I'm planning on doing my first ever DIY backpack elk hunt in the near future. I have been reading a lot on this topic (Backcoutry Bowhunting by Cameron Hanes) and I have a question I figured someone here could help me with.
If I'm in the back country the elk call home, when I chose a location to set up my bivy sac campsite for the night, do I want to be down in the bottom of the valleys or up on top of the mountains? From what I'm reading, the elk bed down in the big timber during the day but feed up high at night.
I would assume setting up camp down low would be the best so I don't spook the elk at night while they are roaming and feeding. This would also put me in a better ambush spot for the morning hunt, since the elk would be moving down the mountain towards me in the morning to bed.
Does this sound right to you experienced elk hunters?
Short version is play the wind ref where the ELK are in relation to FOOD.
I hunt 8,000' to 12,000' and on normal days the up drafts start when the temp goes up between about 8:00am to 9:30 am and does a flip down drafts start down between 2 1/2 hrs before dark and dark. Depends on which side of Mt. you are on and how far up the ridge you are located. It is HELL on top with wind going every which way with no rime or reason.
My 8,000' to 12,000' elk usually come down to ranches at night, which are private, and most of the USFS in the HOOD is 25 to 40 degree slopes -north facing-1 mile from closest trail-and DANGEROUS footing! Thats where the ELK are- go get'em!
Son, The first shot is the important one - the others just make him run faster! Grandpa 1949 NRA Life Member 1970
Thank you so much for the reply and advice! I really appreciate it. I'll just have to get back in the backcountry and figure it out. I'm so excited and I can't wait! To be honest with you, I'm dropping the first elk that gets within range! Once I get the first one under my belt, I'll be a little more selective.
When I use to backpack hunt a lot everything was with me 24/7 so when it got dark that's where I spent the night within reason. I preferred being high on a ridge at daylight making sure that the sun would be at my back when looking into the drainage of choice and would have the updrafts in my favor. If you're by yourself and quiet you won't disturbed them. No fires....no talking if with a partner.
If you're going to set up a "camp" then you would want a good cushion between you and the area you want to hunt.
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OK, that makes sense. So you'll just stop and set up the bivy sac and sleep right were you are at, with no camp fire. That was another thing I was thinking about sleeping up high is that you'll be in a good position to start glassing as soon as you rolled out of your sleeping bag.
In my experience you will want to be up high at first light. Elk are somewhat predictable and you will find there are spots that elk just seem to gravitate to. Sometimes you can almost set a clock by them. I wouldnt waste my time and energy hunting all day just morning and evening when they are out feeding. that being said I would set up camp in a little hole somewhere where you are kind of away from your main elk hunting locations but still reasonably close. I would tend to stay high.
Get a JOB! I already feed the bears, I dont need to feed you too!
" Real elk guns start with the number 3 or bigger and blow two holes, one in and one out." - My Dad