27 November 2010 Idaho Hunting Season Comes to a Close November 27, 2010By George McQuiston General Information Black Bear Hunts , Elk Hunts , Mule Deer Hunts 1 Hunting season in Idaho’s backcountry unit 27 comes to an official close on November 18 and this year the snow began to roll in about then. So after 2 days of packing out camp it was time to chain up and haul livestock over the pass to winter quarters and begin the drying out of tents, tack and equipment. Riding in to pack camp after the last hunter leaves is always sort of a bitter sweet journey. First you think “whew” we made it through and then you think “hell this is a lot of work” and then finally it sets in…the dreaded PHD; street name Post hunting depression. A common malady with most hunting/outdoor enthusiasts that find themselves suddenly thrown from the great outdoors into the great indoors due to a monster snowstorm and no open season…but wait now may be the time to take up mountain lion hunting, predator hunting or even cross country skiing. My cure for PHD thankfully came fast and came in the form of a to-do list that can’t possibly be finished by spring bear season, so there is no time to waste pining away that hunting season is over. Time to get to work planning for next hunting season:) This years season was pretty amazing. From some trophy deer to an amazing drop camp bull, to a 100% success rate on spike only elk hunt in Utah making new friends and getting to hunt again with some old friends. It was a pretty amazing year. We really appreciate each and every hunter we hunted with this year. I hope your Holidays are perfect! Related Posts The 2016 Idaho fall hunting seasons are almost here We are just a few short days away from the 2016 fall hunting season here in Idaho. August 30 is the opener of most fall bear hunting units along with statewide general archery season for elk and deer. Here in Central Idaho’s wilderness backcountry units, we are fortunate to enjoy a two-month long rifle season, so our first opener is bear season and we are getting ready. Our first baits have now been set, camps are getting readied, and firewood is being cut and stacked and come next Tuesday we will welcome our first fall 2016 hunters here at Wild Idaho Outfitters. We certainly hope that many of you will be taking to the woods this fall to enjoy the many wonders that this great state and country have to offer as far as outdoor fall activities. Hunting, fishing, berry picking and simply sightseeing all seem a little more enjoyable as the summer crowds return to the cities and the mountains seem to just welcome those who come to visit. The weather around here has been amazing and as the autumn approaches and the mornings get a little more brisk, we find ourselves longing for the high country, those amazing wilderness sunsets and the camaraderie that can only be found in hunting camp. Now that farm chores have finally gotten done thanks to the best brother-in-law money can buy, we can turn all our focus to meeting new friends and welcoming back old ones to our hunting camp back deep in the Central Idaho Wilderness. This year we are very blessed to have so many return hunters that we are simply grateful and humbled. We find some of our best and most successful hunts are with our return hunters as they have seen the country and our operation and know what to expect and how to prepare for a successful Idaho wilderness hunt. So, as the days get shorter, the mornings a little cooler and the mountains a bit more colorful, we do hope you will head out to the mountains, rivers and lakes and enjoy your public lands. Remember too, as you head to the woods, take a kid along. If you don’t have any, borrow a few…I hear they come cheap this time of year. See you in the woods! Photo: Heading in to set our first bear bait of the 2016 season with my A team of Wyley and Kelly (Tia opted to stay home and play in the neighbors tree house). Sun Sets on 2015 Wild Idaho Hunting Seasons 2015 will go down as one of Wild Idaho Outfitters most successful hunting seasons of our career. Beginning with spring Bear hunting where we enjoyed a full 75% opportunity rate to our fall hunting seasons where we went just under 100% opportunity rate on an animal. And most importantly, almost everyone who hunted with us this year lived. Those few exceptions were probably a little ill anyway. Yes folks that is one of my corny outfitter jokes. Honestly we had an amazing season with many returning hunters and also many new hunters that we now consider friends. I have said it before and I will say again, the best part of my job is the people I meet. Everyone who hunts with us here at Wild Idaho Outfitters leaves an impression on me, my guides and our families. We truly appreciate all those that hunt with us and hope our paths will cross again some day. I have inserted and you can watch the video of Kelly bringing out the horses from our high camp through the 9000 foot plus peaks pass and then dropping over 3000 feet to our winter pasture ground on our ranch in Challis. I hope you can see and feel the pressure fade away knowing we got the livestock out again another year. It is always a bittersweet moment when we hit the ranch. We are always happy (and especially this year) that the livestock and all the people got out safely, but are also a little saddened by the thought that we won’t be in camp next week. A lot of people ask, “So do you take the winters off?”