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”.
Here are some pictures of some of the bulls taken by Clark Fork Outfitters clients over the years, we consider every elk to be a trophy because there is no such thing as an easy elk on public land.