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Insanelupus, lets talk elk.


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insanelupus

gonehuntin,

I can now understand your earlier post about you having to learn from scratch and your post about so many things available now for the new hunter.  

I'll admit that I'm not the sharpest tool in the drawer, but that sure would piss me off too.  After the first trip I'd have refused it.  I used to turkey hunt with guys that I had to really ride hard to teach turkeyhunting too.  They were there to have fun, one learned finally how to hunt the right way, but he'll never really be a hardcore hunter.  One of my best buddies, and I enjoy a couple of days a season with him, but he isn't my choice for an all the time hunting partner.  My brother for the longest time didn't get how to hunt hard.  In the last few years it's started clicking.  He and my dad and my cousin are my three favorite hunting partners.  When we are all hunting, we have fun, but it's serious business.

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gselkhunter

Desire shows doesn't it! I had a couple of buddies like that. I have a couple of buddies now, I do all the work and they think they run the show when we get there. The difference is, they are the ones that gave me the knowledge to shoot a shot gun and train dogs, so I do owe them.

I hit 51 this year and I look at the front range and think I used to start at the bottom and run to the top. Well that turned to walk and then hobble. If I don't go out despite my frailty, I will die. Hunting is my life now that I can't play hockey or rock and ice climb. I may not get from 9000 to 11500 in 20mins any more, but I get there. I am still as full of piss and vinagar mentally, its just this body has been beat to crap. The scary part is I can still put a lot of people miles behind. Bottom line is if you aren't willing to pay the price, you can't kill elk. And that price is high and we are not talking money. I don't ever want to be one of those road hunting guys. I still have my dignity. And you guys just wait til I get my new knees, then I will be dangerous again!

Gselkhunter

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GS you sure were right about the drug block wearing off yesterday was miserable It was killing me, feel a lot better today.

few people are diehard hunter like the guys that spend time on sites like this.

The first time I went elk hunting I was dieing, you just have to experience it once to realize the importance of fitness.

GS you neeed a good mule

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GH/GS what routine do you guys use to get in shape for elk hunting?

The elevation difference is what gets me, I jus can't breathe at 9000 ft or more, really even lower like 6000 affects me big time

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What you're experiencing bobm is oxygen deprivation which can lead to, if you over exert and under hydrate yourself, altitude sickness; throbbing headaches and nausea. The best thing to do is to plan a couple of extra days, and spend it at the lowest altitude you'll be hunting until your body adapts a little. When you start hunting, and if you start getting headachy or nausous, drop lower. It's the only cure.

To get in shape I start about now or even in Feb. I use alternate exercises. Some days I'll walk 4 miles in my hiking boots. Others I'll bike 10-12 miles as hard as I can go. I also have a Nautilus Eliptical machine I use a lot, a Nordic Track

Ski Machine, and a Treadmill. I mix them all up, but the important thing is, keep your heart rate up and vary the exercises. A month to six weeks before I leave, we have a small ski hill here and a fire tower. I climb the ski hill and fire tower 6-8 times, three times a week. I can't run because of my knees so have to do all low impact routines. That's about it. I don't even want to know what GS does. Damn climbers are animals.

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insanelupus

Okay, here's another question for you.

Talking with a friend of mine (both about the same elk experience, he killed one last year trying to rattle in a whitetail down low the 2nd week of November, lucky SOB) he stated next year he wasn't going to waste his time during gun season (Third week of October to the end of November) up high.  Rather he was going to hunt down low.  

This is typical of where the cows are and again I'm guessing where the younger bulls will be.

But when hunting high after the rut, in areas we've discussed (north sides of ridges, water ways, small meadows, etc) it would seem to me, that you won't see much elk sign.  Meaning the bulls you really want will probably be staying to themselves, limiting their travel as much as possible (to conserve energy, gain weight for winter, as well as avoiding hunters).  So it would seem to me, that there is a good chance of not seeing much fresh elk sign, other than what one elk might be able to make in a small drainage.  

Basically, you won't be stepping in crap and tracks all the time, but your odds will still be good of getting a bull if you hunt the "key areas" we've discussed earlier.  Sound reasonable or do I need some more schooling?