. Man I wish it were that simple. We have over 40 head of outfitting livestock to keep fed, camps to dry out and put away, machinery to service or more likely to repair, tack to dry out and treat, and then there is the show/booking season when we hang on every email and phone call hoping it is some hunters wanting to book a 2 month Idaho elk hunting combo but begin their journey with a spring bear hunt and wanting to bring along 24 or 25 of their closest friends We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and have time to reflect on the many blessings we Americans have including the privilege of being to able to enjoy the use of public ground to hunt and fish when seasons are open. When given the chance be sure to thank God and a Veteran for many of those blessings. Please check out our gallery of pictures from this year’s adventures and if you hunted with us and don’t see your favorite picture on here, please contact us, because I may not have it in my possession to post. A lot of different cameras take a lot of different pictures and I don’t always end up with them all. God bless America and thank Idaho Fish and Game that spring bear season is on 5 short months away! An Idaho Elk Hunt to Remember This is a “short” story about a hunter/client/friend of ours who is part of a group of guys we affectionately call the “Cali boys”. His name is Bill Bunch and someone in his group has hunted with us consistently for 11 straight seasons. He is one of those guys that in my opinion is a true sportsman. Let me explain. He doesn’t eat, sleep and breath hunting, but he truly looks forward to his elk hunt each year regardless where it is. He is one of those guys who loves seeing the scenery and wildlife even if it is not the quarry he is after and best of all is always up for a new adventure and that is where this story begins. I know that the “Cali boys” are coming this year because their default ring leader, Tory S., has kept in touch and since they have hunted many, if not all of the hunts we offer except this late season elk hunt, they decided this would be the hunt they will hunt this year. I talk to Tory and explain that I have discovered a new area within my licensed area in Idaho that I would like to explore and asked him if he has has bought his elk tags yet as Idaho elk tags are zone specific. Tory says he has and has purchased an area 27 bull only elk tag. I says no problem. About a week goes by and I get a voicemail from Bill that says he hasn’t purchased his elk tag yet and heard there might be a new area to try and would I call him. I call him back and explain that I would love it if he would buy this tag and explained that if we hunted this area that we would be hunting in an area I had never been before at which comes a good belly laugh on the other end of the line with a comment to the affect “so what is new?”….Ok, so I Laughed a bit too and hung up with the anticipation of exploring a whole new area. Fast forward to the elk hunt and the boys arrive and I have to explain to Bill that because he bought a different area tag than his partners had, he would be hunting with a camera the first day. In typical Bill fashion he just smiles and says “no problem, just glad to be here” and off we go. No good in that area so we move over to our lower camp and begin to “explore” what is out there. He rides some trails with each of 2 of my other guides who, by the way, have never been there either and come back with the report that one trail is almost impassable and the other is so steep that we couldn’t hunt it 2 days in a row with the same horses…not that great of Intel if I do say so myself. Well day 4 finds Bill and I on another 2 hour commute by horseback to his area allowed by the tag I talked him into. Too much coffee causing another pit stop and not one wanting to waste an opportunity to glass new country, I spot some elk right away and we see a bull in the herd so after a short discussion on how best to approach (in country we have never been) we set off on horseback until the country gets so steep we tie off and take off on foot. We find ourselves right in the area we last saw the elk and low and behold no elk….2 hours later…go figure. Knowing Bill as I do and seeing that the “top of the mountain” is within reach, I turn to him