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Insanelupus, lets talk elk.


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gselkhunter

The migratory has a curcuit they run and depending on how big the curcuit is[sq miles] they will be back in an area in 3 to 4 days or it could be weeks. So unless you know the curcuit you can waste a lot of time. If you know the curcuit you can hunt them. A resident herd will stay on a normal movement pattern if you will back out and let them bed for the day. If you bump them out of their beds too many times they will go nocturnal on you. So a migratory herd you can dog because they are going to move anyway. So I do hunt them differently. I guess I am in a very good position because I know where there are 7 or 8 herds at any one time. I don't normally hunt the same herd morning and evening, unless there is a big bull I want. But give me a good set up and I will push very hard to make it happen. And knowing the area I hunt as well as I do I know when I can get away with a marginal plan or not. Most guys will back off when I go into full attack mode. I have blown so many set ups in my time, but I learned a lot from them. I have had mornings where other guys are leaving the area and I go in and kill an elk. They never saw an elk and I have fresh meat. I have had mornings where I have called in a dozen bulls and could have killed 4 or 5 of them, but they were too small. And I killed a cow on the way back to camp because she came in to see what all the fuss was and presented me with a shot I couldn't pass on. I am more into a full freezer than glory!

Did I answer that question OK, or confuse the issue worse? In my years of elk hunting I have seen some very strange wind currents. I have seen air go straight up off a ridge, then take a 90 going across the valley, then head straight down into the valley floor.

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

Gregg,

Did I answer that question OK, or confuse the issue worse?

Clear as mud!   :D   I'm joking, I'm pretty sure I know what you mean.  I have seen some herds do the 3-4 day rotation, (or longer).  I think my best bet is to keep looking at the "Key" areas we have discussed in the past and scout those areas, figure out where good bedding/feeding areas are and hunt them, instead of trying to hunt a particular herd.  Granted if I pick the right areas, there should be elk moving in and out of it anyway.  It's just being there on the right day.  I hope to get several scouting sessions in this summer.  So far, I've been behind on that due to getting sick.  Now spring is here, so I've got to take care of getting things ready for spring, but once I get to the "all I have to do is mow the yard this week" phase I can start scouting areas.  

In addition, hunting the post rut, these key areas probably won't have as much migrating/rambling elk going through.  If I'm hunting the bigger bulls that have all ready bred (not the raghorns that are tagging the cows still) there probably won't be a lot of elk activity to monitor anyway.  I'm going to be looking for a bull or a pair of bulls, not necessarily a whole herd I think.  Of course, if I find a raghorn tagging cows still that I can sneak in on, I'll do it.  But I think the best bet is staying away from the cows and hunting the bigger bulls in their "Lair" so to speak.

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gselkhunter

A lot of times a small dense timber pocket in the middle of huge meadows will hold prizes.

Gselkhunter

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If you have pressure around you, find and log the escape routes. Avalanche chutes and saddles are used extensively. If you know the area is going to be under pressure, set up on an escape corridor.
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gselkhunter

OK so with all this stuff we have put out here how do I use it.

I move all the time, listening, smelling the wind, looking for elk and calling. If I hit on anything in the list I slow down. I am not worried about being quiet, I may even pick up a big stick and beat a tree. If you see them, never let them out of your sight! If you smell them, again this is why I don't wear elk sent, slow down look real hard and call. If you hear them, get them to talk to you and move in fast. When an elk takes a step it is 4 of yours, so even just walking they move fast. You have to keep up if they won't turn and come back to you. Guys talk about set ups, I am here to tell you it happens so fast you don't have a chance to get a good set up 90% of the time, or the timber won't let you. Try to call from a place you can shoot. Of course the elk will come in from a way you don't want them to come from. Don't set up in a tree or bush, be in front of them. Let your camo work! And there is no such thing as 1 elk, even if there is only one. The cow you didn't see will blow most of your chances, be watching. And most of all, stay calm!

