The Best Elk Hunting States


Many of my clients ask what are the best elk hunting states to hunt elk in. The answer to that question is very complicated so I prefer to break down each state for its pros and cons. What can be spoken of easier and in a broader sense is which state can I get a tag in for sure and plan, in advance, to hunt. The states you can’t do that in for sure because they have no landowner tag systems is Montana, Arizona, Wyoming and the eastern and midwestern states that now hold elk. I send very few of my clients on hunts there as people want to know they are putting a deposit down on a hunt that they will be going on. The states I do most of my business in because of guaranteed tags are Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Colorado.

Best Elk Hunting States:


Arizona is a state that takes years and years to draw and when you do draw, the hunting will be very good. It’s just going to be a long wait with lots of time and money spent getting there. Buckle in and get your points.


Nevada has some incredible elk and you can buy landowner permits. They are just crazy expensive. The tags take a very long time to draw but their preference point system is not bad so get your points and hang on.


Montana is a “hope you draw” state and that makes it tough to plan or book a hunt there. That said it’s fairly large draw odds but you must remember it’s a wolf impacted state. There are literally dead areas as a result of the wolves and hunting can be hit or miss or for a seasoned elk hunter ready to hunt in low density areas.

See also  Disclaimer on This Blog Post


Wyoming is another fairly easy to draw state and a preference point state that I hunt in personally and love. The hunting is very high success on public land with decent bulls on the “general” hunts. The griz areas hold larger bulls but their are grizzles to worry about. The high success trophy units take a long time to draw but are worth the wait.

Washington and California

Washington and California are kinda unto themselves and seem to be states my clients are only interested in if they are trying to kill the two species of elk that are there. Roosevelt elk and Tulle elk are two subspecies that are fun to add to your list of critters to chase. Both states are difficult but not impossible to draw in and Washington has a good amount of public ground to go after them. California’s bulls are mostly on private so you’ll need to consider that as well.

Colorado and New Mexico

Colorado and New Mexico are high on my list as the best elk hunting states where you can hunt everything. Every year you can hunt if you have a reasonable budget and can buy landowner tags. Many tags are available through outfitters and I can be very helpful with that. Nice part is we can find both elk and deer hunts for you with guaranteed tags for “just a bull or deer” or for a deer or elk “of a lifetime” for bigger money. I put at least 65% of my clients in these two states every year. They are both set up very nicely for nonresident hunters to get after bulls.

See also  Do Turkeys Hibernate?


Oregon is a good state to chase private land bulls with outfitter tags as well, but there just aren’t a lot of them doing it and these hunts can be harder to find. Tags are drawable there and there are some really neat public areas but it takes a while to get one.


Here is a monster bull hunt in Texas we went on with video coverage of bulls running to us. “Hunting Monster Bulls in Texas”


Lastly is my home state of Idaho where there are still over the counter tags and lots of public land. The problem is the woods are covered up with people chasing deer and elk. Honestly, the Idaho Fish and Game needs to change it’s plan as it’s getting over run; however, there are some good remote areas still left. Outfitters can access it and kind of have it tied up. The hard to draw units are available to hunt through outfitter acquisitioned tags which are still reasonable in cost. This can give you a chance to chase big bulls.

Well there is a snap shot of the west and elk and the advantages of the different states. I hope you found that helpful and if you’d like to speak with me in person and be put with “the right guy” in the right state to go hunting this season…call anytime. I’m glad to help.



Previous articleBest Flat-Sided Crankbaits for Bass
Next articlePit Roasting a Pig
Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>