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Author Topic: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest  (Read 8535 times)

Offline fishwhackin

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Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« on: November 10, 2010, 08:39:25 AM »
Looking to tag along at elk camp with some friends this weekend at elk camp.  Will be camping and hunting in the GP National Forest.  I will be kicking brush and looking for bear while they are out elk hunting.  Anyone happen to have any insight on good places (Not Honey Holes) in the GP to find more elk or bear than average?  Any help is greatly appreciated.  If no help, camp will still be fun and the weather is supposed to be nice!  Best of luck!

Online Wazukie

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2010, 08:41:33 AM »
best advice I can give you is to get away from the people.  there's a spot off the 9300 that has a slide across the road.  There has always been a lot of bear up in there but its a hike in  :)
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Offline fishwhackin

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2010, 09:36:40 AM »
Thanks for the heads up!  I am definately looking forward to getting out and putting miles on the boots.

Offline zackmioli

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2010, 02:11:52 PM »
what part of the gpnf are you going to be in?
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Offline fishwhackin

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 02:18:10 PM »
All I know right now is that we are going to be south of 12.  Most definately willing to travel a bit to get to better places.  Just my second time ever going down there.  Got a weekend off and figure I will try to make the best of it!

Offline longstevo

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 02:27:04 PM »
The whole national forest is a really neat area and there's elk all over the place.  Just gotta find 'em.

Haha, great advice, huh? 
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Offline fishwhackin

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2010, 02:52:18 PM »
Any advice that is legal and not going to get me hurt is good advice in my mind.  Pretty much going there to do one big hiking trip and if I get a bear down, mark it with the gps so I can come back for the trips to follow in order to get the rest of it out.  If I see any elk I will give my friends the coordinates to where they were at.  Small price to pay since I am expecting them to help me pack out a bear if I am fortunate enough to be given the opportunity!

Offline bowhunterty

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2010, 07:17:56 PM »
It will depend on how much snow is up there.

Offline zackmioli

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2010, 07:43:44 PM »
i was up there tuesday, snow level was about 2800 feet. above that there was about 4 inches of new snow just from the day. snowing hard. up near the junction of 25 and 99 it was slick and snowy. not many people were going further than that.

i didnt see any bear sign.
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Offline fishwhackin

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2010, 07:51:40 PM »
Thanks for the information.  I will probably try to stay at the snow line or little lower.  Figure the bears aren't too big into making snow angels.

Offline Thorny a$$

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 10:43:43 AM »
This post kicks butt. Yes, I've been a member for awhile but haven't had much time to participate in this awesome web site forum. Wife delivered twins boys 2 yrs ago. We've been busy, to say the least. Daddy's, slowing gaining more free time...Pheww... talk about PATIENCE!! holy moly.
This thread kicks tail by the way.
I cannot wait for the Gifford National Forest hunting and exploring in the future with my sons. Fun for me of late has been confined to keeping my ol' Ford 4WD pick-up in working order, dreaming of future freedom. 

How is the 'brush factor'  in GPNF?
Can you walk off roads and trails effectively? I about convinced myself last fall cruising Weyerhauser and DNR land that it's about a waste of time walking off trails with all the tight tree growth, shrubbery and logging debris in W. WA. I grew up big game hunting in E. WA and having a tough time learning W WA big game tactics. I love E WA National Forest land, but don't like the regs and distance from home.

What are your thoughts on hunting traveling off roads (either closed or open) or trails? Is it effective? Is it safe? Is it wise?

I'm dying to learn more about GPNF forest in general & brush & tree factors.
Logging still going on? I've heard some reports from jaded hunters saying due to logging inactivity in GPNF, numbers have decreased and hunting is tougher?Truth to that?

Thorny a$$ out!

