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Semi-guided elk and mule deer hunt offers trophy animals on two private ranches in eastern Idaho

This hunt provider offers semi-guided hunting for deer and elk on three ranches. The lease holders limits hunting pressure to allow for a higher quality experience.

About 75 percent of his rifle elk hunters have filled their tags over the past 10 years (100% opportunity on branched-antlered bulls 2012-2015). . Some years are lower and some are higher. Deer hunters have a lower success rate because most are after big bucks. In a typical year four hunters might take two bucks exceeding 175".

We often have hunters ask why the mule deer hunting is not more expensive. It's because you must hunt in October, which is before the rut and at a time when mature muleys are difficult to hunt.

Bowhunters may hunt elk during the rut in late September. The hunt provider doesn't want bowhunters before Sept. 15 because the weather can be hot and rut activity unpredictable.

Bulls typically score 220 to 300 and occasionally reach 330 B&C. The average bull is a 5x5, and there's a chance at a nice 6x6. Two 320-class bulls were shot last year.

"This is really a prime hunting opportunity for bowhunters," the hunt provider said. "They get to hunt during the peak of the rut, and there are some really good bulls. We can tell from the improved quality of bulls that we've been managing it right. We offer a good, long bow hunt to give our customers a chance to get a bull."

The hunt provider also offers scouting services to hunters who want to hunt public land.

Click on any photo to see a larger image.

Every year the hunt provider sees bucks in the 180s or better Boone and Crockett scoring and occasionally a 200-incher. He has taken a buck or two in that category himself. He hunted with a rifle after his customers were gone in 2008, and he had a chance at one of the biggest bucks he had seen while scouting before the season before he connected on a mature 26-incher. He again hunted in 2012 when he didn't fill up and shot a buck that scored in the 180s.

"Most hunters don't realize how hard it is to get a big muley in their sights," the hunt provider said. "Some hunters think if they don't see a big old buck in a couple of days that there are no big bucks to be had. That's not the case at all as every year I see quite a few mature bucks on each ranch. We usually run 40 to 50 percent kill rate on mule deer. I saw just as many older age class bucks before the season last year as I had seen in previous years, including at least two that were in the 185 to 195 category and several others in the 170s and maybe low 180s. The bucks we harvest are mostly mature 24 to 26-inchers with good frames and good points and some extra points. The bigger bucks are pushing 30 inches and have long points and good mass. "

"The elk are a local herd," the outfitter said. "We are usually seeing about five bulls every year in the 320 to 340 class. It's a good opportunity for elk hunters."

The hunt provider keeps hunting pressure down to no more than one hunter per 1,000 acres and usually less. His rifle deer hunt, for example, is limited to five hunters, which includes a single hunter who comes every year because he keeps seeing some wallhanger bucks.

He would like to take some elk bowhunters.

"We have a good herd of elk with some nice bulls, and bowhunters would have a blast during the peak of the bugling season in September," he said. "It's probably our best hunt to be frank with you. We charge $3,000, but it's worth it."

6,400-acre Willow Creek Ranch, according to the hunt provider, holds "lots of elk, and the hunters get a lot of action." Even though there are some big bucks, they don't move much, and it's hard to see them. The elk tend to move more in the daylight, and they're easier to see. Most bulls taken are 5x5 to 6x6.

Sheep Mountain Ranch is 5,000 landlocked public acres and 3,000 deeded acres. A party of two deer hunters or five elk hunters can have the property to themselves.

"This ranch is brushy and holds some big bucks," the hunt provider said. "We do well on elk, and some our elk hunters have taken some nice bucks."

Hunt EK4307
Hunt Price per person
Elk archery $3,000 a person for a party of two. All other openings in 2016 are full. Unguided.
Elk rifle $3,900 with four-person minimum. If you want a guide, you can split the guide fee of $2,000 among your party members.
Deer rifle, semi-guided, 5 days $CALL Full for 2016
Hunter success Season
Elk bowhunter success as been more than 60 percent for several years. Elk rifle hunter success is usually at least 50 percent and often 75 percent and has been as high as 100 percent. Rifle deer hunter success is lower, probably average about 50 percent because hunters are holding out for big bucks. In 2012 four deer hunters killed two bucks over 180 B&C. Rifle season begins about Oct. 15 and runs seven days.
Bow season typically begins about Aug. 30 and runs till Sept. 30
Travel License

You must provide your own vehicle transportation to and on the ranch.

Hunting licenses or tags are not included in the price of the hunt. Updated prices.

Trophy size

Cabin lodging is provided but meals are not included. If you prefer to stay in a motel and keep up with your work in the evenings, you may stay in a local motel for about $70 per night for two persons. Motel fees are not included in the price of the hunt.

Bulls typically score 220 to 300 and occasionally reach 330 B&C. The average bull is a 5x5, and there's a chance at a nice 6x6. In 2012 the biggest bulls scored about 320. The bigger bucks score 180 to 200 or more Boone and Crockett points, but keep in mind that mature bucks are difficult to hunt outside the rut, which is why the game department holds an October rifle season.

Semi-guided hunt


This hunt includes a guide per pair of hunters. If you don't want to be guided, the guide will let you do your own glassing, stalking and planning but is there to aid you if you desire. The outfitter wants groups of at least two deer hunters and three elk hunters. Two deer hunters can have either of his 8,000 or 6,400-acre ranches to themselves, or the outfitter will book a party of four and a party of one to hunt both ranches combined.

Mule deer hunting is available at an extra fee for rifle and bow elk hunters.  Note: Hunters may buy a second deer tag and take a second buck for a trophy fee. Call for price.