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Elk Hunting.

Jackalope

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#1
I know some of you have chased them before, as for me I don't know shit all about them. I've listened to the elk talk podcast and those guys make a lot of sense. But really what I'm looking to understand is the psychology of an elk. In some regards they're similar to turkeys in that you can call them, they respond to calls, they get in groups with a central male figure etc. With turkeys I get them, well as much as you can understand the psychology of a damn pea-brained bird. I guess you can say I can read them pretty quick and for the most part know what they will and won't do. Just wondering if you guys had any observations around "now why the hell did he do that" for elk.
 

Quantum673

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#3
Wish I could help you out. I have only chased them once. That was in the Rockies. Only thing I learned was they do the exact opposite of what I thought they would. When the weather was nice I figured they would head up to higher elevation and more cover. Finally found them at lower elevations in small woodlots.

Basically I am saying I am no help. Worthless.

Sure hope you figure them out though.
 

Jackalope

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#4
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Ha! You guys remind me of the Elk Talk podcast where the guy from Sitka said he calls it the Costanza method. It's a Seinfeld episode where Kramer told George to do exactly the opposite of everything he thought he should be doing. Next thing you know George had money, women, and everyone knew him. He said sometimes in the elk woods he has to bust out the Costanza method if everything he's been trying Is wrong.
 
#5
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Ha! You guys remind me of the Elk Talk podcast where the guy from Sitka said he calls it the Costanza method. It's a Seinfeld episode where Kramer told George to do exactly the opposite of everything he thought he should be doing. Next thing you know George had money, women, and everyone knew him. He said sometimes in the elk woods he has to bust out the Costanza method if everything he's been trying Is wrong.
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#6
I hunted the Grand Mesa in Colorado first rifle, we butted up against a "trophy zone" I found a natural bottle neck which turned into a bowl and waited for pushed animals, it worked out for me on opening day by 3 I filled my cow tag. Other guys basically cover as much ground as possible, I would have started doing this 2nd day. So I am really no help either. If I were you I would start practicing shooting your bow while your out of breath. Literally find a good hill to climb go up and down a few times and then immediately shoot your big block. I did this with a .22 and felt like it helped me and my confidence.
 
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#7
diy elk hunting with a bow and arrow is an exercise in futility for eastern flatlanders unless you pour lots of time and/or money into it. or have connections locally wherever you're hunting. the hard part for non-residents is locating elk quickly enough to figure out how to ambush one before your trip is over.

disclaimer: I am probably the worst elk hunter in the world. I can usually figure stuff out, but my instincts have failed me miserably on my elk hunts.
 

Jackalope

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#8
diy elk hunting with a bow and arrow is an exercise in futility for eastern flatlanders unless you pour lots of time and/or money into it. or have connections locally wherever you're hunting. the hard part for non-residents is locating elk quickly enough to figure out how to ambush one before your trip is over.

disclaimer: I am probably the worst elk hunter in the world. I can usually figure stuff out, but my instincts have failed me miserably on my elk hunts.

Fortunately, I think we have a few things in our favor, one being a local resource who lives out there, two it's a rut hunt so they should be bugling, and last it's a limited draw area in Az managed for opportunity. I could see where the learning curve would be much much steeper if it was post rut with silent elk on an OTC unit though, or if the elk shutup on us.
 

Matt

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#9
Fortunately, I think we have a few things in our favor, one being a local resource who lives out there, two it's a rut hunt so they should be bugling, and last it's a limited draw area in Az managed for opportunity. I could see where the learning curve would be much much steeper if it was post rut with silent elk on an OTC unit though, or if the elk shutup on us.
I have heard that in heavily pressured areas the bugling shuts down significantly. I've never been elk hunting before, nor do I know what type of pressure your area gets hit by, so take this statement for what it's worth.
 

Thunderflight

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#10
Jamie is right, bow hunting is tough but its also exciting as hell. OK here is my 2 cents (which is probably worth less than that).

1. The wind is your enemy! It doesn't matter how clean you are, how hard its blowing/or not, if they smell you they are OUTTA there! Pay attention to the morning and evening thermals. IMO they are much more pronounced in the mountains.