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gselkhunter

Awe come on Gonehuntin, you know you really do! Bobman I am the mule and I don't have a real program, but I live up here already. I have an orbital machine I use and a bike and a weight bench. My job has me on my feet all the time any way. But I run high country from the time snow melts until the snow comes back in late fall. I was up at 9000 plus yesterday fishing. Living up here is like cheating any way. My main work out is walking high country looking for elk and stump shooting. Here is where I differ from a lot of guys, they weave back and forth up the hills to gain altitude slowly. I just walk straight up the hill and I don't care how steep they are. But I am slowing down because of knees and age. And don't kid yourselves I puff like a freight train any more, I just have my pace and don't stop. For you guys the most intensive cardio program you can take is what you want. And when you think you are going to die add a little more.

When you get here pace is everything and only you will be able to tell what that is. But the other thing is don't waste time hunting areas with no elk. Too many guys see old sign and think they are in elk, wrong. If it isn't steaming and you can't smell them you aren't in them. When the cows and bulls are eating a lot of good greens their poop is kind of runny. When the grass starts to brown it turns back into pellets. Cow pellets are round and bull pellets are shaped like bullets. I elk hunt with my nose and eyes. Of course if they are talking it makes it real easy because they tell you where they are.

Insanelupus snow is the main factor of driving bulls down[so if you don't have any they will stay up], but it isn't the only factor. If the water sources freeze and they can't get water they will move. After the rut, the satellite bulls will group back up. If the cows have moved down, you won't see as much sign and again if it isn't steaming then you aren't in them. And even though leg work is needed, binocular work becomes even more important after the rut. If you can spot them[the big boys] you are in a better situation than walking and hoping. And key areas would be where I start my search. The other key is knowing where they will go to winter, because you know where they were in summer and rut. And that helps narrow the search because you know where they will head to. And a little snow helps a lot, TRACKS! I think you have the picture.

Gselkhunter

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gselkhunter

I am putting this in a separate post because I believe it is really important. High altitude sickness comes in two major forms. Pulmonary edema and cerebral edema and both are bad. Pulmonary strikes the lungs causing blood vessel to break and the lungs fill with fluid. Cerebral causes the same thing only in the brain. Adjusting to elevation slowly is the best way to keep it from happening. BUT, it can happen to anyone any time no matter how many times you have been up high. So watch for it every time you go up.

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

Okay, no since of letting this thread go dormant.  I actually have a whole list of questions, but forgot to write the damn things down!  I'll add them as I can think of them.

When still hunting through the timber, what kind of elk calls (masking type calls or "fishing" calls) do you make.  For instance, are you cow calling ever couple hundred yards, once in a while, moving mostly silent with only a single cow call ever half hour/half mile?

Also, I realize that bulls aren't like whitetails, but do they typically return to the same area for breeding and wintering, or does it vary year by year?  I'm talking a specific bull to a specific area.  I know the important thing is to find where bulls are and that is where bulls will be in subsequent years, (given no dramatic changes to that immediate environment) but I'm talking specific bulls.  

GS or gonehuntin, do you have any type of scent control that you do when you are out hunting?  I know some don't believe it helps, I personally do.  I don't think you are evading detection, but I do think a good scent control habit will minimize your odor, making the elk think you are actually farther away than you may be and thus no threat.  (Basically limiting the amount of odor you contribute to a given area).  If so, what techniques/efforts do you go through?  Obviously keeping the wind in your favor is ideal, but in these mountains, not always practical.

One last thing I happened to think of.  What about wind currents in mountains.  I believe there is a direct relationship to the way wind moves in the mountains and the way that water acts in streams.  (There is some type of hydro fluid/air relationship in their reactions to obstacles and travel/flow of the air.)  Any thoughts on using this to your advantage.  I realize air currents tend to rise during the heat of the day and fall as it cools.  But the wind on one side of a hill/mountain would be very fickle as it blew around the mountain, though at somepoint, you could sometimes find a spot where the wind met on both sides of your face going up hill it seemed.

