There is no region of the country that can offer a more diverse hunting experience, from variety of game available to the methods allowed for hunting we can accommodate almost any north American big game hunting goal. Whether you want to bag a whitetail, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, any color phase of black bear, trophy mountain lion, wolf, shiras moose or other predators and forest grouse (we have ruffed, spruce and dusky blue grouse) we have something to offer everyone. Whether you prefer to hunt with archery, muzzleloader, handgun or modern rifle we have options available. We have a huge variety of dates available from spring and fall bear hunting in May, June, August, September, October and November to whitetail, mule deer, elk and moose August through December to winter hunting for mountain lion, wolf and predators. Methods of hunting allowed include hounds allowed for bear, mountain lion and bobcat. Bait is allowed for bear and incidental wolf hunting, electronic calls are also allowed for hunting bear, lion, wolf and predators such as coyote.
There is a way you can hunt six species of big game at one time without drawing any tags and all you need is a hunting license elk tag and a deer tag. The diversity of game and methods allowed makes this area unsurpassed in the United States for variety of hunting experiences we can provide to our clients and we do not charge trophy fees on “combo” hunts should you elect to purchase more than one tag and/or harvest more than one animal. We offer full service, completely guided hunts with a one to one guide to client ratio on most hunts for the regular price. The exception to this is winter Mountain Lion hunts which are conducted using two guides per hunter to ensure safety and increase your chances of success. All meals, lodging, transportation while hunting, field care of animals, removal of animals from the field, transport of meat to a local processor and transport of trophies to a local taxidermist are included in our pricing.
These hunts take place over clear cuts, selectively logged areas, power line rights of way and mountain trails from fixed stands, ground blinds or by spot and stalk on both public & private land. Rattling for whitetails can be very effective in mid November. Many of these heavy antlered whitetails will range in the 130 to 150 class with an occasional animal scoring in the 160’s, 170’s or more and mule deer can be even larger. These are also large bodied deer with some whitetail bucks weighing over 200 lbs. and mule deer bucks that can top 300 lbs. We do not have a lot of non-typical characteristics in our mule deer or whitetails but many mature bucks of both species have extra “character points” and occasionally a really gnarly old non-typical will be taken around here. Approximately 75% of our deer are whitetails with the remainder being mule deer. Whitetails can be readily found throughout our area while the mule deer typically inhabit the high alpine areas during our hunting seasons. We have archery season for deer in September, any weapon season in October as well as any weapon and muzzle loader seasons in November. There is also a late archery season in December which can be combined with lion hunting over hounds as well, there are options to combine deer hunting with hunting for other species during all of our other deer seasons too. Success on deer hunts varies depending on season hunted but November is certainly the best month to hunt deer here, the last week in October also produces some good opportunities and can be combined with rifle elk hunting.
Early season archery hunting for elk is some of the most exciting hunting that we guide. The weather is typically fair and the action in the later part of September can be fantastic. The primary method is calling with a run and gun strategy but the hotter the weather gets the more we rely on watching water holes and wallows.
We like to hunt the first week of rifle season in October as well because the bulls are still bugling some and the ten days off after archery season ends gives us the chance to hunt relatively unpressured animals the first few days of the firearms season. Another good time to hunt during the firearms season is the last week of the season. Hunting pressure tends to be the highest opening weekend and taper off as the season goes along. By the end of the season there are not near as many people taking to the field, if the weather turns cold the hunting can be quite productive.
With the addition of the assets & hunting area formerly held by North Idaho Mountain Outfitting late in 2014 we are now able to offer muzzle loader elk hunts in late November which can be combined with hunting for most of our other species including mountain lion hunting with hounds should we get fresh snow during the hunt, I expect this to become a very popular hunt.
Late season archery in December is typically from a stand or ground blind. The elements can make this a very challenging hunt but the colder the weather gets the more the animals move in the daylight hours. This hunt can also be combined with deer hunting as well as lion & bobcat hunting with hounds.
Success rates on elk vary depending on the season hunted but our September archery hunts and our late October rifle hunt have been producing the most opportunity the last couple years. The late October rifle hunt also provides the best opportunity to combine elk and deer hunting.
We have heavy antlered Rocky Mountain elk that generally mature to be over 300” with some topping 350”.
