4 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 07/16/2009
Posts: 70
Scouting

I know anytime in the woods is a good thing, but given real world time constraints and family obligations, when is a good time to scout for elk?  I'm thinking using bow season as a scouting season for 1st rifle, but am also thinking a weekend camping trip this summer might be beneficial.  How much do elk patterns differ between summer and beginning of October?

Critter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
Whenever I have gotten

Whenever I have gotten serrious about scouting elk it has been after July 4 or even a couple of weeks later.  That way you can see what their horn growth really looks like and prepare accordinly. 

Their patterns really shouldn't change that much between the first of August and October except you have to throw the rut into it.  If you are not seeing any cows early then odds are that the bulls will go to where the cows are instead of hanging around where there are very few of them. 

Then you have to figure in what kind of hunting pressure that the archers and muzzle loaders are going to put on them, but that is the nice thing about hunting just after the rut.  They usually don't care or pay any attention to hunters when their minds are elsewhere. 

Striker's picture
Offline
Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 223
Elk Patterns

The more scouting the better off you will be. I agree with critter. Keep in mind the cows during the early season will stay in their summer grounds roughly. So if you spot a group of bulls scouting, that's good but don't plan on them being there when the rut starts. "If you build it.... I mean if you find the cows, the bulls will come." Note on this though, if archery hunting the open weekend you might want to hunt an area where you saw some bulls because usually the rut won't start hot and heavy for a couple more weeks and the bulls may still be there.

Scouting the summer will be helpful because you learn the country and get a feel for it and it helps you know where you want to start your actual scouting. Make sure to take into account the hunting pressure and where you think the elk will go when they have been pushed hard.

elkkill06's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 2069
Scouting elk

mountain10mm wrote:

I know anytime in the woods is a good thing, but given real world time constraints and family obligations, when is a good time to scout for elk?  I'm thinking using bow season as a scouting season for 1st rifle, but am also thinking a weekend camping trip this summer might be beneficial.  How much do elk patterns differ between summer and beginning of October?

A lot depends on the amount of pressure in the unit or area you will be hunting. Learning escape routes can be more important then just knowing where the elk will be during certain times of the year especially during the rifle seasons. Saddles, benches just out of sight,  and low spots in the terrain are all spots to look for.

I don't mind guys/gals scouting during other hunting seasons as long as they are doing it right. If you are staying back and doing a lot of glassing and using your spotting scope it's cool, but if you are putting boots on the ground and hiking into areas trying to find sign and bumping elk out I do not think that is right. Especially if you are just learning that area and don't have a clue where the "good" spots are. I have seen guys camp right in areas where the elk are without even knowing it and if I was hunting that area I would be very upset.

Don't get me wrong, I think scouting is great, but with elk you can tell where the elk tend to be even when they are not there anymore. Too many guys are out there starting in July and not scouting properly and it's like hunting season starts in July and ends when they can not get on the mountain anymore, long after season is over here in Colorado.

We use to have a rule during the summer, when I was a lot younger, in my family and we never went below a certain fence line in the area we hunt in our OTC unit during all summer and there were a lot fewer people back then. When archery season came the elk hunting was amazing and that was from staying out of our area (even just driving thru).

Just my .02..... Good luck on your scouting and your hunt this year. I hope to see some great pics and read a great story.

Quinton

Offline
Joined: 10/08/2009
Posts: 110
To me it depends on if I am

To me it depends on if I am hunting new grounds or a place I know well. If I am hunting a new unit or area, I try to get in as soon as the snow clears. Usually you wont be impacting the elk much at this time of year as many of them havent moved all the way back from their wintering grounds yet. This is a great time to find those hiding spots that Quinton was talking about. To me knowing the lay of the land in person is better than seeing and knowing that there are elk in the area during the summer time. If you find good terrain where people are not likely to be come hunting season, there will be elk in there. If it is a place that I know realy well, I wont scout it hard cause id like to let the animals use it as a sanctuary as much as possible. I will however check on access areas to make sure that I dont show up for hunting season and find out my access road or trail has been washed out completely to the point that I need to find a new access point.

My new summer scouting strategy includes trail cams with long battery lives and big SD cards. I can leave my cams up for over a month which means I can leave my area alone for quite sometime and still be getting some intel on animal movements and trophy caliber. 

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
My pre-season scouting and successful Labor Day weekend muzzleloader huntdiscojon75409/07/2015 20:38 pm
PA Scouting?StruttinAnRuttin208/21/2011 14:57 pm
Scouting for deerprhunter509/27/2013 20:11 pm
Unit 61opssup210/30/2012 15:23 pm
Mule Deer Scouting Trip Nightmarehawkeye270709/02/2011 09:11 am