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Lets talk about when and where you find elk

 
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:01 PM
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Lets talk about when and where you find elk

I have done a little searching and not found what I was looking for on here. I have read plenty of books on the subject and spent a lot of time in the woods. I am just looking for personal experiences here. The goal of this thread is to learn more about elk and how to find them.

First, I grew up hunting whitetail in MI and never have a problem finding deer. For that matter, I also see moose almost every time I am in the woods as well as lots of sheep, mountain goats and even turkey in some areas. I now live near Denver and am specifically looking for information on hunting elk in the high country of Colorado. However, this might be a good place to post information about other areas as well. If you post please name the state you hunt in and maybe what the conditions are like so we can all have a frame of reference for your information.

I see lots of elk sign (rubs, wallows, droppings, tracks), I also tend to see elk in their summer range. I know some calving areas and have found quite a few bedding sights in black timber type areas, but have yet to see a shootable elk during a hunting season. This year I have a first season either sex rifle tag for an area I know pretty well so my odds are good, but I am still looking for tips. Where should I look? What type of terrain do you have the best luck glassing? Where do you find elk pre-rut, during the rut, and post rut. There is very little chance that the elk will be heading to their wintering grounds during my season, but migration corridor hunting is interesting as well.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Maple Valley, Washington
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

I've seen elk herds in the Bridgers in Montana above 7.000 feet in a driving snow storm late in the season. I've seen single big bulls sprinkled around the bottom of canyons and top of ridges in Washington's Blue Mountains. I've had them near run me over in Washington's Clockum area when hunting pressure was high and it seemed there was a hunter behind every tree. I've stalked them when the only hunting pressure was me and had a herd drop off the backside of a mountain while I was still 300 yards away in heavy timber. According to my wife, three 6X6 bull elk were standing in six inches of snow in my front yard during hunting season while I was off chasing them in Eastern Washington. So... elk are where you find them and they are hard to sneak up on during hunting season.

Having said that, in general, the harder it is to get there, the more likely you will find some. For example, got 321 pounds of meat off a nice 6X6 bull in a hell hole (Devil's Canyon) in the Blue Mountains a few years back. It took four of us 3 days to get the meat and cape/horns (which have since been mounted) up to where the horses could get to it. The other thing I would say is you gotta be out looking when it is getting light and when it is getting dark. Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2014, 01:11 AM
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

I like to get up high and glass. looking at south facing slopes and old burns seem to be pretty productive for me. the first hour of light and the last hour of light usually see the most elk
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:54 AM
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

Not sure what type of country you are hunting, but you will find much more success leaving the bedding areas, dark timber areas for the elk to rest in. The best is to key in on feeding or transition areas. Spend more time stationary glassing and patterning the elk from a distance, this will keep from pushing them into the next county which can happen trying to find them in close quarters. Setting up on a transition area or a feeding area and letting the elk come out to you has worked much better for me.
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Old 08-17-2014, 11:36 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Arizona
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

WP, +1 on Elkhunter's post. Sit still, glass, pattern, and find the feeding or transition areas. I have hunted the same spot for 13 years (transition area) and once I found it, the spot has been very productive. Good luck
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:16 PM
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhunter1983 View Post
Not sure what type of country you are hunting, but you will find much more success leaving the bedding areas, dark timber areas for the elk to rest in. The best is to key in on feeding or transition areas. Spend more time stationary glassing and patterning the elk from a distance, this will keep from pushing them into the next county which can happen trying to find them in close quarters. Setting up on a transition area or a feeding area and letting the elk come out to you has worked much better for me.
I completely agree with this. Stay out their beds and the dark timber where they feel safe. Hunt them when they are feeding and going to and from their beds. If you bump elk in their beds, there is a good chance you will never see them again. I really like to glass before dark, then go in early and hunt them in the morning where you saw them the evening before.
Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 08-19-2014, 01:34 AM
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Re: Lets talk about when and where you find elk

I live here in NM and have hunted elk in ponderosa pine forest, juniper/ pinion and sagebrush areas. One area the elk would come on top of the mesa close to sunset and feed and rut all night there then head down into the canyons to bed for the day. Another area the elk would drop into the canyon bottoms evening and night and return to the mountain tops and canyons for the day. In the juniper/pinon sagebrush area I usually see them on the edge either going into the trees morning and coming out of them in the evening. Where they bedded was about two miles from where they would come forage for the night.

What I have learned is if you can find the food source then you can pattern where they are going/coming from. Sit high and glass to find a herd to pattern and then make a plan to intercept them. You do not want to blow them out as they can cover country and in a hurry. One year I had about 6 cows come running past me with their tongues hanging out and a very identifiable bull. I shot him and when we were headed out the forest service road we ran into another hunter who had shot at him, three miles from where I killed him about 30-45 minutes before I shot him.
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