Tips for Elk Hunting Success
Plenty of elk will be available to Utah's bull elk hunters when the state's general bull elk season kicks off Oct. 4. Putting one of those animals in the freezer, however, requires knowing where the animals are and the effort and willingness to get there.
Utah's bull elk population consists of about 60,000 animals, less than 7,200 shy of a statewide objective of 67,149. As of Sept. 18, any bull elk unit and spike bull elk unit permits were still available. Permits may be purchased on the Division of Wildlife Resources' Internet Web site (wildlife.utah.gov), at DWR offices and from more than 300 hunting license agents statewide.
"Elk are good at finding areas with good feed, and those are areas with green vegetation," said Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "If you're hunting an area that doesn't have green vegetation, you need to move until you find it."
Areas with trees and other shade are good places to try, as are canyons and other areas that have received rain recently. "All of these factors allow vegetation to green-up the way elk like it," he said.
A willingness to work hard and hunt rough areas is also important.
"Finding success while elk hunting also requires time and a willingness to get into the rough country where the elk are," Karpowitz said. This rough country is characterized by dead fall, heavy timber and steep canyons. "You may find elk out in the open on opening morning but after that, you'll have to go in and dig them out of the trees," he said.
Karpowitz says rains during the first part of September have dampened the high country, and he expects conditions to be similar to what hunters usually find during Utah's elk hunt.
To prepare for the hunt, Karpowitz encourages hunters to learn where they can and can't ride their off-highway vehicles by obtaining a travel map from the land managing agency (usually the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management) that manages the area they'll hunt.
All hunters are encouraged to review the 2003 Utah Big Game Proclamation and to be prepared for all types of weather. "Up to two feet of snow has fallen during the elk hunt before, so hunters need to be prepared for any type of weather they may encounter," Karpowitz said.
"The beginning of October is a great time to be in Utah's backcountry, and we wish every elk hunter a safe and enjoyable experience this year," he said.