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Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

 
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  #1  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 26
Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Alright guys, I did a quick search but didn't come up with much. Here's the scoop.

I used to live in and hunt in Craig Colorado, and I got spoiled... Deer, elk, antelope, I tagged out every year. I wasn't "long range" back then. Mostly 300 yards or less. Animals were just everywhere and you could spot and stalk. Sagebrush and high desert sort of landscape made things pretty easy.

Fast forward. I live in Hood River Oregon now. I have been hunting the area for about 3 years now, and I have been completely unsuccessful. It is totally out of my spectrum. The woods here are THICK! So thick in places you cant even walk through them. And there are some elk around, but not a bunch. I have yet to draw a tag for eastern Oregon so I am stuck with a general tag for the Mt. Hood area.

My question is, can some of you guys with more experience recommend some tips on how I should be hunting these buggers? I have tried spot and stalk, didn't get past the "spot" stage... Tried chasing tracks in the snow, could never get close enough, tracked em all over the damn mountain.

By the time elk season rolls around, I feel I should be comfortable shooting to the max capable range I would consider for a 308 on elk, about 400-450 yards, not that it's likely I'll ever see one that far off...

I guess the general question is, long range or not, faced with thick ass woods and animals few and far between, what would you do?

My first thought is, "hunt like a bow hunter", but being a general tag, there are a ton of people out chasing these elk around, they are spooked 100% of the time.
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2013, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
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Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Build points elsewhere! You've set yourself a difficult goal, heavy cover, not many elk, lots of hunters. First realize your odds aren't good regardless of how you put in the time. I think time in and flexibility are the main points. Hunt the entire season if you can. I'd hunt clear cuts early and late in the day. If the woods are full of guys let them keep the elk moving. Midday I'd go in after them. This serves verifying elk are in and around where you choose to sit on. If not move. In the timber slow way down, then slow done some more. My guess is your hunt is post rut. The bulls that did all the breeding are wore out. Start out high and hunt down along the creeks looking for spots with enough food, H2O, and cover that elk don't have to move much, and is deep and dark enough nobody else is dumb enough to follow. A cow call helps cover some of the noise. A .308 isn't ideal in the extremes of this kind of hunt in my opinion.

Last, I'm speaking from way more failure than success, building points elsewhere is a bigger part of my strategy these days.
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2013, 04:17 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 26
Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Quote:
Originally Posted by HARPERC View Post
Build points elsewhere! You've set yourself a difficult goal, heavy cover, not many elk, lots of hunters. First realize your odds aren't good regardless of how you put in the time. I think time in and flexibility are the main points. Hunt the entire season if you can. I'd hunt clear cuts early and late in the day. If the woods are full of guys let them keep the elk moving. Midday I'd go in after them. This serves verifying elk are in and around where you choose to sit on. If not move. In the timber slow way down, then slow done some more. My guess is your hunt is post rut. The bulls that did all the breeding are wore out. Start out high and hunt down along the creeks looking for spots with enough food, H2O, and cover that elk don't have to move much, and is deep and dark enough nobody else is dumb enough to follow. A cow call helps cover some of the noise. A .308 isn't ideal in the extremes of this kind of hunt in my opinion.

Last, I'm speaking from way more failure than success, building points elsewhere is a bigger part of my strategy these days.
I have been collecting points for a Heppner tag and next year should be a shoe in for a branch bull tag.

I have run the numbers from years past and it looks like this season has a 7% success rate. I realize the odds are stacked against me, and I really am not looking at this year as a "Super hunt", just gonna treat it as time in the woods and if I see some elk that would be a huge bonus.

I agree the .308 is not optimal. I bought it as a donor and just haven't been able to finance the barrel swap for something zestier. Thinking 7mm/300WSM. But I figure 165 Grains at anything inside of 400 yards should be fine. That keeps me real close to the 1500 lb ft rule of thumb for elk. And like I said, chances are if I see one, I will probably be standing on him...

Thanks for the tips. I will keep that in mind when scouting. Look for the deep dark hellhole that no one wants to crawl into.
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2013, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
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Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Those are the main things. Have fun, learn a bit, and maybe make a friend or two while it happens. I do understand going where you can, and taking what you got. I got a bit tunnel visioned about it, thinking that type of hunting was all that was available. I could have started a bit earlier playing the points game, and using non-resident opportunities, they weren't as out of reach as I thought. Good Luck to you!
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  #5  
Old 09-11-2013, 04:59 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tooele, UT
Posts: 155
Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

I hunt in the Uintahs here every year for General Any Bull. Sounds a lot where your at except prob not as thick. My shots have ranged from 10 yds last year when a spike and cow walked right up behind me to a max of 80 yds across a small clearing. The main reason that I have shot a bull 3 out of the last 5 years is that while everyone else in my camp is back hanging out at camp I am out in the woods. Even if I just find a spot and sit and wait where I know elk move through often.

I at times almost think that finding a spot that elk travel through and just sit and wait would be more productive then busting through the trees and either having them smell or hear you way before you see them. I just make sure that I am out there as long as possible from daylight until dark and that is key.
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2013, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
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Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadhunter View Post
I hunt in the Uintahs here every year for General Any Bull. Sounds a lot where your at except prob not as thick. My shots have ranged from 10 yds last year when a spike and cow walked right up behind me to a max of 80 yds across a small clearing. The main reason that I have shot a bull 3 out of the last 5 years is that while everyone else in my camp is back hanging out at camp I am out in the woods. Even if I just find a spot and sit and wait where I know elk move through often.

I at times almost think that finding a spot that elk travel through and just sit and wait would be more productive then busting through the trees and either having them smell or hear you way before you see them. I just make sure that I am out there as long as possible from daylight until dark and that is key.
More good thoughts. Also for the OP to think about, Utah isn't as hard to accrue and maintain points as a non-resident as some others.
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2013, 05:54 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 26
Re: Hunting elk in THICK woods in Oregon

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadhunter View Post
I hunt in the Uintahs here every year for General Any Bull. Sounds a lot where your at except prob not as thick. My shots have ranged from 10 yds last year when a spike and cow walked right up behind me to a max of 80 yds across a small clearing. The main reason that I have shot a bull 3 out of the last 5 years is that while everyone else in my camp is back hanging out at camp I am out in the woods. Even if I just find a spot and sit and wait where I know elk move through often.

I at times almost think that finding a spot that elk travel through and just sit and wait would be more productive then busting through the trees and either having them smell or hear you way before you see them. I just make sure that I am out there as long as possible from daylight until dark and that is key.
This sounds about like my new gameplan. My hunting partner is fidgety. He can't just sit. So this year we are investing in walkie talkies so he can go traipse all over the mountain and I will chill in certain places throughout the day. We typically are out sun up to sun down, thats never really an issue. I am gonna scout out some spots where I can hike in and park my ass for a few hours and see what comes through.

As far as Utah goes, I dont typically have the funds for an out of state license, tag and trip. We have an infant so I barely afford my local hunts. I'd love to go back to Colorado some day for another whack at the promised land...
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