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Ranching family offers elk hunts on private land in northern Utah

If you want to maximize your chances of taking a bull elk nowadays, your best bet is to avoid places where wolves have decimated herds and to focus on lightly hunted private land.

This hunt offers virtually 100 percent success for rifle hunters. Bowhunters usually get multiple shooting opportunities.

The ranch is not behind high fence, but hunting is excellent because the property is surrounded by other ranches that are managed for quality hunting. Elk are thriving with many bulls growing old enough to sport good racks.

Most hunters have chances to take bucks in the 160 to 180 range, and there have been several bucks in the 180 to 200 class taken in recent years. A buck over 205 was taken last year one and a half miles from the ranch.

We sent a pair of elk bowhunters to this ranch last year, and they had encounters with bulls every day and plan to return.

The ranching family conducts the hunts. That works out well because the men in the family know the property well and how to hunt it.

One attractive feature of this hunt is that the ranch takes very few hunters. Click here for a calendar showing the hunt provider's schedule for this year. Notice that on most hunts he wants only two hunters on the property. The hunt provider said he can be flexible to accommodate a group.

Because most of the property is a Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit, there is a public deer hunter allowed on the property for five days during the year.

The ranching family has added 1,200 acres to their hunting property by leasing from a neighbor. This reduced hunting pressure in the area and should improve hunting quickly.

Hunt EK4512

Price per person, hunter:guide ratio
Rifle elk, early to mid-October $CALL, prices not set for 2014. Expect $6,000 to $7,000, depending on dates and hunter:guide ratio
Call for details.
Archery elk, mid September, 2014 (2 hunters) $4,500 to $6,500, depending on dates and hunter:guide ratio
What to expect Travel and accommodations

This ranch is in a drainage that is almost entirely private with each property managed for quality hunting. The result is a healthy herd of elk with many bulls. You should be able to see several bulls during a rifle hunt, and bowhunters should have multiple shooting opportunities. Most rifle hunters kill a branched-antler bull with most bulls scoring 250 to 300. The biggest bulls are typically 300 to 320, and occasionally there is a bigger bull in the 330 to 350 class.

You'll stay in a summer home that the ranch family had built long before hosting hunters. Meals are provided.

If you drive, your guide will meet you in the closest town. If you fly, the guide can pick you at the Salt Lake City airport and provide round trip transportation between the ranch and the airport for $100 per person.

Over-the-counter licenses. Click here for latest prices. You need hunter safety certification if born after Jan. 1, 1965.