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Joined: 01/04/2004
Posts: 4
My plan... What do you think?

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??

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
My plan... What do you think?

As I understand your post as this being a "general" season elk hunt meaning everyone and their dog will out hunting, I think you've got an excellent general season spot. If you really don't care if you get a cow or spike from the sounds of your area you will have one on the ground opening morning.

Your plan is solid from beginning to end. The only thing I think I would add to it is know where the elk will most likely go when pressured. If you don't happen to get one on the ground opening day and you see a lot of people you'll have to follow the elk. If there is enough people there won't be an elk on that mountain come Sunday morning.

I don't think you're going to have a real big problem though (of course I know nothing about the area you are going to hunt). 3 miles is enough to keep 95% of the general season elk hunters without horses away. Most of them would be lucky to make it 2 miles. There will be some pressure most likely from other horse hunters but like I said since you're not after a big boy and you are rifle hunting I think you'll be just fine with the current plan.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
My plan... What do you think?

Sounds like a good plan and with 12 elk under your belt, i'm sure your prepared.

Some other thoughts.

1.) Try the wee morning hours. Get set in just as dawn is coming on, most people won't even be moving around. If its been a clear night with good moon light, the elk will be though. Might bust one before the sun is hardly up.

2.) Other hunters can be your friend if used right. I've stationed myself on ridges overlooking a known elk/horse/cow/deer trail on the opposite side of a hill, then waited for pressure to push them to me. Pressure being a typical place that people like to hike up.

3.) You've got a hunting partner, and if there is not pressure, have them try to drive a herd your way if you think they are holed up in an area.

Good luck!

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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
My plan... What do you think?

Be in position early opening morning, of course, and don't shoot the first elk you see, unless it is exactly what you are looking for. Chances are if the elk get pushed, you will have a lead cow running by with several subordinates following. Look for maybe a spike to be in the crowd, otherwise take one of the secondary cows. The younger animals will make for better eating.

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