Private Land Elk and Mule Deer Hunts
Private land Elk and Mule Deer hunts with guaranteed tags can be confusing for some clients. I find clients are often not clear on what they may encounter while on the hunt compared to what they have in their mind. The largest misconception on booking a guided elk or deer hunt is how the outfitter manages the private land all year. Outfitters need elk and deer to stay on the ranch for the 60 to 90 day season. On top of making his living, he is helping people do what they showed up to do. Kill elk and deer. Pressure they put on bulls and bucks, if done incorrectly, will push elk and deer off the ranch. This hurts everyone. So let me prepare you for a few details clients need to be prepared for in how private land elk and deer hunts are managed.
Use of Vehicles During Guided Private Land, Elk and Mule Deer Hunts
Private land elk and deer mule hunts will often include a fair amount of time in a vehicle. This is because many of these ranches are working ranches. Elk and deer are accustomed to ranch workers using the roads throughout the year working cattle and such. Because critters are often not worried about those vehicles, it’s a low pressure way to access different areas of the ranch. This is a great glassing vantage for you. When you get out and walk around you are something they aren’t used to seeing. You are also spreading different scent which impacts the pressure variable which potentially makes for less critters to hunt.
Bedding Areas are “Safe Zones” on Private Land, Elk and Mule Deer Hunts
Private land elk and deer hunt outfitters will leave bedded elk and deer alone. This often drives some clients crazy. It means hanging out in the lodge rather than hunting during mid day. Almost all outfitters are very adamant on this fact. They want the elk and deer to have a safe place to settle into on the ranch. This sanctuary keeps them there while you are hunting and still there for the guy after you. Be prepared to hang out mid-day. Remember, due to the long days during archery or early season that can be a lot of your day.
Use of Ambush Zones or Migration for “Low Pressure” Success
Often, elk and mule deer outfitters operating on private ranches, will use migration pathways or transition areas as places to “post you up” to try to kill your elk or deer. Again, when you are in one place with a known wind, your impact on the ranch pressure drops off as opposed to walking around. This can sometimes be a boring way to hunt for some clients, yet, it’s highly successful and lessons pressure. So, I’d suggest you stay open minded to prescouted areas and the fact that your guide wants you to kill a bull or buck and by having you post up, he is trying a often successful strategy that will make sure you still have elk and deer to hunt on your last day if you need it.
Private land elk and deer hunt outfitters walk a thin line of trying to accomplish three things. Outfitters keep elk and deer on the ranch all season, help you kill an elk or mule deer and lastly, help you have fun doing it. It’s very difficult to do all three with a client who doesn’t know this going on and not mindful of the same goal. I suggest you prepare yourself for these possible conditions, as well as I suggest you communicate clearly with your hunting guide, what your idea of a “fun hunt” is. These strategies may suit you perfectly but you also may be that person who wants to hunt all day on your feet. You should definitely have that conversation with the outfitter before you arrive or book the hunt for that matter. Communications is key, along with choosing the right hunt and knowing what you want. If you are looking for a private land, elk or deer hunt I have access on over 16 million private acres and can help you find the right fit. Call anytime. 208 867 6675.