One of the most exhilarating things a hunter can do is come face to face with an adult mountain lion and as a natural result a passion for many of us here at Clark Fork Outfitters is hunting mountain lion with hounds. We have a long standing record of success on big cats, most all could qualify for Pope & Young and we have produced Boone & Crockett qualifiers as well. We are in the best region of the country for trophy mountain lion and with thirty years experience hunting lions our expertise is unsurpassed. Not only are we in the best region of the country for hunting trophy lions but our exclusive guiding area is one of the best in the region. A bobcat may be taken incidentally to lion hunting and they are also the best quality available anywhere. We also try to provide the best quality hunt available anywhere, we don’t do 2 hunters per guide on our cat hunts, we don’t even do 1 on 1 hunts, every hunter has 2 guides actively looking for cats for them and there may be more than 2 guides working for you on a cat hunt. Our success rate on cat hunts varies depending on length of hunt. All in all it is very good but also dependent on having tracking snow to work with so having a flexible schedule can help your chances of success a lot, we always give hunters the option to reschedule their hunt should there be a lack of snow in the forecast as we approach your scheduled dates. Although there is no such thing as a true guarantee on a fair chase hunt the 10 day hunt should and always has yielded an opportunity at a good lion and most times a bobcat too. To watch a video of Clay Newcomb’s lion hunt with Clark Fork Outfitters, click on this link https://vimeo.com/196811375
HUNT ALL COLOR PHASE NORTH IDAHO BLACK BEAR
Black Bears are some of the most fascinating, intelligent and fun animals to hunt and the opportunity to hunt bears of all colors with bait, hounds or by spot and stalk makes this a very interesting and exciting hunt with a very good success rate. About 50-60% of our bears are some color phase other than black so if a color phase bear is what you are after this is an excellent area to hunt and we keep trail cameras on every active bait site so we can target a bear or bears that suit your bear hunting goals. We have well established baits, fully trained hounds and experienced guides to ensure the best opportunities possible. Baits are started well in advance of any hunters arriving and maintained regularly throughout the season, most baits have 12-16′ ladder stands, some of which are 2 person stands for couples etc. who wish to sit together at a bait, we also use natural and pop-up ground blinds on some baits for those not able or comfortable with getting in & out of a tree stand. Our experience and dedication as hound hunters is very deep and if you are looking to experience the thrill of hunting over great hounds you have found a great place to do it, hunting with dogs is only fun if you have really good dogs, so that is the only kind we keep around here, it’s not just a hobby for us it is a full time commitment to maintain excellent hounds! Many of the bloodlines in the hounds we use have been in our families for generations and most years our dogs are hunted in multiple states to guarantee they will be in top performing condition for your hunt. I have rarely met a hound owner who didn’t have the best dogs ever so I’m not going to try to top everyone’s claims to fame but I can tell you if you come here you will see top notch dogs at work. Typically hunting with hounds is done in the morning and hunting over baits is done in the evening with spot and stalk being mostly an opportunistic method. I encourage hunters to participate in any and all methods but keep in mind sitting over bait takes patience while hunting with hounds and spot & stalk are more rigorous and can be physically demanding. We have bears that will mature to be as much as 7’ squared. Weight will vary depending on the time of year but can be as much as 400 pounds or more in the fall. A hunter can try their hand at hunting either over bait or with hounds or both from any of our locations in the fall and while the same can be said of hunting over bait on spring hunts spot and stalk opportunities are best achieved from our camp location while hound hunts are typically done from the lodge or guest ranch. Our success rate on bear hunts has been very good over the years with about 80% opportunity overall and for several consecutive years we were 100% success on our fall bait/hound combo hunts. Starting in 2015 we were able to start offering a 2 bear option and 2 of 3 hunters who elected to hunt for a second bear were successful in taking 2 bears on 5 day hunts. In 2016 we will be offering 7 day hunts for those who want to maximize their chances of taking 2 bear. Josh made a video of his first bear hunt, click the link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8NsnNYvMnI&feature=youtu.be to check it out.
Moose tags are on a draw and can be hard to get but with the addition of the unit 4 area we now have many more tags available to try to draw from and there is no points system so anyone stands as good of a chance as the next person of drawing a tag. We have very good trophy quality shiras moose and northern Idaho has produced many Boone & Crockett qualifiers. Calling works well in late September and October, the other prime time to hunt moose is in November when we get some fresh snow and can track them or at least determine precisely how fresh their sign is. Because of the limited number of tags we do not take a lot of moose hunters but typically get about 1 hunter per year and have had 100% success so far on moose since Clark Fork Outfitters was founded. The tag is a little expensive and you have to submit the full fee to apply but everything besides the cost of your hunting license and a small application fee is automatically refunded to you if you do not draw a tag.
Application period for moose tags is April 1-30 so please contact us prior to then for assistance with application.
HUNT GRAY WOLVES AND PREDATORS
We will be conducting late winter Gray Wolf hunts utilizing calling as our primary method of hunting. We have only had a season for hunting for about 5 years and nobody has actually taken the plunge and booked a hunt with us for wolf hunting so our expertise is limited in this field however we know the areas frequented by wolves in our guiding areas and are eager and optimistic about the hunting opportunities. Fortunately we do not have as many wolves as some areas in the state but we have at least two established packs and other singles and pairs that travel through the area. Although we do not have as many wolves as some areas of the state, particularly the wilderness areas, we have the advantage of being able to access the country by track machine or snowmobile and believe success is as likely here as any place in Idaho. We are studying their patterns and hope to conduct some successful hunts soon. I think calling should be effective during late winter, it is the breeding season and being able to follow their sign in the snow should give us a good idea of the best areas to set up in. We have recently talked to a local young man who has expressed interest in guiding wolf hunts and with his background and experience we are optimistic success is attainable with a little persistence and hard work. There is no doubt this will be a challenging hunt and opportunities to harvest will be hard won but as with any hunt getting out there and spending the time is bound to be the most crucial element.
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