P.S.
Oh yeah,  I got a really bad fishing habit too! : )

Offline tshoote30

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2010, 12:32:39 PM »
Well we just came back from the GPNF after a long week of hunting. we were up off the 65 camping at the horse camp just below Indian Haven. the timber is tough and sticking to the trails is not such a bad idea if you are not familiar. while we were there, just on the hill above us a fellow hunter headin up a rough trail and headin out into the deep dark got hinself lost and busted up his leg, BUT he was able to get his bearings from what i heard and was able to stumble down to a trail where he was picked up and brought back to his camp.
in the area we were at there was and has not been any clear cutting at all for wuite some time. the timber is TOUGH but there are a lot of elk up there just have to find them and be quick about making sure you have a legal one and a good shot. I seen alot of Cat tracks, bear tracks and bobcat tracks.
I saw alot of elk but could never tell if they were legal shooters, and could never really go after them because of the thick timber/brush, i could have been belly crawin and they would have been miles down the road. most everyone that i was and saw all headed up torwards the Indian haven area where alot of success from what i saw. when we left late last night we had about 4" of snow on the ground and there was about a foot up above.
this was our first year up there so we just were learning the land ect. my little brother got a nice little 4x4 opening morning and Almost a cougar but he got to excited and missed the shot.
not sure if that helps at all. good luck!

Offline RuttinWapati

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2010, 01:05:46 PM »
I did hunt the GPNF all the time up until 2-3 years ago, but the forest really grew up since logging operations completely stopped. The animals are still there, but you need to do your homework and pre season scouting. I hunted up around Timbered Peak and off the 64, Indian Heaven and off the 30 road for Elk. In some area's the forest service began thinning and that made it very hard to get thru let alone track animals. I would like to know when logging operations will start again. I know back when Clinton took office all the logging completely stopped. It's still a good area and if I hunted up there now, I would bowhunt Indian heaven at the placid lake entrance. Good luck too you and your boys.. Won't be long. Believe me they grow up to fast.

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Offline Thorny a$$

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2010, 02:19:01 PM »
 It's sounding thick, brush wise ?




Offline tshoote30

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2010, 02:28:29 PM »
It's sounding thick, brush wise ?





Yes very hard to get thru alot of the areas undetected. there are a few open areas that i was able to find BUT far and few between. the snow really helped to find the fresh tacks ect. but always led to a wall of nasty wall of thick brush....... I really hope they are able to do some logging up there.

Offline logger

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2010, 06:05:01 PM »
A few years ago the department of aggravation spent thousands of dollars on  a study of why the decrease of elk in the gifford, and when it was all said and done no logging was the problem, just like everybody was telling them all along for free. When there was logging they didn't have the elk problem in dowtown packwood like they do now.
go ahead on er.

Offline Bigshooter

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2010, 09:53:43 PM »
The best feed in the 513 and 516 is down town packwood.  And that's now joke.  Take a drive through town and you'll see elk.
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Offline couesbitten

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2010, 06:57:17 AM »
Yes very hard to get thru alot of the areas undetected. there are a few open areas that i was able to find BUT far and few between. the snow really helped to find the fresh tacks ect. but always led to a wall of nasty wall of thick brush....... I really hope they are able to do some logging up there.


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Offline Basket Rack

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2010, 08:51:21 AM »
I would like to know when logging operations will start again.

As long as we have the Endangered Species Act there will be little to no logging.  I would like to see a major fire that starts say just south of hwy 12 on the USFS prop. line and burns clear to Mt. Adams.

Offline logger

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2010, 09:11:41 AM »
I agree with that, let it burn thats the only way we will get good habitat again, when we used to log the national forest's there were elk everywhere, I don't think they need to go back to the heydays but they need to do something.
go ahead on er.

Offline elksnout

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2010, 10:31:06 PM »
Our party struggles to locate elk in our area in the GF. The clear cuts are all done now, save for a few peek a boo views. Pretty much a timber game so we about step on them when we do find 'em. On Thursday when the warden drove into camp to check our elk he said that he wished too that they would at least go in and thin the reprod to increase the feed which would bring back up the elk numbers. And this year there were way less hunters in there.

