Ranch or Wilderness Hunt?


Most hunters seem to have a hard time deciding on whether they should go on a ranch or wilderness (backcountry) hunt. Many times there are aspects about each hunt that appeal to them, and along with this there are some drawbacks that need to be considered. I believe that a hunter should evaluate himself to reach the answer about which hunt is best for him. For instance, most hunters like the idea of a wilderness hunt because they picture themselves in a remote, picturesque setting, looking at a big, bugling bull through a scope at 100 yards. The same hunter often ignores careful consideration of the fact that it is an 8 hour horseback ride to get to the base camp, often in weather conditions that are somewhat less than ideal. This means your actual hunting time is 2 days shorter, since 2 days are spent going to and from camp.

A wilderness hunt is a purist experience. If you are a hunter that really values the total experience (living in tents, drinking from streams, travel only on foot or by horse) this hunt is for you. The weather is usually warmer this time of year, as most wilderness hunts take place in August and September. However, there isn't usually much tracking snow this time of year either. Many successful wilderness hunters only see one elk - the one they put their tag on.

Our Yellowstone area hunts have many similarities with wilderness hunts, but some important differences as well. As in all elk hunting, there are more than a few uncertainties, weather being a major factor. The main difference on our ranch hunts is that the accommodations tend to be quite a bit more civilized. Overall, more elk are seen on these hunts. Our ranch hunts take place from late October through late November, increasing the odds of inclement weather driving large bulls out of hiding. Access to some hunting grounds by vehicle is an option not available in wilderness hunting. In addition, our ranch hunts are scheduled to allow you to take only a week off work. Since you aren't riding into camp, you are not wasting two whole days on horseback when you could be hunting.

The amount of time you have to spend, your physical condition, and how hard you want to hunt should all be considered when planning your next elk hunt.


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