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

The wife and I have been out turkey hunting the last two weekends.  The elk are still low (we have a resident cow herd that often calves in the area) and we've run into them several times.  In fact, last weekend, we spotted a calf.  I didn't hardly believe my eyes, I figured it was WAY too early yet.  But it was a small elk, chasing after a cow (we'd spooked the cow) and it was the dark brown color with white spots.  Even the wife asked if I'd seen the "baby elk".  

Yeasterday she learned the value of camoflauge, even in the open.  I've been trying to teach her to pick out animal parts, not animals.  While walking I spotted an elk bedded in the heavy timber about 50  yards away.  We were on an older logging road in plain view (we'd been calling trying to get a gobbler to answer off and on) but were both wearing mesh face masks and gloves.  It took about 20 minutes before they decided to get up and move (and that was because we encountered a hiker and got to talking to him in plain sight).  We've also had several whitetails come in very close.  

Gregg,  I know you don't typically hunt later firearms seasons, but if you were, what call would you use to try to call bulls that you spotted or even just fishing?  Would a cow call in late season still work well?  Again, I've found in the late season I do better walking slow, wearing my camo and still hunting.  When I cow call they seem to peg me easier.  

In regards to camo.  I learned something last year.  In Montana for firearms we have to wear 400 square inches of hunters orange.  In the past I've worn orange vests (wool and fleece) that are several years old.  This past year I bought some of that camoflauge orange thinking it would help break up the pattern of the orange.  (It met the 400 square inch parameter).  However all I could find was a hooded fleece sweatshirt.  I've decided to modify it, by cutting the hood and sleeves off.  In addtion, the Forest Service is doing controlled burns and I'm going to go out and find a cool ash pile and roll the sweat shirt in it or on a charcoaled log.  Brand new hunter orange absolutely glows.  It seems after several seasons it ages and pills, all of which helps it to be less noticeable from my experience.  My Dad has experienced the same thing hunting white tails.  I also feel that by wearing a vest rather than a jacket or sleeved item, that it allows you to break up your profile more, in addition to adding dimesions to your profile, instead of one flat looking piece of materail (if that makes sense).  Once the camo orange vest is aged I think it will work well, I can still be seen by other hunters very easily and it won't "glow" as much to the critters.

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gselkhunter

Insanelupus,

Gonehuntin talked about it a while back, if you are calling they will peg you for being in that spot and look for you. My experience has been this, if you are talking when they aren't they will wait for you. That is the nature of elk, but they are looking to see you show up. They won't always answer you or come looking for you. The power of a call in rifle season is to get them to stop and wait. Since you have a group of cows you can go play with do this. Catch them out and about and cow call to them, they should stop and stare in your direction. If you keep calling they will turn in a circle and in doing so give you a broadside shot. They may even call back, but only if you plead your case just right will they come to you.

In the fall a bull may come to a cow call. The cows may come to a call, but a cow call should stop them so you can get a shot off.

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

Gregg,

I remember gonehuntin's post.  However, I was not aware that it would help to "hang up" elk, basically have them wait to see who shows up.  Good to know.  A few cow calls and then some still hunting for a ways might be a very effective technique.  

Opinions on the blaze orange vs. camo ideas?

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gselkhunter

The big thing I have read about blaze is they really don't see it well color wise. The bad part is that much doesn't fit in, size and shape, so it doesn't look right to them. So the trick is motion or the lack of it to not be spotted. I would try hard to put some cover in the way to break up the shape of that much orange. Two big advantages of rifle hunting is distance and you need a lot less room to take a shot than with a bow.

Back too calves, quick story, I was up at one off my favorite burns in late June poking around. I always hope to see little ones this time of year, but on this day it was close. I was easing up to the edge of the meadow and heard an elk crack timber to my right. I looked over and this cow was staring at me, blew like a deer and ran away. But she came back in less than a minute on my left side. Doing the stiff leg thing[its a warning] and blowing at me, she was being down right aggressive. I put a spruce between her and me and was getting ready to put a judo point arrow on the bow to make her understand I wasn't going to be pushed around by an elk. And then I spotted the calf, not 8' away lying flat on the ground. I pulled out the camera and snapped off two pics and started to back away. Moma made a charge and barked and the calf popped up and they ran off. It was really cool.

