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Joined: 10/26/2012
Posts: 13
minnesota hunter looking for help

Hi, I'm new at this, so bear with me. I've been hunting elk unsuccesfully 6 times over 10 years and I'm looking for some help.

I was wondering if there was someone who was having resonable succes who would like to show us the ropes.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3922
What state are you hunting

What state are you hunting them in.  Out west I like to find a high place on a side hill where I can glass a lot of country to find them and then make a plan on how to get to them.  Preseason scouting also goes a long way in figuring out where they are located at.  I have found that elk need three basic things.  Food, water, and cover.  If you find where they are eating, drinking, and bedding you can plan your hunt to intercept them while they are traveling between two of these places.  Or if where you are hunting has a lot of hunters you may be able to wait them out until they are spooked and on the run from others. 

I have found a few areas in Utah where all I have to do is sit down on a side hill and I will see elk.  I have one place that you can watch elk all day long come down to water and go back up the hill to their bedding spot and that location has given me over 10 elk in the last dozen years or so.  Now here in Colorado I have found it to be a little bit different but once you have found a location that they are using all you need to do is hit it hard day after day and you will usually take home a elk.

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Joined: 10/26/2012
Posts: 13
We tried 4 drop camps in

We tried 4 drop camps in idaho and saw fewer elk each year.

now we are trying wyoming in the big horns west of sheridan.

it seems the elk move into areas that are too hard to get to on foot.

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 187
Advice

Critter is spot on with his advice. What parts of Idaho were you hunting? I spent most of my life hunting central Idaho and averaged "my guess" around 60 to 70 percent. Of my family and friends that went this year (I didn't) 4 of the 5 got elk all in archery and all bulls. That being said many areas of Idaho have gone down hill to wolves and poor management by the fish and game. We used to shoot 350 bulls off the road, now your really lucky to find a 300 unless you draw on a great hunt.

Striker

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Joined: 10/26/2012
Posts: 13
We hunted the clearwater nat.

We hunted the clearwater nat. forest.

Didn't have a lot of luck glassing.

In wyoming there were few places to glass.

Should we be looking for country that is easier to glass?

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 187
Hunting

To bad about the clearwater. I haven't hunted that far north in Idaho. Wolves may of had something to do with that but I'm not sure. As far as glassing areas in my opinion it's better then hunting thick forested areas with no parks for two main reasons. One spotting them obviously helps you find them and make a plan to get on them. Two, in open areas with patches of timber or cover the elk tend to get more concentrated and are easier to find where in thick timber areas they could be almost anywhere. Honeslty your first and best bet is research, talking to locals, and scouting. First research tags, kills, and all that good data that the fish and game put out every year. Once you decide on the area you hunt, if possible talk to the local ranchers and farmers. This might be hard for you being out of state. Sometimes the local bar in the valley can be a great source of information. We used to know about ten different ranchers that we would talk to before the season started and they would fill us in on what they were seeing. If you can't get out early to scout talking to the locals is the next best thing. By the way, do you know what part of Wyoming your going to hunt? Rifle or Bow? Depending on where in Wyoming, finding water sources could be really big.

Striker

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Joined: 10/26/2012
Posts: 13
We hunted unit 38 in the

We hunted unit 38 in the north end of the bighorns. Pretty much all national forest. Ranches are all leased up.

After the morning post on a park do you usually still hunt the adjacent areas?

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 187
Parks

The reason they like the parks is many times it provides good grass for them. It also makes for good gathering places for them if they are in the rut. They will feed in these parks in mornings and evenings. Many times on their way back up from water in the morning or down in the evening. They will commonly bed on top of the ridges above parks where there is cover or nice benchs near by that provide cover. The cool side of the ridge will often be favored if your hunting in hot weather. A lot of this is found in scouting/hunting the area. Find where they are bedding, feeding, and drinking and you'll really improve your odds. Also, keep in mind many elk will move a lot. They may like one ridge for a few days and then move to another for a few before they come back. That will also change with hunting pressure. Look for elk highways. Trails that are pounded with tracks it will give you some ideas as to what's going on.

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 187
Still hunting

Sorry, I just realized I didn't really answer your question. If you know elk are passing through the parks regularly sitting on them can be very successful. Many times there is a string of parks and it's hard to cover them all so it can be tough. If that's the case, I start at one and hunt through them all staying on the edge so I can be concealed when I need to be. Also, finding tracks in parks is hard. If you walk along the tree line you will see game trail coming out of the timber making it easier to see tracks. This will alow you to find out where they are coming from and maybe where they are bedding down. If you find a highway coming out into a park it's a good place to sit come evening. I've had success doing that many times.

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Location: Texas
Joined: 03/14/2012
Posts: 71
Striker has you headed in the

Striker has you headed in the right direction for sure, the rest is hunting technique...when I hunt benches I force myself to stalk along the bench edge so my vision will go furhter down and up the ridge...when i'm around parks I never take the shorter walk thru the park in the direct light, I force myself to walk around staying in the shade. One of the indications of a repeated bedding area is a sudden increase in the volume of fresh elk scat on one of those north face shaded bench areas. I watch for physical barriers, like rock cliff or boulder fields that force the elk in certain directions. Elk will go where they have to when pushed but prefer a little easier route when they can. They are grazers not browzers, but you'll notice in some areas grassy foods growing at the base of trees on a lot of benches so they could stay on those benches and never venture into a park. And when the leaves drop on the Aspens you'll notice a definet temperature change when you walk from the leafless aspens into the timber and they feel it too. Don't over look small isolated patches of timber in the draws of those leafless quakie ridges...they dont look like much but many times I have jumped elk out of these little gems! hope this helps.

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Joined: 10/26/2012
Posts: 13
Yeah that helps a bit. It

Yeah that helps a bit. It seems really hard to scout during season, always worried about spooking everything out of the country.

It always seems we're hunting 1 or 2 animals instead of a herd.

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