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Elk Hunting Observations

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Unread 11-09-2008, 01:57 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Blanchard, OK
Posts: 105
Elk Hunting Observations

I just returned from 11 days scouting and hunting elk in the Uncompahgre National Forest and have a couple of observations. I would like you experienced elk and mule deer hunters to confirm my observations as either Rick you are wrong, that’s a fact, or coincidence.

First I will say we had a good week hunting for a couple of “green-horns” that did not kill any thing. We saw on average 8-10 mule deer (including some real nice bucks) and 5-7 elk, mostly cows per day.

For 6 days we sit on a high ridge overlooking another ridge about 1,000 yards in front of us and about 1,200 to 1,500 yards left to right. Aspens and a “dry creek” at the bottom, aspens to the left and right with mixed aspen and buck brush on the ridge. These two ridges were about a mile and a difficult hike from the nearest road.

Observation 1. Hunters on the move will move game out ahead of them and the hunter will not have a clue there was game within miles. On a number of occasions during the week we would observe game, both does and bucks and elk cross the ridge we were watching. Some moved across at a “fast walk” and others on the run. Each time a hunter would show up 5 to 15 minutes after the game had cleared the area.

Observation 2. Hunters may not be seeing game and game can be all around them. One morning we sit on the ridge and a snow storm hit. We went from a little snow on the ground to a few inches in a short time. When it is 10 degrees I can only sit still so long so after the storm let up a little I took a break and walked up the ridge we came in on. In the fresh snow I could see fresh tracks from deer and a coyote just 40 yards and in plan sight (although behind us) from where we sit. We never saw or had a clue the game had come up the ridge and crossed behind were we sit.

Observation 3. Wind is KING. Ever time we observed game move on their own, without being pushed, they move INTO the wind. Not one time did any game animals travel down wind. Likewise we never had game approach downwind from our location.

What do you guys think?
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Unread 11-09-2008, 08:53 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Alberta
Posts: 285
Re: Elk Hunting Observations

Originally Posted by ricknolan View Post
What do you guys think?
Welcome to elk hunting!! In my mind elk hunting is some of the most difficult, yet rewarding hunting there is.

As for observation 1, if elk (or most game for that matter) can hear, see or smell (see observation 3) you they are gone, or at least in hiding (see observation 2) untill they believe it is safe.

Elk have incredibly keen senses, and I have had elk pull the sneak on me more times than I care to remember. I like it much better when I know exactly where they are (through calling, or spotting) and pulling my best super sneak into the area and hopefully getting a shot. That is of course without "King" wind, swirling around and blowing my cover!

I guess that I would have to say "Rick thats a fact". I personally have had best results hunting elk and mule deer, when able to call the elk in to me, and when able to spot the deer from a long ways out, and in both cases the wind has to be in my favor to be successful.

Hope that helps.

Oh and I forgot, right when you think that you have it all figured out, be prepared to turn around and see the bull of your dreams running away!
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