Gselkhunter

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gselkhunter

Tuned one bow this morning, new string and cable, plus maintenance. The other needs a cable, just have to put it on, shoot and tune it back in. But the real deal is waiting for CDOW to put up the draw results, the 23rd is the projection. Then get ready, high country here I come. Get back my legs, knees willing and open up my lungs. The snow is still deep up high but that will change soon. Next weekend I will spend at Buffalo Peaks, I am sure I drew, just need to see it in print.

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

I put in for my cow tag.  I applied for an area that is very low for chances of drawing, but if I draw I should have great odds of a cow this fall.  If I don't draw I get another preference point, no bigee.

I've been doing some scouting via mapping software of the area on the other side of the mountain from where I got the bear.  I hope to get on the ground there in the next few months, provided work doesn't seen me away for another 30 days to work this year!

But I'm really getting ready for season.  I have some load testing to do on my 95 Winchester in .30-40.  The .35 Whelen is all tuned up ready to roll.

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gonehuntin
When using blaze camo, wash it in UV inhibitor's first. Then it doesn't "glow". You'll only have to do it once. Movement, not color, is your enemy. You can sit rock still in orange camo and an elk will walk right over the top of you. Move and you're dead, though they aren't NEARLY as spooky as Whitetail. Now I'm not saying regular camo isn't more effective than Blaze CAmo, just that there's no cause for concern using Blaze. It does show movement more, so be aware of that when you move. Try not to cross open meadows and ridgelines, stick to the timber unless it's more productive to short cut across an area. As GS said, NEVER, EVER, CALL FROM AN OPEN AREA!. Always be in front of a large tree, or behind a bush or small tree. Think of it as combat: You're first mistake might be your last (as far as costing you a bull).
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gselkhunter

Scouting is done, I am ready and my stuff is ready. It is the night before opening morning, camp is set and I am trying to sleep. The alarm goes off and I am in full motion getting ready. I am off an hour before light and make my hike in. I get to my starting point. What is my first move? Sit and wait. Sit and glass the area? Sit and listen? Call Gonehuntin for more options? What do you think?

Gselkhunter

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insanelupus

I presume you are hunting archery season bulls (as opposed to hunting the later firearms season).  

If you've done your scouting, then you already probably know where your herd is feeding and their exit routes.  With a bow you want to be close, so as long as the wind is right, you should be in the spot where you expect the herd (hopefully with your bull) to exit the area to go to their bedding areas.  (Presuming that you are hunting a feeding area).  

While there you will be listening and if something has changed and they have relocated then you'll have to regroup.  Probably your best bet is to sit and wait till daylight, do some glassing and some calling.  If it's a bust then you'll have to move to a better glassing area, but you want to do that after daylight to keep from pushing something out of the area/drainage.  You may also throw out some cow calls to call a bull in just in case for some reason the herd is still in the area but just not where you'd planned on it.

But if all goes well, your bull will saunter around, right behind several cows and within the range of your bow from your hidey hole that you scouted out earlier in the season.  At least that's the way I'd play it.

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gselkhunter

Yes I am hunting archery, rifles do me no good they bend my arrows.

In Aug. elk move to timber at first light, it just gets warm too fast. So even though I do glass basins, that won't be what I will do. And I don't wait until it is light. What I do is this, 10 mins before I can see my pins to shoot I make a long, loud high pitched 5 tone bugle. Wake up the woods. I will get an answer. It could be cows calling or timber snapping or[what I want] a bugle back. I now lock in my target and go to work calling and moving. Cut them off or bring them in with calling. Remember I push very hard. If the wind is in my favor I have no fear of closing in and making a bull fight for his cows.

Gselkhunter

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