and ask “I wonder what is on the other side?” to which he responds in typical Bill fashion “I guess we won’t know if we don’t look now will we?” So off we go. The view is amazing at which point Bill begins to take some pics. Again a true sportsman in my opinion who just enjoys the opportunities our public land system here in America affords all peoples to enjoy. After a few pics and a short discussion about what we found, we sit down, pour over the map and eat a couple of “saddle bag sandwiches” and ponder about how to spend the rest of the day. After a short lunch we decide to follow an elk trail to “see where it goes” and as we are walking towards the trail, an elk bugles. We look at each other amazed as it is November 5 and this bull is bugling like it is mid September! We are in a wide open sage brush ridge so we sit down to start glassing where the elk are and we start seeing elk appear one at a time, but no bull ever shows, until finally he runs through the back of the clearing we are watching with no chance of a shot. So we sit there and discuss our options and we decide to go after the heard. We cow call and bugle off an on and the bull answers periodically and lets us know where he is. He is so close the last time he bugles, I swear we can smell his breath, but it was one of those circumstances that we just could NOT see him. We got a glimpse of a cow or calf once in a while but no bull. After about 45 minutes to an hour of chasing these elk, they finally give us the complete slip with that final bugle that says “I’m outta here”. We walk back to the horse and ride back to camp in the dark completely excited about the events of the day. Now most hunters would be discouraged. Not Bill. He enjoyed the day as much as I did. Well with the warmer weather…and a new tracked Polaris Ranger… we decided to try the upper country again which…well…left Bill to hunt with camera again. To which he was completely amenable! While we were on top, I mentioned to Bill, “why don’t we try a bivy camp right in the heart of all the sign you saw the other day?” Guess what he said? You guessed it he said “ sounds great!”. The morning we were going to head in I talk to one of my guides and verbalize, “I wander if this is such a great idea” to which they reply. “ Bill is so excited to do this, you can’t back out!” so off we go. We load a mule with the bare necessities of camp…you know coffee and freeze dried food and off we go on mine and Bill’s first bivy camp adventure into new country that he had seen for an afternoon and I had never seen except through binocs. As we are riding in we spot a nice branch antlered bull lying in a clearing and we pull up and decide that since, 1. we were not sure where we were at, and 2. we had no idea where we were going to camp, and 3. that we only had about 2 hours of daylight left to decide the answer to the 2 problems above, we had better pass on this bull. We rode on a bit further, decided on a camp spot, found the spring for water we were looking for and Bill took off for the last rays of daylight to “scout” while I took care of the stock and set up our Spartan camp which consisted of horse blankets for pads, manty tarps and our sleeping bags. For November, the weather was simply amazing. We slept warm and morning found us without even a frost on the grass. So after a couple of coffee singles and a hot bowl of oatmeal, we are off for the morning hunt. It doesn’t take us long and we are in the elk! We spot a spike and as Bill would put it “he is kind of old, but I suppose I could shoot it”. You see Bill is a meat hunter and enjoys the taste of elk and he figures the younger the elk the tastier the meat. So when the spike presents the shot Bill takes him and then the work begins. We prepare and load the elk and then go load camp and begin the long walk back to camp leading our horses loaded with camp and elk meat. We arrive at camp thoroughly tired from the long walk out and also thoroughly satisfied in having enjoyed a couple of days on public land in the backcountry. What a great hunt and memory. Hunting with guys like Bill is the reason we stay in this business…that and the big bucks…pun intended! Idaho Spring Bear Hunting Season Officially Opens Today is the day we have waited all winter for! It is officially Idaho spring bear hunting season. If you are not hunting with us (which we obviously hope you are) then hope you are hunting with another Idaho bear hunting outfitter. And at the very least heading out to the woods to give a try yourself in a DIY type hunt. Which ever route you choose we wish you the best of luck and great times in the Idaho backcountry! 