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Author Topic: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A  (Read 66949 times)

Offline JPhelps

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Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« on: May 01, 2014, 09:34:59 AM »
It is that time of year when  I start getting overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, Facebook messages, personal messages, etc....

So I thought I would post up a general location for you to ask any questions you may have regarding elk hunting. Anything from what I look for in a new spot, scouting, calling, packing, to cutting it up.  Not only does the forum allow the answer to be shared with everyone, more importantly it allows others to contribute with their own experience.

Offline arrowflinger

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 09:37:25 AM »
Tagging for sure.... :chuckle:

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 09:53:19 AM »
Jason, do you mix in some tree standing with your fall elk attack?  This will be my first year doing so (finally broke down and picked up a lightweight, fixed stand and climbing sticks) and was wondering (if you do some death from above setups), what do you look for when considering location/stand placement for wapiti?  Thanks in advance.  RJ 
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Offline D-Rock425

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 10:12:43 AM »
I do a lot of stand hunting for elk on the eastside.  I believe location is key.  Ive found a spot that funnels elk through the area from feeding spots at night down to daytime bedding areas.  It has 7 or 8 major trails leading to a wallow.  So it serves as a place elk want to come to and a pench point kinda.  I've called in many of the elk I've shot from that stand.

Offline JPhelps

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 11:24:01 AM »
RJ,
I don't tree stand hunt.  First because I'm not patient enough and second I'm not patient enough. My hunting style has evolved into a more aggressive get in tight and call them in the last little bit.

With that said If I was to advise on setting one up I would pick either a heavily used wallow (I don't have to guess what trail they are going to use) or a heavily used transition route between feed/bed.

I would use the wallow if there was thick or tough country to hunt and the heavily used trail when I was familiar with their bedding and feeding routine. Once the elk have been disrupted I would gravitate to Wallows.

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 11:34:56 AM »
Good copy Jason, thank you.  The same for me, patience is a huge issue but.... gonna give tree standing, even some ground blind aciton, a shot this year in a spot or two in WA and ID (mostly alder choked ID).  I've got a few spots similar to what you mentioned that may be potentially used for some evening sits.  Hopefully, I don't leap out of the stand and bolt into the brush when I hear the first, distant bugle :).  Thanks for your thoughts also on this topic DROCK. 
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Offline stromdiddily

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 01:17:54 PM »
Tag  :tup:
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Offline EyeTooth

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 01:35:03 PM »
Tag Too :tup:

Offline DIYARCHERYJUNKIE

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 01:42:37 PM »
So where did you shoot that pig of a bull?   :chuckle:  you said to ask.  This way everyone can see the location.  :chuckle:  just joking ya! 

What an offer though!  I look forward to gaining knowledge as it's posted.

Offline coop2424

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 02:03:28 PM »
Tagging I need all the help I can possibly get..

Offline steeliedrew

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 02:38:59 PM »
Jason,

I've been using mouth reeds for the last couple years and have gotten fairly good at it but I struggle with consistency.  I had a hard time getting any sounds out of them at first because I have a high, narrow pallet. I found that the Bugling Bull diapghram that is green in color and has the black plastic dome works best for me.  I was wondering if you make any mouth reeds that work well with a high and narrow pallet?

Thank you,

Drew
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Offline D-Rock425

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 02:45:08 PM »
What's your strategy for early season when bulls don't seem to be talking much?  When bulls aren't be vocal I try to sneak in to areas that I've seen bull sign in the past and cold call for a couple sets.  How long do you sit when cold calling?  I've made the mistake of getting up and busting bulls/elk that were coming.

Offline RB

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 02:51:57 PM »
In high pressure areas (such as Winston, Coweeman) I have found sign in reprod and bigger open timber during modern firearm. Which has the better potential for seeing Elk in the daylight and is it worth cow calling once in a while as a guy moves through, or is it better to wait until Elk are spotted and use it to help move in?
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Offline JPhelps

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 03:09:09 PM »
Drew,
High Narrow palates are tough. I offer a youth small frame that fits high in the palate. Have you tried bugling bull mini master tone top?  That should give you an even better fit than the green all star. 