2. If an elk sees you play it cool. They aren't like whitetails and will probably stare at you for several minutes (especially if you are down wind). If you wait it out you may get a shot. If they take off make a cow mew, sometimes that'll make them stop.

3. In the afternoon, when they are bedded, if you can get into the middle or close to the herd and let out a bugle you may be in for some action. Assuming the herd bull is a tough guy he may come charging in to fend off the intruder. If not and the whole herd disperses start hitting the cow mew like a lost calf. Holy cow it's incredible to see how they will try and find the lost calf.

4. Don't over bugle and over cow call. This is just my opinion, but if you over call the bull will pick up his cows and move off to avoid a fight. I have seen the same thing with cows if you over do it. IMO there is a fine line, which I don't really know, that they'll pick up and move off it something doesn't sound right. Cows are really vocal so I guess it just depends on how edgy they are.

5. Elk stink.... If you smell them they are close or have been there recently.

6. Hunt like a lion. Get up high, glass, find the elk, and then make your move. Your legs will appreciate it especially after a week of hard hunting.

7. You can't beat the wind. Don't bother trying.

8. If you happen to locate a bull in the same spot two days in a row, don't do the same thing you did yesterday (especially if he picked up his cows and left). My last Idaho hunt we found the same bull THREE times in the same area. Every time we did the same dang thing and didn't get a chance at him.
If you know where he is, try and get around and above him. Don't call, and try to sneak in close.

9. Be mindful of lightning because you'll be 8000 feet closer to it. Man, it's pretty spooky to be in a thunderstorm in the mountains.

10. Remember about the wind...…

11. Archery hunting is tough, even with your local friends. My experience is that it typically takes 5 to 7 days to figure out the elk. I don't know how long the season is, but if you can get there a few days early to scout and acclimate you'll be that much further ahead. If the season is 7, 10, 15, or more days try and stay as long as you can.

12. Get in shape. You don't have to in Mr studly crossfit shape, but strong legs/core and endurance will make your trip that much more fun. Like I said earlier, do a LOT of walking, like five to seven miles a day. If you have hills hike up and down them with a weighted pack. I always try to build up to 50 pounds even though most of the time I'll only have 15 on by back during the hunt (mostly water). Elk are heavy. I think a hind quarter alone is around 75 pounds, maybe more. Hopefully your pack out will be down hill... LOL (actually down hill is usually worse). If you don't have hills then just walk. Running helps too, but walking with a pack IMO works better in the long run.

13. If your buddies have killed a few elk then definitely listen to them, unless they tell you to not worry about the wind.

14. Smoking up probably won't help. I haven't had any luck with that.

15. Watch a few videos on the gutless method of breaking down your elk. If you are packing it out and can debone it, that'll save you 10 or 15 pounds.

16. I always pack high calorie snacks and water. You'll burn it off for sure. You definitely don't want to become dehydrated either. Severe heat craps SUCK! (By far the most painful thing I have ever experienced).

Take all of this for what its worth. I've been on six elk hunts and out of three I blew my opportunity. I guess the last thing I could offer, aside from playing the wind, is to set your expectations accordingly and have fun. Most likely you'll get bit by the wapiti bug and want to come back every year. It will literally change how you look at hunting whitetails (well at least for me). If I think of anything more, or lessons I learned, I'll post em later.
 
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#11
[QUOTE="5. Elk stink.... If you smell them they are close or have been there recently.[/QUOTE]

This is so true, after I killed my cow, I pushed for the rest of the guys and walked through an area which smelled like elk, wasnt long after that ab out 500 yards away, one of our hunter killed a satellite bull, the smell is sort like a deer smell only 50x stronger. U get a whiff of that your in the right area
 

giles

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#15
I wouldn’t count on the rut. Psychology...bud, I don’t know what I’m thinkjng or about to do, I sure as hell ain’t gonna try and figure it out for anything else.

BUT, I would study topography maps and try to find vantage points. This is how I hunted bear and moose. You can call moose in like elk. Moose have very poor eyesite though. If the moose didn’t respond to the call, I’d head them off.

KISS- keep it simple stupid...play the wind, and be prepared to take a 10 mile hike to stay out of sight. Compass in case of bad weather settling in.