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When still hunting through the timber, what kind of elk calls (masking type calls or "fishing" calls) do you make.  For instance, are you cow calling ever couple hundred yards, once in a while, moving mostly silent with only a single cow call ever half hour/half mile?

Be careful about cow calling while "Still hunting". It lets the Elk pinpoint your exact position and they WILL be watching for you. If I'm actually still hunting, I keep a diaphram in my mouth buy only call if I snap a limb. Be very careful of this. It's different than calling them in using a cow call; you're the one on the move.

Also, I realize that bulls aren't like whitetails, but do they typically return to the same area for breeding and wintering, or does it vary year by year?  I'm talking a specific bull to a specific area.  I know the important thing is to find where bulls are and that is where bulls will be in subsequent years, (given no dramatic changes to that immediate environment) but I'm talking specific bulls.  

They will always winter in the same area. They have set wintering grounds than can hold as many as 10,000 elk in the peak of the winter. I think that in general elk use the same area, but not the same spot like whitetail do. Elk use quite a large range so my best advice is, hunt them where they are now, because they probably won't be there in two weeks. Where they are one year is not where the same bull will be the next year. If they're busted out, they won't be back. However, if you've seen a large bull in a specific spot, there's a good chance that particular spot will hold a large bull every year, although it may not be the same bull.

GS or gonehuntin, do you have any type of scent control that you do when you are out hunting?  I know some don't believe it helps, I personally do.  I don't think you are evading detection, but I do think a good scent control habit will minimize your odor, making the elk think you are actually farther away than you may be and thus no threat.  (Basically limiting the amount of odor you contribute to a given area).  If so, what techniques/efforts do you go through?  Obviously keeping the wind in your favor is ideal, but in these mountains, not always practical.

Here's the problem Elk hunting: You sweat and you stink. In camp, morning and evening, I wipe down with baby wipes and I mean your entire body. As Gene Wensel says "You're a$$hole stinks, wash it". During the hunt, I spray elk scent on myself along with pine cover scent. I don't believe in the carbon suits, scent killer spray, etc. There are too many areas of your body exposed to the air, like your face and ears, and all it takes is a whiff. Elk scent is one of the most powerful cover scents (other than skunk) that you can use and is entirely natural to the environment.

The bugaboo of elk hunting is swirling mountain air current and there isn't squat you can do about it other than try to stay downwind and back off if the wind is swirling.

One last thing I happened to think of.  What about wind currents in mountains.  I believe there is a direct relationship to the way wind moves in the mountains and the way that water acts in streams.  (There is some type of hydro fluid/air relationship in their reactions to obstacles and travel/flow of the air.)  Any thoughts on using this to your advantage.  I realize air currents tend to rise during the heat of the day and fall as it cools.  But the wind on one side of a hill/mountain would be very fickle as it blew around the mountain, though at somepoint, you could sometimes find a spot where the wind met on both sides of your face going up hill it seemed.

Now you're overthinking this. These are generalizations: In the early morning the air goes down the mountian. About 10:00A.M. it'll change and come up the mountain until it swithches in the afternoon and again flows down the mountian. Position yourself accordingly. When hunting a bowl in the heat of the day the air will be continually swirling in it. When wind currents are unstable, hunt the higher elevations and the timber pockets on an open slope, not the faces of a drainage. The winds will tend to blow in a steady direction across these open slopes. Wind currents are not like the water in a stream; their intensity or force is second by second changing. Where they flow around an object when the wind is blowing strongly, they'll bounce off, rise, and flow backward when it is lightly blowing. If you just try to always keep it in your face and be mindful of the time of day, you'll come out ahead. Man will never create a magic bullet to beat the wind and scent.

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gselkhunter

Ok boys here we go! I walk and call all the time. “The power of the call no scent at all.” But cow calling isn’t my main thing! I am very aggressive! I bugle, but I have different bugles for different situations. I have no fear of calling, but with that said you better be on your toes.

From what I can tell yes they go to the same general area each year. But there are two kinds of herds residential and traveling [there is a term for this but I am having a case of old timers disease]. A residential herd will work one basin all summer and fall. It is very hard to move them out of their basin, they just sneak around you. The traveling herd can have an area around the mountain or several peaks. I hear guys say somebody must have pushed them out and I am thinking yeah them.