2018 Idaho Elk Hunting Season Is Only 8 Short Months Away The Holidays are finally over. And although we all enjoyed the family gatherings, excessive food and sometimes excessive adult beverages, it is now time to throttle back a little on the drink, push away from those leftover Christmas cookies and knuckle down and face the important truth that lies ahead: Hunting season is only 8 short months away and we have work to do…okay, maybe you don’t but I sure do! I have noticed that as I age at what would appear as the same rate as the Salmon River Mountains, I notice that they do not get any flatter or softer with time. In fact they appear and (feel) like they get a little steeper each year. I find that each year I need to start on my exercise routine a little earlier and hit it a little harder to be able to guide in this rugged mountain country that we all love so much. It may not be pretty folks, but a diet and exercise program started more than a week before your scheduled hunt, can often times make the difference between success and almost success and even something as simple as enjoying the outing a bit more with less aches and pains. It may be time to dust off that old treadmill or other piece of exercise equipment and head for the hills…if only in your mind. Please note. I am no exercise guru. I am simply an aging, overweight, middle aged man who has to exercise to be able to keep enjoying the backcountry. And I intend to continue to enjoy the backcountry as long as the good Lord allows me to and good folks are still willing to come visit us. My hopes are simply that as you go through your year ahead that you will take time to get or keep yourself in shape for the really important things in life like family and hunting season! Here is to a successful 2018 in whatever you do and wherever you decide to hunt!...and always, if you can, take a kid along! First Hunting Season of 2016 Opens Now that all the hoopla surrounding the Holidays are over and the New Year is officially underway, it is time to get down to the serious business of planning for all the hunting seasons the upcoming year will provide. While many people are still enjoying hunting for waterfowl, chukars, rabbits and predators (with their new 2016 licenses of course), there are others who are beginning the long, arduous task of trying to decipher each states hunting regulations in search of that one special hunt that will guarantee the buck, bull or boar of a lifetime. Once that special hunt is located, all one has to do is figure out how many points are needed to have a chance to be successful, figure out how to apply, how much it will cost to apply and then go ahead and apply, during the correct application period, and then sit back and wait for that email or letter that will hopefully read SUCCESSFUL for hunt number XXX. Now for those of us who have hunted out west long enough, realize, that more often than not that letter reads Unsuccessful for hunt XXX…and so the anticipation for next year when we can once again apply and hope for success in at least the draw. Now lest you think this is simply a downer post, please know it is simply an informational post, that the first hunting season of the year is officially underway: Hunt application season officially began January 1st 2016 with the timeframe for applying for elk tags in Wyoming opening up to applicants. This application period ends January 31st. If you have a desire to hunt Wyoming, but don’t know where to start, might I suggest you begin by calling my outfitter friend Kelly Christensen at 208-547-4062, emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting his website at www.RafterCoutfitting.com. He is licensed in both Idaho and Wyoming and is very approachable about hunting information in either of his areas. As for Idaho, beginning January 15, 2016, the application for spring bear in the draw only areas opens. With Idaho having so many over the counter or OTC tag areas with 2 bear tags available in these areas, I can’t imagine why one would want to apply for a hunt, but I have been told that if it is a draw area in Idaho for bears, there are even more bears than in areas with 2 tags and with much easier access and so should be a very good hunt…if you draw. For more info on Idaho Spring bear applications, see http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/media/viewNewsRelease.cfm?newsID=8027 Application season is always a fun, thought and dream provoking time of year, please keep in mind that if you miss an application deadline or are simply unsuccessful in the draw, you can always buy an Idaho OTC tag and simply go hunting. If you are searching for an Idaho outfitter for 2016 (and somehow we don’t fit your criteria), your best resource for finding a quality Idaho hunting outfitter is www.HuntingIdaho.org Comment (1) George, thanks for the great time this fall , we had a great time in the frank chruch. The horses were great. It was nice to hunt with a outfitter that did what he said he would it was great. Thanks a bunch, hope to see you next fall. rhino 8 years ago Comments are closed.