I only get 1 week for elk, so I have to make it count. I am trying to decide if I would be better off going for the opening of archery season, or the rut. Here are the basics of the area:
- It gets lots of pressure and is surrounded by private land.
- It is hard to get more than 1 mile from a trailhead because of size, but it is steep so you can get away from most hunters.
- There are lots of elk in the area in July, but it is in the winter range
- Last year I was there the week leading up to the rut. The heards from July were mostly gone. There was one group above the treeline about as high and far away from any trail as it is possible to get. But that group dissappeared by the third day.
- There were a few individuals in pockets of thick stuff on some secondary peaks
- There were more hunters than I saw during the 2nd gun season
- There were fresh rubs and some big wallows, but I didn't see much actvity around them while I was there
- I have also seen lots of sign ot rutting activity when I have been there after the rut in some pockets of thick timber
So do I get there and get setup before opening day to try and catch the summer heards before they leave, and hunt the wallows? Or do I wait for the rut, and hunt the thick stuff on the secondary mountains? Or just start from scratch in a better unit?