This may seem like a strange question but, does anyone hunt 2nd season elk instead of 1st because of the length of the season? I would think a resident might because he has two weekends instead of one. Just a thought.
I hunt 2nd season when I don't draw a first season tag, but the more I look into, the more sense it makes to hunt third season instead, although that's when I prefer to hunt deer. The pressure falls to half that of 2nd season during 3rd season. I never make it back out for the second weekend of second season, even though that is usually my intent if I don't harvest. The second weekend of second season will mostly find locals (meaning not front range hunters) or out of staters who budgeted the whole week.
In the past, when I failed to draw an earlier season tag, I usually opted to hunt the second rifle season. What a learning experoence. Considering that I'm hunting in an OTC unit, the elk have been pestered pretty hard from the archery, muzzleloader and 1st rifle hunters. Finding them (even in the best of hunting conditions) is a logistical nightmare. The longer 2nd season used to be an excuse to get away from my wife and kids (all girls) and hang out with the boys chasing elk and deer. As I get older and have suffered through some college sport knee surgeries, I'm more inclined to hunt the first rifle and put my blinders on in filling a tag. The later seasons used to get my attention too, but cold weather and bad knees make for a lousy time.
One of the most important components of deciphering a new hunting area is distinguishing between the summer and winter ranges for the game that you plan to pursue. Without knowing this you cannot make reliable assumptions about where the game will be come opening day. Knowing these areas will allow you to take the current weather (as well as the past couple weeks) and apply that to the landscape and make an educated guess as to where you might find that big buck or bull.
There are a couple ways...