These are among the most rugged Montana elk hunts, and we often describe them as “extreme” hunts. Our hunts are guided in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Swan Valley areas of Montana off of horseback. Our guides and horses have been preparing and getting shape all summer long on backcountry pack trips, elk season is what they’ve been waiting for!
Our elk herds are in better shape today than they have been in thirty years! Our hunting areas also support ample populations of whitetail and mule deer and color phase black bear, increasing the chances of success across species. This terrain is more challenging to hunt elk in, no doubt, no flat land here. We utilize our horses to search the front range of the Bob Marshall for elk. With exclusive access in the areas where we hunt, Swan Mountain Outfitters is able to offer archery elk hunters perhaps one of the most unique and best opportunities to bag an elk of a lifetime with a bow. As the season progresses, migration of elk begins and affords our late season elk hunters an opportunity to bag an elk at lower altitudes.
Our Montana Guided Elk Hunts
All of our Montana elk hunts require more or less rigor and we offer elk hunting in three distinct seasons:
- Our season starts with archery elk hunting.
- We then offer rifle elk hunts in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Bob Marshall is one of the few areas in the country where you can rifle hunt elk during the rut.
- Our last hunting season is during the general Montana hunting season.
We offer combination hunts in which you can target mule deer, whitetail, and bear as well. Some of our hunters have snagged a wolf tag too! Many of our elk hunters bring both their rifle and bow. Multi weapon hunts are popular with elk hunters that like to maximize their opportunity.
We like to get deep into the back country and utilize spike camps. This can get us in closer proximity to the elk for opening day. This spike camp strategy has produced many harvested elk in seasons past, but does lack the comforts of traditional hunting camps.
Not sure you can handle the physical rigor of our Montana wilderness elk hunting? You might consider a later season guided elk hunt, when mother nature brings the elk out of the high country and into proximity of our base camp. The hours in the saddle and elevation gained in hiking is lessened, and the base camp has a few more modern amenities than our upper camp and spike camps. These are good first time elk hunts for youth elk hunters. An extra bonus is that our base camp is in the heart of whitetail deer territory for hunters looking to combination hunt.
Archery hunting elk, requiring close proximity to the animal, is, by its very nature, quite different from hunting these animals using a rifle. Successful archery hunts require excellent calling abilities and guides who know the difference between techniques utilized for archery versus rifle hunts.
Archery hunts necessitate minimizing over exposure of hunting areas and minimizing scent control and noise. For these reasons, we only take two hunters to each of our “archery only” designated areas.
We have experimented with various styles of guided archery elk hunts and we believe we have landed upon an offering that delivers the ultimate archery elk hunting experience in Montana. Even though the season is actually longer, we focus solely on the time frame surrounding the rut to maximize our opportunity: we offer three sessions of 7-day archery only hunts. Note that this boils down to 5 days of solid hunting as the rest of the time is spent getting to and from the area. We employ two-on-one guiding as we have found it is the best way to maximize our hunters opportunities to be successful.
With limited space, our archery elk hunts are the first to book up. We typically have been booked two years in advance, so don’t wait!