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Author Topic: Planning for western wa elk  (Read 1532 times)

Offline sterlryu

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Planning for western wa elk
« on: December 09, 2019, 04:16:14 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm a newer hunter looking to prepare for westside elk hunting around Winston and Packwood for the general season next season as well as put in for a couple draw units. Broad strokes, this is what I think I'll plan to do over the next year, and would appreciate anyone's feedback on what I might be missing or should reconsider. Thank you in advance. 

Winter -
Scout where Elk have ended up post rut / migrated to
Learn to shoot a bow to extend my hunting season.

Spring -
More bow and firearms practice.
Research and draw for a hunt.
Purchase a Weyerhaueser permit.

Summer -
Go backpacking to get used to carrying a load and scout where I plan to hunt
Place some trail cams along game trails and water sources.
Contact landowners for permission if I see elk sign and tracks on private land.
Practice calling elk? Should I practice calling while scouting or will that spook the elk?
Sight-in rifle

Autumn -
Sight in rifle and reconfirm zero.
Plan pre-rut archery hunt, post-rut firearm hunt in the general seasons if I don't draw a quality hunt.

Offline STIKNSTRINGBOW

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2019, 04:34:05 PM »
Only able to use one weapon, unless drawn for multi.
The mountains are calling and I must go."
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Offline smdave

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2019, 04:36:35 PM »
You can use other weapons during Modern not just the Rifle.

You can only hunt one weapon season without the multi season permit
« Last Edit: December 09, 2019, 04:45:29 PM by smdave »
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Offline kselkhunter

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 04:53:49 PM »


Autumn -

Plan pre-rut archery hunt, post-rut firearm hunt in the general seasons if I don't draw a quality hunt.

You'll know before the May special permit deadline whether you drew a multi-season tag (spring).  If not, then you won't have to wait til Autumn to plan if you're going archery or rifle.  You'll know in June based on if you draw that specific special permit, or have to choose which weapon (archery or rifle).   So you can start planning much sooner than Autumn.


You mention buying a Weyerhauser permit, backpacking, and asking private landowners for permission.  That is a heck of a lot of ground to cover for a new hunter between the national forest land (backpacking), Weyerhauser land, and other possible private lands.   I'd suggest focusing on learning a smaller area starting out.   


Definitely spend time in the woods learning the terrain as much as you can.   That is a heavily pressured area, so the more you know where the elk might escape to when pressured the higher your odds of success. 

Offline tinsleystyle

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 05:00:02 PM »
Don't bother preparing for a late hunt in Winston or Packwood... there isn't one.

Offline duckmen1

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2019, 05:32:49 PM »
"Contact landowners for permission if I see elk sign and tracks on private land. "

A little confused about that part. Lol I'm sure I understand what your meaning though.

But always good to get a yearly game plan.
My prey is my biggest enemy. That's why my first shot is lethal.

Offline Bullkllr

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2019, 06:16:50 PM »
If you get the Weyerhaueser permit, it might be a good idea to spend enough time in there to learn it and build enough confidence to hunt it. Don't give up right away. :twocents:
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Offline sterlryu

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2019, 09:29:54 AM »
Thanks everyone for the input,

Didn't realize that multi-season tag was also a draw, so I'll make sure to put in for it and change plans if I don't pick one up.

And also it's great advice to focus on either national forest or weyerhaeueser or other private lands and really get to know the area. I might just do national forest rather than pay upfront.

Offline 444Marlin

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019, 01:33:12 PM »
A good plan to start early.  My advice is to lay off the scouting during the winter and spring.  This is sensitive time for the herds and if there's a hard winter, it can cause unnecessary hardship on them.  Use your electronic scouting methods now.

If you're going to bow hunt, now is the time to purchase a bow and get it dialed in. 4 weeks before the season, it'll be tough to get any work done on your bow by a proshop.

Physical conditioning is important year round and will help you hunt better regardless of what season or area you hunt.  Hiking with a loaded pack and physical outdoor labor is the best work to help get you conditioned.

