Cow Elk Hunt in Wyoming

Contact us for our current price list, dates and contract.

The quoted trip price will exclude Wyoming Game & Fish Department license, Conservation stamp, Special management stamp, Archery permit, County sales tax, National Forest Service fees, BLM fees, Tips, Travel and Personal gear.

Rifle Cow Elk Hunts
Area 86, 87, 94 & 92 – Late Season
Requires Conservation Stamp
& Elk Special Management Permit

Season Dates: November 1 – November 12

Season Dates: November 1 – November 23
Type 6 North of Middle Piney

Season Dates: November 1 – November 30
Type 7 North of Middle Piney

Lodge Hunt
3-day | 2+-on-1

Wyoming License Application Deadlines
Elk: Non-residents: Jan. 31; Residents: May 31
Leftover Licenses are a possibility.

A 50% deposit of the value of your hunt will reserve your dates for the year you are successful in the license draw – (non-refundable). Remaining balance of 50% is due 60 days prior to your hunt dates or you may pay with cash the day before your hunt begins.

License Fees and Application Deadlines
Follow this link to the WG&FD Regulations

Nonresident Fees
Apply January 1st – January 31st | Cow-calf $288.00 | Includes fishing license + Conservation Stamp $12.50 | Elk Special Management Permit $15.50 | Archery Permit $72.00.

Amount to be remitted includes nonrefundable $15.00 application fee | Online application service total will include a 2.5% processing fee | All applications, must be submitted by midnight mountain standard time (MST) on the deadline date | An applicant must be at least eleven (11) years old at the time of submitting an application to purchase a preference point and must be at least twelve (12) years old by December 31 of that year | All prices are subject to State taxes, 3% Forest Service and/or BLM Use Fee | All are subject to change at any time.

License Fees and Application Deadlines for all big game species are set by Wyoming Game & Fish Department, purchased on the WG&FD website and are drawn by the WG&FD lottery system. We can and recommend that we process your license applications, preference points and etc. as a service to you or you may apply online yourself at: Apply Here

LEFTOVER LICENSE DRAW – Any leftover licenses from the initial draw will be distributed through a leftover draw. The list of leftover licenses will be available below, on June 22. The application period will be five days, June 25-29, 2018.
Leftover draw results will be available on July 12.
Here is a guide on how to apply for the Leftover License Draw

The Greater Yellowstone Region of Wyoming has been known as a prime elk-hunting destination for more than 100 years. While Yellowstone Park is an exceptional sanctuary for elk, most leave for the winter. This migration provides an advantage for hunters.

The most widespread species of elk is the Rocky Mountain elk. They were once found over most of the United States, but human encroachment has pushed them to mostly the mountains of the West, with the largest herds living in and around Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. Despite the Cowboy States’ high elk numbers and the assumptions one can make while viewing large number of elk wintering on the feed grounds, hunting elk is not easy. Elk are complex creatures, and learning about their habits and mannerisms to achieve optimal hunting scenarios takes multiple years of experience and defined skill sets. Once you think you’ve learned all there is to know about them, they often teach you differently! Professional guides have the opportunity to apply concentrated learning experiences to the varied terrains and food sources available at the time of your hunt to help ensure success.

Elk: History and Characteristics
The Native American name for elk is Wapiti, which means white rump. Bull elk will have a light buckskin color, as compared to the mousy color of the cows. This can be valuable knowledge during the poor light of dawn and dusk when it may be too dark to distinguish if antlers are present. Bulls that have a darker, shiny coat will be younger bulls. The face and head of a big, mature bull will be more massive than that of younger bulls. A mature bull may weigh from 700 pounds to as much as 1,000 pounds, which would be an exceptional animal. A cow elk may weigh from 500 to 800 pounds and calves will weigh around 100 pounds to several hundred pounds.

To hunt elk successfully, you must learn a great deal about them. If you lack the time or inclination to learn, hiring Best of the West Outfitters can improve your hunting experience. Also, proper planning prevents poor performance; all the gear in the world will not make up for a shortfall in planning, experience, commitment or sound judgment. Don’t hunt where you haven’t scouted and are not familiar.Those who spend the most time preparing and looking for scouting, historically average the most harvests and gain the greatest trophies.

When choosing an elk cartridge to hunt with, choose one you can shoot well and consistently. Examples: 30-06, 7 mm rm, .300 wsm, .300 wm, .300 rum, .338 rum are all excellent choices for elk. Remember that the kill zone on a mature bull elk is about 18 inches in diameter when looking at them broadside. When your target is moving or quartering toward—or away from you, the kill zone essentially shrinks. That 18-inch circle may now only be six inches. It is best to site in your rifle before you leave home for your hunt.

