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2016 Uinta Elk?

13687 Views 39 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Clarq
Hello all,

I'm brand new to the forum and am looking for a little help or constructive criticism on my hunt plan for next year. Definitely not looking for honey-holes or 10 digit grids, just a point in the right direction.

I'm an active duty Marine that grew up on the east coast as a whitetail hunter but have had the fortune of being stationed on CA/NV border. I'm definitely new to western hunting but have experienced some succes knocking down a couple CA mule deer (eastern Sierra Nevadas) on solo backpack hunts and a Cow elk in CO last year out of a drop camp. Basically, I don't think I'm completely clueless and am definitely not afraid of some hard work or covering some ground.

Right now my group will consist of about 4-6 guys for the Any Bull Rifle season. I have a line on renting some horses and we plan on packing in the 7th then hunting the 8th through the 15th. I want to try to get 5-7 miles off the roads, set up camp, then hunt from there. Most of the guys I'm going with are in there late 20's as well so we plan on covering some ground to try to get on some Elk.

Right now I'm looking at the Southern Slope east towards the actuall wilderness area. My main issue is finding a step off point then a general area to set up camp. I live about 8 hours drive away, so after some serious google Earth and map work, I'm hoping to go backpack and check it out this spring.

From all the reading I have done so far, it looks like I should expect high pressure by the roads and rugged country and low elk densities in the back country.

Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Jon
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I think you would have more success in Idaho or Colorado on one of there OTC rifle hunts, I am betting the dates would be similar. Do you have to hunt in Utah? The extra couple hours drive would be worthwhile I think. I love the Uintas and hunt there about every year, but it's because I live here and it's the only place I can hunt bulls each year.

I do the horse pack in thing and have figured some stuff out and I am not even going to tell you what side of the range I hunt--it took too many years to figure stuff out. Every year I usually have a chance at a legal elk, I passed on spikes the last 2 years and almost had a rag horn this year but it wasn't in the cards. I am not successful every year and I don't have a large hunting party like you will which would make it more difficult in my opinion.

Being that you are out of state can you scout at all? Have you ever hunted with horses before? They are a huge hassle and it definitely has a learning curve to it--I have the scares to prove it! If you are paying a horse outfitter then I would take that money and apply right now for the Wyoming Special general hunt as its a much better hunt than the Uintas. Utah OTC Uintas is not a destination hunt for a reason, unless you have private land or some mega honey hole you would be better off someplace else, even for a hard chargin Marine.

If you want cred pics shoot me a PM with your email, I'm not posting any. Trust me on this one--with that many grunts you would be better off somewhere else.
I agree with the notion to hunt somewhere else.

Not saying that it cannot be done in the Uinta's, but your odds of getting an elk somewhere else is higher. Utah does not even measure the success rates of these hunts and that should be a red flag.

Idaho or Colorado or Montana should be a lot better for general tag purposes. Wyoming has a high success rate general elk tag, but it will take a bit of time to draw in the regular draw.

Thanks for the feedback. To elaborate a little more, total costs and the composition of my group is a driving factor. So far it's looking like 3-4 guys in our late 20's and my two uncles in their mid-late 50's which rules out a back pack hunt.

The additional drive is not an issue at all and I have looked into Idaho and Colorado. However, I have not figured out a way to get away from the OTC road hunters and crowds without either ditching my uncles and backpacking in or spending $1500 to $2200 per person for the Drop Camp alone.

In Utah, between tag/horses/food and etc. we are looking at approximately $1400 per person. About $750 this is for the horses, so if anyone knows an outfitter/ranch/trespass fee or other way this money could be better spent in Idaho or Colorado to get us away from the Orange Army im all ears.

Not looking for 350 bulls, just a chance to get away from the crowds and see and hopefully have an opportunity on a couple elk.

Thanks again, Jon
Idaho would probably be your best bet, they don't require orange. :mrgreen:

There are some big elk regions in Idaho and you can get away from people without being packed in miles. Idaho closes some roads during the rifle season, which allows for you to get away from the roadies. If you go after the mule deer season closes there will be a lot less people.

Montana is another good bet. They have forever seasons. The forever seasons allow people to spread themselves out throughout. The MD rut is probably popular, but if you pick a limited draw MD unit the people will be less.

Colorado is another good bet. They do have the army of orange, but they have the most elk. Third season is probably better than second season as far as people numbers go.

The Utah Open Bull gives out 10,000 tags and the Uinta's gets most of the people.
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