Buck Hollow Sporting Goods - click or touch to visit their website Midwest Habitat Company

Wyoming Elk


New Member
I am currently sitting on 4 WY Elk Preference Points and looking for some recommendations from guys that have been to WY elk hunting. No elk hunting experience. Do you spend the money and go on a guided hunt or do you try it yourself with a bow on public ground? I keep going back and forth between the two options. Any outfitter recommendations that you guys have had success with?
I'm in exact same boat except I will do it DIY on public. I'm an elk Dummy!!! Hopefully get some info here! Also thought about trading a premium whitetail hunt for a good elk hunt, but hard to know who to trust.
I have two points and am debating on what to do. For having to wait as long as it takes to get enough points I want to do what will give me the best odds. This will be a dream hunt for me, its not all about the kill...but thats sort of my main objective, harvest an elk.
Nothing more exciting than a foggy morning getting in tight with cows chirping and the bulls a bugling!
I drew a tag for the Big Horn Mtns just NW of Sheridan a few years (8-9?) back. I chatted with a local who said him and a bunch of friends put up a wall tent and use it as a base camp, as they head up high to hunt every day. The area they were hunting was off limits to me because it was a wilderness areas and non-residents can't go in unless you hire a guide. The hunter was nice enough to offer to go to town to get a permit that would allow him to take me in, but I didn't care to impose. He did offer me some pointers on where I might find some elk. I moved around, camped out of a tent. One morning woke up to about a half inch of sleet. I found a wallow and hunted over it some, only seeing mule deer come out of the timber at sunset. Altitude started to get the best of me, I was around 10,000 feet and thought there was no way I'd be able to pack an elk out by myself.

Julie and I went back out a couple years ago to camp in a cabin in the area I hunted. It was Labor Day weekend, archery elk just opened. We were sitting out on a rock, glass of wine in hand, watching the sunset, and 5x5 bull trotted past at 75 yards. Go figure, LOL.

I left two WY PP on the table, walked away, not going to go out west anymore. Good luck, I have no regrets on the 3 hunts I did (2 NM, 1 WY).
When I applied to NM and WY, I looked at previous years' draw data. Who got drawn where with how many points. I looked at hunter success as well, looking at cow and bull harvest. Both areas in NM and WY I applied for were not "highly desirable" trophy bull units and thus your odds of drawing were better. I wanted to hunt elk, have a license in my pocket and be able to stomp around the mtns. Would I have loved to tag a bull? You bet. But I felt lucky to be out there elk hunting, everything and anything else was icing on the cake.

First DIY solo archery elk hunt in NM, second day, I was moving to a different spot when I heard a bull elk scream fairly close by. More of a squeal than a scream. Immediately, the poplar thicket the sound came from exploded and I had a herd of elk stampeding towards me. I had stopped walking at the sound of the elk, had the diaphragm call in my cheek, moved it to the roof of my mouth. As the lead cow closed on me, I did a soft cow call, she slammed on the brakes and stopped at 9 yards broadside. I sent a Montec G5 tipped arrow through her heart. She ran maybe 60 yards and piled up. Even this colorblind dude could follow the blood trail. She went down about 400 yards up a gentle slope from my car, easy quarter and pack out job.

Part of the reason I'm not going anymore is point creep. Even 10 years ago, you had to have 6,7,8 or more preference points for the "good" areas. Sorry, I don't have 10 years to wait, I'm not getting any younger.

Last trip to NM, everybody was riding ATV's around, calling from the forest service roads, educating the elk. If I was to look at a trip now, I'd try to find a primitive hike in area that does not allow motor vehicles, just my bias.

Day before I shot the cow in NM, I had LEO drive by my car, pulled around a corner and sat there a bit. This is clear back up in a national forest, along a poorly maintained forest service road. About a half hour later, he slowly drives back over to me and asks me what I was doing. It was clear he was wearing a bullet proof vest. Now did he have it on when he first drove by? Or did he pull past, put it on and come back? He'd seen my Iowa license plates. I told him I was elk hunting (dressed in camo head to toe), and his comment was that it was a long way to drive to hunt elk. I said, well we don't have any in Iowa, a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do. He asked to see my elk tag and he tried to call it in. I heard the dispatch woman on the other end saying she had no way to check to see if it was a valid tag. I guess lots of drug trafficking goes on back in these areas, I can only imagine it has gotten worse, that close to the US Mexico border (though Grants is in the northern part of the state).
Depending on the type of license you get you can bow hunt in WY, and go back for for rifle season if you're unsuccessful in archery.

If this elk hunt is a one time thing I would recommend getting a guide. However, if you're planning on going every year or every couple of years, go DIY, get your ass kicked by the mountain, and learn how to elk hunt. You will learn a TON just by being out there. There's so many resources out there that help people elk hunt.

As long as you go out there with realistic expectations, and aren't a lazy wad, I can't imagine you'll have a bad time.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
Last edited:
I’ve been going out West for 25 years from Indiana & Illinois. Taken six P&Y bulls 320”-350”. You don’t need a guide in most places. Just research to get in a decent unit. Search unit aerials for North facing slopes and water sources, streams & cattle tanks. Get some tips on hunting forums. Archery season is best if you are unfamiliar with an area. The bulls will tell you where they are. I taught myself when there weren’t ten thousand YouTube videos to learn from. Just get your feet wet and enjoy.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
First of all a good pair of hunting boots and maybe a spare just in case, Backpack with a water bladder and enough room for extra layers and gear for a day on the mountain. Water/wind resistant jacket for colder conditions.
Top Bottom