Mustangs & Elk

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by jackem, May 19, 2012.

  1. jackem

    jackem Well-Known Member

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    A developing theory around here is where you find mustangs you won't find elk.

    Along the central CO/UT border lots of both but we are coming to the conclusion that as soon as you start seeing lots broomtails and their sign you need to find someplace else to hunt elk.

    Valid theory or not?

    Thanks

    Jack
     
  2. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    I kinda buy into that theory. I think it depends on how many horses or cattle are in a given area. I certainly don't know for sure but here where I live it's "open range" and where you find stock there is no game (elk deer) until the stock move on. As the stock move around so do the animals. We also run goats in this country for noxious weed control and let me tell you if you want to scoot the game animals out of a drainage just run a herd of goats in there.

    During elk season I make note of where on the range the stock are being pastured at a given time and hut elsewhere. Usually by elk season especially if there is weather my neighbors have gathered their stock and moved them down out of the prime elk country.
     

  3. mtelkhntr78

    mtelkhntr78 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure about how this applies to wild horses but I think it deffinetly applies to cattle and other livestock.
    My theory is elk and deer dont really like to be around those domestic animals. The reasons I think that are:

    1. Cattle are noisy. My theory is that with a bunch of cattle making noise it eliminates one of defense senses of elk. Hunting around mooing cows annoys me and I am guessing it annoys elk as well.
    2. Cattle are stinky. Cattle usually carry quite a bit of odor. My theory is all that smell masks many other smells and elk are not comfortable with that. in my opinion an elks ability to smell is their strongest defense. Take that away or diminish it in any way and I think they loose comfort.
    3. Where domestic animals people aren't to far behind. We all know how much elk love to be around people. I get the hunch they may associate the two.
    4. Competition for food. They all are eating the same thing more or less. Who wants competetion at your diner plate.

    When I am hunting and I see cattle I will move on. Some of my honey holes that hold elk all the time are vacant when cattle graze the area.

    I know the post has more to do with Wild Horses but I dont see why some of those things cant apply to both?
     
  4. jackem

    jackem Well-Known Member

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    Gents, I appreciate the responses, the theory stands for me anyway.

    As for being stinky horses may not be as bad as cattle but judging by the gigantic piles of horse turds all over the place they gotta be a leading cause of global warming.:D

    I suppose it is better to have a wild horse problem than a wolf problem as some of you do.
     
  5. chas3stix

    chas3stix Well-Known Member

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    That was what I'd always heard. On an elk hunt in the Indian Peaks area of western Utah, we saw just the opposite. A small herd of mustangs bolted out of a small stand of trees and there were several elk running with the pack. The next morning my friend with the elk tag downed a nice 364 BC bull in the same area. Go figure....
     
  6. silvertip-co

    silvertip-co Well-Known Member

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    ...for my .02 I'll just say I've OFTEN seen deer and antelope in particular in feeding WITH cattle and sometimes with horses. And occasionally I have seen elk feeding in near cattle. Good theory from the hunters standpoint I suppose, but far from a hard and fast rule. Just reporting my observations.
     
  7. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Probably a lot of variables in play, but in general I think feral horses have a negative impact on elk and other wildlife. I've seen them drive elk off a waterhole, and their grazing habits can definitely limit the amount of forage left for others. Some of the newer guzzlers installed for wildlife have features that help keep horses out.
     
  8. jackem

    jackem Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, my question was meant to be 'in general' rather than a hard and fast rule.


    Jack
     
  9. mrbigtexan

    mrbigtexan Well-Known Member

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    i too have seen deer feeding alongside of cattle.
     
  10. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

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    Don't know bout wild horses, but cows definitely push most wildlife out or at least to the edges of thier grazing, & noise. Ive been moving cows since I was in diapers. It's definitely a pattern, BUT not a hard & fast rule. If you salt the hills, (& I'm talking 14,000 acre pastures with sagebrush, & juniper -or cedars as our southern buddies call it- with 300-350 pair, & about 30+ bulls) forcing your cows to graze the entire hill, & keep up on moving your cows out of the creek bottoms etc. the wildlife tends to stay around a bit more. Depending on the weather, & how hard you grazed a parcel of land, & depending on pressure from neighboring places etc. all dictates how fast the critters settle back in when your cows are gone. I'm also guessing geography has a lot to do with it. Last two times I was in Texas, I never saw a hill one that could be salted, nor any gullies, draws, or canyons to run cows out of. Flat as a pancake. But it had obstacles just the same. I've never seen thorn brush (or mesquite) so dang thick. I can't imagine moving cows without some dang good dogs in that country. So I can definitely see where results, & experiences may differ grately, strictly based on your geographic location.

    Winter time is altogether different. I've chased Elk off hay I was still feeding to the cows from the back of a pickup.
    I also watched a cagy ol cowhand fill his tag by taking a bucket of apples & coaxing some horses to walk with him out to the middle of a pasture so he was close enough to plug one with his ol .32 Winchester.

    There are no hard & fast rules on it imo, but if I'm hunting an area & find livestock there I leave, or hunt the fringes. I don't waste my time in the middle of em.

    Mustangs tend to rule wherever they're running, but usually aren't in one place too long. I could see how they could intimidate huntable critters out of an area for a short time.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012