Elk will be where you find them that time of year. It will depend a lot on how much snow and how much feed they have. Elk need three things. Feed, water, and a cover area, so if you find where they are traveling from one to the other that is 90% of the game.
LoL sorry. Some animals have fairly defined patterns depending on the time of year, I wasn't sure if elk were one of them ;-)
I'm interested in hunting an area 30 miles east of Sandpoint Idaho near the Montana border. There is a lake at the end of a logging road. Basically, you have to drive several miles off the main highway up some logging roads, through and up a large creek, and then park. There the road has been closed. The closed road continues about 4 miles to the lake which sits at approx 5,000 ft elevation. There are areas of trees, areas that were previously logged. There are a lot of huckleberries (going bear hunting there this weekend) and other food sources. I'm not sure what kind of snow will be in the area, I think it varies wildly depending on the year. I think in Oct/early Nov there shouldn't be any, but I am not sure. The ski resort in Sandpoint is between 4700-6400ft and sometimes struggles to open in November. Once it is 'go time' it'd be easy to tell how much snow is likely up there thanks to the ski resort's website.
There are elk in the area, I've seen lots of them over the spring and summer, and my father in law hit one with his subaru last January, but I have no idea if they hang out at that elevation (2000 ft), if they would be up at the lake level of 5000ft, or if they move into the higher mountains.
Since I'm going bear hunting this weekend I was going to look for elk, elk sign, etc, but I wasn't sure if they'd likely still be in the area in a month+. The area is above elk management objectives so I'll have the opportunity to take a cow or a bull, and I don't know if one or the other is likely to be in one general type of area or another...
Elk being the tough animal that they are they could be at almost any elavation at that time. Just depends on what the weather is doing. lat year during second season here in Colorado, after a day and a half of a snow storm which dropped at 2 foot at camp. We went lower to look for elk and were surprised to find none down lower. They were all still up high at 9000-9800 foot mark.
Like others have said, that time of year you'll find them where you find them. Also it depends on the terrain and elevation of your hills. Out here in Oregon in the Cascades your really not getting above 5000-6000 feet anyways so the elk here can be anywhere from sea level to 6000 feet. Mt Hood is the tallest peak here at 11,295' and it would be a cold day in hell before you would ever see an elk on Hood. I mostly find them between 1500- 3500 feet here all year long. Good luck with your bear hunt and scouting for elk.
I must admit that I have missed a big game animal with a rifle. And not only was it a bull elk, it was the largest bull that I have had in my sights with a tag in my hand. But, as with most "missed shot" stories, I have an excuse. Moisture doesn't really ever bode well for hunting equipment. When moisture (either rain or snow) gets into a firearms barrel, nothing good takes place. A couple rain drops down there can change the point of impact drastically and a barrel jammed with snow after a...