31 March Don’t be a fooled this April 1st March 31, 2016By George McQuiston Announcements, Fall Bear Season, General Information, Spring bear season Hunt Applications, Spring Bear Season 0 April 1st is a very important day in the life of an Idaho hunter. It is the first day you can put in for trophy species bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat as well as, my favorite day, the first day of the spring 2016 backcountry bear hunting season. Applications for bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat begin April 1 and run through April 30 so don’t delay in getting your application in if you want a chance at any of these. Remember Idaho does NOT have a point system (a good thing in my mind) so everyone is on equal footing in the draw process. And you will certainly never hunt a sheep, moose or mountain goat if you don’t apply! Spring bear season is one of my favorite times of year. It is a sure cure for cabin fever and a good time to log some saddle time on the old steeds we have been feeding all winter and is also a good time to start our young mules and colts. Think about it, if they have a come apart and scatter a little bear bait, I figure it is better than scattering me! The backcountry units start about 15 days earlier than the front range seasons do, offering the hunter who is willing to work a little hard to access the backcountry a 2 week extended season along with, in most cases, a chance at 2 bears to boot! This spring may a bit interesting as there is still plenty of snow in the high country. Grass is starting to grow already in the low country, but you generally have to climb some pretty high passes to get into the backcountry, so access may be a bit extra challenging this spring! So whether it is spring bear hunting or bighorn sheep on your mind don’t be a fool, get off the couch and either apply for a trophy tag or go hunting…or both! We are always happy to visit with you about best options for trophy species or simply talk hunting, so contact us if you have any questions. See you in the woods! Related Posts 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! No Horse Rides this Summer at Snowbird Normally about this time each summer, we are announcing that the horses are coming to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, but this year is different. Snowbird began a large scale construction project that will consume all of this summer and next so we won’t be offering rides again at Snowbird until summer 2017. Due to this fact, we will be selling many of our Snowbird quality horses and mules so they don’t just laze around and get fat on summer pasture and winter hay. If you ever enjoyed riding horses like Black Powder, Bruce and Remington or mules like Marshall Dillon and Sally, contact us to arrange a test drive. These are all horses and mules we have used for years in our outfitting business that almost anyone can ride and they will all keep you safe on the trail. In the mean time if a summer horseback ride is on your bucket list, we would like to suggest contacting Flying J Outfitters for a horseback ride at either Moon Lake or Defa’s Dude Ranch in Northeastern Utah. We will be offering horse rides and backcountry adventures from our home base here in Challis, Idaho. Come join us! April is the Time to Apply for Trophy Species Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Mountain Goat Beginning April 1 you can apply for what Idaho terms as “trophy species” including bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose. As much as I disdain having to draw for any hunting opportunity, these 3 species are rare enough that it is impossible to maintain a healthy herd AND offer an over the counter opportunity, so they regulate through a drawing process. The beauty, and yes I did say beauty, of Idaho’s draw system is that everyone has the same chance of drawing. There is not a bonus point system which really levels the playing field when it comes to draw hunts. If you are hunting with us or any other outfitter, you will already have your license which is required to be purchased before applying, you may want to go ahead and apply this year. Again, you have the same odds of drawing as the next guy. Contact us if you would like information on hunting or applying for these trophy species. Are You Going Hunting this Year? By now most of you should have gotten that “lump of coal” we call the draw results for our western big game hunting adventures. That hope of drawing for that “special” tag we seem to continually wait for. If your results looked like mine and read “unsuccessful” for all species applied, don’t lose hope. I know I have said it a lot and am saying it again…Idaho is the best kept secret in the hunting world today. There are still over the counter tags available, large tracts of wilderness landscape allowing for complete solitude away from the crowds, liberal and lengthy seasons and to the best of my knowledge, one of the only states around where you can hunt a “combo” hunt. You can hunt elk, deer, bear and even wolf and lion all at the same time so you can really stretch that hunting dollar. Trophies you ask? Idaho has been producing big bucks, bulls and boars for years and will always continue to do so. They may require a long horseback ride or a backcountry flight to find, but they are there and each year some real trophies are harvested in this great state! So if you are tired of thinking “unsuccessful” is actually a hunting season, why don’t you slip on over to Idaho and let’s go hunting! April is the Time to Apply for Trophy Species in Idaho If you are considering hunting Mountain Goat, Moose or Bighorn Sheep in Idaho, April is the time to apply. Applications are being accepted now and run through the end of the month. Good luck in the draw and happy hunting! 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! Comment (0) Comments are closed.