Offline haus

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2010, 07:24:58 PM »
Well I dunno about the whole of the GPNF, but I can provide some insight on the SE portion of it. Basically the Mt. Adams herd, South and east of Steamboat Rock in the GPNF.

I'd summarize hunting the Adams herd as being damn difficult until you put in a lot of time scouting. Sometimes just finding an elk is difficult let alone one you can put a bullet in.

In the GPNF there is a lot of area to pick through and all of it might hold some elk now and then, but it takes a lot of scouting to find the concentrated pockets. The Adams herd isn't very big and they have a ton of area to hide in.

We didn't have any luck this year but we came close several times, unfortunately we had to leave on Thursday just when I'd narrowed down a couple holding areas that I was confident could produce some success, since on Wednesday we chased they hell out of them. The snow hit hard on Tuesday and the elk locked up most of the day until late evening. I managed to sneak in on a herd, but I only got to stare frustratingly at a spike through my xhairs at 50yards. Wednesday was exciting, I was kinda like a Lab in the middle of a covey of quail, too many tracks going every which way lol. I got close to lots of elk all morning, but never got a legal bull in xhairs.

One thing I've learned about that area recently is that you have to be at the right elevation, which I applied this year and I was able to get close to elk every day. Though its hard to pinpoint them without a good snow. That's why it got so good for us on Wednesday. Without the snow they're scattered about and you can end up covering a ton of ground to no avail.

The Adams herd has been beat up bad by the amount of elk taken over last few years in the any elk units south of 560. Thankfully the WDFW ended that this year. They gave out many cow tags this year but at least there is a cap on the total take now. Poaching has done a lot of damage too, talked to some hunters that caught some brush pickers with elk stuffed under a heap of bear grass in their hauler in August.  :bash:

I've never seen much sign of cougars being around the area I hunt once the deer move out in September, but the bears are around in solid numbers.
Cut track of two bears on Wednesday within a few hundred yards of each other. Tailed one that I found mid day but the temps shot up and the snow was melting, lost him as he dropped elevation  :'(

As for logging.....they're logging on the 23 south of the 90 junction and down the 500. 6x feller bunchers. Bout damn time too, this is the first active logging I've seen in the area we hunt in many years.
Those guys looked like they were bustin butt everyday to get done before the snow pushes them out.



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Offline logger

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2010, 08:07:45 PM »
yep those guy's are bustin ass, we are on schedule to do a sale up by baby shoe in the future, I drove the 23 on average of 4 times a week except when it was snowed out,and only saw an elk a couple of times and never up high either, I would like to see them do several small sales all over the gpnf, without habitat we have nothing and I am also with haus when those elk come down into the troutlake valley during muzzleloader they can get hammered, hopefully there will be a better qauility hunt in the future. :twocents:
go ahead on er.

Offline fair-chase

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2010, 08:20:10 PM »
yep those guy's are bustin ass, we are on schedule to do a sale up by baby shoe in the future, I drove the 23 on average of 4 times a week except when it was snowed out,and only saw an elk a couple of times and never up high either, I would like to see them do several small sales all over the gpnf, without habitat we have nothing and I am also with haus when those elk come down into the troutlake valley during muzzleloader they can get hammered, hopefully there will be a better qauility hunt in the future. :twocents:

I've found myself in the middle of those shootouts on more than one occasion. Seems like everytime I get into the elk over there so does the rest of the country. Has gotten to be worse than modern rifle the last 5 years. I hope the new three point min will bring some balance back to that area. It's a step in the right direction anyways. Now just need to get some trees cut. What are you waiting for get to work logger. :chuckle:
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Offline logger

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Re: Elk hunting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2010, 08:25:18 PM »
We were on king mt. last year and I started feeling sorry for the elk, pretty high success rate that year, hell I ended up shootin a cow that had been gut shot, shot in the ass a couple times,poor thing just stood there begging to be put out her misery.
go ahead on er.

 



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