Colorado Elk Hunting Guide
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trailhead to The Colorado elk hunting base camp

Lodging the Night Before and After the Hunt

We can recommend various places of lodging in Durango, CO. for the night prior to being packed in and the night we come out of camp.

Turner Guides Ranch
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Meeting the Day Before at Headquarters

Our ranch and headquarters is located twenty minutes (driving time) southeast of Durango, Colorado (the photo to the right).
We will provide you with directions.

All hunters are required to check with us at our ranch at 3 p.m. on the day before we pack into base camp. We will be happy to pick you up at the airport if you do not drive. We look forward to meeting you personally. Upon arrival, we will weigh your duffle bags and personal gear in preparation to pack them on our stock animals. At this time we will also assign you to a horse that you will be riding for the week of hunting (except for archery and muzzle loader). We like to get the gear weighed, packed and loaded into the nose of the horse trailer on the evening before leaving so we can get an early start the next day.

The Day We Pack into Base Camp

packing up for elk hunt
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On the day we pack into base camp, we drive our trucks and horse trailer from our home near Durango, Colorado to the trailhead that goes to our guided base camp. It takes approximately two hours and fifteen minutes to drive from our home to the trailhead. The driving distance is only about 55 miles, but half of it is on rough narrow road.
*If you flew to Durango, you will ride with us in our vehicles.

If you have your own vehicle, you will follow us to the trailhead. Your vehicle will remain at the same trailhead in which we leave our trucks and trailers. When returning back to the trailhead after the hunt, you can conveniently get into your vehicle and drive to your motel for a hot shower.

At the trailhead, we load all of the pre-packed loads of gear, duffle and groceries onto the pack animals. Your saddle stirrups are adjusted, have an orientation about horse safety, get in your saddle and then head for base camp. We provide you a lunch prior to leaving for the ride into base camp. Archery and muzzle loader hunters walk to base or spike camp.

Riding and Walking Time into the Base Camp

Riding time into base camp can vary from one hour to three hours. It can only take one hour to ride if we can make it all the way to the end of the road with the trucks and trailers. If snow prevents us from getting up the road, we have to ride up from the lower valley trailhead; thus the riding time is three hours.

arriving at the elk hunting camp
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Packing into Base Camp

This is Sandy & Pete leading a small string of pack animals into base camp from the trailhead. This is how we get all supplies and gear into our camps.

We ask you to pack your gear into two small duffle bags weighing no more than 30 pounds each. It is very difficult for us to pack one big large bag.

Base Camp Location

Our base camp is located across the canyon from Bear Creek. Flat camping areas to accommodate big wall tents, pasture for riding stock and good water are very hard to come by in this hunting area. Therefore, we are very fortunate to have this base camp location. It has taken us years to find this base camp location. The elevation of base camp is 10,500 feet. We set base camp up in mid August.

your guides

Enjoy dinner inside the kitchen tent

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Colorado Elk Hunting Territory

Our elk hunting territory
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Our hunting territory is on 150,000 acres of public rugged land. It is impossible to hunt all of it. Some of our hunting is done near camp, but only a very small portion. We located our base camp in an area that is accessible to good elk hunting, but not in the middle of prime elk territory for obvious reasons. Most of the elk are located one and a half hour horseback riding time from our base camp. It is possible that for one or two days we will venture further out on horseback one way for 2 to 3 hours to get into some remote hunting terrain. This will be accompanied with 2 to 4 hours of foot travel actually hunting and stalking. There will be occasions where you will still-hunt and wait. So...our hunting is composed of a combination of horseback riding, walking and still-hunting. Be physically prepared to hunt on foot for 4-6 hours per day for five days.

Our Elk hunting territory
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Colorado Mountain Expeditions
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Inside The Tents

base camp tents
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Our base camp consists of three white sheepherder wall (15’ by 15’) tents put end to end. One big structure of 15 ft by 45 ft. The front end of the structure is a kitchen and eating area while the middle and very back is a sleeping area for hunters and staff. The entire structure is covered with a heavy clear plastic fly. Tables and chairs are in the kitchen tent for your use and comfort.

In the fully guided base camp, you can expect six hunters and four staff members. Chad McKee will always be one of the staff members in the fully guided camp to supervise the operation. The fully guided camp staff is composed of three guides, extra wrangler/packer and a cook. We work as a team. The guides help saddle horses, the wranglers help guide, the cook helps wrangle and the guides help cook. All staff members help each other out.

The tents are heated with a wood-burning stove and propane stoves are used to cook with.

There is a vinyl mesh floor in the tent structure and everybody is furnished a heavy cot for sleeping.

We only use quality equipment. This makes a big difference when the weather gets bad.

Spike Camp

spike camp
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If the hunting becomes tough due to dry and warm conditions (or a full moon) we plan strategies & alternatives to get elk. Thus...for those hunters who are agreeable to it, we have historically spike camped out for two-to-four nights. The spike camp is very basic shelter and the food is dehydrated and canned. We pack potable water into the spike camp. The wranglers take all of the riding stock back to the base camp so all hunting is done on foot. No riding animals are left in the spike camp reducing the noise level. Spike camp puts us right in the middle of the elk and allows us to hunt earlier in the mornings and later in the evenings. Additionally, the travel time to and from base camp is eliminated which allows us more time for hunting. Fires and loud talking are not allowed in spike camp. The spike camp is located about 1 and a half hours away from our primary base camp. Can you handle two nights of primitive camping?

We utilize spike camp for four nights during archery and muzzle loader seasons.

Results at Base Camp

The rewards of a successful elk hunt
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This is our goal when we get back to base camp! Those are some nice elk. Elk hunting is a physically demanding sport and every elk comes hard earned.

We do not offer any guarantees to take an elk. One would be suspicious of someone offering a guarantee to get an elk. We have been here for five generations and every season is different. Hunting with my father as a young adult, I always remember years when we were not successful in bagging an elk. That is why we call it hunting.
Over the years, our success ratio has been about 72%. This should have been higher, but we cannot control the marksmanship of our hunters.

Since our family has been here hunting for five generations, we know the terrain like the back of our hand. Even though we do not offer any guarantees, we will certainly improve your odds. Most importantly, you will experience a quality backcountry elk hunt that you will always remember for years to come.


call today for an authentic elk hunt

Turner Guides-McKee High Country Outfitters, LLC
P.O. Box 1684
Bayfield, Colorado 81122
Fax: 970-884-5239

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McKee High Country Outfitters, LLC is a Colorado outfitter providing quality Colorado elk hunting,
archery elk hunting and Colorado elk hunts. Our permitted hunting area is located in a roadless area
on 150,000 public acres in the San Juan National Forest in Southwest Colorado.

McKee High Country Outfitters, LLC operates through an authorized priority permit in the San Juan National Forest
and is a registered licensed outfitter in the State of Colorado with license number 2573

McKee High Country Outfitters, LLC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

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