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The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide


Chuck Ellisor




Guided Hunt/Choosing An Outfitter

Self Guided Hunt

Equipment List

Physical Training and Conditioning



Sleeping Bags

Hunting Boots


Rain Gear

Packing Your Gear


Snack Foods

Staying Warm

First Aid Kit

Knives And Sharpeners

Navigation Skills And Tools

Pre-Hunt Scouting

Day Pack

Scopes And Binoculars

Game Calls

Archery/ Black Powder

Rifles Scopes And Ammunition


Saddle And Tack

Do's And Don'ts

Knots And Lashing

Food And Beverage

Hunting Camp Meals

Recipes For The Camp

Kitchen Set Up

Kitchen Clean Up (And Bears)

Caring For Your Elk After Harvest

What To Expect

Special Thanks



A childhood dream of elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains finally

became a reality in the fall of 1994. As a young hunter growing up in

southern Alabama, I read every article and magazine that I could get

my hands on about elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains.


I lived out those experiences page by page, gaining valuable

knowledge from those fortunate enough to be able to hunt these

magnificent animals.










My family and I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the

winter of 1993 and as soon as I could take the hunter safety course

and wait out the required one year of residency, I hit the woods. I

soon became friends with a local outfitter and learned everything I

could about the mountains and elk hunting.


Patsy Wilhelm of Sunset Ranch Outfitters took me under her wing

and taught me more about horses, mules, packing and the mountains

than I could have ever imagined.



Her knowledge of the outfitting business was passed down to her by

her father and husband. I am forever grateful for her patience,

training and especially her friendship.

I hunted elk with bow and arrow, muzzle loader and rifle learning

all I could during all of the different seasons. Elk hunting strategies

have to change during these different seasons because of weather

and changes in hormones, especially during the rut.


I hunted elk in the Steamboat Springs, Colorado area for six years

and then nine years in the mountains around Durango, Colorado. In

Durango, I worked for a professional outfitter and continued my
education in this wonderful sport.


At times I had to pinch myself; I was able to live out my childhood

dreams and even get paid for doing it.








It is because of my love for this sport, and my enjoyment of seeing

the look on a hunters face as he or she experiences the joy and

excitement of the hunt, that I write this guide.

With that in mind, I will share information with you about how to

choose a reputable outfitter/ guide, how to plan a self guided hunt,

proper training and physical conditioning, equipment suggestions,

horsemanship and expectations to make your hunt a success.


After fifteen years of guiding, outfitting and packing hunters into the

Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I felt that it was time to make

available information that would prepare first time elk hunters to that

My hope is that this guide will be helpful in preparing those for the

hunt and keeping alive the dream for many who want to experience a

Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt.

This guide will apply to all seasons including archery, black powder,
and rifle.









Guided Hunt/ Choosing An Outfitter

Preparation for your hunting trip should begin well in advance.

Choosing an outfitter or planning a self guided hunting trip will take

time and research and should start at least a year in advance. I have

friends that book their hunts several years ahead of time.

Most outfitters begin booking their trips as soon as December or

January for the next season. With an outfitter, you need to decide if

you want a full service guided hunt or what the industry calls a “drop



With a full service guided hunt, you supply your hunting gear,

clothing and personal items and everything else is furnished by the

outfitter. For a drop camp, you supply food, drinks, sleeping bag,

hunting gear, clothing and personal items.


What an outfitter furnishes varies so you need to make sure you get

an equipment list from him or her as to what is included. Some

companies furnish cots, sleeping bags, pots and pans, cookware,

stoves, and lanterns including fuel.


Most states require a hunter’s safety card to purchase a license and

also because out of state licenses are usually limited. It is best to do

this as early as possible.

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