4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/15/2010
Posts: 53
elk tracks

whats is everyone's theory on fresh tracks should you follow them and risk bumping them or find a good spot along the trail an set an ambush? last year we came across fresh herd sign and did'nt follow it we came back later and set up for a evening hunt and no luck if I had it to do over again I would have followed them

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4433
Re: elk tracks

Do you have a quarter to toss in the air and call it? If you follow the tracks you may get into them but you might also push them further away. And if you sit on the tracks you might sit there for a couple of weeks without seeing a thing. If you knew that they were making the tracks going back and forth from their bedding and feeding ground then it might be OK to sit on them. The only what that I would follow the tracks is if I know that they are fresh and I mean fresh. A few years ago we got about 6" of snow the night before the opening day. Driving the truck to where we were going to start to hike we saw 3 or 4 sets of tracks across the road and figured that was a good sign. We went to where we were going to part the truck and the wind was blowing so hard you couldn't see 10' much less across the canyon so we turned around. When we got to the tracks we saw that a few more elk had crossed the road. We decided to try and track them out. Well, a mile later we got to where we could see the heard and managed to get one of them, since between 3 of us we only had one tag. But if the elk had taken another trail we never would of seen them. But like I said it is a toss up on what to do.

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Re: elk tracks

If I have reason to think the tracks are fresh, I go after them. But you need to allot at least 4 hours, so it's best to not bother in the late afternoon. Better to just sit the trail then.

Joined: 03/15/2010
Posts: 53
Re: elk tracks

another thing I have found is that a roaming sattelite bull can make a lot of tracks so I have learned not to get excited so much by a single set of tracks what you want is herd sign I've always been amazed buy how few tracks a large herd makes when they pass through an area grazing they are kind of spread out and leave as much sign as you would think

Joined: 11/03/2008
Posts: 35
Re: elk tracks

Where I hunt tracks are everywhere, so I don't think much about them other than to try to guess where they were headed.
Usually if they are on a trail that means that they were heading someplace at a much faster pace than I can walk. Elk wander in a loose group when feeding.
If there are a lot of really fresh ones,A lot of times, if the wind is right, I will try to softly cow call and sneak in on them.
If they are walking single file on a trail, I try to figure out direction of travel and think about the area they are headed and (hopefully) figure out how to get there without bumping them.
If there are a lot of old tracks mixed in with fresh ones, then I might try sitting on trail, but elk can be fickle and you never know when they will use a certain trail.
In my experience, Elk will walk with the wind at their backs, so usually I will try to circle downwind and (if possible) uphill to set up, or find a vantage point to glass ahead to see if I can spot them.

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