Mia Anstine – Adventures of an Unlikely Elk Guide...

Mia Anstine – Adventures of an Unlikely Elk Guide...

Comments Off on Mia Anstine – Adventures of an Unlikely Elk Guide Day 3: What Mia Anstine Has Learned about How to Hunt Elk Elk Hunting

Mia Anstine – Adventures of an Unlikely Elk Guide Day 3: What Mia Anstine Has Learned about How to Hunt Elk

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Editor’s Note: At first glance, you don’t expect an attractive, 5’2” lady to be an elk outfitter and guide who not only can find, call in a bull elk, field dress the animal, pack out the meat and take care of the horses, the humans and the animals in the high mountains of southwest Colorado. But Mia Anstine of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, also is a writer, photographer, mother and wife. According to Mia, “I’ve hunted elk as far back as I could remember. I’d tag along with my dad when he hunted elk. I’ve been hunting elk as an adult for the last 22 years. I started my guiding career about 12-years ago and guide mainly for Wolf Creek Outfitters (https://www.gohunt.com/outfitter/wolf-creek-outfitters-inc), a few non-profit organizations and some landowners in my area. I’m also a licensed outfitter. Wolf Creek Outfitters hunts in southwest Colorado, all on private property.”

In Colorado, we have plenty of public-hunting land, and if you’re an archery hunter, you can buy an over-the-counter license and go elk hunting on this public land. Some areas have limited access. To hunt there with a bow, you may have to enter a lottery and hope to be drawn to hunt. Generally, the limited-access areas have more and larger bull elk then the public places do. I had been applying to hunt elk on a unit in northern Colorado that was limited access. I applied for the rifle season and realized the average number of years to draw a tag for that unit was getting longer and longer. When I first put-in for a tag there, most people had been trying for 15 years to get a tag, then it went to 20 years, and then it went to 28 years before someone was drawn to hunt there. This region was known for having a good number of trophy bull elk. 

I decided I probably never would draw a tag to hunt that unit, but there was a unit close to where we live. I had been camping and riding horses there during the off-season and I knew it fairly well. So, I made the decision that I’d hunt archery elk in this area and applied for one of the draw tags for this place. My husband spent the entire summer before my hunt scouting this region, searching for elk and trying to learn all he could about the elk that lived there before archery season arrived. I was proficient with my bow because I’d been shooting a bow since sixth grade. I like a Mathews Monster Chill bow (https://www.mathewsinc.com/). I pull 55 pounds and shoot a 100-grain Muzzy Broadhead broadhead (https://www.feradyne.com/muzzy-broadheads/). Although I wear a wide variety of camo, I prefer the women’s’ Sitka Subalpine (https://www.sitkagear.com/subalpine). 

I teach hunter education where I live before elk season arrives. Usually when a person is fortunate enough to get an elk tag, he’ll set-up his camp before opening day and scout before hunting. However, since I had to teach hunter education, I wasn’t able to scout before opening morning. I teach hunter education for several game organizations, and they’d say, “I thought you drew a tag for the limited hunt. Why aren’t you out there hunting for elk instead of teaching the class?” I’d always answer, “The elk don’t know when opening day of elk season is, so I think I’ll be okay to not scout until the following day.” 

Hank and I took all our gear, our horses and packs and drove up to the place where we set-up camp on opening day of elk season for me to archery hunt. From our summer and pre-season scouting, we’d seen over 100 bull elk, with many of those bulls classified as trophy bulls. We also knew that since this region was a limited-entry area, few other hunters would be hunting there on our 18-day hunt. We only saw one other archery hunter. Each day I’d average having three stalks on bulls I wanted to take. We were looking for bulls with racks that would score more than 340 inches. I was an official scorer, and because I’d been scoring for many years, I felt that I was confident in field judging what a bull would score before I decided to make a stalk on him. 

To learn more about elk hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ books, “PhD Elk: How to Hunt the Smartest Elk in Any State” and “Secrets for Hunting Elk,” both available at 

http://amzn.to/WkbAWa and http://amzn.to/WGb9le. You may have to copy and paste these clicks into your browser. (When you click on these books, notice on the left where Amazon allows you to read 10% of the books for free).

John E. Phillips has published several more books this fall and winter of 2020 you’ll enjoy. 

1) “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II” – available in Kindle and print at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LBD7M4G/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p5_i2

In “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” you’ll learn tips and tactics from 21+ Bassmaster Classic winners, two Major League Fishing champions and 20+ Bassmaster Anglers of the Year about some of the dramatic changes in bass fishing. 

2) “PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World, Revised Edition” – available in Kindle, Print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083V83RLG/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p4_i8

Turkeys that have earned their PhDs in the turkey-hunting wars know more about hunter-dodging than most hunters know about turkey hunting. These turkeys have built such a huge database on humans they’ve earned their PhDs.

3) “PhD Whitetails” – available in Kindle and Print and soon to be in Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1979793387/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p7_i3

To become a “PhD Whitetail,” a whitetail deer has to have gone to school on hunters. He knows when to move, where to move, and how to move to avoid detection. The professional hunters in this book have spent their lifetimes finding these bucks with doctorates. 

4) “The Bowfishing Bible” – available in Kindle, Print and Audible at 


This book doesn’t promise salvation or a ticket to heaven, but it does give you much of the information you need to be a happy, successful, productive and winning bowfisherman. 

5) “The Briar Patch Philosopher” – available in Kindle, Print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MX0ZODI/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p5_i4

Some of the reviews for this book include statements like, “I find myself looking through these wonderful thoughts about life, courage, love, children and God. This collection of sayings are very useful in helping me control my emotions. Some of my favorites include:
“Feelings change, Truth remains.”
“Embrace fear, because it’s an excellent motivator.”
“Life is a race. The beginning, we can’t control, and the end can’t be determined. But how well we run in the middle is all that counts. ”

Tomorrow: What Was Mia and Hank Anstine’s 18-Day Elk Hunt Like

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