Idaho archery elk

Discussion in 'Introductions - New User Forum' started by Joe R, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Joe R

    Joe R Newb

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    Heading to Idaho Smokey Bennett zone this year. Anyone have any advice or is heading there this year archery elk hunting?
     
  2. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    I hunted up in Challis, which is the zone north of you, back in 2014. It was awesome. I am assuming your zone is at least somewhat similar in topography.

    Not knowing where you are from, what you are used to altitude wise, etc, and most importantly WHEN you plan to hunt (early September or later) here are my basics:

    if you have a quad, SxS, or small Jeep Wrangler, take it. Buy a small trailer if you have to, it will be worth it and you can just sell it after your trip if you don't need it. There are logging trails and fire roads EVERYWHERE. We covered 3-4 mountains in as many days using a quad.

    We went in early September, there was nearly no bugling. I think we only heard 1-2 legit bulls bugle in 9 days. If you aren't hearing calls, you need to find water and sit on it like an apple tree in whitetail woods. Might even be worth taking along a set of sticks and a lightweight hang on.

    For us, temps ranged from low 80s-mid 60s in the days to low 50s at night. We had no real rain to speak of. Bring sunscreen for your face. Even on hazy days that high up there is a lot of UV exposure, plus the moisturizer will help you ward off wind burn. We spent our first day glassing and I wore sunscreen and my partner didn't; he still had coon eyes when we got back.

    Far as equipment- a jet boil, mountainhouse, lots of water, peanut butter, a squirt bottle of honey (more temp stable and no mess compared to jelly) and flour tortillas. You can make several pbh roll-ups and stick them in a ziplock and have plenty of all-day energy, then have a mountainhouse in the evening.

    Our basic routine was- tent camp at base of fire trail, up before light for coffee and a crap, head up to the timberline/meadow areas, call and glass until maybe 2-3 hours after light, head a little higher up to glass, then move around the mountain top glassing down into the meadows and valleys, then still hunt through the black timber maybe 500' below the timberline looking for elk and water as we worked back to the quad. We kind of worked the mountains in quarters that way, would roughly take us all day to work around the mountain top.

    Eventually we found a water hole and elk. Oh, most important rule of hunting this way- never, ever leave your bow on your quad just to "take a look over there". We missed out opportunities on 2 nice bulls doing that.

    I ended up with shooting a cow at that water hole, if I had waited another 15 minutes I would have gotten a shot at a decent 5x5 or maybe 6x6. He popped out of the timber as I was inspecting the spot I shot her at. Oh well, we hunted really hard and I filled my tag.

    We probably could have set up at that hole and gotten my partner a shot at a bull, but he came down with awful altitude sickness that night packing her down and he was wiped out and ready to go home. We had equipment for spike camping if we had gotten into elk at altitude, but never did and so never used it.

    Other things to look out for are grizz and wolves. We saw mama grizz and cubs a few times, and cut tracks a couple times also. Saw some wolf tracks and heard them at night.

    I would take a .357, 10mm, or .45 if I were you. Plenty of 2 legged varmints out and about as well. But nobody messed with our camp.
     
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  3. Okiebob

    Okiebob Grizzled Veteran

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    Idaho is some of the roughest country I've ever seen. Dnoodles hit it right on the head and the only thing I would add is buy a pair of hiking boots with great, not good, repeat great ankle support.
     
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  4. Joe R

    Joe R Newb

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    Wow, a lot of good info dnoodles. Thanks
     
  5. Joe R

    Joe R Newb

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    Thanks okie bob, I’ll be sure to have good boots.
     
  6. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Not so much Idaho specific but good foot wear, sleep system and pack are keys for my western hunts.

    Footwear -
    Boots-I like waterproof and a mid hiker. First year I had Danner pronghorn my foot slid about and I ended up with some blisters. Despite good merino socks (darn tough for me). Expect to do a lot of up /down /side hilling.

    Year 2 I switched to salomons and literally just got a new pair for this year. The other key, apart from breaking in boots in advance - Leukotape. If you use moleskin, buy a role of Leuko. Proactive taping (heel and small toe for me) and remove in the shower /steam. Crazy adhesive.

    Sleep system -
    Ground cloth, Sleep Pad, sleeping bag, and tent go into this equation. My gracious hunting partner brings cots from time to time, if we have a base camp. Last year I actually slept in my van and included a yoga mat instead of a cloth. Nemo tensor insulated pad will be on year 5 and has been solid. A kelty (sb50, no longer made) dridown 20 degree bag, also solid and light (33oz).

    Backpack -
    If you're packing elk prepare for the suck. A comfortable bag can make a packout, not so bad. I don't have the $ for kifaru, exo or stone glacier, but they are top shelf. I use a horn hunter and make up for it with my hard head... I'll work up to 80# training hikes too...


    Peak Refuel over Mountain House.

    Happy to opine on other gear to squander $ on.
     
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  7. Joe R

    Joe R Newb

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    Thank you wl704, all great advice and tips. I’ll be getting a roll of Leuko tape for sure. I’m getting fired up already and it’s only March.
     
  8. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    for footwear I had Irish Setter VaprTreks and a pair of Solomons that I never ended up using. I loved the VaprTreks for what they were.
    Good packs are good, a really good compromise between high dollar and high value are AplzOutdoorz. I had their full metal frame pack that I never ended up needing (my cow died within 50 yards of the firetrail) and their hybrid fanny/shoulder pack that is freaking awesome. I use that pack almost every hunt still to this day.

    I passed on the sleeping gear advice not knowing what type of camp/hunting he would be doing, but I also have those kangaroo sleep hammocks that pack up super small and light. Bought those for the spike camp but like I said never used (for that anyway.) They are comfy though.

    Definitely get in shape, and then when you think you are in shape get in better shape. You have roughly 6 months, better get on that horse now.
     
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