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Elk, Mule Deer, Bear & Wolf Hunting Blog

Here you will find information about our hunts, our area as well as special offers and issues that affect us or are important to us.

Trail Clearing Season

Trail clearing in The FrankIt seems an outfitter’s life is defined by “seasons”… as are most people’s lives, but our seasons seem to revolve around seasons determined by others; meaning the Idaho Department of Fish and Game determines what season we can hunt and therefore that is one of our “seasons”.

The only season that we get to determine is trail clearing season. That takes place during the summer months.  For the last 3 years we have had such amazing crews and our hopes are that this year will end up being “trail maintenance” season instead of one of the giant pushes we have had to make to open some trails that even the Forest Service’s own records can’t tell us when they were open last.

As we head into this year’s trail clearing season, we thought it might be cool to offer the opportunity for people to accompany us on such an adventure.

It would include horseback travel into the backcountry, all the food you can eat, views that would please the most avid of outdoor adventurers, ours and quite frankly, anyone who uses the trail system’s gratitude and last but not least, you would be leaving your legacy as part of the public lands system and more specifically the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area.

We would make time to sneak in a little fishing as there is water near pretty much every trail and enjoy campfire talk (assuming there is no fire ban in place) and companionship, along with a lot of hard work and sweat in clearing trails on the public’s land…YOU are part of that public!

So, if you think you could part with a day or weekend, contact us to see how you could leave your own legacy on the trails of the “Frank”.

Not too soon to start thinking about next year

Hunting TagsWell, it appears that Idaho has been rediscovered. That can be a good or a bad thing, depending which side of the fence you are standing on.

This year’s nonresident tags in the units we guide, Area 27 and 28, sold out in record time and according to the fish and game commission, they seem pretty bent on reducing the amount of nonresident tags available in the future further exacerbating the tag acquisition process.

Thankfully and gratefully, we as a licensed Idaho hunting outfitter are allotted a certain amount of guaranteed elk tags and outfitters in general have access to deer tag set asides.

What does that mean to you? Essentially it means that if you book with an Idaho Outfitter (hopefully us), you will go hunting.  In most states in the west, you can put your deposit in with an outfitter, but are still subject to the odds (whatever they may be) of drawing a tag for the species you are hoping to hunt.

Here in Idaho, if you plunk down your money with an outfitter, you will be able to hunt.  Speaking of which, we still have some tags left in area 27 for this year and we are certainly taking reservations for next year so get your name on the calendar for that western elk hunt you have always dreamed of taking!

Four Generations Bear Hunt

Well, spring had sprung and old glory was flyin’

Spring 2019 Bear Hunt

The creek got high and kept on risin'

Spring 2019 Bear Hunt

But, soon enough the baits got active and bears started dyin’

Spring 2019 Bear Hunt

Spring bear season started fairly slowly this year with the late and heavy winter we had, but when the baits heated up, wow! They were very active and things really started happening and as the sun finally set on the last day of our 2019 Idaho spring bear hunting season it ended on a very high note!

Four generations Spring 2019 Bear HuntWe had 2 hunters in camp, and each scored on a bear and, as all who were involved would tell you, it was the youth hunter harvesting his bear that managed to make the whole week so enjoyable. The weather was unseasonably comfortable, the baits were incredibly active and as the last night came about for this young man to sit, our decision came down to which bait, of the several that were active, to sit that night. Well, as you can imagine, we guessed correctly, and this young man scored on a very respectable cinnamon boar.

It was very rewarding because this young fellow was accompanied by both his Dad and his Grandpa. What we were not aware of, and became one of the true highlights we learned about as we were taking photos, was that he was using his Great Granddad’s rifle to accomplish the task. Wow! A four-generation spring bear hunt right here in Idaho!

As we begin tearing out our camps, and beginning our trail clearing season, we are already looking forward to our fall bear season that begins this August 30 and even looking ahead to spring of 2020!

We have a few openings available for this fall and obviously some for next year’s Idaho spring bear hunting season. If this year was any indication, next year ought to be a blast as we seem to learn something new every year!

See you in the hills!

NO MORE WILDERNESS!

Idaho-Wilderness

Wilderness is beautiful, we can all agree on that, but not being able to access that beauty is one of the problems with creating MORE wilderness. The current wilderness in Idaho is not being managed properly to allow access so how do they think they can create more and keep up with its management?

If you are reading this, I can only assume you either hunt and/or fish or at least condone those acts and if you do participate, you probably use public lands. The Salmon-Challis National Forest is in the midst of a forest plan revision.

They are at the part in the process where they are doing inventory study on “potential wilderness areas”.

Folks, this is a crock. As much as I love our public lands system, and I do, we do NOT need more wilderness!

During a recent local public meeting about this issue, over one hundred people showed up from a town of only 1000. Ten percent of our town’s folks showed up and the resounding consensus in the room was, “NO MORE WILDERNESS!”

