Wyoming Game & Fish License Application Deadline
Elk | January 31
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.
Archery Elk Hunts
General Areas 70, 90 & 94 – Early Season
Requires Preference Points, Conservation Stamp,
Elk Special Management Permit & Archery Permit
Pack-in Camp – Wilderness Hunt – Area 70
7-day | 2-on-1 | September 06 – September 12
Season Dates: September 1 – September 30
Drive-in Camp – Area 90 & 94
5-day | 2-on-1 | September 07 – September 11
Rifle Elk Hunts
General Areas 70, 90 & 94 – Mid Season
Requires Preference Points, Conservation Stamp,
Elk Special Management Permit
Season Dates: September 20 – October 31
Pack-in Camp – Wilderness Hunt – Area 70
7-day | 2-on-1 | September 22 – September 28
7-day | 2-on-1 | October 1 – October 7
Season Dates: October 15 – October 31
Drive-in Camp – Area 90 & 94
5-day | 2-on-1 | October 15 – October 19
5-day | 2-on-1 | October 22 – October 26
Combination Elk / Mule Deer Hunts
This service is offered at a 50% discounted rate on your second specie.
One-on-One Guide Service
This exclusive service is offered at a flat rate.
PREFERENCE POINTS may be purchased online July – October annually (Elk $52.00). We strongly recommend that anyone wanting to hunt Wyoming in the future, go online each year and purchase a preference point for any and all species that you wish to hunt in the future!
Wyoming License Application Deadlines
Elk: January 31
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
Apply January 1st – January 31st | Full-Price $692.00 | Special $1,268.00 | Includes fishing license | Preference Point $52.00 + Conservation Stamp $12.50 + Elk Special Management Permit $15.50 | Archery Permit $72.00.
Amount to be remitted includes nonrefundable $15.50 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 (WG&FD), 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
Greater Yellowstone Elk Hunting
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.
Professional Elk Hunting Guides
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.
Hunting Elk with Best of the West Outfitters
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.
Know Elk Hunting Rifle
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 Elk 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.
Archery hunts are earlier than the general season and often occur during the rut, which is a helpful detail as bow hunters’ handicap themselves to increase their challenge. Archery hunting during the rut has many advantages. First of all, bulls aren’t in a typical frame of mind. At this time, bull elk bugle as a form of male advertisement rather than a challenge to fight. When bulls bugle back and forth during the rut, it is typically one bull trying to advertise his superiority over that of the other bull. A cow call or bugle in the hands of someone who knows how and when to use it can be a key to success.
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.
Following the rut and before deep snows move into the high country, we look for big bulls in the higher elevations. A general rule of thumb is…the higher the bigger. The reason is mature bulls are very solitary following the rut and will seek out secluded areas where they can recover, feed, and be left alone. Younger bulls are often found lower on the mountain and may even be found on the fringe of a herd of cows.
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.
Get in Elk Hunting Shape
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 11,000 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.
Know your Trophy Bull
If your goal is to hunt record size bulls, you will need to know the size requirements necessary to achieve those goals and to be able to judge them in the field. Not all elk country is the same and will differ when it comes to holding elk. Not all areas will grow big elk.
Trophy bulls must be sought by location, a characteristic contributed to in part by genetics and diet, but also greatly determined by hunting pressure. Elk also need a good water supply and a food source high in mineral content. Most of all, a bull needs to be able to grow old in order to grow big. You will need to pursue a big bull with a big spread and good symmetry to obtain a good score. To be a trophy the main beam needs to be roughly 55″ and a minimum inside spread of 45″. The eye guards, second point, and third point all need to be at least 18″, and the fourth point at least 24″ in length. The fifth and sixth points on a bull need to be at least a foot long each.
Ultimately however, there are bulls for the record books and there are bulls that may meet your satisfaction for an exceptional hunt in many other regards. In the end, you determine individual hunting goals. Certainly, not all big game needs to make “the books” to be a trophy.
Best of the West Outfitters offers a wide range of elk hunts within the high country in western Wyoming. Using horses and mules to facilitate the hunt in a “spot-and-stalk manner,” we can offer clients a wide range of opportunities, from some of the most undisturbed archery hunting, to a post rut rifle hunt; to a hunt that typically takes place during the second rut in mid-October and then a late season migration hunt. Our archery season is among our premier hunts, running from September 1st through September 30th, and our rifle season is from September 20th through October 31st.
