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Posted: 2/20/2006 8:18:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/22/2006 4:41:01 PM EDT by FlyingBrass]
Me and some buds hired a guide to take us elk/mule deer hunting this fall. Anything I need to know?
Also, we will be using horses on public land in unit 316 and/or even 313.
edited for spelling and to add horses.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:21:59 PM EDT
Start working out now!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:26:04 PM EDT
Get used to packing some weight.

Mojo_Jojo pretty much said it all.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:40:52 PM EDT
Git your flabby ass in shape, flatlander. Oh...and run lots of wind sprints. The altitude will kill your flatlander ass ifin yous don't!

Good luck! Remember...you can't eat the antlers!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:43:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:45:03 PM EDT
Don't shoot anything you're not ready to carry!

Seriously, it's like packing a damn horse out of the woods, at high elevation where the air is thinner. Get in shape.

Best meat you'll evern find.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:45:42 PM EDT
Don't be longdickin the sheep either! Most of em are already attached!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:47:22 PM EDT
I am guaranteed elk tags this year, thank goodness. I gotta get a good scope by the time for hunting season to roll around for the new .375 H&H I bought to be my new elk rifle.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:51:24 PM EDT
Get in shape

learn to cow call

take the bolt out of your rifle when you go thru yellowstone

take LOTS of pictures

Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:54:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 11:33:06 PM EDT
1. A good digital camera is an absolute MUST. The west is beautiful.

2. Hit the gym, fatty! I live at 6,000 feet and my ritual whenever someone from sea level comes to visit is to take them on a three mile hike with 1,000ft elevation change. It works them pretty damn well. If they aren't impressed, I take them past 14,000ft.

Sprint up ten flights of stairs. Repeat until you want to die.
Be able to jog three miles in under 27 minutes (or equivalent thereof, 1000m swimming, etc)
Work those back muscles (pull ups, rowing) as it will keep your posture good and keep you breathing. And shoulder most of the weight.

Quit smoking for sure.


Don't be the guy that is holding your group back. There always is "that guy" on every hike/hunt I've been on. It's extremely irritating. You will have to cover a lot of ground to bag an Elk.

Keep in mind that the goal here is to be able to BREATHE. You would be amazed at how far a few weeks preparation will get you. Don't slack.







Link Posted: 2/20/2006 11:40:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 11:52:39 PM EDT by geerhed]

Originally Posted By SpecialOperator:
1. A good digital camera is an absolute MUST. The west is beautiful.

2. Hit the gym, fatty! I live at 6,000 feet and my ritual whenever someone from sea level comes to visit is to take them on a three mile hike with 1,000ft elevation change. It works them pretty damn well. If they aren't impressed, I take them past 14,000ft.

Sprint up ten flights of stairs. Repeat until you want to die.
Be able to jog three miles in under 27 minutes (or equivalent thereof, 1000m swimming, etc)
Work those back muscles (pull ups, rowing) as it will keep your posture good and keep you breathing. And shoulder most of the weight.

Quit smoking for sure.


Don't be the guy that is holding your group back. There always is "that guy" on every hike/hunt I've been on. It's extremely irritating. You will have to cover a lot of ground to bag an Elk.

Keep in mind that the goal here is to be able to BREATHE. You would be amazed at how far a few weeks preparation will get you. Don't slack.




+eleventybillion. Going home is takes me three days to acclimate if I do my prep.

Don't try to pet the bison. Every year, the local papers run the score: Bison: 5, Stupid Tourists: 0

Don't shoot the eco-freaks if they try to block your hunting. Just knock them the fuck out with your buttstock. No one is watching.

DON'T go on C.U.T. land. If you think ARFCOMmers are over-armed psychotic nutbags, then stray onto Church Universal and Triumphant land. You won't be found again.

ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY do not forget to go to The Oasis in Manhatten (north on 89, then west on I90). Get a New York strip. Best steak meal you'll ever have. I think that thing is 14" long + soup and salad and bread, and about $30.

