17 August Investing in Trail Work August 17, 2016By Monica Oliver Announcements, General Information #WIOHunts, Forest Service, Frank Church, Public Land, River of No Return, Wilderness Area 0 Wild Idaho Outfitters invested some serious time, money and effort into trail work this summer. We hired a crew of four young men who worked long hours and cleared over 30 miles of trail in the “Frank” by cutting or moving 1,985 logs from the trails over a 4-week period. All this work was done with hand tools. No motorized equipment (i.e. chainsaws) is allowed in wilderness areas so this is very physically demanding work. Our plans are to continue this type of investment in trail clearing going forward, so if this kind of work may be of interest to you, please contact us. We also, teamed up with the Forest Service on a couple of the trails and were very grateful for their continued dedication to public access of your public lands. This trail work is not just “something for the outfitter”. This trail work benefits all public land users. These trails are open for all who take the time to visit our public lands and visitors will be able to enjoy easier access to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area backcountry because of the labor of these four young men and the Forest Service trail crew. Be sure to visit our gallery to see some of the before and after pictures of the work these young men performed. Related Posts Saying good bye to the old and hello to the new The sun has set on 2016 and has now risen on 2017. For us here at Wild Idaho Outfitters, 2016 will go down as one of our best years ever. Many positive things happened, from opening new trails, to a record harvest, to our greatest number of return hunters, to being able to get all our equipment off the mountain in one day and in good condition (this one was huge), to being able to put a new name , , to our livestock business, to most everyone who hunted with us actually living (yes folks that one is a joke, all who hunted with us lived) and to simply being able to make a living while enjoying a lifestyle where we get to meet, and get to know, so many wonderful and amazing people from all over the country and from all walks of life! As we have said before, most hunters come as customers and leave as friends and this past year seemed especially so. We have made some great friendships in the backcountry of Central Idaho that we really appreciate and we always look forward to making more. One memorable conversation with a hunter this past year happened with a Neurosurgeon from the Detroit, MI area. As we were discussing us homeschooling our kids, he said the bad thing about homeschooling is the lack of socialization in homeschooling. Then I asked this hunter, “Where else does a ten year old and a twelve year old get to meet a Neurosurgeon from Detroit?” To which he simply responded with a smile and quiet nod of agreement. One of the sad casualties of the outfitting business is watching your favorite livestock age and end up having to get relegated to the ranks of retirement stock and even more sad is to watch them pass on to the happy hunting trails in the sky…some (usually the not so good livestock), you want to help head that direction faster, but with these special few, it is especially emotional. This year we did not lose any animals to the hunting trails in the sky, but 2 of our old school regulars, Jack and Sally, moved onto the retirement pasture. They have served us and our hunters for many years and the prior outfitter as well. They are both over 30 years old now and we have discovered that the steep and rugged nature of The Frank is simply too much for them these days so they will play out the rest of their days doing pony rides and light wagon work on flat ground between long stints of simply enjoying life in the pasture. On the bright side, we had an amazing foal crop this year with Darling Creek Livestock and look forward to seeing the breeding program we have in place produce hard working registered mountain riding/ pack stock,that grow into Frank Church wilderness trail eating machines! We have a band of quality mares expected to start delivering our first 2017 babies beginning mid-March and we always look forward to seeing the new babies and watching them develop. We so look forward in the new year ahead to meeting and making new friends and to renewing old friendships here in what we affectionately call paradise aka Central Idaho! So to all those who hunted with us in 2016 and prior, and to those who have booked already for a 2017 Idaho adventure, Thank you and Happy New Year! 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 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! Bulk Bear Bait for a Successful Spring Bear Hunt We have begun selling bear bait at our Challis, Idaho location. We are excited about the possibilities of being a “one stop shop” for all things bear hunting and bear baiting related. We have been baiting bears in the Idaho backcountry for ten seasons now and have constantly worked to improve our system of baiting and over time have developed what we believe is a very “complete” system for baiting and are excited to share our system of scents, sprays and bulk baits. We are beginning with the bulk baits in “solids” (trail mix, dates, craisons, chocolate covered nuts, assorted nuts, etc.) and then creams and “runny” baits like donut glaze, cream cheese and chocolate. These baits are available in Challis and delivery is possible throughout Idaho and northern Utah. We will be expanding into scent sprays, calls and cameras. We are also in the development stages of a new website for displaying these baits. Stay tuned for www.bearbaitingsupplies.com to go live. Good luck on your spring bear hunting adventures! 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! Merry Christmas 2017 As I was searching for the proper words to articulate well wishes for a Merry Christmas, I was reading some copy on our website, which is undergoing some changes, and for whatever reason the 2015 Merry Christmas blog came up, so I read it. I must confess, even though I wrote those words then, I sincerely believe that I would be hard pressed to either improve or to even change what I wrote as it is truly how I feel today. So to all those who do read this Christmas wish, I do hope that you enjoy what is written, recognizing and knowing that it is written from the heart. I am truly grateful to all whose paths have crossed mine and am forever grateful to God above for allowing me to meet so many wonderful people and enjoy this life we live and in the country we live it in! May God bless you and our country this Christmas! From the gang here at Wild Idaho Outfitters, nestled snuggly under the peaks of the Southeastern edge of the Salmon River Mountains, one of the gateways to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area, we want to take a moment and wish all who read this a very Happy and Joyful Holiday Season! Merry Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous and blessed New Year! As you go about your Holiday gatherings, we do hope you will take time to thank God and a veteran for this great country of ours which offers so many freedoms. Is it perfect? Heck no, but it appears to be the best option out there. All of us find ourselves at the tail end of another year on this great big ball of mud we generally like to refer to as earth. It has been a terrific year here at Wild Idaho Outfitters and we genuinely hope those who read this feel as equally blessed. We met many new hunters as well as were able to enjoy the company of several repeat hunters who we actually consider friends. We work with what I would consider some of the best guides in the industry. We get to live and work in what we (Kelly and I) like to refer to as paradise! From the mountain peaks, to the backcountry trails, to the navigable rivers that begin as streams you can jump across, this country… this Idaho, has so much to offer the outdoor enthusiast. We do hope as you are looking back on this past year and looking forward to the year ahead, that if you feel as though you did not spend enough time outside enjoying God’s natural creation, you will consider giving yourself permission to take some time in the year ahead to get outside…no matter what state you are in! If you can make it to Idaho, all the better, but wherever you are, step out into the sunshine. Step out into the cold. Look up to the heavens. Look out to the horizon. Watch a sunset. Set the alarm early and experience a sunrise (outside of course). Jump in that fancy SUV and get some mud on those tires. Visit YOUR public lands. I know I have said this before, but it certainly bears repeating and it is truly my opinion, that our system of public land ownership where you can go out and enjoy literally millions of acres as if you owned them yourself (well actually you do), is unequaled anywhere that I am aware of. Remember as you visit these public lands, that they are here for you, your family and your friends to enjoy and recreate on. Just remember to take only pictures and leave only foot prints. Also, as you cross paths with other outdoor adventure seekers, please remember what your momma taught you about smiling and being courteous to all you meet. I personally have made some very good friends with people whose paths I simply crossed in the backcountry. Think about it, we at least have the similar interest in being where our paths crossed; seems like as good of spot to begin a friendship as any. It’s been said that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. I gotta believe you could remove the word horse (although why would you want to skip the horse), and the statement would be equally as true. So as you are setting your goals for next year, be sure to include some “you time” or family time in the outdoors. And as always, if you can, take a kid along! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the “gang” at Wild Idaho Outfitters! Comment (0) Comments are closed.