Elk Hunting Opportunities
We offer three elk hunting experiences in Wyoming: one is archery or rut hunt, another is our rifle post-rut hunt— and then, our rifle migration hunt. All include top-quality trophy elk hunting opportunities. You can choose from any one of our camps located within the Bridger-Teton National Forest, with a resident and migrating herd of elk on their way to the feed grounds numbering well over the Wyoming Game & Fish Departments annual objective. If you’re not looking for a pack-in experience, you may want to consider our drive in camp, ranch cabin hunt or our beautiful lodge located outside of town, just off the Green River.
Elk Hunting Camps
All but one of our camps are located 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 ride as far, making this hunt not as physically demanding. A typical day of elk hunting is spent riding, glassing and hiking to various vantage points to look for elk. Our rifle elk season opens September 20th after the opener of mule deer season, giving experienced guides plenty of opportunity to locate bulls. This is a general license elk area, but we recommend the purchase of a preference point each year to increase the possibility for drawing a license the year you are ready to hunt.
Bull Elk Hunting
Bull Elk hunting in Wyoming is one the most sought after, exciting, migratory and free ranging big game animals in the world to pursue. Mature bulls are wary, extremely cagey, and can make for a very challenging hunt. The mountains and plains of western Wyoming are famous for producing trophy class bulls and are home to one of the greatest elk herds in the world. There are several factors specific to our areas which allow our bulls to grow and reach their genetic potential at 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 bulls to have an even better chance at reaching their genetic potential at maturity.
Elk Hunting Camp
Our South Piney Creek drive-in camp and East Fork of the Greys River Camp lie on the boundaries of a couple of areas 90 and 94, which allows us easy access and the ability to hunt a few of the best general areas in Wyoming for elk. These areas routinely produce bulls ranging from 280” to well over 300” gross, each and every year. Our season typically runs from the 1st of September thru the 31st of October, offering us a wide range of hunting opportunities, such as hunting bulls in two season openers, bugling in the rut, post rut and their bachelor groups late in the fall.
Wilderness Elk Hunting Camp
We also operate a wilderness pack-in camp from Brooks Lake Lodge that’s sets aside the beautiful clear waters of Cub Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Buffalo River. This remote traditional wall-tent camp lies within the boundaries of area 70, which historically has been one of Wyoming’s best trophy elk hunting destinations. This area routinely produces bulls ranging from 300” to well over 320” gross inches of antler growth, with a opportunity of hunting a real Boone and Crockett quality bull. Our season typically runs from the 1st of September thru the 31st of October, offering us a wide range of hunting opportunities, such as hunting bulls in two season openers, bugling during the rut, to post rut, their bachelor groups late in the fall and the legendary migration when the snow gets deep on the high plateaus. These reasons are why our areas are without a doubt, not only Wyoming’s finest general elk hunting, but also considered some of the best elk hunting in the country.
Along with hunting in an area with superior genetics and low pressure (from both hunters and predators), 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 a trophy while on your hunt of a lifetime.
Our hunts take place in Western Wyoming’s high country, with elevations up to 7,000 feet and over 10,000 feet in many cases. You will be hunting high alpine bowls, boulder fields, rocky slides, and timber areas often higher than 9,000 feet.
Day Hunting Elk
Your mornings will begin at 3:00 am, at which time your guides will already be catching, feeding, and saddling horses. We will all meet in the dining tent for a hearty breakfast; pack your lunch and discuss the plans for the day. After breakfast, still well before daylight, you and your guide will ride from camp and head up the trails a horseback for a full day of hunting. Once you reach your destination, we will spend most of the day glassing and locating bulls with binoculars and/or a spotting scope. Our time and efforts are focused on areas where we have historically found and recently located mature bulls in our scouting efforts. Once we spot your trophy game, we plan our stalk carefully and hike to a vantage point to where you can make your shot.
Preparing for your Elk Hunt
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. The rough mountainous terrain of the Wyoming Range has more bulls than any other part of Wyoming and most of the country. This is without a doubt the hunt of a lifetime for that hunter who is looking for a true trophy class bull elk.