Here is my plan for the coming general rifle elk season in Wyoming. What do you think?
#1) The Area: I chose an area to become familiar with based on the recommendation of an old elk hunter and friend I respect. I scouted the area twice – once by backpacking in the summer, and more recently while bow hunting/backpacking. The top of the mountain is 3 miles from good roads on both sides, with horse trails crisscrossing it in numerous places. It has a 50-50 mix of thick timber, and open parks. It has some steepness to it in places, but is not the incredibly rugged stuff I have sometimes hunted. I saw a lot of elk, perhaps 5-6 herds in various locations most mornings. But I also know there will be a ton of hunting pressure on the first few days of the season. Water sources are abundant.
#2) My Hopes: I am not, nor have I ever been, a trophy hunter. A fat cow or spike will please me as much as a bull would. I have seen some big bulls in the area with herds of 10-20 cows. Spikes and satellite bulls were also spotted. I feel confident that elk will be in the general area when the season opens. A biologist told me that the herd in the area is a bit over objective and the hunt should be good. While I have killed 12 elk in my life – most of these were in limited quota areas with high success rates, so my experiences with hunting a general season are limited. (Hence this posting)
#3) The Plan: My wife and I have a couple horses. I am not real interested in taking care of horses every morning, as I would rather be hunting, so she is going to pack me up to the top the day before opener where I can camp for 5 days. While scouting I found 3 spots I think will be good places to sit and glass, or perhaps even catch an elk running through pushed by other hunters. My plan is to sit tight in one of these places the first couple days, and hope to catch an elk getting pushed through or spot some I can plan a stalk on in the morning or evening. If nothing happens in the first two or three days or so, I’ll start stalking the thick timber in the afternoons, cow calling softly in an effort to sneak in close to some that are holed up.
#4) Post Hunt: Our horses will pack an animal without any difficulty if I am lucky enough to harvest one. I only have 5 days…so that is a handy cap…but At least I will be elk hunting. As long as I enjoy my time I will consider the trip worth it – kill or no kill.
So what do you experienced elk hunters out there think? I am open to criticism. Is this a good plan for a general season, public land, rifle elk hunt??