Elk Rut Question

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by ricknolan, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. ricknolan

    ricknolan Well-Known Member

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    I am considering changing my 3rd season elk rifle hunt to an archery hunt this year. Considering going back to Colorado unit 74. I have been looking at the season dates and when the peak rut is likely to occur based on moon phase.

    I have heard that the peak of the rut generally falls 25 weeks after Easter (6 months and 1 week). If this is true the 2009 elk rut will peak between September 28 and October 9th. The Colorado archery season runs from August 29 through September 27th, thereby missing the presumed peak of the rut.

    Assuming the rutting period generally lasts a full month; if a fellow hunted the last 10 days of the season (Sept 18 to 27) he would likely be hunting the beginning of the rut or during the “pre” rut. There is a new moon on Sept 19th which some consider being the best moon for day time activity.

    My question then becomes, (not withstanding the archery vs. rifle debate) am I better off bow hunting, every though I will miss the peak rut or staying with the 3rd season rifle hunt.

    Good news for 2010, the peak rut hits between September 20 and October 1st.

    Your thoughts please
     

  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Plan your hunt 5 days each way of September 23 and you will hit the peak of the rut every year.
     

  3. peppy1hunting

    peppy1hunting Well-Known Member

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    If you can predict accurately the peak of the rut every year you could make a fortune!-My experience is there are many variables and you make the best "guess" you can come up with.
     
  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    If I were you, I'd hunt the last 2 weeks of the archery season. The moon is minimal, which will force more daylight activity. In my experience, the last 2 weeks of archery season have always been pretty good.

    Here is a great moon phase calendar Moon Phases Calendar / Moon Schedule

    AJ
     
  5. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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    i have found through many yrs experience that weather has an awful lot to do with rut activity...IE, hot dry weather = not much bugling. when a cold snap occurs during that time there will be lots of bugling. hunting pressure is also a big factor. that said however the best time is always around the last 2 wks of sept. i have called bulls in as late as the end of october though. AJ
     
  6. ricknolan

    ricknolan Well-Known Member

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  7. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    +1. The bottom-line is being out there and enjoying it, regardless!:D

    Good luck and happy safe hunting.
     
  8. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Agree with everyone else - last two weeks of Sept are the peak of rut, and it doesn't have anything to do with Easter. Easter vary's by several weeks year to year.

    Also weather and moon will play a aprt in the amount of daylight activity. cool rainy/snowy weather will usually bring a lot of activiety and the less moon out the better.

    -MR
     
  9. ricknolan

    ricknolan Well-Known Member

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    You are correct, Easter moves around from year to year. It is however always observed on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox.

    By definition (to me) the rut means when cows are ready to breed. I believe the primary trigger (the estrous cycle of cows), is dictated by hormones in the cow and this is triggered by the ratio between daylight and darkness (photoperiod).

    The cycling of the photoperiod each year is relatively constant (because of the fall equinox). So the cycling of hormones each year is relatively constant based on the moon, not dates on a calendar.

    I further believe that weather definitely affects observed behavior (i.e. hot, dry weather we may see little to no bugling (rutting) activity, in cold weather it might cause more, etc). Elk in both cold and warm climates breed each year. Therefore, I think weather has the least affect on the rut than any thing. I fully believe that the ratio of daylight to darkness is the primary factor affecting my definition of "the rut” just like it triggers many other activities in both plant and animal life.

    How many times over the years have you heard it said “there didn’t seem to be any rut this year...” yet every year, cows give birth to calves? Regardless of whether or not it is hot or cold or rather or not we observer rutting behavior, “rut happens!”

    As stated, I have heard that the peak of the rut generally falls 25 weeks after Easter (6 months and 1 week). In 2009 the Full moon following the spring equinox was April 9 (Easter was April 12). If you count forward 25 weeks you will land on the full moon in October 4th (or real close to it). Given the above theory of what triggers the rut you can clearly see the relationship between Easter and the rut. Or not.
     
  10. drowell

    drowell New Member

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    I have been following those prediction dates for the last couple of years myself. Last year (2009) I found myself in the middle of what was obviously a "peak". I have never heard so much noise and seen so many bulls. They were all going nuts still around noon. The bulls were acting plumb stupid. I had to work around several spikes that wanted to kiss me. I finally killed a 6 point. The date: September 26, 2009. Just a couple of days before the beginning of the predicted peak dates. I went hunting again a few days later and nothing, although some hunters reported peak activity after that. Weather, moon, wolves, etc. all have something to say about it.