We own all the allocations in our WMU on the private land on which we hunt. The result of this is we are able to manage our hunts where we have a low volume of hunters on a large amount of private ranch country, which has what is likely the highest density of elk in Alberta! Typically we only run two hunts a week during the peak rut, which optimizes our hunter’s opportunities and experiences during their stay. Successful hunters are usually harvesting mature bulls in the 270 – 350 range in the archery season, which occurs during September and October, the most beautiful season on the foothills of the Canadian Rockies!
With the herds feeding on the local crop fields during the night, we concentrate on their travel corridors that they take to get back to cover for the day. Often this finds us positioning ourselves on game trails in these areas as we intercept the herd during this pattern. Once the elk are in the treed areas, guides will position their clients for that shot of a lifetime as they coax the bulls within shooting range using both bull and elk calls. Elk screaming in the timber as they come towards you, is truly one of the planet’s most exciting hunts. The use of tree stands and bale blinds are also incorporated to enhance every opportunity.
With shot opportunity nearing 100%, hunters need to be prepared to capitalize on shots ranging from 15 – 60 yards. Responsible shot placement under extremely exciting moments is paramount to ensure a successful hunt. Hunters should practice hard prior to arriving at camp to ensure the highest possibility of success. Broad heads appropriate for accuracy and penetration are a must as are bow sights with multiple pins. Shot opportunities are often only seconds long and functional equipment and confidence gained through practice, give hunters their best chance to follow through on their part of this hunt of a lifetime.
The terrain on the ranches that hunters will be hunting on varies from flat fields, rolling foothills to river bottoms. The unique topography found on the ranch caters to the ability of hunters who are young, fit and capable of those lung bursting sprints to get in front of the herd, to the the older hunter who is content to sit in stands or blinds, or have the guide call the bull within shooting range. The opportunity for a fantastic hunt with an animal on the ground is realistic for all who come into camp. Our guides are well seasoned and match the hunt to the client in order to present the most opportunities possible.
From our hunter’s mouths, our outfit stands at the top of the industry, due to the large volume of animals on the ranch, coupled with the ongoing close encounters throughout the hunt. Constant exposure to elk result in success rates which our booking agents have stated, are the highest in Canada for archery hunts. Many guests immediately rebook following their hunt due to their experiences. Our archery hunts have sold out for twenty years so it is highly recommended to book early to ensure their spot!
Rifle season for elk starts on October 25 and ends the last day of November each year. This is a super exciting hunt as the elk have usually come together to form herds of 200-300 strong. Elk are the most vocal of all deer and watching these huge herds interact as hunters try to isolate that herd bull is an amazing experience. The area hunted is the same as the archery hunt, although one can expect to have success without getting so close to the elk.
During this season, hunters can expect to target bulls in the 320 – 370 class. These monsters are still with the herd, during this time, prior to forming bachelor groups, which isolate themselves as they concentrate on recovery from the rut to ensure their survival for the upcoming winter. Usually the last elk to leave the field, these mature bulls are a majestic trophy worthy of pursuit.
With the open country that these bulls frequent during the rifle season, rifles with scopes capable of combining for accurate shots in the 300-yard range are the norm. Shooting sticks and bipods that create a stable shot above the grass are required.
Spot and stalk methods are widely used, although clients may be put in blinds depending on the pattern and location of the elk. Success rates in the past have 100 % some years, with the average over 80 % over a 20 year average. Guides will transport clients from the hunting cabin to the field using trucks and quads. Once at the desired location, hunters may be required to walk 10-15 minutes on a variety of trails, which are easily navigated. We are proud to say we have helped hunters from age 12 – 83 years of age take trophy animals while hunting on the ranch!
McNeice Outfitting Ltd.
The premier Elk and Whitetail combination ranch hunt in Canada.
MD of Rockyview, Alberta