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Ultimate Hunting & Fishing • View topic - Elk Hunting outside of Salmon, ID
by FishnTod Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:52 pm
Last year we spent a great deal of effort both planning and hunting just north of Salmon, ID for elk. As a background about us, we have all hunted various big game animals from the Midwest, CO, MT, WA, CA etc... From our research it indicated that the success rate in this area was around 12-18 % depending on the year. We felt that just by getting off the road like we have in most years and hiking our butts off we would get an elk. First we did not anticipate the small number of high country camps for a large party. The mountains around here are very vertical and campsites as we discovered where extremely limited. We ended up being forced to camp along the Salmon River just past Shoup, ID at the Spring Creek camp site since we had 5 vehicles. Many campsites that where at higher elevation would only be capable of handling 2-3 cars max. This was a HUGE problem. We spent many mornings starting the day off driving for almost an hour or more to get to hiking trail that would lead us to the snowline. Once at the trail head, another 1-2 hours of hiking was needed to get in position to shoot. This was very inefficient with our time. This is the first time we had ever done something like this, not camping where we would hunt. It did force us to travel in 3 separate vehicles each day scouring the mountains in all directions for elk. It was a waste of time hunting around around Bald Mt and north of the Salmon River. There where just to many roads and after the first day very few people saw elk or shot one. We only heard of a few elk taken in this area and only saw a few scattered cows. One large 8x8 was taken above the Girl Scout camp at the top and head of the valley just past Shoup. We hunted this area prior to this elk being harvested and glassed it big time only to find out that this bull would call only at night and would not take the herd out of the woods until dark. A local shot this elk by taking a pack of horses and humping it to the top of the valley and shooting it as the sun was coming up. This local pinpointed this elk by listening where he was bugling at night and camping in the valley. This was local knowledge, was a big plus for the guy who shot him. There was only one large campsite in this valley and unfortunately it was taken, with their party being the one who harvested this elk. Many of the roads in this area are also very narrow and poorly maintained. Make sure you bring chains because you could get into trouble in a hurry without them. Don't be surprised that you may have to even kick in your side mirrors at times just to pass someone if are lucky, many times you have to back up for long distances if you meet another truck going the opposite direction just so that they can pass. I would recommend you get the ID vehicle road for this area as well. We saw several good elk hunting around both Stien Mt. and going up to the top of the Sheep Creek road. Most locals take the road to Continental Divide and if we where to hunt her again we would simply just camp on the Continental Divide. I had almost had a shot at a nice 4X4 but a tree covered his kill zone and when he did move it was by doing a 360 and jumping behind a tree, then game over. We heard several bulls and saw them but did not get any good shooting opportunities. We where at the snowline and with crunchy snow it was hard to close in on any elk, simply put they could hear us coming a mile away. I think I even scared another nice bull to another party in front of us and he was able to harvest a nice 5X5. The Little 4th of July Trail was also good if you had horses. This road was out of commission when we where there.

In MT the prior year we harvested 6 mule deer and 2 whitetails (2 of us had whitetail doe tags) with 6 guys in camp . This year we where hunting elk. The was the first year we ever came home skunked. Would I hunt here again, NO. The wolves have taken a large number of elk in this region and the success rates are low. Looking back we would have done better to have drawn tags in another state that had a greater success rate and less wolves. We did hear wolves in the Salmon River Valley one night and as you can imagine, all the elk changed zip codes after they heard these wolves. But if I did hunt this area again, I would focus solely around Stein Mt and the Continental Divide and get HIGH (snowline) to find the elk. Also the guided and unguided horse back hunts in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area seemed to be very successful according to both the locals and people we spoke with. This area was just to rugged to backpack in successfully. Most of the elk here where shot 8-10 miles in. There is almost no way most people are going to be able to hump out an elk with a round trip distance of 20 miles or more. This could take several days to get an elk out. There where also no outfitters or guides in this area who wanted to pack out an elk if you shot it, another thing to think about it you are going to hunt here. Hope this blog helps you. Good luck hunting and drop me a line if you have any further questions.

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