Darrin,
When bulls don't seem to be talking I typically let my feet and eyes do the work. I try locating elk behind the glass and move in close. I have also found that in the month of September even though bulls may not be bugling on their own if I can get close enough most of the time I can force them to play the game.

I don't typically cold call. I "luke-warm" call. When I can smell them and see that they have been in the area recently I will call for an hour or so. I probably only use 6-8 calling sequences per hour. I also try and figure out where the elk are and combine that with wind direction (sometimes it's best to move on).

RB,
Are you talking about Rifle Season?  If so I only call when I want them to stop or to settle them down after spooking them. Other than that I don't call during rifle season.

Offline jackelope

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2014, 04:01:39 PM »
Jason-
Meant to ask you this a few weeks ago and never got around to it.
We had a bull I called in last fall stop in thick timber and start raking trees. I could see the trees swaying, he came in silent and hung up. He was about 60-70 yards and we couldn't see him. This went on for 10-15 minutes and eventually he wandered off. I could cow call and he'd start raking again for a short time, then stop. Cow call again, he'd get all wadded up and tear into the tree. Eventually I stopped all together thinking maybe he'd walk out or move or something to where we could see him....nothing. I tried a wimpy sounding bugle and got nothing. Eventually the wind swirled and he busted, but he busted calmly...just kinda trotted off.  Just curious what the right thing to do "could have" been in that scenario. I know I had no clue what to do and was just throwing stuff out there to no avail. It was thick brush/timber and we were outside of that on the edge of an open meadow, and there were some cows present...we could hear them calling back and forth too.

Thanks for this thread...cool idea, and sticky'd!
-Josh
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Offline bowhunterforever

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2014, 04:05:11 PM »
Tag :tup:
You know how to skin griz pilgram

Offline pd

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2014, 04:46:29 PM »
I am along for the ride, too.
Si vis pacem, para bellum

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2014, 04:54:03 PM »
Hey Josh, not sure what Jason's reply is gonna be but in that situation for me when elk or deer are raking hard like that I close the distance and move to where I can get a shot.  Imagine how loud those limbs are as the animal is raking them in between its ears.  It has worked 2 out of 3 times for me to get close enough to take a shot.  Once I connected on a deer, once the arrow came off my rest, the other time I got busted by a cow before I got to the bull.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

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Offline BOWHUNTER45

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2014, 05:18:50 PM »
Jackelope ...I know you ask Jason the question but I am sure there is more than one answer  :chuckle: I would have let him walk off and moved into where he was and try calling again  :twocents:  just like if I was turkey hunting ... :tup:

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 05:44:24 PM »
  We had a bull I called in last fall stop in thick timber and start raking trees. I could see the trees swaying, he came in silent and hung up. He was about 60-70 yards and we couldn't see him. This went on for 10-15 minutes and eventually he wandered off. I could cow call and he'd start raking again for a short time, then stop. Cow call again, he'd get all wadded up and tear into the tree. Eventually I stopped all together thinking maybe he'd walk out or move or something to where we could see him....nothing. I tried a wimpy sounding bugle and got nothing. Eventually the wind swirled and he busted, but he busted calmly...just kinda trotted off.  Just curious what the right thing to do "could have" been in that scenario. I know I had no clue what to do and was just throwing stuff out there to no avail. It was thick brush/timber and we were outside of that on the edge of an open meadow, and there were some cows present...we could hear them calling back and forth too. 

