After several months of research We chose to Elk hunt with Crystal Creek Outfitters, for two reasons. The Gros Ventre wilderness area holds good numbers of mature Elk, and After personally speaking with Gap on the phone, I could tell that he was an ethical hunter. His camp is all about the wilderness experience and the submersion of the hunter into the natural wilderness. I was fortunate to shoot a very nice ^x^ Elk on only the third day of a ten day hunt. I spent the rest of the hunt exploring the area around the camp and fishing for native trout. I learned a great deal about horses and came to appreciate the fine horses and camp that Gap operates. My son graduates from High School this year and we intend to hunt with Gap again during the 2008 season.
My hunting partner that accompanied me on my first trip was not able to harvvest an animal, although he did have an opportunity, but he was not prepared physically for the challenges of hunting in a truly wilderness enivironment. I cannot be more please with the camp, the staff, the horses and with Gap personally. His camp and the entire experience is everything he said it would be.
I have hunted with Crystal Creek Outfitters in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area twice and would go back again, again, and again, but for my own personal, family, and other expenses. In fact, my father, before reaching his 8o's hunted with Gap for nearly 20 years in a row. I think that says it all. Gap really is a great guide, an ethical sportsman, and will truly go out of his way to make sure you have a great hunt. I was sucessful on each hunting trip and that is not because I am a great elk or mule deer hunter; I am not. I actually prefer upland bird hunting, but I am being 100% honest when I say that both trips were a great time because of Gap and his crew. They know where to hunt, when to hunt, and how to hunt. And that is precisely what you will do. Do not hire and hunt with Crystal Creek outfitters if you want to simply take a stroll in the woods. You need to be in good shape, have an appreciation for the beauty of the true outdoors, and be willing to ocassionaly brave some of the elements encountered in the high country. Awesome time!!!
...and no, Gap did not pay or solicit me to write this review. I did it because I hope that someone else will have the same great experience I did.
I absolutely loved the experience of taking several pack trips with Crystal Creek outfitters during the summer into the Bridger Teton wilderness. Gap Puche is a good friend of my family and I have known him since I was very young. I do not go on hunting trips, but my father went on several Elk hunts conducted by Mr. Puche before I was even born, and that is how my parents became friends with Mr. Puche and his family.
The scenery is incredible and the experience will last for a life time; I constantly wish to go back to Crystal creek because I feel that it is a very special place to me, that words cannot describe.
The horses that Gap uses are also incredible; I have had horses all my life and I certainly appreciate the docile nature of his personal herd of mountain horses. Gap's experience and knowledge of the mountains, horses, and the old west are impossible to beat and he is certainly an excellent guide for a wilderness tour.I definitely plan to return as soon as possible for a visit! (PS...When I say wilderness, I mean wilderness...)
I personally worked for Gap Puche,owner and operator of Crystal Creek Outfitters early in the hunting season during the Fall of 19XX.He operates several backcountry hunting camps for Elk and Bighorn Sheep in the Gros Ventre Wilderness of NW Wyoming on Teton National Forest Land by commercial permit.
Gap Puche runs an ethical, First Class equipped guided big game hunting operation especially when compared to most of his peer outfitters in the Intermountain West,then and now.There are alot of other businesses in recreation today and many have little additional quality to offer anybody.
Since the 1970's,hunting license and game tag availablity,access,and affordibility have declined.However,there still are plenty of elk in the Jackson Hole area,thanks to the Federal government's continued massive Winter feeding operations.It is UNCLE SUGAR to the rescue,every Winter in Wyoming.
If you go to the trouble to actually get a big game tag most anywhere today,whether resident or non-resident,it pays to only consider the highest quality business when spending your hard earned dollars.This is especially true with big game outfitters for elk,bighorn sheep,and mule deer hunting.
Even more so today than ever before,access to good hunting areas is becoming more difficult for ordinary people in most parts of the United States.We are slowly going back to what we were in the late 1800's-early 1900's. As William Bill Cody (a.k.a.Buffalo Bill)once famously said: "Wilderness is for the Healthy and the Wealthy"
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