P.S. Learn to spell it before you go there. It's G-A-R-D-I-N-E-R. But yeah, it sounds like Gardner.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 12:58:37 PM EDT
+1 on the Oasis. or if you like Italian food, excellent place in Bozeman (who's name totally escapes me at the moment, it's on 7th, world class food).
It's windy as hell in Park County, just be aware
BEAUTIFUL country, some of the best part of the country are up there. Lots of elevation change. it can snow at any time and it can snow a LOT (i've been in a meetng, watched the storm roll in, dump 3 inches and be sunny out again before the 1 hour long meeting ended and the mountains get a lot more snow)
Montana is great.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 6:04:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 6:23:34 PM EDT by ConservativeRifleman]

Originally Posted By FlyingBrass:
Me and some buds hired a guide to take us elk/mule deer hunting this fall. Anything I need to know?



OK, I live just 30 minutes from Gardiner and I can give ya the official scoop here. More than likely you'll be hunting up around the Jardine area which is just 5 or so miles up behind Gardiner. Gods country. I've never shot anything ungulate in that area but I have busted my fair share of coyotes up there. Shouldn't be a problem filling your tags especially if you saddle up and get back into the timber, which more than likely you'll be doing. Im sure it was a pretty dime to book this hunt and the outfitters will treat you right. Who did you book with if you dont mind me asking?

Critters abound in this area also. ranging from a wolfpack in that area now to Moose and the inevitable Grizz. A Bald Eagle may take a shit on you if you are luckyhe
I'm not gonna harp on the fitness stuff- you know what to do Im sure. Just be sure to do it. Gardiner is around 5300' and change in elevation, just depends on the snowfall on how far up you'll have to fill your tags. And another thing, no matter if you run a marathon every month from now till the time you get there your body still has to acclimate to the rise in elevation. So dont feel bummed right out of the gate if you've done your cardio and you feel like the MarlboroMan.

A side trip to Yellowstone is mandatory. Hit the Lamar Valley going towards Cooke City for a view that'll knock your socks off, and you may get to see some wolves and bears in the process.

GEAR STUFF: This past fall and winter have been sooo iffy on weather conditions. I hunted deer in a flannel shirt this past season and almost had to strip that down to a t-shirt on that particular day, next day I couldnt get warm enough, YMMV. Layers man, layers... With a good emphasis on wind proof stuff and some decent boots that are BROKE IN and waterproof.
Guns...anything flat shooting and expect some long shots-you dont wanna show up with great gear and in shape like a Nigerian marathoner and not be able to kill anything out to 300 yards. 'Tis true about western guides, they expect you to be able to shoot. And if you cant , they'll tell you straight up while wiping the Skoal spit from their mouths. Pick a round that'll take care of both elk and deer and shoot alot on windy days if you can from all kinds of positions, with emphasis on prone and using your daypack as a rest. Alot of guys like those shooting sticks also, which may be another good option. Just practice shooting with the gear you've chosen to take.

Good binos around 10x and a rangefinder will help alot too. Get a 'bino buddy'- a strap that hugs the glass close to your chest but is readily accessible.

If you're gonna be taken to a camp and hunting out of that, get a good sleeping bag if you dont already have one. Chances are camp will be at higher altitudes and a decent -10 below bag will serve you fine. I like the rectangular bags if a horse or truck is hauling my gear. Down filled mummy bags with a fill power of 800 if you are your own mule.

blah blah blah, sorry for the rant.

I came out to Yellowstone 6 years ago, single, for 'just a summer' with only a backpack and bad intentions. I'm married now and have a house full of shit along with a Montana CCW permit. This place may just do the same to you.


[sidenote to BozemanMT]; you thinking of Ferraros on 7th in Bozeman?
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 6:08:48 PM EDT
1. find a giant fucking hill
2. put on i giant fucking pack.
3. run the fuck up it
4. when you get to the top, pull your rifle off your shoulder, and shoot at a target anywhere between 100 and 300 yards.
5. repeat until you can do this successfully.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 6:49:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 6:50:27 PM EDT by HIPPO]
Critical skills:

1. Cardio-vascular endurance: endurance, endurance, endurance! Build your base through running and taper into forced marching/rucking w/ a pack and something approximating your stick. Learn how to work under a cardio-vascular load while being able to carry a conversation, or whistle evenly. The point being you will likely be under a cardio-vascular "load" the majority of the time on the mountain due to the short time that you will spend in the area.