Curious to hear Jason's thought on this but here's my .02 (which is probably worth about that much  :P ).  Although it's very tempting, it is not usually a good idea to set up too close to meadows, particularly on the edge when calling.  Too much space and too many things that can go wrong.  It's best to be in the timber at least 40 or 50 yards (at least).  About that bull that came in and raking his butt off.. he was advertising to you and your cow calls (saying I am so cool and such a handsome guy, YOU, need to come over here now).  Later in the rut when this guy becomes a bit more vocal, he quite possibly would have thrown some chuckles your way which is in essence, the same message.  I believe your best chance, cover/concealment/wind permitting, would have been to give him what he's asking for... your presence much closer.  He got suspicious after a while that this cow would not come in to his advertising and headed out.  Just my meager thoughts brother.  RJ     
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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2014, 05:54:43 PM »
Jason,

         I'm about as green as they come when it comes to elk hunting (this will be my 3rd year), and come early Sept I would rather be "hunting" elk rather than "scouting" for them . What do you look for when scouting this time of year, and can you take me through the following months leading up to opening day?

Respectfully,
Tm

Offline JPhelps

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2014, 06:04:48 PM »
Jason-
Meant to ask you this a few weeks ago and never got around to it.
We had a bull I called in last fall stop in thick timber and start raking trees. I could see the trees swaying, he came in silent and hung up. He was about 60-70 yards and we couldn't see him. This went on for 10-15 minutes and eventually he wandered off. I could cow call and he'd start raking again for a short time, then stop. Cow call again, he'd get all wadded up and tear into the tree. Eventually I stopped all together thinking maybe he'd walk out or move or something to where we could see him....nothing. I tried a wimpy sounding bugle and got nothing. Eventually the wind swirled and he busted, but he busted calmly...just kinda trotted off.  Just curious what the right thing to do "could have" been in that scenario. I know I had no clue what to do and was just throwing stuff out there to no avail. It was thick brush/timber and we were outside of that on the edge of an open meadow, and there were some cows present...we could hear them calling back and forth too.

Thanks for this thread...cool idea, and sticky'd!
-Josh


Josh,
He was at an advantage being able to see out into the brighter open area.  One thing I have found is that when a bull is raking you can make up ground on them.  You could have tried moving closer (If it was possible).  Could you tell if it was a herd bull that had left his cows or a satellite bull?  I'm thinking if it was a herd bull he may not have been willing to get any further from his cows.  Also he expected you as a cow to go to him? 

That is a tough one and a lot of times the decision is made in the field, in the moment.


Offline JPhelps

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2014, 06:09:24 PM »
Jason,

         I'm about as green as they come when it comes to elk hunting (this will be my 3rd year), and come early Sept I would rather be "hunting" elk rather than "scouting" for them . What do you look for when scouting this time of year, and can you take me through the following months leading up to opening day?

Respectfully,
Tm

From the Computer: Areas that have food, water and bedding.  Hidden pockets away from pressure
Boots on the Ground: Rubs, Tracks/Trails (depending on where you hunt some elk NEVER migrate), and real elk.

As season gets closer keep asking questions and I will keep you updated with my scouting progression and what I'm doing (exploring new areas, setting cams, finding elk and patterning).

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2014, 06:39:10 PM »
Jason, what is your preference when finally "in close" to a bull with cows.  Do you lean towards using what got you close in the first place (perhaps lost/pleading cow noises, letting the bull draw you in), or, have you had better success with "I'm gonna blow your head gear off" challenging bull sounds once in that critical very close zone?  Thank you sir.  I'm really enjoying this thread. 
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Offline JPhelps

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Re: Phelps/Hunt-Wa Elk Hunting Q&A
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2014, 10:01:21 PM »
My "GO TO" sequence is:
Start of with a needy estrus whine immediately followed by a Challenge Bugle.

I try painting the picture "one of your cows on the outskirts of the herd is going into estrus and this new bull is taking her".  This works best when you can close the distance to 60-100 yards (that is the caller). I love 2 man calling setups but what happens when the "threat" moves itself to 150 yards while the shooter is at 80 or 100?  In my opinion you have slightly stacked the odds against your setup.

 

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