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Colorado backcountry elk/muley combo hunt only $4,300

This outfitter runs a backcountry elk hunting operation in northwestern Colorado with his four sons. They offer archery and muzzleloader hunting in September and rifle hunting during two seasons in October.

You must draw a tag for the first elk hunt as well as for the muzzleloader hunt. Hunter success is typically very high on the early hunt, often 100%. The second hunt is usually 60% to 75% or so. The biggest bulls are usually nice 6x6s, and the average bull has been a 5x5.

The hunt is conducted in mostly rugged, steep public land that is mostly landlocked, keeping out many public hunters. You may be able to add mule deer and black bear. There are good numbers of black bears. Base camp consists of two 18x36 tents that are packed in by horseback several miles from the nearest road. The outfitter often horsebacks farther into remote country and sets up spike camps. The bigger bulls are typically taken by hunters willing to rough it in spike camps. He also uses ATVs to access parts of his area. Archers hunt in late September with no more than six hunters in camp.

“This is something I look forward to each year," said hunter Joe Schandel of North Carolina, "In six years I've shot five nice bulls, and I don’t plan to stop. They run a great operation.”

 Hunt EK3838
Hunts, 5 days  Price per person, hunter:guide ratio
Rifle or bow elk $4,300, 2x1
Elk/muley combo $4,800 2x1
Elk/black bear combo $4,800 2x1
Area Lodging/meals
More than 100,000 acres of steep, rugged, private and private-access Bureau of Land Management land about 35 miles west of Craig, Colorado and south of Maybell. Unit 211. Base camp: two 18x36 wall tents packed by horse several miles from roads.  One tent for sleeping; the other for cooking and eating. Spike camps also used.
Hunter success Licenses
Archery: Most bowhunters get shooting, and about half of those score.
Muzzleloader: Expect 75-100% kill rate.
1st Rifle: Typically 85-100% kill rate.
2nd Rifle: Typically 50-75% kill rate.
Deer: Hunters with deer tags usually fill them on nice bucks.
Second season elk and archery tags are sold over the counter. Permits for the first elk season and all deer tags are by drawing. Applications are due April 6. Click here for application details and the latest license prices.
Dates Trophy size
Bow: September, typically last week is best.
Muzzleloader: Typically starts in mid-Sept.
First elk rifle: Usually starts the second Sat. in Oct.
Second rifle: Usually starts in late Oct.
Biggest bulls are nice 6x6s in the 250 to 300 class, occasionally bigger; average elk is a 5x5. Most bucks taken are 4x4s from 22 to 28 inches wide. There's a possibility for a 30-inch or wider buck.
Travel Notes
Fly to Hayden, Colorado, where the outfitter picks up hunters. Not included in hunt price: licenses, tags, tax, taxidermy, butcher fees, transportation between hunter's home and Hayden, Colorado.