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AndrewOSpencer's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2013
Posts: 9
Hunting in a mostly forested units

I just joined, but have read many posts from google searches that kept me leading me back to website so I signed up to keep from missing out on the fun.  

I'm planning my fith out of state hunt ever, and only my second elk hunt.  I'm most definitely a novice.  I'm as in good a shape someone at sea level can be, and I like to back pack hunt.

My inaugural post deals with hunting in a heavily timbered unit.  From what I can tell, there aren't many meadows or parks where I am hoping to be drawn.  This concerns me because, I'm worried that the few open areas will be magnets for everyother hunter.  The terraine is terribly steep and there are a few rivers running through the area.  Several outfitters work the unit, and there are good road systems.  3 miles from the trailhead is limit of my comfort level packing out an elk and 

If you hunt heavily forested areas for elk, with few parks and meadows, how do you approach your hunt?  

Thanks,  

Andy                                

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4071
Elk need three things to

Elk need three things to survive.

One is food, there is very little in heavily forested areas. You need to find open areas that has grass growing.

The second one is water. Weather it is in the form of a mud puddle, seep on the hillside or a creek running in the bottom. They need it every day.

The third is cover which dark timber provides.

What you need to do if find where they are moving from one to the other and get set up. You may have to wait all day to get them to cross from one area to another but they will. If you like to still hunt then move slowly along the border of the feeding and bedding areas, and depending on the time of day they will be in one or the other.

An elk can travel 5 miles in the time that it takes you to walk a couple hundred yards so these areas just may be a long ways apart. I know of a hill side in Utah that if you just sit and watch you can see the elk moving through the timber from the top of the hill to the bottom where there is a small creek. They will be moving on this hill all day long, and I have taken a few elk off of it by just sitting and waiting.

If there is a number of outfitters in the area they are there for a reason.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
I do it on occasion

I'll hunt heavy timber on occasion.  It'll  mostly be during the earlier seasons on backcountry hunts.  Elk certainly use the timber heavily as security cover, so sometimes you just have to go on in there and get them.  When they are bugling or if there is snow, you'll at least have some kind of sign to keep you going if you're not seeing elk.  Without one of the two, these hunts can be very frustrating.  I'll still hunt the rare openings morning or evening, but it's pretty rare to catch them out in a major park.  Much more likely to find them in small avalanche slides.

AndrewOSpencer's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2013
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Thanks for your thoughts

Thanks for your thoughts fellows.  As always, the scouting will be important.  

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 06/07/2002
Posts: 506
Hunting in a mostly forested units

All our Elk hunting is done in heavily forested areas, but we always hunt the same locale and know it well, and there can be a lot of varibles involved. Depends on the time of year, rutting or not, Bull or Cow, weather, temperature, people around, weapon used, etc. Since you will be going out of state, you probably can't scout much(?), or know the area well which is a disadvantage. If having limited time for that, I guess I would suggest if cruising forest roads for a place to start, look for Elk rubs on small pine both "old and newer." That would show consistant movement/habitation for a given area over the years/time, and then start looking for fresher sign, such as scat and tracks in feeding areas, mowed grass clumps, or roughed up game paths coming up from canyons, etc., to pick some spots. Elk can move a lot, so even if not seeing any for a couple days in areas you picked with good sign, it may be a zoo the next day crazy with animals. Where I hunt it is a series of canyons with flat tops/ridges in between them, and generally the Elk will stick down in the canyons during the day, especially the Bulls, coming out to feed up on the flater/top areas in late afternoon/evening, even near road edges where there may be grass etc. Again, much depends on the many factors mentioned above, how you plan to hunt, etc., so hard to give any real advice here.

You might want to try to call the state Game and Fish Department (or whatever they call it) and ask to contact the biologist/ranger for the area/unit you will be hunting in to pick his brains. Sometimes they are of great help and want you to do well... other times not so much if busy.. or just unfriendly, LOL. Can't hurt to try, and I would do it before any hunts start and they get busier. Just remember to keep the wind/air movement in your favor as a priority if stalking, and move location if it isn't if taking a stand to wait them out... they have pretty good noses too.

 

AndrewOSpencer's picture
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Posts: 9
Thanks Unit5A.   I'm hunting

Thanks Unit5A.   I'm hunting a 1st Rifle Season (hopefully) with an either sex tag, in mid-october in southwest colorado.  I'm taking a summer trip in July to get a look at the area.    I plan to arrive 3 days early for acclimation reasons, and to scout more.  I will hike in somewhere between 3 to 5 miles depending upon the severity of the terrain.  One of my fears however is that I will be hiking in a couple days before season and will walk right up to the herd scaring them to Wyoming.  I'll have to be sneaky.  

I will be going "big pack mode" with all my gear in my pack each day so I can hunt until dark and wake close to or in elk territory.  I have a couple spots that look like I can hike to a certain point and be within a short hike overlooking three basins.  

I do plan on giving the unit biologist a call before too long.  I'm wanting to make sure I'm hunting the correct elevation for the season.  Of course snow status will make a difference there I suppose.  

Again, I really appreciate the help guys.  

 

 

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 920
Walking in

AndrewOSpencer wrote:

Thanks Unit5A.   I'm hunting a 1st Rifle Season (hopefully) with an either sex tag, in mid-october in southwest colorado.  I'm taking a summer trip in July to get a look at the area.    I plan to arrive 3 days early for acclimation reasons, and to scout more.  I will hike in somewhere between 3 to 5 miles depending upon the severity of the terrain.  One of my fears however is that I will be hiking in a couple days before season and will walk right up to the herd scaring them to Wyoming.  I'll have to be sneaky.  

I will be going "big pack mode" with all my gear in my pack each day so I can hunt until dark and wake close to or in elk territory.  I have a couple spots that look like I can hike to a certain point and be within a short hike overlooking three basins.  

I do plan on giving the unit biologist a call before too long.  I'm wanting to make sure I'm hunting the correct elevation for the season.  Of course snow status will make a difference there I suppose.  

Again, I really appreciate the help guys.  

 

 

 

Walk in during the middle of the day. They'll be in the timber bedded down.

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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 204
Timber

I hope your not hunting alone. Rifle hunting is a bit different then archery. If hunting thick areas it's going to be tough. I like rifle hunting areas with open ridges and parks making it easier for spotting and shooting. However, I've killed many elk in and around dark timber. If it's thick timber and you know the elk are in there, try having one guy push and position the other guy in a location where you can see well and get a shot. If the timber is so thick it's hard to walk through, look for main game trails. They will take these trails out when pushed and that's where you want to be. It's advantagous to have a group of hunters to help push and sit when it comes to rifle hunting.

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