I really like the article. The change in diet part is fascinating. Note to further readers ... the elevation numbers may have little meaning outside CO. In the Seven Devils mountains south of us here in Moscow, ID ... timberline is about 8000 ft. Further south in the Lost River Range, for example, perhaps 10,000 ft. North of us it lowers even further, 7000 ft, 6000 ft, and so on.
The elevation theory is right in my book, even if our local elevations are different. I hunt an area where the peaks are 8000' and the valleys and wintering areas are 4000'. During the summer and early season most of the big bucks seem to be sub-alpine (above 7000'). In November as a little snow and the rut hit, they seem to move into the 6000' range. Come the first of December they'll come right down near the bottom.
I've got a November tag this year - should be good!
Good article,in my area its all about managment and access,we seem to have good genetics statewide but finding a "big" buck on public ground without the use of a horse or wilderness base camp is a difficult task.For those of us that do our deer hunting on foot you have to be willing to put in some extra time planing a hunt and researching an area if you are going to set your standards high.Our wilderness areas are not impossible to hunt without horses but very few people are willing to work that hard for a deer,I on the other hand am willing to go to the extremes in order to hunt big deer.I love getting back away from roads even when it means cold camps and hunting alone,gives me a good feeling to complete a hunt like that even if i do not take an animal.Here in Montana there are many areas with outstanding genetics and good deer numbers the problem is that they are private ground,and that is why the "big" deer numbers are high on those places.The ones I hunt on have strict quotas on bucks that are set by the landowners who live on the ground and know the deer better than any biologist.Many of these big ranchs allow a small amount of public hunting each year but get a bad rap from the hunters who didnt get access,if they let everyone who asked in the place would be shot out and nobody would want to hunt there.One of my familys ranchs sits right in the midlle of one of the best elk trophy areas in the state where there are 10 bull tags drawn each year,we allow any lucky hunter who draws one of these tags access as does my uncle whos land borders the ranch,almost all the land owners in that trophy area do,becuse they know there are only 10 tags each year they have no problem opening thier land to the hunters.The same area is a designated mule deer area and we do not allow access to hunt deer,the reason for this is that the deer numbers are at an a 50 year low in our area due to high predator numbers,my own family does not hunt deer in that area due to the extremly low numbers.From what i have seen it takes landowner involvment to produce good trophy deer in my area and gaining access to the areas that have them is not as difficult as it seems,it would amaze you how doors start to open for you when you offer to help fix fence in the spring or brand calves in the fall.
Good Article...you summed up in a couple of pages what took me and my father in law a couple of years to figure out. We hunt the Meeker area as often as we can get drawn and had to learn those lessons the hard way.
Rack Size-My daughter shot a great 4x4 out in the plains between Meeker and Craig. It is only 21" wide, but came out to 182 inches!!! The taxidermist asked to keep it for 6 months and took it on the road to the Sportsmans Exhibitions as it is truly impressive to look at!!!! Not the widest or tallest, but just an awesome rack!!
I hope not too many people read this article and put it to use!!!!!!!!!
Great article, I found it to be very much the truth. The bucks I have been watching seem to be at a little lower elevations, but the get off the wheeler and walk really rang home. Also the part about the ruff terrain and escape routes are really a bigger part than most hunters consider, or can recognize. That's exactly how I harvested a 30" inch buck with deep forks and mass. After many years of mistakes it finally all seemed to make sense.
Don't assume that when fall comes, or hunting season, that the big bucks, and big bulls leave. Whitetail deer bucks especially, simply hide. And they hide very well. Mule deer bucks may leave a little. Bull elk may leave, but don't assume they do. Don't assume any of them do. I mean - where would they leave to? (Just another place where, for the most part, they would be hunted.) These big animals have the ability to hide in very small, very obscure places. So, embrace the fact (...