Because it takes 2 days to ride our stock to Mile High’s base camp in the wilderness, we fly our customers to one of our backcountry airstrips to save you a sore rear end. Once you fly in, we meet you at the airstrip and ride our stock to one of our tent camps. Some camps are large with multiple wall tents such as a cook tent, hunters sleep tents and guide sleep tents. Other spike camps consist of only one tent that the guide and hunters sleep and eat in. Sometimes we will do a roving trip and either sleep under a tarp or the stars. These trips have been some of my most memorable; either because the stars were so beautiful or because it rained, and I forgot the tarp. Understand that a roving trip or spike camp will require you to travel further and much of your hunt will be spent on the trail.
Each morning we wake up early, build a fire if it is cold outside, wrangle the horses and mules and saddle up while you are eating breakfast. We typically ride out of camp in the dark and start glassing by early light. We either bugle or glass until we find something. The day is spent either riding your horse, glassing, or walking so please be in the best shape possible. No matter how much I emphasize the importance of physical fitness and even though we have a 250-pound weight limit, many hunters show up overweight and unfit for a wilderness elk/deer hunt. It is very frustrating when this happens because we know your physical abilities will limit us. It also risks souring the stock because heavy people just can’t ride horses. A fat person rolls around like a pumpkin on top of a 55-gallon drum. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but I need you, to be honest with us as well as yourself. As much as we would like to help everyone, we just cannot accommodate overweight people.
My moto for elk and deer hunting is “get out early and get back early”. I have worked around outfitters and guides who oversleep, and it drives me nuts. We make every effort to be in position at daylight. If you are looking for a hunt that allows you to sleep late, eat caviar, drink $1000 bottle of wine, get tickled with a feather up your butt and a mint on your pillow at night, go to a high fence game farm operation. We work hard and expect our hunters to give it their best. This means get in shape and shoot your weapon often before the hunt.
The wilderness area has a very long rifle season and has not changed much since my grandfathers’ early days. It opens September 15 and closes November 18. This allows us to hunt elk in the rut in September and early October and to hunt Mule Deer in the rut in late October and November. Black bear, wolf and mountain lion seasons are all open during elk and deer season. If you read the success rates page, you will notice that most black bears are taken early, most deer are taken late, mountain lions are very seldom taken without hounds, wolves are taken sporadically through the season and most of our elk are taken in the early season unless we have a deep snow year. You can have just an elk tag or all 5 species of tags if you choose. Since this is a combination hunt, the only price difference is the cost of the tags.
The elevation in the wilderness is between 4200’ and 8500’. We ride our horses and mules as much as possible but some of this country is just too steep to ride. Since 1988, we have had multiple forest fires in our area. This has helped the habitat, opened much of the country, and made glassing for elk and deer easier. We work hard each year to clear trails from the downed trees but every time there is a windstorm, we know the crosscut saw will be in demand.
There are many things that can go wrong on a wilderness hunt- but that is why it is called wilderness. The hard work, steep terrain, early morning rides in the dark and sweat are what makes this hunt unique. Anyone can go to a game farm and shoot a 500-inch elk or a Holstein cow. The reward for a wilderness hunt is not pounding your chest and telling your colleagues what a “big hunter” you are but knowing in your mind how hard you worked for this hunt. For this reason, game farms are the best things ever invented. We no longer have to deal with huge egos. We just get to spend time with true hunters and quality people. Elk, deer, bear, lion and wolf tags are guaranteed. Contact us today to reserve your guided Idaho hunt with Mile High Outfitters. Spots fill quickly!