'm a student at ISU and I'm looking for somewhere around here to hunt next season.

How is the elk hunting in unit 30A in Idaho?, by Terry (Richland Center, WI) Has anyone archery elk hunted in unit 30A in Idaho? What can you tell me about the area?


Elk Hunting In Montana

Hunting in Western Montana, by Mike A. (Alabama)

I did not draw a tag for Missouri breaks where I have hunted in the past. Having to start over and try western Montana.


New Mexico Elk Hunting

New Mexico Unit 49, by Silas (Los Alamos, NM)

If anyone has tips on areas to start scouting, I'd really appreciate it.

First Elk Hunt First Elk Hunt, by Big "R" (NM)

I finally got drawn for a late elk hunt in Unit 28, north of Road 506 and south of the boundary line of the Lincoln National Forest...


Elk Hunting Nevada

Cow elk in Nevada's unit 222:

"Any good places known in unit 222?"

Northeast Nevada Early Elk hunt, by John (Carson City,NV)

"Any suggestions on what areas I may see some signs of elk?"


Questions from Novice Hunters

Retired USMC MSgt Needs Advice, by Ken Wing USMCRET (Bealeton, Va)


Big Game Recipes

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Spice-Crusted Grilled Venison Roast Recipe This Spice-Crusted, Grilled Venison Roast recipe works great for any red meat roasts, including elk, deer or beef roast...

Corned Elk Recipe You can easily make corned venison and elk, moose or corned beef from these instructions...


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