The Hunt
When scouting, we spend as much time as possible on high vantage points.We glass, focusing on fringe areas, small parks around heavily wooded areas, saddles and water sources. This process is not rushed. Remember, locating elk from a distance and then planning a stalk is much easier than chasing them down after you stumble across them.

When you come across a location where elk have bedded down, look carefully at the tracks leading out of the bedding area. Elk that exit quickly will leave widely spaced sets of tracks because they jumped up and bounded away, whereas elk that did not leave in a hurry will usually leave evenly spaced tracks. Elk that have left hastily may still be in the area. When elk bed down, they usually bed within 50 yards of a water source. Find a well-used source of water and start looking for elk.

If an extreme cold snap moves in we will expect increased elk movement. Elk requires more food to stay warm during these conditions. If the cold is accompanied by snow, it may force the elk to shift their feed and bedding areas thus becoming more visible as they move about. The first deep snow often triggers the migration out of Yellowstone and other high elevation areas. Snow can help us locate fresh tracks and is a weather condition that we really welcome.

Elk will evade hunters by hiding in the toughest country imaginable. It is best to be in good physical shape prior to your hunt. You will be hunting in elevations of up to between 7,000 and 8,000 feet or more. Conditioning may not be the ultimate answer to hunting success but it will have a part in it. Exhaustion and fatigue can be threatening in the mountains. It is important to remember the air is thinner at higher elevations than at sea level and getting enough oxygen for some is more difficult.

We are outside of the wolf and grizzly bear recovery zones, so they have had little effect on elk populations. These are resident herds of elk residing on the Wyoming Range all year long and wintering on elk feed grounds. The number of elk in this area is above objective and continually increasing ever year, coupled with high bull to cow ratio, this gives way to better hunting opportunities to harvest a trophy bull elk.

Similar to most big game hunts, we leave camp well before daylight for this hunt. However, because elk are often not found in as high in elevation as some big game, we might not need to travel as far, making this hunt not as physically demanding. A typical day of elk hunting is spent traveling, glassing and hiking to various vantage points to look for elk.

Cow Elk hunting in Wyoming is one the most sought-after meat hunts for migratory and free ranging big game animals in the state to pursue.  Cows and calves are often found in large herds being wary, cagey, and can make for a very challenging hunt.  The mountains and plains of western Wyoming are famous for producing large herds and are home to one of the greatest migrating elk herds in the world.  There are several factors specific to our areas which allow our cows to grow and reach maturity.   These factors include a high bull to cow ratio, outstanding genetics, predators kept in check and fabulous habitat.  The quality winter range and feed grounds are also a great benefit to our elk herds, giving them the nutrition necessary to survive the harsh Wyoming winters.   Along with these factors, the Wyoming draw system has kept the hunting pressure low which allows our herds to have an even better chance at reaching maturity.

Our lodge hunts lay within the boundaries of several areas with large herds of cow and calf elk, which allow us easy access and the ability to hunt the best general areas in Wyoming.  Our season typically runs from the 1st of November thru the 23rd of November, offering us a wide range of hunting opportunities, such as hunting cows in their migration moving thru transition country and when they finally reach the winter range.

Along with hunting in an area with superior genetics and low pressure, another key to success in an elk hunt is our preseason scouting.  Forty-five to sixty days prior to our first hunt, we are glassing with high quality optics in the mornings and evenings, which always prove beneficial to our clients and contributes greatly to the odds of harvesting while on your hunt.

Our hunts take place in Western Wyoming’s high country, with elevations ranging from 6,000 feet to 8,000 feet and over in many cases.  You will be hunting alpine bowls, timber areas, cedar breaks and sagebrush plains.

Your mornings will begin at 4:00 am; we will all meet for a hearty breakfast, pack your lunches and discuss the plans for the day. After breakfast, still well before daylight, you and your guide will head out for a full day of hunting.  Once you reach your destination, we will spend most of the day glassing and locating elk herds with binoculars and/or a spotting scope. Our time and efforts are focused on areas where we have historically found and recently located these herds in our scouting efforts.  Once we spot your game, we plan our stalk carefully and hike to a vantage point to where you can make your shot.

In summary, the rugged and steep terrain is challenging.  This is a mentally and physically demanding hunt, one you will need to start preparing for long before your hunt dates.  The better shape you are in, the better your chances of success.  It is also very important to be familiar and proficient with your firearm because it is often necessary to shoot from an average of 300 yards, after a long hard hike up the mountain.  This is without a doubt the hunt of a lifetime for that meat hunter who is looking to fill their freezer.

RMEF Life Member

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Partners in Conservation

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Best of the West Outfitters

In Appreciation of Your Outstanding

Commitment to Wildlife Habitat Conservation

Medallion Level 4