I am writing this review for the benefit of other hunters who save their hard-earned money and spend precious vacation time, as well as time away from their families, in order to hunt elk.
Lodging and Accommodations – Good –Met my expectations.
Food and Meals – Excellent; Cathy was a great hostess and a wonderful cook.
Property – Wall Mountain huntable area far less than the actual acreage. Majority of land is meadows and grassland, which doesn’t contain elk. The wallow on the NE facing slope is actually on State property. Townsend Lease was only hunted one time, and the hunter refused to go back due to lack of elk sign or sightings.
Elk Population – Poor - Around 30, but maybe less. Three (3) hunters in camp hunting the same two (2) small herds every day. Guide made the statement that the area was holding less than half of the elk it had in years past, and getting pressured more due to Townsend Lease not holding any elk. Outfitter also stated that the “EAST” herd on the “CA” ranch was down significantly per the manager of the “CA” ranch.
Stand Sites – Only one (1) lock on tree stand over water or wallows. No natural ground blinds or pop-up blinds for bow hunters were constructed near water or ambush spots. One (1) natural ground blind was constructed near a water tank, and this was done by a hunter. Cattle were around or near most watering sites and at times would not leave more than 50-60 yards.
Knowledge of herd patterns or movement – Very poor. Outfitter argued with hunters about what they saw and heard, and made recommendations to hunt areas that were the opposite of what good hunters knew to be the obvious best choice. I have hunted elk in Oregon on a DIY hunt and spent the first 3 days trying to find elk--I chose an outfitter this time because I wanted to eliminate those wasted days and have opportunity at elk from Day 1. This was not the case, and in terms of numbers and opportunities, I would have been better off hunting in Oregon again.
Wolf Issues – Outfitter was questioned thoroughly about any wolves or issues with the elk herd prior to the hunt, and there were no issues stated at all. One (1) of the elk herds came running off of the mountain as we were glassing the 1st night we were in camp. Very strange behavior, but at the time, it was written off to the herd bull moving the cows to get away from the satellite bulls. On the second morning of the hunt, we were glassing the mountain side and had a wolf howl on the mountain-- this was acknowledged and confirmed by our guide, and this was the exact direction the herd came running from the 1st night we were in camp. On the last morning of the hunt, the cattle gate and fence were torn apart--outfitter was quick to fix it. When I questioned the guide about what happened, he stated that the same thing happened last winter and they could see wolf tracks around the cattle tracks. The outfitter’s wife also spoke up at dinner that night and said that when she went out the night before she had herd wolves just above the cabin.
Character – Sometimes in life you meet those people that can’t or will not accept responsibility regardless of the circumstances or evidence. I feel that Bill Montanye is one of those people. As we ate lunch after he picked me up from the airport I got to hear all about how the hunters in camp the week before us were know it alls and poor hunters. Through out the course of our hunt I personally listened to him bash and down, all but one person in camp. He made condescending remarks to his wife in front of the guests that seemed inappropriate at best. He doesn’t know this but we actually know a hunter that was on the next hunt with him after we left and it was amazing to hear the comments he had made about us to them.
In closing, the lack of huntable acreage, the wolves, the lack of ambush spots and the low number of elk has created a level of pressure on this ranch that would make it very hard for a bow hunter to be successful, especially on a trophy caliber bull. It will also make calling in a bull next to impossible. All these things combined will quickly create a level of animosity and competition among hunters that have any kind on knowledge of game animals as they quickly figure out what is going on. Based on these things and the lack of character on Bill’s part, I would not recommend this outfitter to anyone. I feel that the outfitter sold a bill of goods that he could not come through on.
I just got back from a great hunting trip for the opening week of rifle season. Like the title says, there were 8 hunters, 7 of which got bulls (1 guy missed!) in 6 days. On the VERY FIRST DAY everyone had at least one shot opportunity at a respectible bull elk. I had one come to within 10 yards, but he was just too small and it was the first day. I took my 300+ bull on October 29th.
You will not find a better deal for your money if you're hunting for a good bull elk. You get to stay in a heated cabin with indoor plumbing, the guides are great, everyone is extremely nice, you don't need to quarter the elk up to bring them back to camp, you see LOTS of bulls, and Kathy's cooking is world class. It doesn't get any better, and the price is very very competitive. I could not give them a higher reccomendation.
1st.class people great camp, great food, great hunting, can not wait till 2009 for the next trip!!! the bow hunting trip was the best hunting trip ever. seen lots of elk and heard lots of bugling. i shot a nice 4x4 mule deer on the first day and a 6x6 elk the 2nd. day