We were told that although we locals would be affected most directly, they were correct in stating that it is “the public’s” land and that they are getting comments from all over.

We all know that means that the green groups are lobbying for more wilderness. The problem is, these groups lobby for wilderness in areas that they probably have never visited or never will!

We are asking you to take a minute and submit your comments. Obviously, we hope you comment to ‘not create more wilderness’, but even if you disagree with us, please take the time to submit your comments. This is OUR land and it is and should be managed the way the owners think it should. The Forest Service, God Bless them, are NOT the owners. They are simply the managers managing property for “We the People” as we direct them too.

Let’s direct them to manage these lands responsibly…for multiple use for the benefit of the most “land owners” and to not just default to wilderness because it sounds good to some folks who have never stepped foot out of a city. If you hunt, fish, hike, ride horses or recreate at all on public ground, make your thoughts known. This is YOUR land! Tell them how to manage it!

Comments are “best by February 28” (their words), so please click this link to submit your comments: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=49464

Merry Christmas from the gang here at Wild Idaho Outfitters

Merry-Christmas-2018 From the gang here at Wild Idaho Outfitters, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe Holiday season!

As I write this on Christmas eve morning, it has just begun to snow the type of snow fall and in the surroundings that I live in, that makes it look just like something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. It makes me feel extra grateful for where I live. Not just the lovely area, but literally the country that we live in.

It is a country that, although not perfect, has so many wonderful characteristics that people seem to be willing to risk their lives to get here.

As I look around during this Hallmark moment, I see people I love dearly and think fondly of the many people who have crossed my path throughout each season of my life and as the years go by, I find myself even more grateful than ever for all who have crossed my path. Each person has left a mark on my existence.

It is our sincerest hope that during this Holiday season, you, too, can look around and see the love and joy that surrounds you in the form of family, friends and precious moments of your life.

If you read the news you would come to believe that there is no good in this world, but if you look around, you find so many wonderful things and people who make your life complete.

The wonderful people are for to you to determine who they are, but my idea of some of the wonderful “things” that make our life in this country more blessed include our public lands system, our military that keeps us safe, and our freedom of religion that allows us the ability to worship freely and openly in the manner that we believe is appropriate.

I, for one, am very grateful that our Lord, Jesus Christ, was willing to die on a cross that we might experience the greatest gift of all!

As you spend time this holiday season with friends and family, we hope you take the time to thank our military for protecting our freedoms, God for your blessings and really take the time to shut down your technology to enjoy the people who make your life wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving 2018 from Wild Idaho Outfitters

Happy-Thanksgiving-2018 As the sun just set on the final day of our 2018 Idaho elk and deer hunting season, it turns out we drop right back into another “season”: The Holiday Season! With the first, of course, being Thanksgiving. I personally am glad that Thanksgiving falls when it does this year as it leaves no time for PHD (post hunting depression) to set in.

Instead, it is a time to reflect on this past year and all the many incredible blessings we have in our lives.

I have said it before and it bears repeating, the best part of our job is the people we get to meet. We always look forward to old friends coming back to join us in hunting camp and the opportunity to make new friends. This year was no different. People make this job wonderful!

I have said it before and it bears repeating, the best part of our job is the people we get to meet. We always look forward to old friends coming back to join us in hunting camp and the opportunity to make new friends. This year was no different. People make this job wonderful!

We are already pouring over maps and brainstorming ideas on where to put new bear baits, what time and size of trail crew to hire along with searching for potential sites for new drop camps.

We hope, for those of you who read this, that you are sharing this day with family and friends and reflecting on the amazing blessings we share in this country. We hope your past hunting and/or outdoor recreation season was just incredible and that you have many adventures in your future. It is the heritage of public land ownership that makes many of these adventures a possibility that creates the reality.

As always too, I hope you take time the thank a soldier for your freedoms and God for your blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Legacy makers (builders)

Trail-clearing- season-beginsToday was the beginning of a new legacy. Bold words you say? Let me explain. It seems like an outfitter’s life is ruled by seasons. Now you would recognize the easy ones like spring bear, spring turkey, fall bear, elk, deer, etc. The seasons that most people don’t recognize are all of the “behind the scene” seasons.

There is hay season, where we are putting up hay for all the livestock we get to feed all winter, so we have good livestock come hunting season.

There is a short but painful “shoeing season” where we need to shoe all those cayuses we fed all winter, which ends with shoe pulling and trimming for winter season of course.

There is “booking season”. You know the one. Where outfitters are slaves to their phones, emails and Facebook looking for those daring hunters willing to say, “I think I believe all your B.S. and I am going to send you some of my hard-earned cash to prove it”.

There is bear baiting season, where we ride literally hundreds of miles setting bear baits out throughout the wilderness so that we can (hopefully) entice some hungry bear into a lucky bear hunter’s sight.

