Backcountry Elk Hunt Report by Brian Hasslen

Hunter: Brian Hasslen
Date: October 19-23, 2015
Trip Taken: Idaho Wilderness Elk Hunt

Backcountry Rifle Elk Hunting in Idaho

Very happy. This was my first experience going on a guided hunt. We had have very good success DYI in the past, but I wanted to go for a full on backcountry horseback hunt. I kind of knew what to expect but in a lot of ways it exceeded my expectations.

The elk hunt was a lot more physical hunt than I thought it was going to be. I was generally prepared for it other than I got sick in the weeks leading up to the hunt, but I wish had had gotten in better shape. The terrain was very steep and provided amazing scenery from the time we left the trailhead until we came back. The hunt started on a low note weather wise. The first full day we were socked in with heavy fog and steady rain for the majority of the day. Don and I still managed to get in on a small herd 9-10 cows and have a fun close encounter with them. We never located any bulls on day one and climbed up more than 4,200 vertical feet from base camp.

Adam and my brother managed to glass a good sized herd with several bulls in it from over 5 miles away.

We came up with a plan over supper and decided to set up a spike camp on the ridge 1/2 way to them. We got up high early the next day and located the herd and came up with a plan. My brother and Adam stayed high and worked around the top towards the herd and Don and I would go low and straight at them. Within a couple hrs we were right across from the bedded herd. It took a while to locate a decent bull due to the distance and thick vegetation. We slowly eased in cow calling our way closer to the herd. With every cow call the herd bull would scream his head off!

Once we closed the distance to 350 yards I set up on a lone pine and waited for a shot opportunity.

The bull kept screaming the whole time and walked in and out of shooting lanes and among the cows. Finally he stopped broadside and I was able to get a clean shot. He was down! I wasn’t until then that I realized just how big he was. Before we hiked in after him Don managed to bugle in a smaller 6 point that fed right below is the entire time. Keep in mind it was October 21st! We called him to within about five yards.

Packing out an elk on horses in Idaho

On our way down to my bull my brother hammered a five point not 1,000 yards above us. And just like that the hunt was over and the work began.

Brian Hasslen with his Idaho elk What a great hunt!

We got back to the spike came late and exhausted. Over a mountain house breakfast the next day Adam glasses up a nice mule deer buck and my brother was able to get his first mule deer. From there we had another 11 hrs of packing to get both bulls off the mountain. We slept in the next day and ended packing out a day early. I was just too exhausted to try and fill my deer tag as well yet I couldn’t be happier with the Idaho outfitter, guides, wrangle, and cook.

It was a fantastic experience. I will be back.

Will you book another trip with OUTDOORS INTERNATIONAL in the future? Sure I will. It’s tough to know the good from bad and to have a service help sift through that is very be be helpful.

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