How Much Does It Cost to Hunt Elk?

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According to Guidefitter, the cost to hunt elk in the United States ranges from $4,000-$14,000. Most hunting enthusiasts find this amount hefty and forego the species over other lesser animals. For what it’s worth, elk deserves such a price tag, with its magnificent antlers and tough skin. As you can observe, the range between the two figures is complete.

The main reason for the wide range is because a lot of factors have an impact on the whole hunting activity. For example, the cheaper options are DIY (Do It Yourself), while the most expensive options are guided hunts. The DIY option means that you get no assistance from a dedicated professional. The opposite scenario is observed in the other option as a guide accompanies the hunter throughout, giving him tips and help if need be.

To legally take down an elk on US soil, you will require a permit from the responsible state organization. The ticket price varies from state to state, and some tend to charge higher because of their elk population. 

The Price Tag for Elk Hunting in the Popular Elk States

How Much Does It Cost to Hunt Elk in New Mexico

New Mexico is famous for its favorable rates when it comes to elk hunting. There is not only more than enough of this species running around, but also the environment favors the hunter more. To hunt a female elk in New Mexico will cost you $548 for a permit. The same amount is asked of you if you plan on taking down a fully matured bull.

Unlike in most states, the state allows the farmer to set the price tag of their livestock, and the said figures are only guidelines. A significant percentage is a profit to the seller, while the government takes some as tax.

How Much Does It Cost to Hunt Elk in Montana?

Montana’s elk population is somewhat alarming as its residents have always made an effort to maintain their presence. For this reason, the state saw best to impose a massive price on anyone willing to kill one of these species. The cost to hunt elk of either sex is $851, without additional costs like weapons and ammunition. 

The price for hunting one without antlers is $273, which is much lower than that of one with them. Most of these creatures are female elks, which are less meaty, unlike their male counterparts. From my observation, this is among the most expensive locations to go elk hunting. However, if you are a resident of the state in question, I believe the charges will be somewhat lenient.

What is the Cost of Hunting Elk in Wyoming?

Elk is the most famous species to hunt in Wyoming; therefore, it is no surprise to find that the pricing favors both residents and non-residents. Its reasonable charges are a tactical move to encourage hunters to visit their vast forest cover searching for worthy trophies. The tag for hunting a female elk in Wyoming is $577, while that of a mature bull is twice the stated figure.

Regardless of whether male or female, the tag for those that lack antlers is $288; such a kill will mean that you only get to walk away with its meat. Before deciding on where to visit, note that Wyoming has a non-residential offer. The offer is that 40% of the tags will be available on the lottery at the lower pricing instead of their typical price.

How Much Does It Cost to Hunt Elk in Idaho?

Elk hunting in Idaho will cost you around $572. This figure includes a typical animal of either sex and features fully-grown antlers. The price for one that lacks antlers is slightly lower and goes for $372, a fair price. Most of the antlerless options are females or young males who have not developed theirs.

The Cost of Hunting Elk in Colorado

With the strict restrictions put in place to moderate the elk population in Colorado, the tag of killing one is expensive. Putting in place massive fees on hunting these species means that most individuals will feel discouraged by the inability to stomach the cost and forego the activity. 

In 2019, the cost of hunting elk in Colorado was $600 for the antlered species and $495 for those without antlers.

Difference Between the DIY and Guide Option

Guided hunts are the most expensive elk hunting trips in comparison to the do it yourself option. In this activity, you will not only get to pay for the license but also for the professional who will accompany you. Some guide fees are more expensive than the claim itself and add huge chunks of money to the already costly budget.

Also, unlike the DIY option, most of the decision making is the guide’s responsibility. It means that you will be relieved of the weight of making huge decisions during your journey across the forests. On the other hand, if you plan to do it yourself, everything is your responsibility. In case of any mishappening, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

I would recommend you choose to take the adventure by yourself instead of opting for a guided tour. If you find yourself not comfortable taking the trip solo, a friend might be a better idea. The money invested in a guide is enough to prove useful in other elements of the trip.


Since the cost varies from state to state, you at least have the opportunity to plan your trip according to your budget. Before deciding to purchase an elk tag, note that the stated figures are only for the permit. Other expenses like transportation and accommodation are not included in the piece. 

You can come up with a rough estimation based on the elk hunting costs provided above to be better prepared during the expedition. Don’t forget to carry suitable elk hunting ammo, firearms, and gear to make the activity worthwhile.

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