2. Bring only the gear you trust/that will get the job done: use it now, wear it out, push it to see what it can take. The time to find out that something doesn't work is not on the mountain, but between now and then. Every ounce counts (maybe not as much when you are on horse, but you never know).

3. Learn how to shoot accurately under field conditons: shooting at white tail deer back east is not anything like wanting to take a shot a royal (7X7) bull elk during the rut. Learn how to read the wind, compensate for uphill/downhill shots. Learn how the animals move, sound and behave. Learn how to shoot from a hasty rest in the prone (prone supported), kneeling, against a tree, etc... even off hand so that you know what you can and cannot do when it is time to decide if you will take the shot or not. Shoot on a frequent basis. It would be worth your while to learn how to shoot accurately under "load" at distances you will likely be presented shot opportunities!

4. You need to start your preparation regimine now!
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:04:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ConservativeRifleman:
[sidenote to BozemanMT]; you thinking of Ferraros on 7th in Bozeman?


I don't know about Ferraro's, but no one mentioned the Baucaus.

Oh, if you like poker, get to The Cat's Paw to enjoy an evening of anal rape by crusty old cowboys. I'm not talkin' Brokeback anything except your wallet.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:05:27 PM EDT
Gardner is at the north entrance to Yellowstone NP. It's where we always parked the tent trailer when we went there in the 90's. Beautiful country. As mentioned, start getting in shape now. Even if you aren't hunting, you are going to want to hike around it.

Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:14:58 PM EDT
Buy yourself that "once in a life-time" pair of boots. You will not regret it.

Russell Moccasin

Check out their "Mountain Climbers"
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:28:54 PM EDT
Don't Forget to bring your hunter's orange!

<== Hunted near Gardner several times. Grew up in MT, my family is from Livingston just to the north.


Seriously, its a great place as the elk are relatively unafraid at the beginning of the season and the hurds migrate out of Yellow Stone, its a great place to be. The problem is that it's no secret and you can expect to see lots of other hunters there too.

Well.... let me re-word that, there are lots of hunters for someone who grew up hunting in MT. That seems to be a relative term as the more I hunt outside of MT, the more I realize how good I had it.

Last time I hunted there, I climbed a mountain and all I saw was orange dots accross the landscape. That's been quite some time though.. (92) To a lot of "in-staters", Gardner is known as the most likely place to get shot by some crazy A-Hole, but man is it beautiful.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 9:09:39 PM EDT
+1 on layers. Make sure the layer closest to your skin is a long sleeve synthetic fiber, such as polar fleece or underarmor or something to that effect. Cotton kills.

For hiking above treeline in fall, I wear:

Synthetic wife beater
light synthetic long sleeve
synthetic vest
wool sweatshirt
waterproof medium weight jacket WITH HOOD
polar fleece beanie
polar fleece sweatpants
ski pants
good pair of hiking boots (this is probably the most important article of clothing)
wool or synthetic socks

I also carry a heavy jacket, 0 degree sleeping bag, extra wool/synthetic socks, extra gloves, extra hat, etc. etc.

Buy a D-Ring Carabeaner (sp) and three Nalgene 1 quart polycarbonate bottles. These bottles are waterproof, shatterproof, and airtight. Fill two with water and put matches, lighter, "Hey, this shouldn't get wet" stuff in the other.

Probably should invest in a Camelbak, if you have a fairly new pack most have an insert for one, so just buy the bladder and hose. I'd go no less than three quarts per day.

Make sure you bring one gallon of water for each day you are out. WATER. BREATHE. ADAPT..

