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Location: NONYA,thats in MONTANA
Joined: 07/21/2005
Posts: 242
Elk hunters

Of those of you who hunt elk what do you prefer,archery or rifle?I enjoy archery hunts more than rifle hunts here in MT because you get to hunt during the rut and I really enjoy being out in the hills when they are bugling and fightin.In some states they get to hunt rifle during the rut here we only have to small backcountry areas that are open for rifle during the end of the rut.There was a real nice 6x6 prob around 310-320 class bull in the hay field WITH cows last night,this may be a sign that the rut is starting early here...I HOPE!!! Thumbs up

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 10/14/2004
Posts: 17
Elk hunters

I enjoy rifle hunting..I have never tried archery, planning on doing so in the future though. Usually rifle for me is just on the last part of rut (first or second week of October). I would love to try a hunt during rut.

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Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Elk hunters

Archery gets the very start of rut and muzzleloaders get the best of the action on the big bulls. As it is now muzzleloader and archery. Modern rifle is getting the short end of the stick but, there are some nice bulls to be had.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Elk hunters

I would go archery if I had any skill as an archer.
It is hard enough for me just to stay proficient with a rifle.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Elk hunters

When you posted on August 29th the rut had already started. Don't be fooled by seemingly little activity. The heavy bugle and harems are just the peak of the rut. The rut starts towards the end of August and goes through the beginning of November. Those cows can come into heat 3 or 4 times until bred, 30 days apart. The first cows come into heat in August and some cycle through till November. Of course the majority of all the activity happens during September. But hormones and rut behavior starts in mid to late August.

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Location: NONYA,thats in MONTANA
Joined: 07/21/2005
Posts: 242
Elk hunters

The peak of the rut here is usually Sept 15,has been every year since I started hunting. As of last Fri the bulls in the area Im going to hunt Sat. were still in bachelor groups,we dont hear any bugling here until we start getting some very cool nights.The weather can change the peak here by 2 weeks either way,supposed to be 90 Sat so I doubt we will see any rutting activity for a few weeks.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Elk hunters

From what I've learned in seminars by experts and experience rut timings are NOT effected by weather. Behavior can be however. Let me explain the difference. The start, peak and end of the rut have nothing to do with weather, moon phase or anything like that. Many hunters notice what you notice. That is bugling activity is slow until it cools down. However what is really happening is the rut activity goes nocturnal. Everything is still happening but much like you and I during a hot day at home, the elk lay low till it cools down. But again don't be fooled by weather thinking rut timing is effected by it, their hormones and natural instincts are still in full swing, they just aren't as visible.

As a hunter that means the same techniques can still be used with a little tweeking. Bulls will bugle from their beds. Meaning a locator bugle can still be productive. If you get within range a sweet cow call will still draw them to you. If you are in thier comfort range you can get them out of their beds with calling because like I said their hormones are still raging and they can't resist it. But the tweeking comes in because you have to pay more attention. Bulls will often come in silent when it's hot. But make no mistake they are still rutting, they're just cooling off and laying low during the hot days and doing their thing at night.

As far as them being in bachelor groups from my experience during this time some still are and some are starting to gather harems. I've found that most of the harem gathering doesn't start until September and today is the 2nd so that seems normal to still see some in bachelor groups. Each animal is a little different and move at their own pace.

My money says come September 15th or thereabouts, you will see peak activity once again this year.

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Location: Powderhorn, Colorado
Joined: 04/07/2003
Posts: 167
Elk hunters

now here is someone that knows what their talking about when it comes to the elk rut!! Good info.

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Location: NONYA,thats in MONTANA
Joined: 07/21/2005
Posts: 242
Elk hunters

What about the second cycle Mr Rut?no info on that?Usually starts around the 25th but as late as the 15th of Oct here,they were bugling the first week of rifle last year.There were 2 bulls bugling this morning but they never responded to cow calls,they shut up by 8am today,way before it started to warm up,I did have a young cow come in at about 15 yards,she is very lucky we wernt closer to the truck! Think Went out this afternoon and filled 2 of my muley doe tags,steaks and jerky on the way!! Thumbs up

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 08/30/2005
Posts: 14
Elk hunters

I would definitely go with archery as it is in the high point of the rut where I am at in Idaho. Rifle hunters who put in for a controlled hunt in Idaho don't have the opportunity of hunting the archery season which is a general hunt and they only get the tail end of the rut. Also in the dense timber it is often just as well to be hunting with a bow. Furthermore I wouldn't trade the fun of calling in big bulls for anything. This is my sixth season hunting the early archery hunt and I still shake like crazy when I get in close on big elk. Their massize bugles make me shiver.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Elk hunters
nevadahntr wrote:
What about the second cycle Mr Rut?no info on that?Usually starts around the 25th but as late as the 15th of Oct here,they were bugling the first week of rifle last year.:

Man you are a crack up. First of all there are more than 2 cycles when it comes to cows coming into heat. There is up to 4. Bulls don't cycle, they just chase hot cows. Cows are the key to rut activity. Bulls just get certain hormones that kick in in August and shut off in Novemberish depedning on the animal. But the majority of breeding/activity is done in September. There is no "majic" 2nd cycle that happens anywhere from the 25th to the 15th of October. Simply put that's a myth.

Each cow comes into heat 2 to 4 times until bred. Each animal is different and some start as early as August. But the majority of cows come into heat for the first time in September, that's why the majority of activity is then. Most cows are bred on their first cycle. Why is September so critical? Because there is a small window in the Spring when calves can be dropped where they have the best chance of survival. They drop too early and they risk catching the tail end of winter storms and cold and die quickly. If they drop too late then they aren't big enough to survive the coming winter.

So when you hear bulls "excited" and bugling after the peak that just means there is a hot cow(s) around getting them excited. That's why you hear bugling activity spread out and sparse. If no cows are in heat bulls are still rutting but they are going to be quieter because there is nothing getting them excited. Trust me there is no majic second cycle. Just cows cycling and bulls chasing them.

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