Pen and Ink of Bugling Bull Elk




Medicine Lake Outfitters offers semi-guided rifle elk hunts during the “General Season” in the Madison Range just to the west of Yellowstone Park near Big Sky, Montana.
The 2024 General Season runs from October 26th through December 1st.

Our rifle elk hunt is an eight day expedition.  It is priced at $3600. per guest. The pack trip from trailhead to camp requires a five to six hour ride by saddle horse and mule.  We will book six or seven hunters per trip.

The Madison Range

The Madison Range is a classic mountain wilderness of entrancing beauty and rugged character. Elevations climb from 6,000 to 11,000 feet. Long glacier carved valleys run deep into the range.
Above these wind, water and ice have sculpted a spectacular combination of steep craggy peaks, glacial cirques, and expansive alpine plateaus.

Below timberline the north slopes are forested with virgin stands of lodge pole pine, subalpine fir, and spruce. The south slopes tend to be a mix of grassy parks, aspen, and isolated patches of douglas fir.

This rugged, remote country is perfect elk habitat.  The roadless character of the region has allowed a high percentage of the Madison’s bulls to reach maturity. Most of the elk our hunters take are 5×5 and 6×6 bulls.

Hunter Success

Our General Season hunts typically provide hunter opportunity for elk in the 70% to 80% range.  It should be emphasized that what we are offering is a Western Backcountry Hunting Experience. There are no guarantees on a “fair chase” hunt.  Elk are a free roaming and wide ranging animal.

The country they flourish in is tough.  Hunting experience, physical conditioning, preparation, shooting ability, not to mention weather and hunting pressure, are all elements that will affect your hunt one way or the other.

Hunters who are in good physical shape, are proficient with GPS and topo maps, and can dress their own game… have the potential to do very well on this hunt.

Elk Hunting Strategies

We use a variety of different hunting strategies. Early mornings and evenings we hunt the edges of open parks the elk regularly use for feeding and night bedding.

When we have snow, we will simply walk the wildlife travel lanes until we cut fresh tracks, then still hunt into the game’s bedding or feeding area.  Elk choose day bedding areas on benches that offer good visibility, security cover and thermal protection.

As a rule, when bedded they tend to direct their attention downslope. A careful still hunt from above often rewards a hunter with a good shot at a surprised bull.

Combination Hunts & Trophy Fees

While most of our guests place their trip emphasis on elk, you can hunt both elk and deer. Mule deer and whitetail are numerous here. They rut most of the month of November.

If you are successful in taking both elk and deer then we will charge a $500. trophy fee on the second species. If you only take one animal, whether it be elk or deer, there is no trophy fee.

Black bear, wolf and lion can all be hunted along with elk and deer. There is no additional cost to add them to your rifle elk hunt, but there is a trophy fee for any animal taken.

Bull elk with frosty breath on a cold morning.
7x7 bull elk in late fall.
Mature Mule Deer Buck
Whitetail Buck