Scent control: Huge issue for me, I sweat a lot. Here is my deal, I wash my cloths in a scent killing wash detergent and then store them in a scent safe bag with dirt wafers. I want to smell like dirt! I use spray and wipes [all HS stuff]. I have paces set for doing certain types of hunting to slow the sweat process down. My cloths are a prime issue so I don’t over heat. I wash every morning before I leave. If I come back to camp, I will wash again and change cloths and do laundry in camp. Here is one place Gonehuntin and I differ, I never use elk scent on me, I want to smell them not me! The reason I use scent killer spray is this, if I can make an elk believe that I am a 100yds away when I am 20 I win. I spray hands, hair, rub it on my ears and face. And with out saying use the wind as best I can. But using the scent killer stuff I have had the wind at my back and still pulled off stalks.

WIND, Needless to say the air movement in the mountains is weird! Insanelupus, it may be over thinking, or not, since I have done it too. Humidity, cover, slope steepness, high and low pressure systems all impact air movements. The big deal is you can’t worry about it, you have to do something about it and that would be a powder bottle! Non-scented of course! The little thread or stringy thing on the bow isn’t bad, but it is a toy. No just spray a little powder in the air and watch the air currents, because the truth is they aren’t going where you think they are going.

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

Now you're overthinking this.

You have NO idea how many times I hear this when I get to talking elk with someone!!

It lets the Elk pinpoint your exact position and they WILL be watching for you.

I actually had that happen this year while hunting and that's why I asked.  I started doing the same as gonehuntin and only calling if I made a terrible racket.  I quit using the diaphragm call, though I'd have it with me, and I used a barrel call that is easy to manipulate with gloves.  The diaphragm would get real soft on me and it got in the way of me sucking wind!

I hunt fall firearms, after the rut, so I'm thinking aggressive bugling would be counterproductive.  

The big deal is you can’t worry about it, you have to do something about it and that would be a powder bottle! Non-scented of course!

I need to get one of the talc puff bottle thingies.  I've been using a single thread tied to the gun barrel, which is better than nothing, but as you say, isn't always as accurate as I'd like.  

I'll think of more questions in a day or two while I read and reread this post.  Rest assured, not all my questions have been asked yet!!

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gselkhunter

In my mind the single biggest issue in elk hunting is time. If you hunt weekends you push hard. If you have weeks you can slow down and be patient. I don't have time to wait for the perfect situation, so I learned how to push hard and get the job done. The longest time I ever had to hunt in a row was 5 days. That is a lot better than a day and a half, the weekend hunter.

Gselkhunter

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 But the wind on one side of a hill/mountain would be very fickle as it blew around the mountain, though at somepoint, you could sometimes find a spot where the wind met on both sides of your face going up hill it seemed.

That's the only part I meant about you "overthinking" it. I don't believe there is such an area on any mountain, and of course if there were, there'd have to be Elk there too!!

For the scent control wipes, just use unscented baby wipes. They're exactly what HS sells at about 1/100th the price. I also use a lot of talc.  I didn't mean I don't call to elk, I bugle and cow call all of the time. You asked about still hunting and I don't do it still hunting.

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insanelupus

gonehuntin,

I was in a hurry and worded my last post wrong.  Most all of my hunting is still hunting as the time I can get out (due to work mostly) is usually about mid morning to evening.  I still hunt quite a bit, and I was referring to calling with a bugle while still hunting during our season being counterproductive.

I actually was hunting a hill and had the wind to my back, it had been on my face when I started round the hill and I found it at my back.  Shortly after working around a different face it was again on my face and thereafter I got into bedded elk.  There was a point where you could feel the wind within a step or two from different directions.  That was the first and only time I've experienced that.

Okay, Gregg mentioned resident herds vs. migratory herds in an area.  Are they hunted any differently?  Conceivably I would think you could push your luck with a resident herd (though it is a consideration that you may not be able to tell immediately which is which) a little harder as they may stay in the area.  If you have a predominant area with a resident herd, are you more aggressive in your hunting tactics?

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