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jim boyd's picture
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Elk Wallows?

Hey Folks...

If you find an elk wallow in one area, are other wallows likely in the same area?

Do wallows typically remain in the same area year after year?

As it relates to topography - are wallows typically partially up a steep grade, such as 3/4 of the way between a valley and the top of the canyon - or can they be found in the canyon floor and/or on top of the canyon edge?

Is a wallow to an elk - like a scape is to a whitetail deer?

Do cows get into wallows?

Will a cow come to a wallow and check for bulls like a whitetail doe will come to a scrape and leave scent for bucks?

Going this fall... archery in late September and I need knowledge from you folks.... please help!!!

Jim

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I would be looking more at

I would be looking more at water sources in September during the rut, rather than concentrating on trying to find a wallow or two.  If the bulls are really into the rut they will be looking for water that time of year because they are literally wearing themselves out breeding cows and chasing off satellite bulls.  Cows will come into a wallow, especially if it has enough water to drink from.  Normally you will find them in lowland or up on a flat area where a depression will hold enough water for them to make a mess of themselves, LOL!!!

TwoBear's picture
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wallows

There are night wallows, day wallows, general wallows, individual wallows, bedding area wallows, transitional wallows etc.  If you are going to sit a wallow, your best bet is in the afternoon til dark next to a bedding area on the upper portion of the mountain.  Some wallows are "personal" bull wallows, meaning they are only used by a specific bull.  These wallows are about bathtub sized and you can confirm by looking at local rubs.  If the rubs are all about they same distance up the tree, basically same sized tree, it is a solo bull wallow.  Checking for tracks that are multiple ages indicates that this bull is frequenting on somewhat of a regular basis this wallow.  Wallows receive less and less activety as the rut progress.  Peak wallowing occurs in Mid-late august and early September, tappering off after the first week of September. 

You don't need to just "sit" a wallow either.  Moving into the wallow you should do a couple basic locates to announce you are heading in, then splash the water around a little, rake a tree, make some subtle bull sounds, then bugle locates indicating to all within earshot you are now leaving the wallow. Do not make another elk sound!  Of course, you are not really leaving, just go set up within bow distance and wait.   A bulls natural curiousity will have him slipping down the mountain to see "who" was at this wallow.  Be patient, it make take an hour or more before the bull is convinced the "intruder" bull has left.  This tatic is best performed in wallows next to or in bedding areas.  Bulls like to head downhill to wallows in the afternnon/evening as thermal are rising giving him the abilty to smell if another bull may be in the wallow. The wallow below is a "personal" bull wallow.  I also posted pics of two rubs, as you can see those two rubs were not made by the same bull.  They are unrelated to the wallow pic, but I wanted to illustrate how you can compare rubs to confirm/reject whether the rubs by wallows are made by the same bull.

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Topgun 30-06's picture
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Would you please explain how

Would you please explain how you can tell those two rubs weren't made by the same bull unless they are miles apart or you watched them being made by two different animals?  Thanks!!!

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A bulls rubs are consistant

A bulls rubs are consistant in height and coralate to the size of his antlers. If two rubs have different heights you can be assured it is two different bulls. I pulled the pics up and I understand your thoughts TGun, without something to scale it is difficult to see the difference.  I will keep this point in mind come August scouting season and stand next to the rubs and try to get distance from pic more standard.  I plan on doing a complete pictorial on rubs and wallows this fall.

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Elk ????

TwoBear,

I have got to disagree also (with two points you have made) ! I do not by any means call myself a professional hunter or an expert and for the most part am fairly young (41) when it comes to some of you guys. I will say though that I am not inexperienced by any means. I was hunting with my father and uncle from the time I could walk. I would even take out my fathers and uncles clients hunting from around the time I was 10 or 11 years old. I have taken many elk over the years and enjoyed helping others take there first elk or elk in general. Including some giants on public land (very heavily hunted public land).

Your wallow theories really interest me. Especially the one of a single bull wallow. I personally have never found a wallow only one elk used. Now I could be wrong, but if you just look at some of my picks from 2010 from our trail cameras they are heavily used by all. All the way into October. http://www.biggamehunt.net/forum/cool-pics-2010

Now for the rubs. I have seen huge bulls make small rubs and some moderate bulls make big rubs depending especially on the tree itself. If he can bend that tree over some it will look bigger than it is. From your picks you hunt in lodge pole pine and I can see where you are looking at the difference in the hieght and how big around the tree is. The smaller rub may be a big bull that may not have been into it and did not rub all the way up. Just a thought.

And last but not least was what you said about elk calling in another thread. I often say bugle to locate and then do not make another sound, but I also do not pack into back country such as you. The area I hunt gets very, very pounded. Guys out there cow calling, bugling, who knows what else. These bulls know each other well and I garuntee they know the difference. Now days I may not even bugle to locate I will cow call more. Ther is always the young and dumb sattelite bulls that for the most part are easily called in, but when it comes to the mature bulls, they will gather there cows and move off. These guys are watching hunting shows in which these hunters are hunting private land or back country that elk are unpressured in and it makes a huge difference.

Now I am not saying this to discredit you buy any means. I am just one hunter who hunts differently then most and am very curious about your ideals.