Weather conditions can change by the minute in the mountains. It's FAR better to be overpacked than underpacked.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 9:52:45 PM EDT
very good info here.
from rifleman and spec ops.
scrap the cotton and go fleece, definately don't underpack but I see most guys overpack and can't get the shit uphill. maybe check out some sheep hunting books they are packed with really good mountain hunting info. better than most elk hunting articles.
I've killed most my elk while sitting on my ass. find a good high spot that overlooks a couple of drainages and wait. if the pressure is that heavy they will bust out and give you a shot.
stay high when they spook they damn sure don't run downhill.always stay high. I've bowkilled elk above timberline in the rock boulders.
if you venture into the dark timber you probably will not get a shot, you'll see a glimpse of yellow ass for a second if you are lucky. mid day this is where they go to bed down for a reason.
The most stealthy super sniper half indian can't slip up on em very often.
buy a hundred dollar gps, it is very easy to get turned around. I've seen lots of guys that lived there whole life in Wyoming get lost.
go as lightweight as you can with boots. our last few winters have been really mild.
I've hunted jackson alot which is fairly close to ya beautiful country. not to make you paranoid but grizz are a reality in that country.
I got sick of always looking over my shoulder and bear attacks are more common every year. funny thing how alot of them don't hit the paper, kinda bad for tourism.
four years ago there were quite a few attacks and I started hunting different ranges. the bighorns and snowy's.
you can't legally carry a firearm when bowhunting.

have a blast and be safe
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 10:13:36 PM EDT
Thigh muscles and hip joints are what kills me. I can not be winded at all, but dread the lifitng of the leg to climb that f-ing hill. You can walk miles on the flat and think you are fit and still lose it on the hills because of the lifitng of the legs. Once your thigh muscles are shot and the joint is irritated it is days to heal and you will not have a good time. Climb stairs as much as possible to prep.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 10:18:41 PM EDT
Get in shape.

Practice long range shooting. Be prepared to shoot 4-500 yards.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 8:17:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ConservativeRifleman:


[sidenote to BozemanMT]; you thinking of Ferraros on 7th in Bozeman?



that's it, thanks
Killer food
I couldn't think of the name
Must be getting old
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:37:23 AM EDT
Take your teeth, those mountain critters are tough.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:43:45 AM EDT
One thing I have not seen mentioned is the humidity. Even when it is snowing up here the air is very dry compaired to the south. You might want to get a humidifier for you hotel room.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:48:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/22/2006 9:58:18 AM EDT by Quigley]
Make sure you are not hunting on 'Decker Flats" If you are get your money back. I hunted there in 1986 and it was terrible. Thousands of hunters no joke. One about every 25 yrds. People driving the road behind you and shooting over your head. The rule there is not who shot the Elk but who gets there first with the tag. My guide had one person as a 'runner' to get a tag on any elk that our group shot. Make sure you are on PRIVATE LAND.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:56:55 AM EDT
Cotton kills!

You will encounter wet weather. And wet cotton will give you hypothermia faster than anything else. Wear wool or good synthetics. Polypropolene and polar fleece are the way to go. They keep you toasty warm even if sopping wet. Good boots and good socks are a must.

And get in shape.

Have fun. Post pics.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 10:27:06 AM EDT
I grew up 1 1/2 blocks from the Oasis in Manhattan. Make reservations about 2 weeks ahead of time. The owner once turned-down Ted Turner because He did'nt have reservations.Told him He could wait an hour or so, if He wanted. Then He turned to Hanoi Jane & told Her that He was a 'Nam Vet & to get the Hell outa there & never come back!

The Ol' Crew Chief
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 11:39:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/22/2006 11:40:45 AM EDT by sirensong]
grew up tramping around the bitterroots.

good advice all around. cannot overstress the importance of layers. while walking on a sunny day, you'll be amazed at how hot MT can get, only to realize later that it was the exertion that kept you warm. once the sun drops behind a mountain, you'll realize that it gets cold extremely fast. as stated, avoid cotton. fleece is your friend. good boots are a must.

as you're a low-altitude guy, i would recommend doubling your carry water. 3qt is not enough to avoid the inevitable headaches. carry a lot, and drink a lot. the great thing about MT is that most of the streams are quite safely drinkable, but you shouold be carrying at least 2x2qt.

nothing you can do will truly prepare you for high country hiking, but as mentioned, you'll likely be forced to carry your kill out, so practice rucking with a decent amount of weight can't hurt.

as specialoperator pointed out, you will cover a lot of ground. elk hunting is a bit different than the prepared ambush that most southerners refer to as hunting. you'll be amazed when your hips start hurting.

don't let all this crap scare you, though. MT is the closest thing to virgin territory left in the lower 48. it gets inside you, somehow, and it'll be something that you'll never forget.

[ETA: just saw the humidifier recommendation. very, very good advice.]
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 12:32:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Montana is great.



+1 - It doesn't get much better.
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