17 January Time to put in for some Idaho Spring Controlled Hunts January 17, 2014By George McQuiston General Information 0 Most people know my passion for Idaho is the fact we have over the counter (OTC) tags, but in certain areas and with certain species controlled hunts are needed for better control of wildlife management. Now is the time to put in for Idaho spring bear controlled hunts…that is if you are not choosing to hunt a general season area. The application period is January 15-February 15. Applications are due for spring turkey controlled hunts February 1-March 1. Applications can be made at any Idaho Fish and Game license vendor or on line at IDFG website. Good luck in the draw and hope to see many of you enjoying all that Idaho has to offer! Related Posts 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! 10 Reasons Why Idaho is THE Best Place to Hunt in the West in 2014 1. Tags…Idaho has tags 2. Game…Idaho has always, and is doing even more so now, producing good QUALITY elk, deer and bear, and now we can even hunt wolves. 3. Opportunity…Some of Idaho’s backcountry hunts run for over 2 months giving you more than just that 1 week window in October to hunt and maybe even having to choose between hunts because you were fortunate enough to draw that “coveted tag” after “only” 15 years of trying in another state. 4. Opportunity…Many of Idaho’s hunts allow for multi species hunts during the same time. I personally do not know of any other western state where you can hunt elk, deer, bear and wolves all at the same time and in the same area…and have a realistic chance at harvesting multiple species. 5. Tags…Did I mention tags? Idaho is still offering OTC deer and elk tags first come, first serve. Some states have gone to “draw only” for all tags and species. Because Idaho has had such a bad rap from the wolf issue, hunters have NOT been coming here. Well, we can NOT rule out man is the ultimate hunter and with hunt tags going unsold for at least 5 years now, and wolf hunting and trapping going for the last 3 years, Idaho is seriously beginning to see an uptick in both numbers and quality of elk and deer in its backcountry units along with its front range units where wolf control has been more aggressive since the beginning. 6. Opportunity…When you buy an OTC deer tag, that tag is good all over the state, not just a specific zone. You can hunt early season mule deer in September and if not successful, you could end up hunting late season white tails in December. 7. Opportunity…In Idaho you still don’t have to “choose your weapon” as you do in several western states. You may purchase your archery stamp and hunt an entire month in most areas and again, if not successful, add up to another 2 FULL months of rifle season to your hunting season. Can you show me another state that allows this for trophy quality mule deer and elk? 8. Opportunity…Bear hunting in most western states has gone to draw only and is very restrictive. Here in Idaho you can buy OTC tags (are you sensing a pattern here?), and hunt with dogs, over bait or spot and stalk. Your tag for spring bear season, up to 3 months long, is still good in the fall for up to 2 ½ months of fall bear hunting…while you are hunting other species (again are you sensing a pattern here?). 9. No points system…Yes that is a benefit! Idaho is the last place left (that I know of) that one could really actually draw a tag for trophy species including big horn sheep, moose and mountain goats. Idaho has shorter waiting periods (2 years) and if you don’t harvest, you can try again! 10. No points “creep”…Let’s face it. Some hunts in other states could take 15-20 years just for an “opportunity” to hunt; and that’s if you started the process today! Hunt Idaho every year. Year after year! You could spend that time “waiting” by sharpening up your hunting skills for that day when you do draw that special tag instead of sitting on the sidelines hoping “next year will be the year.” Good Luck in you hunts! Don’t be a fool this April 1. Get out and hunt Idaho spring bears and apply for a trophy species. April 1 is the beginning of a lot of cool things here in Idaho. It is the official beginning day of the backcountry spring bear seasons and it is the day to begin the application process for Idaho trophy species. Idaho defines trophy species as Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats and Moose. If you have the desire to hunt one of these species in Idaho this year, it is time to put in your application. Your application can be done online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/ or if you are in Idaho, you can visit your local license vendor. If you have never applied and are curious about some of the better spots to apply, feel free to Contact Us and we will share with you what we know about what is available. We outfit and guide in area 27 and there are a couple