Where to set up?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by chad44, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. chad44

    chad44 Well-Known Member

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    I've been going to the same area for a few years now and have always set up camp in a spot where no elk will be disturbed. I'm not in love with this camping spot at all. It's cramped and has no feed for horses. There is a sweet spot up a ways but it puts us in sight of elk while they travel to and from bedding/feeding areas. Not on the trail but around 200 yards from it. Also there is a wallow not too far. I gues I'm asking if us being there will mess them all up? Are you very concerned with where you camp vs where the elk are???
    Thanks
     
  2. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    I don't care what you hunt , if you set up camp on them they will move! In sight at less than 200yrds and you got to ask? On something like will I disturb the elk , if you got a doubt then you know the answer.
     

  3. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

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    Generally speaking I think being too close is bad, especially in big open country where the elk will just push to a new area when bothered.

    With that said i set my camp up right in elk country. I found the campsight by trial and error, spending over a decade in the same general area. At first did not camp as close, but over the years I have found I am not bothering them.

    The tent is in a clearing that is right next to a large aspen forest, then roughly 250 yards away the dark timber starts. The elk bed in the middle of the Timber, and I guess they just feel safe in the timber since it's nearly impossible to hunt them there (successfully).

    The past 9 bulls me and a few buddies have pulled out have all been under 3/4 of a mile from the tent, where we set up to catch the elk moving to/from the timber for food/water. The closest bull being less than 600 yards from the tent. Average is ~1/2 mile.

    In 2010 a herd pushed right through camp in the evening of the 3rd day of the season within 50 yards of the tent. Just nobody was in camp to do anything about it.

    So my thought is that if there is thick timber nearby where the elk feel very safe and you know they bed down regularly, then give your new camp spot a try. Just don't start hiking in the morning until you have shooting light or you will spook the elk walking up on them in the dark.

    And, it's pretty wild to hear a bull bugle in the middle of the night 50 yards from your tent during hunting season...
     
  4. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

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    Just the thought of that made me smile from ear to ear...:)...I will hunt these critters someday....someday soon!

    I put in for the elk draw in TN this year but didn't get it...only 4 tags drawn and 2 giveaways, a youth and something else (promotional giveaway)

    It'll be tough to get drawn with only 6 tags up for grabs...I'd rather hunt them out west anyway, but I'll take a TN elk if thats all I can get...our herd is up to around 600 now.
     
  5. aspenbugle

    aspenbugle Well-Known Member

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    I think I'd have to second Timber338. The safest bet is, of course, to camp far away. However, I've had several similar hunt camp experiences. We've hunted one area here in CO for almost 30 years and seen and killed many elk within 3/4 mile of our tent and vehicles. My last three bulls fit that profile as well. I know where to find them and don't feel the need to spend the extra hour "commuting" - but I camp pretty quietly, and I'm probably closer to 3/4 mile from them vs. 200 yards. As Timber338 said, they seem to measure security more by cover than distance, and if their "safe place" still feels safe. The surest way to get them to move is find their bedding area and kick them out of there repeatedly (if they return after the 1st).

    Hard to say if you will mess up the hunting - if that is a definite travel route and your camp makes them feel more exposed, they will at least probably go more nocturnal on you. Some depends on how you camp also - if it sounds like a rock star party, you probably should allow more space. Although, there were a few years when some newbies made camp a lot louder than usual, and we still saw elk - they had lots of cover and just had to give the camp a few hundred yards berth. In many places they are used to chainsaws and people cutting wood, etc..

    When bowhunting in AZ for several years, I basically camped in the middle of them. They still had their "safe places" undisturbed, but they fed and bugled all around us, within 20 yards in the night. My wife tagged along just to camp and thought it was the coolest thing ever. All I had to do was sneak out of my bag and I was stalking elk within 70 yards of the tent come morning. I even came back to camp around 9 am once, where my wife and another couple were just camping and busy talking and making breakfast and was shocked to see elk feeding less than 70 yards away from them on the other side of a grove of small pines. Go figure.

    Again, more space is probably better, but it's not always the deal-breaker you think it would be in the right situation. In fact, at times, semi-close is better. 1) You don't make a lot of noise/commotion getting into and out of the area, 2) you get to sleep in :) , and 3) sometimes, especially when "claiming a spot" on the mountain with vehicles and tents etc. it can discourage other hunters from hunting as much nearby or, if you aren't there, from them moving in and camping right there where you want to hunt (so it can be the lesser of two evils at times).

    If you get real lucky, you can get one of those reclining camp chairs from Cabelas and sit in camp quietly drinking your coffee and shoot something from your easy chair :)
     
  6. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

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    I think Aspenbugle has some solid advice here. Was thinking that another plus to camping close is you really conserve your energy compared to camping further away. I used to do those huge epic voyages to find my elk, and although those memories are great adventures, they are very hard on the body. And then if you are archery hunting you don't get all sweaty and stinky just hiking to your hunting spot.
     
  7. elktaxi1

    elktaxi1 Well-Known Member

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    we have a camp that is setup in the middle of elk country we always make sure we have a rifle set up outside of the tent during the day. most of the time who ever stays in camp is first to fill there tag or atleast right there in the first few. i have even got a cow with a bow once bumped elk dont care whats in there way when they leave.
     
  8. Topgun 30-06

    Topgun 30-06 Well-Known Member

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    I'm with daveinjax on this one. We camp far enough that we aren't going to booger deer or elk with noise and/or scent and 200 yards in sight of them like the OP mentioned is a far cry from 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile! We must be doing something right because we've filled 8 of 9 Wyoming tags over the last ten years and the one that went unfilled was because my buddy passed a bunch of small ones waiting for the big boy to show up . Every bull we've taken was over 1 mile from a road and our camp and all were 6x6s and one 6x7 from 280" to 357 3/8" (see attached).
     

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  9. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Wow,That looks like where I antelope hunt, but that is even rougher and more broken up:)
     
  10. Topgun 30-06

    Topgun 30-06 Well-Known Member

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    This is where he was heading when we caught him right at first light opening morning in 2010.
     

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  11. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    I think the distance can vary quite a bit depending on the type of country you are hunting. Here in North Id., it is pretty heavy timber with typically a lot of logging roads. In this area, the elk get use to the traffic and are not prone to move as far away from it because they don't have as many options. In more open country, they obviously are spooked much more easily. Elk, unlike deer, when they are spooked may well change drainages.
    In general, the less activity in the area, the better. I killed close to 30 bulls by sleeping right in their kitchen over night and climbing up 90' in a large spruce where I had a comfy seat. When doing this, I was very careful to not leave any more sent than I could control and made zero noise, etc. Most of the shots were 400-600 yards so before they might have figured out I was in the area, they were already dead. I did have a LOT of sleepless nights listening to bugles and even hearing chewing etc.! On a couple of occasions, I watched legs moving as close as 15-20' away while peeking out of my sleeping bag. Lots of precious and lasting memories. Now that I've gotten into the longer range hunting, I sit in a "benchrest blind" 1000 yards accross the canyon and shoot over to where I use to sit........Rich