And today… today began “trail clearing season”. That is where a good outfitter invests money into the public lands system so that ALL people can access these public lands. Now I can hear it already, “It is in the outfitters best interest to clear the trails he/she uses”…well, DUH! But, here are the facts that follow a statement like that. These are PUBLIC lands. Meaning they are owned by all. If (we/our trail crew) clears a trail and someone (ANYONE) from the public walks in behind us on this newly cleared trail, do you know what they owe or even invested in their public land experience? NOTHING. They are the beneficiary of others’ hard work and they are better able to enjoy their back-country experience because someone DID take the time to clear the trail they chose before they arrived.

Now if you think I am patting outfitters on the head, you are missing the point of this message. What I am saying is that ANYONE who invests time, money and effort in clearing “OUR” public lands access points, be it a fallen tree on the road to a trail head or the back-country efforts going on right now in “The Frank”, that person is creating and leaving a legacy for others to enjoy.

My speech every year at the beginning and the end of these young folks’ time with us is this, “You guys should be proud! You are leaving a legacy. You are creating access to an area that has not been accessible in years. When someone back home asks you, “How did you spend your summer?” you just raise your head, look them in the eye and say, “I was creating better access to America’s public lands and by default creating a legacy that will last for years. What did you do?”

I am incredibly proud of the work these young folks do each year. Some of the faces change, but the enthusiasm for spending time in one of America’s “Crown Jewels” and “giving back” to society, willingly and with a smile, does not!

Thank you trail crew and good luck with the rest of the “season”!

And-they-are-off

If after reading this, you find yourself wanting to “give back to society” by helping to clear trails, contact us. We are biting off some major projects that are going to take some super human effort to accomplish and we are looking for volunteers to help in this effort. So, if you have a few days to spare and want to work hard, get fed well, see country that not many actually get to see because of it’s remoteness and ruggedness and KNOW that you are leaving a legacy for others to enjoy, get hold of us. Our trail crew will be here until mid-August and about week three, we will really be looking for more help.

We cannot pay volunteers, but we will provide a comfortable camp and more food than you can possibly eat in one sitting. What are you waiting for?

Rediscover Idaho

Idaho-Combo-Hunts-Good-Ole-Days

By now all the western states’ draws are out and odds are good you didn’t draw a tag. Well, neither did most of the people who play the draw game.

Maybe it is time to give Idaho an honest chance look see.

Idaho is famous for over-the-counter tags, guaranteed elk tags for outfitters and OTC tags for most predators as well. It is also the only western state that I am aware of that you can hunt multiple species at the same time WITHOUT playing the draw game.

Central Idaho is fast returning to the glory days of bygone years with healthy herds of elk, giant mule deer bucks and plenty of bears, wolves and mountain lions to chase around.

The Salmon River mountains of Central Idaho are home to such an amazing variety of wildlife that it is hard to come here and not go home having seen some deer, elk, big horn sheep, moose or even mountain lions or wolves.

By now you may have heard that 2 of my best guides/friends and I (George) got together and purchased a new area adjacent to our current operating area and yet still located in these amazing Salmon River mountains. The only difference is it’s on the edge of the wilderness versus inside the wilderness and much more conducive to horseback hunts!  It is still a vast expanse of roadless real estate teaming with elk, deer, bears, wolves and many other varieties of wildlife.

And although it may look like we are new to the game, we bring to the table almost 50 years of combined experience and we also have the benefit of mentorship by the outfitter we purchased from who operated in this same are for 45 years. We will do all we can to provide you with a quality hunt that we promise will create lasting memories for years to come.

Since our purchase was completed late this spring, we were late getting the news out, so we still have some guaranteed elk tags and OTC deer tags available, but only up until July 31. So, if you did not draw or worse yet, finally drew that coveted Wasatch Mountains tag in Utah only to see your entire area go up in smoke, maybe now would be a good time to rediscover Idaho! Give us a call at (208) 756-2548 (before July 31st or the tags revert back to Fish and Game where they have been sold out since March) or visit our website at www.CastleCreekOutfitters.com and help us fill those pages with pictures of your own Idaho trophy!

Fall Bear Hunting Season is just around the corner

Idaho-Fall-Black-Bear-HuntsIt seems like just yesterday that we were riding in to set spring bear baits and yet we are already talking about what baits to set for this fall, preparing camp and laying in more bear bait for this year’s fall bear hunt.

Our trail crew arrives this weekend and we begin a 4-week hitch clearing our backcountry trails in preparation for fall hunts beginning August 30 with fall bear season. Every fall seems to produce some amazing color phase bears that are just fat and getting fatter preparing for the long winter ahead. Hides have historically been in pristine condition as well.

So, if you have yet to make concrete plans for your fall 2018 hunting season or you have plans but they are later in the season, maybe a quick trip to Central Idaho’s pristine Salmon River Mountain Range is in order, whereas we still have a few openings for our fall bear season.

Contact us today for your 2018 Fall Idaho bear hunt!