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Author Topic: Yakima Elk GMUs  (Read 2381 times)

Offline BigTines

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Yakima Elk GMUs
« on: April 17, 2017, 07:51:59 PM »
Ok so as I'm getting ready to put in for special hunt permits (antlerless and bull elk)  in the next few weeks I'm looking at Little Naches, Bumping, and Cowiche (maybe Nile and bethel too) and was wondering what the terrain is like in each? I assume it's different in each GMU. Also what each of you're take is on each GMU. Is there lots of public access? Just looking for best chance to fill the freezer and feed my family.

Yes I plan on doing lots of scouting and calling biologist etc just thought I would use this forum as one more source of info. Thanks for your input!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 08:24:14 PM by BigTines »

Offline TriggerMike

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 07:58:26 PM »
Alot of elk and alot of public land in all of those units. The further west you go, the higher the elevation you'll get. Go steep and deep and get away from your truck and you'll find some elk no doubt.

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Offline Mtnwalker

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 08:09:51 PM »
You'll have a great shot at filling the freezer in all those units under either category. I had cowiche cow last year and bethel bull the year before, filled both tags and both were great hunts. Lots of guys but lots of elk too. I have heard bumping can be challenging but have no personal experience in there.

Offline Brydawg512

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 09:08:26 PM »
Yes the terrain is very hilly, some plateaus and a lot of valleys and holes to hunt. I second what the other guys said. Get away from the roads and other people. Hike into some thicker, well protected area. If you can sit at a vantage point and watch these clear cuts or game trails. Good luck!

Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 09:23:02 PM »
Don't count on the permits when making your plans. This year especially.  So plan on chasing spikes with most everyone else. Pick an area you want to get to know well and just hunt the heck out of it. Set your self up for success in the future if/ when you draw a permit.

Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2017, 09:44:14 PM »
My backyard, so-to-speak. Great elk numbers - herd is actually above "objective" population goal.  But like has been said - with great elk comes great crowds, so +1 for steep and deep.  Bring a good scope, and pick a spot to camp that will give you access to the best glassing spots you can find.  Glass for an hour or two, then go on to the next spot.  Hit as many spots as you can, as far away from the roads as you can get, and your chances will be excellent. 


Offline BigTines

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 02:56:35 AM »
Thanks for all the tips on going deep and steep. And I agree I definitely will not be planning on drawing a permit. (I will plan on general season this year).

But back to my original questions...can anyone comment on terrain in each GMU? Is it timber? Open? Also I would love to hear some more insight on specific GMUs if anyone is willing to share. Which GMU would you recommend starting in?

Offline adamR

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 05:08:07 AM »
All of the units you listed are huge and besides bumping all of them start off with rolling sage hills and end up with thick dark timber.  Which style of hunting do you prefer, sage, mixed, or timber?  Little naches, Nile, and cowiche probably have the best clear cuts adjacent to dark timber.  Bethel, umtanum, and cowiche have the best sage brush and mixed habitat.  The one with the least amount of roads is definitely bumping.  Each unit holds a ton of elk and each one has a ton of public land.

To get a better answer you should tell us what terrain and type of hunt you are looking for?

Offline TriggerMike

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 09:48:53 AM »
From East to West, it starts relatively flatter and more open and gets progressively steeper and thicker the further West you go to the crest of the mountains.

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Offline BigTines

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 09:56:46 AM »
I have always hunted timber so that's what I am most comfortable with. Never hunted sage so I wouldn't know how to start. Mixed might work? I love to hike and walk and like to get away from the crowds if possible. (I know this might be difficult) I will be rifle hunting.

I am a pretty young guy so the idea of Bumping with less roads is appealing. I assume you don't have to have pack animals to be successful in Bumping? Is there good sized bulls in Bumping?

I noticed that cowiche has better than average success rates. Is this success typically in the open sage or timber? Is it easy to get away from other hunters?

I have heard a lot about peaches ridge(little naches) but it looks like there are way more hunters than the other GMUs and less success as well. Not sure why? Is there still areas in the little naches where you can get away from other hunters? Ie go steep and deep away from roads? Is it overcrowded?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 10:46:13 AM by BigTines »

Offline BigTines

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 10:04:15 AM »
Oh and PMs are welcome! (I realize this is a public forum!)

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 11:34:20 AM »
I have always hunted timber so that's what I am most comfortable with. Never hunted sage so I wouldn't know how to start. Mixed might work? I love to hike and walk and like to get away from the crowds if possible. (I know this might be difficult) I will be rifle hunting.

I am a pretty young guy so the idea of Bumping with less roads is appealing. I assume you don't have to have pack animals to be successful in Bumping? Is there good sized bulls in Bumping?

I noticed that cowiche has better than average success rates. Is this success typically in the open sage or timber? Is it easy to get away from other hunters?

I have heard a lot about peaches ridge(little naches) but it looks like there are way more hunters than the other GMUs and less success as well. Not sure why? Is there still areas in the little naches where you can get away from other hunters? Ie go steep and deep away from roads? Is it overcrowded?

In Cowiche Unit, there are pockets of elk in the sage during modern season but not much at all. At that time, they are still in the high country. They will be in the sage down low once the snow really starts falling in Nov/Dec, but that's when late archery takes place. My experience is that all the Yakima GMUs are a pumpkin patch during modern season. Last year a guy I know said there wasn't many hunters in Rimrock GMU during modern season. The nice thing about Rimrock is a lot of it is so thick it provides excellent cover for the elk. Most people don't want to hunt this way, but I know a few guys who swear by pushing thickets during archery or in modern season with a "brush gun" of some sort.

Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 11:52:03 AM »
I have always hunted timber so that's what I am most comfortable with. Never hunted sage so I wouldn't know how to start. Mixed might work? I love to hike and walk and like to get away from the crowds if possible. (I know this might be difficult) I will be rifle hunting.

I am a pretty young guy so the idea of Bumping with less roads is appealing. I assume you don't have to have pack animals to be successful in Bumping? Nope, but pack animals are nice if you want to get farther away from the roads. Is there good sized bulls in Bumping? Definitely. There's a good reason some of the more sought-after permits are in that area.

I noticed that cowiche has better than average success rates. Is this success typically in the open sage or timber? I think cowiche has better success mainly because it's laced with forest roads and ATV tracks.  Most of the open sage areas of Cowiche GMU are private, so I'm thinking the harvests happen more in the mixed country (which makes up the majority of the GMU) Is it easy to get away from other hunters? :dunno: Define "easy"...

I have heard a lot about peaches ridge(little naches) but it looks like there are way more hunters than the other GMUs and less success as well. Not sure why? Nearly 100% public land + tons of forest roads and motor trails = PEOPLE.  Elk are really good at avoiding people. Is there still areas in the little naches where you can get away from other hunters? Ie go steep and deep away from roads? That's the ticket! Is it overcrowded? :dunno: Define "overcrowded"...  You'll see a bunch of other hunters for sure but the Yakima herd is something like 11-12k animals.  There's a lot to go around.



Online maps should become your best friends, if they're not already.
https://caltopo.com/map.html
https://www.huntinggpsmaps.com (VERY worth the money IMHO if you don't have time to scout areas in person)
Obviously Google Earth

You can get a pretty good sense of the terrain and ecosystems by viewing maps and satellite photos, then plan a few trips this summer and hoof it.  The hiking in this area is outstanding anyway, so even if you decide not to hunt the area you picked to scout, it will hardly be wasted time.

Offline BigTines

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 08:08:43 AM »
Awesome thx for all the info! Time to put some miles on the boots.

Offline bishop311

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2017, 08:20:37 AM »
https://www.huntinggpsmaps.com (VERY worth the money IMHO if you don't have time to scout areas in person)
Obviously Google Earth

 :yeah:

OnXMaps is absolutely an amazing product and well worth the cost (which is reasonable)!  It is very accurate and kept up to date, and if you've enabled GPS services on your device then it will tell you exactly where you are, and it highlights all the land boundaries to let you know if you're on public municipal or State land, State Forest land, National Forest land or private property, etc.  It even lists WHO the private property owner is too if it is registered.  Invaluable tool to have for scouting to make sure you're not on land that is off limits.  I mean who wants to go hunting only to end up with a massive fine, a confiscated firearm and/or a jail stay?
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Offline Antlershed

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2017, 09:04:23 AM »
https://www.huntinggpsmaps.com (VERY worth the money IMHO if you don't have time to scout areas in person)
Obviously Google Earth

 :yeah:

OnXMaps is absolutely an amazing product and well worth the cost (which is reasonable)!  It is very accurate and kept up to date, and if you've enabled GPS services on your device then it will tell you exactly where you are, and it highlights all the land boundaries to let you know if you're on public municipal or State land, State Forest land, National Forest land or private property, etc.  It even lists WHO the private property owner is too if it is registered.  Invaluable tool to have for scouting to make sure you're not on land that is off limits.  I mean who wants to go hunting only to end up with a massive fine, a confiscated firearm and/or a jail stay?
Have you ever used OnX in the GMU's in question? Lots of inaccuracies in the road systems that I found in GMU 342 when I hunted it in 2015.  :twocents:

Offline bishop311

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 09:22:20 AM »
No, but I've used it when hunting down in South Texas.  I'm new to WA.  I didn't find any problems with it myself, but maybe there is more development and land ownership/title/status changes in WA?
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Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 12:19:37 PM »
Have you ever used OnX in the GMU's in question? Lots of inaccuracies in the road systems that I found in GMU 342 when I hunted it in 2015.  :twocents:

True, but that's no fault of OnX.  I have not seen a single map from any publisher (and I'm a map nerd and have looked extensively) that has accurate roads/closures/etc.  Even the brand new 2016 USFS maps are inaccurate re: the roads.

The best one I've found for road access is the "Yakima County Recreation Map" that you can buy at Forest Service offices.  I bought mine at the Naches ranger station -- not sure which other stations might carry it.  I don't have it in front of me so I can't tell you the publisher, but I know that I have not been able to find it online or anywhere besides the ranger stations. It's $12.50, if I remember right.

Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2017, 12:26:02 PM »
Also, just a note on OnX Maps: 

I don't understand the value in their expensive product options (GPS cards, etc.).  I guess I can see the value if you frequently hunt out of state and need the entire country's register of private land...  but I certainly wouldn't get any use out of that.

For $30 (or less if you use a coupon from their pros that make hunting shows on Sportsmans or YouTube...) you get all of WA's data, and can use your smartphone to do everything most people do with a handheld GPS. 

It's REAL easy to spend more than $30 on different print maps, so it's kindof a no-brainer to me... 

Offline White Pass Outfitters

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2017, 08:48:42 AM »
PM me with your questions, I can point you in a few directions to start scouting. Good luck on all your hunting adventures !!!
 
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Offline Yankee

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Re: Yakima Elk GMUs
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2017, 09:09:13 PM »
just out of curiosity, how many points do you have saved up?   I know of people with upwards of 10 points who still haven't gotten drawn for Peaches Ridge.....

 

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