Over two years ago, my buddy decided, as he approached his 50th BD, that we needed to stop kicking the can down the road, and go west to kill an elk. We (7 total in the group) booked this hunt with Dan at Rocking R after reading the reviews on here, and talking to several of his clients. I lobbied for a bow hunt, but the consensus was, since this was probably a once in a lifetime for most of us, we needed the best chance to come home with meat. When Dan mentioned we could also get a cow tag in third rifle as well as a bull we set the date. At some point we all decided to make it a combo mule deer as well. This was the first elk/muley hunt for several in the group. So, we spent the last two years getting new gear, prepping our rifles, and getting ourselves ready. Dan runs a solid operation, and we couldn’t have had a better time of fellowship with each other. The food was outstanding. I gained way more weight than I should have on a mountain elk hunt!! As did several others. Accommodations were pretty spot-on too. Not much want in Dan’s lodge. Unfortunately the animals didn’t get the message we were in town for a slaughter fest. Weather was mid to upper 50s most days, and a high pressure had settled in to stay. Moon was getting big, and it was third rifle after 4 or 5 other seasons had concluded. Luckily, my buddy killed a really big 5x5 bull 15 minutes after shooting light on day one, and that was awesome. His idea, his 50th, and he got the big bull! After that, there were not a lot of sightings. I killed a big cow on day 4, and two others in our group killed muleys on days 4/5. One of the guys in the other group there killed a nice cow as well. So 5 total animals with 24 or 25 tags in camp (10 hunters). Everyone took advantage of their opportunities. Everyone who shot at something, killed it. Weather, the moon, and the previous hunting pressure before 3rd rifle all played a part in the lack of sightings, and therefore lack of hunting success. None of that was really Dan or his guide’s fault. They wanted us to be on animals as much as we wanted to be on them. We were a little disappointed in the style of hunting. It wasn’t what we expected. We probably didn’t ask the right questions, nor did we really understand what it would be. We hunted about 3 hours in the AM, and 3 in the PM. The reasoning was the wind, bedded elk, and the small(ish) size of the ranch. The possibility of blowing the elk off the ranch, and ruining everyone’s hunt was real, so Dan had the exposure of hunters limited. We are all pretty hardcore guys, and were ready to hunt sunup to sundown all 5 days. That is just not the operation he runs. A question we should have asked before we set it up. We also weren’t expecting as much stand hunting. He has several box blinds at strategic points around the ranch, and several hunted out of blinds a lot. There was plenty of mountain walking as well, but a lot more blind hunting than we anticipated. The blinds worked as 4 of the 5 animals killed were in blinds. Just not what we expected. The last couple of days, Dan let us stay out all day, if we stayed in the same blind all day. It worked out, because the two muleys were killed on those all day sits. Just didn’t meet with the expectation we had in our heads. So, bottom line, do I recommend Dan and his outfit. Absolutely. Just understand what you are getting before you get there. I am not sure we would do it again, because it is not what we are looking for. With that kind of money spent, we want to come away with all efforts exhausted, and recover after it’s over. Again, not Dan’s fault, we were just looking for more time in the woods. Had we understood what we would be doing, we may have booked elsewhere, or at the very least a different season where sightings may have been increased. In the end, it was a phenomenal time with a bunch of guys who don’t get to hang out nearly enough. The animals were the bonus. I just wish there was a little more bonus to go around for everyone. But that’s hunting.
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High pressure with mid to upper 50s right after a big snow storm. Had the animals mostly nocturnal.