Online Sundance

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2019, 03:47:03 PM »
https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/management/game-harvest/2018/elk-general

Use this tool to research units. Take into account number of hunters and bulls/cows harvested for statistics. Also be aware of if the unit you are looking at has an early and late season for archery or muzzy. Use OnX maps to determine if the unit has public or private timber company access, some timber companies may require a pay for access permit. With the minimal amount of rainfall thus far the chances could be high that we experience a fire danger season and many private timber companies may close access for early archery season. My advice is pick a unit with decent numbers close to home and learn that area. Pick a weapon that gives you a long season or two seasons (early/late) or buy a leftover multi-season tag if you don't draw.   

Offline MADMAX

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2019, 03:55:15 PM »
And be ready to meet 100s of new “friends”
Secure multiple camp area choices within the area you intend to hunt as well
It gets crowded
Keep the wind in your hair, and the sun at your back.


A gun is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.



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Fine figure of a man, yes?
That is all you need to know."

Offline bkaech

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2019, 11:23:37 PM »
Awesome! Good luck.

I think the most important thing is finding areas that elk like to be. That just takes time in the field, driving roads can be boring but effective scouting, especially for winter and spring scouting. Just get out in the woods and look for elk sign, the more you do that the better chance you will have of finding elk during the season. Just keep in mind that when they get pressured they change their habits and often stick to thicker cover.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2019, 06:37:08 AM »
A good plan to start early.  My advice is to lay off the scouting during the winter and spring.  This is sensitive time for the herds and if there's a hard winter, it can cause unnecessary hardship on them.  Use your electronic scouting methods now.

If you're going to bow hunt, now is the time to purchase a bow and get it dialed in. 4 weeks before the season, it'll be tough to get any work done on your bow by a proshop.

Physical conditioning is important year round and will help you hunt better regardless of what season or area you hunt.  Hiking with a loaded pack and physical outdoor labor is the best work to help get you conditioned.

Develop a relationship with a bow pro shop. Archery World in Vancouver supports their customer incredibly. Like other shops, when you buy a bow from them, they'll set it up for you, give you some lane time, and support your equipment. A decade ago, one of my limbs split three weeks before the season. It was an old bow. They got me a warranty replacement within 3 or 4 days with a new Hoyt, moved all of my stuff over to the new bow, and all of this during their busiest time of the year, at no charge. When you buy a bow online or used from someone, you don't get sized, you don't get to shoot the bow, and you don't get to explore other options of which you weren't aware. Use a shop.

The area you're planning to hunt holds a lot of elk, maybe a lot fewer than a decade ago, but a lot. If you're planning on a Weyerhauser pass, keep in mind that it's possible the land will be closed for fire danger if we have a normally dry summer. You should explore your other options in the area, like state forest and DNR land in advance. Ryderwood has a fair slice of public access land. Scouting isn't difficult in these areas, but as stated above, leave the elk alone until the snow's off the ground. They're not going to hang out in the same areas during the season, anyway. Scouring maps of these areas during the winter and early spring will show you the points furthest from the roads (which are many), and geographical characteristics which will protect elk during the day. If you have a GPS with a chip, get OnX maps and get the combo which allows you to upload your maps to the desktop on programs like Garmin Basecamp. If not, get the smart phone version, keeping in mind that smart phones out of range need to have the map sections saved to work and they usually don't hold a charge as long as a GPS.

Happy hunting and welcome to the forum.  :tup:
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Offline Jonathan_S

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2019, 06:55:16 AM »
Good advice so far.

One thing I'd caution you, particularly in those high pressure units: you don't know your hunting area until it's hunting season for the first time. You can scout all summer but things change a LOT when people start shooting and driving at them. Especially elk
“Kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with too many facts.”

Offline sterlryu

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Re: Planning for western wa elk
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2019, 02:26:32 PM »
That's good advice about laying off the elk in the winter and how elk will not necessarily be in the same spots when pressured during the season. Is scouting in the summer just about finding general areas that have elk and is it usually better to plan more time to camp out before opening day to look for elk right before the season?

I'll definitely drop by a bow pro shop this month - I have a lot of trigger time with a rifle from the military, but archery is a completely new skill and I want to be good enough to feel confident next fall.

 


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