of different sheep options, but there is only 1 moose tag. This moose hunt is tough as the area is huge and the moose are very elusive. Kelly and I have been lucky enough to draw that tag in the very recent years and we both were able to harvest pretty nice representative Shiras Bull Moose. This is not a trophy area by large antler measures, but can be a very cool hunt as we can combine with an elk and deer hunt to make it an “ultimate ungulate hunt”! The odds of drawing this hunt are very good as last year only 4 hunters applied for that 1 tag. Those odds are almost as good as drawing a cow elk tag! So, if a moose is on your bucket list and you wouldn’t mind hunting elk and deer along with it, Contact Us and let’s visit about getting you in the drawing. This winter was a deep and long one, so if you have cabin fever as we do and are excitedly watching the winters’ snow inch its way up the mountainside, it’s time to start really planning for your fall hunts and get out and possibly get in your first or fiftieth Idaho Spring Bear. Either way, get out and enjoy our wonderful public lands. See you in the woods! Idaho Spring Bear Season “Officially” Opens in Backcountry Units It is almost time for my second favorite time of year…spring bear season! It “officially” opens in many back country units like where we guide in the Middlefork zone on April 1st. I say officially as that is when it does open, but with this years late and heavy snowfalls, I am confident the bears will not be waking from their winter slumber for at least a few more weeks, at least at our elevations. The snow is still quite visible around here, and I am sure is still quite deep in the backcountry where we will be conducting our spring bear hunts, but with the warmer weather patterns and the official opener, I can hardly wait to get on the back of old Diesel and begin setting those baits. Thanks to those who are joining us this spring. We look forward to a successful hunt! Front range hunts in Idaho open April 15. Good luck to all those hunting Idaho spring bear hunts this year! If you are hunting Idaho spring bear season this year, please note that we are now in the bear baiting and bear baiting supply business. We are currently carrying stock of bulk bear baits and are working on scents to attract bears to your bear bait. We have applied what we have learned over the last nine seasons of bear hunting in Idaho and gathered that knowledge into one place. We used to have to go to 3 different places to obtain all the “ingredients” to what we consider a successful bear baiting venture and are now offering it in one location and for less money than you can find it elsewhere. If you are interested in learning more about baiting bears, either in Idaho or whatever state you are hunting (provided it is legal there) contact us and we would be happy to visit with you about it. Wild Idaho’s Spring Bear Season OFFICIALLY Arrives! It can only mean one thing when we are hauling hay, chained up in the old Dodge over high mountain passes, shoeing horses at the trailhead and crossing rising rivers, all in the same day! That’s right…spring bear season has arrived and word at the trailhead from the guides is we have active baits, hunters have arrived and we are heading in for our first of eight straight weeks of bear hunting in Idaho’ famous Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area big game unit 27, where bear tags for a non-resident are offered at the reduced price of 31.75 and there is a 2 bear limit. Idaho ranks highest in the lower 48 for an opportunity at a color phase bear as well. Access in to these backcountry units is challenging at best and downright exhilarating at their peak. Access requires either horseback, boat or plane to arrive at your final hunting destination. But the reward for your troubles can be a nice Idaho spring bear and a look over some of the roughest country in the lower 48. Spring bear hunt prep work hauling in the hay and bait 2010 Idaho Spring Bear Hunt Ends The 2010 Idaho spring bear hunt is officially over, the last baits have been pulled, camp is torn down until fall and we are knee deep in packing our summer stuff in Utah already! This years spring bear season was amazing! With lots of bears, lots of color phase and lots of opportunities...some missed and some not. Check out some of our trailcam photos when you get a minute. We are looking forward to this years fall bear and elk hunts. Follow along with our summer progress at Flying J Outfitters.com blog and we will try to keep you updated on our latest trips there. If you are hunting elk this fall with us and have not started your diet and exercise program, now would be a great time:) Elk season is only 2 short months away! Experince has shown us that the guys that come prepared to cover some ground are the most succesful. See you in the hills! Comment (0) Comments are closed.