Quinton

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elkkill06---I was trying to

elkkill06---I was trying to be polite when I asked that question and I will still try to be polite and say that I'm 63 and started hunting in 1953. I've been around elk and hunted them since 1994 and am in complete agreement with you and don't feel that the other posts on wallows or rubs is at all accurate.  Also, regarding calling; you can bet your bippy that unless you are right in a dominant bull's bedroom, which is hard to do if he has any amount of cows gathered, that he will take his cows and be off if you are doing any amount of bugling in his area.  The last thing he wants to do is leave the cows behind and get in another scrap when he can take what he has and leave!  We've been able to move in close enough to call decent bulls away from their cows for a short distance a few times by using cow calls to make them think one is getting away from him, but never by bugling.  Just sayin!!!

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I agree

I absolutely agree that distance is a huge function of calling.  What call do you use when you hear a challege bugle?  Why would you cow call in that scenerio?  The single most effective way to call in a bull is to call his cows away from him, and challege him when he responds.  He will come in on a string.  Your right, if you challenge him at 300 yards, he will up and leave before you become a threat to the herd.  When you close distance to less than 80 yards or so, you force that bull to deal with you by becoming a threat to the herd.  There are locate bugles, contact bugles, round up bugles, lip-bawl bugles, challenge bugles, call away bugles, tending grunts, challenge grunts, chuckles, huffs, glunking, pants etc.  Bulls make many sounds that all mean different things.  Knowing and understanding these sounds and what they mean is critical to successful calling. 

When you hear a bull bugling w/o you having called, how do you ID what he is saying?  Is he bugling for the attention of cows?  Is he bugling at a harrassing satellite?  Is he challenging another bulls?  Is he asking for locations or contacts?  Is he himself a satellite or a herd bull?  All these things can be determined based on what you hear, and your approach should be based on what you have identified as his situation. 

Wallows:  I think some confusion here is based on "community" vs. "personal" wallows.  Community wallows are in fact used by everybody, including cows and calfs.  When I talk about "personal" wallows I am talking about wallows that are used by individual bulls.  I am not saying all wallows are "personal" wallows.  When I discussed rubs I am talking about rubs in relation to these "personal" wallows and in the vacinity of these "personal" wallows as a means to ID a wallow as an individual bulls wallow.  Look, I am not professing "expert" status on anything.  I am sharing my observations over 18 years of hunting elk in the back country for several weeks a year.  I still, and will always, consider myself a student.  Others thoughts are meaningful and I listen intently to see if I can put the thoughts into  perspective, i have learned much this way from other people.

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Calling

Topgun 30-06 wrote:

elkkill06---I was trying to be polite when I asked that question and I will still try to be polite and say that I'm 63 and started hunting in 1953. I've been around elk and hunted them since 1994 and am in complete agreement with you and don't feel that the other posts on wallows or rubs is at all accurate.  Also, regarding calling; you can bet your bippy that unless you are right in a dominant bull's bedroom, which is hard to do if he has any amount of cows gathered, that he will take his cows and be off if you are doing any amount of bugling in his area.  The last thing he wants to do is leave the cows behind and get in another scrap when he can take what he has and leave!  We've been able to move in close enough to call decent bulls away from their cows for a short distance a few times by using cow calls to make them think one is getting away from him, but never by bugling.  Just sayin!!!

If I read you right Top-Gun you are saying in 16 years of elk hunting you have never been able to call a herd bull away from his cows by bugling.  Thats pretty unusual.  We bugle herd bulls away from their herds several times a year.  On the front page of my website you will see a P&Y bull killed by an archer from Georgia last season.  We called that bull with bugles right away from his herd and shot at 35 yards broadside.  That fella goes by the name: lukeandwillsdad on the site Archery Talk, if you PM him over there he will tell you all about it. 

You say the bulls up and take off, but I'm curious as to what kind of bugle you are throwing at him?  How far away are you?  Are there satellites around him?  Have you tried slipping up close and using a call away bugle?  I'd like to hear more about it if you don't mind.

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Good post elkkill06, I

Good post elkkill06, I appreciate it.  I am not saying the elk do not use wallows through the year, only that their peak use time is August-early Sept.  The rub/wallow issue I addressed aboved.

 

Calling:  elkkill, I absoulutely assure you if you are only bugling for locates you are selling yourself short.  I have called in 100 upon hundreds of bulls and as I have always stated, 80%+ were with bull sounds.  I am telling you that you will be amazed at how you can change your call ups with bull sounds.  Let me ask you an honest question, when you are cow calling and the bull hangs up, how do you address this?  I love helping other hunters and discussing elk, it is that simple.  I will PM you my phone number and will happily help anybody I can, that goes for everybody too, just send me a PM and I'll give you my number.  I am an outfitter but I don't even care if you are using another outfitter or going the DIYer route, I will try to help as best I can and I won't even mention hunting with us, I promise that in front of this entire board. 

elkkill06's picture
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Thank You

TwoBear,

I definately appreciate the offer. The reason I joined BGH was because I am not one of those guys that thinks they know everything. If I am not fooled at least once a yeaar by a big old bull or a smart old muley I am not hunting. I love hunting and like learning evrything I can.

Quinton

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