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Author Topic: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions  (Read 1900 times)

Offline FarBeyondDriven

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Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« on: December 12, 2019, 03:10:29 PM »
Looking for Noobie elk hunters feedback - can you identify the most difficult info to find concrete answers to when starting out elk hunting?  Same goes for seasoned elk hunters, what were things you struggled with in the learning curve years?   We are finalizing our ElkShape Camp curriculum for 2020 and I'm digging in to see what questions are out there.  They can be questions that seem to be matter of opinion or just generally kind of grey.  Post what Q's you might have would help us, thank you in advance.
tame the mountains...train to hunt!

Online Parasite

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 12:22:59 PM »
My big problem as a newbie to Washington and elk hunting is finding elk. I've lived in Washington 16 months now and have only seen 1 herd. Makes it tough for a guy trying to pick the right unit.

Offline Twispriver

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 02:35:36 PM »
I started hunting elk in the Little Naches and Bumping units along 410 during the general season about 30 years ago. Where we hunted it is pretty thick with heavy timber so there was no glassing elk in the distance and planning a sneak but there were elk there and if you saw them it was close quarters. Back then I seemed to draw a cow tag about every other year and I always managed to fill them but it took me about four seasons to figure out that most of the elk I was seeing and all the ones I killed came to me when I wasn't moving. I was covering too much ground too fast hoping to find elk instead of thinking about where the elk might go and waiting for them. Once I changed the way I approached my elk hunting I covered less ground but hunted more productively. I've used that same approach to kill elk in Colorado, Oregon and Montana where calling or glassing wasn't an option.

Offline vandeman17

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2019, 03:36:07 PM »
Teach them how to read the regs and also how to correspond the regulations with maps.
" I have hunted almost every day of my life, the rest have been wasted"

Offline STIKNSTRINGBOW

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2019, 12:19:37 AM »
I got into elk hunting back when you just bought a tag and prayed for snow.
Any antlers during general, but could get a cow tag every few years.
Seems someone in our group of 4-5 always had one.
.
I became an elk hunter when I kept running into elk during deer season, and found out I could have been bowhunting the week before.....
.
The first thing I would do, if starting now, would be to look at WDFW harvest reports and see what units have the highest total harvest.
There are elk in those units.
Decide what animal you would harvest without posting an apology over its size.
Trophy elk don't come easy, but it happens...
.
Pick a unit, drive every road you legally can, just to get it out of your system.
Do that all summer long, stop and walk a few gates.
.
Look at it with mapping software, look for areas off those gates that you want to look at closer.
.
Don't be afraid to leave the road.
.
Learn the unit.
.
Elk are where you find them.
Knowing where to look is half the battle.
.
They only use a small portion of their area at a time.
They don't have clocks, or jobs.
Food, Water, and security cover is all they need.
Usually, unless disturbed, they just wander around and be elk.
Or they run and hide.
Knowing where they hide is why 90% of the elk are taken by 10% of the hunters.
Anyone can get lucky and find one in a clear cut...
The mountains are calling and I must go."
- John Muir
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
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Offline D

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2019, 07:19:55 AM »
How to shoot with control, no matter what!
This continues to be the most challenging part of elk hunting for me.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2019, 07:22:59 AM »
95% of elk hunters overcall.

Offline Cab

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2019, 08:37:49 AM »
Hardest part is how to get away from the crowd or use other hunters to your advantage. Any time I think I have found a good spot it has more than a handful of guys that hunt it. Also figuring out where the elk from your trail cam have gone come bow season. You can have 100's of photos of the same elk and than once the rut starts getting closer they will disappear. It can be really frustrating but that's why when you do kill one it's a time to celebrate.

Offline blackveltbowhunter

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2019, 10:18:32 AM »
    Here are a couple that I see pop up alot, and ultimatley leave alot of hunters spinning their wheels new and veteran alike.

  Q: When should I call? and to expand, When should I use X sound vs Y sound?

  IMO just as many guys undercall as overcall. At least when it comes to decent setups. (Im not reffereing to the bugling 4 wheeler, or BRO flatty burning up a tube a week). Myself included. The last several years I have been hunting more open terrain rather than thick timber, or western reprod, and I have found myself sneaking more than calling and can say without a doubt I have been in some situations I should have made some racket rather than waiting. Once your in a set up and the bull is playing along don't stick with one sound either. Mix it up, and include real elk noise like raking, breaking sticks, etc. I have witnessed lots of setups that might have actually worked if it wasn't the same hoochie mama every 30 seconds, even if the bull is hot he will get bored, give that hoochie mama a twist once in a while.

  Q: I have limited vacation and am planning my first Out of State Hunt, what week should I plan for? Usually included in this question is moon phase calendar and rut timing discussion.
 
  A: Any week of the season. Again I have fallen victim of the equinox grail and planning everything around it. The problem, so does everyone else. Elk shut up with pressure. They also come in heat outside the equinox. A hot cow in a unpressured draw can trigger a frenzy of activity that can be capitalized on. While a heavily pressured drainage may have everything bottled up so tight even though elk are breeding they are doing it silently or at night. If your first time in a new area, I wouldnt get to concerned about planning for the "best" week. It all has real potential. Learn the terrain, the rutting areas, and the local herds rut patterns/timing and then you will have a solid foundation for the future.

Offline cb1989

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2019, 12:21:12 PM »
Looking for Noobie elk hunters feedback - can you identify the most difficult info to find concrete answers to when starting out elk hunting?  Same goes for seasoned elk hunters, what were things you struggled with in the learning curve years?   We are finalizing our ElkShape Camp curriculum for 2020 and I'm digging in to see what questions are out there.  They can be questions that seem to be matter of opinion or just generally kind of grey.  Post what Q's you might have would help us, thank you in advance.

Couple questions: how much do you charge for your instant gratification course? how much of that is contributed to elk habitat work in return for profiting off a public resource? and how much is given back to thank all the experienced guys on forums like this who help you out?

I really HATE having to spend years learning things on my own and earning my rewards so I think I'm interested in your course. Also does it come with a membership to a crossfit gym? I feel like I'm not shredded enough and its costing me social media followers. I want to look like Cam Hanes in my IG pics, powercleaning my private land ranch bull. Is that something that comes with the course or is that extra.

Offline FarBeyondDriven

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2019, 03:54:48 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, I find it interesting reading everyone's journey and how many components are similar and many are different.  These were very helpful so thank you... except one comment, which is your classic keyboard cowboy in mom's basement spewing venom.  We are trying to get something lined up with RMEF for our camps in hopes to grow conservation efforts for our beloved elk resource.  Appreciate it!
tame the mountains...train to hunt!

Offline STIKNSTRINGBOW

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2019, 04:38:52 PM »
95% of elk hunters overcall.
Is it overcalling, or not knowing when to call?
Every year I hear other hunters bugling as they walk logging roads.
I can tell it's a hunter because they are, not only on the road, but fairly consistent in the sounds they are making.
I have also been in a drainage with a herd of elk that has 3, or more, bulls just going nuts.
Along with cow sounds, it can get pretty noisy in real elk.
.
I like to call, but only do it after I get into the area I am hunting.
I get more aggressive on my way out if I have had no responses.
if I walk out at night without hearing/seeing another elk all day (even after dark), then I go to a different gate.
I keep looking until I find elk.
Then I try to figure out how to get ahead of them.
.
It's easier to call an elk closer when it's already headed your way than it is to call one away from its comfort spot, or back to a place it just left...
The mountains are calling and I must go."
- John Muir
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
- John Burroughs
NASP Certified Basic Archery Instructor
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Offline 4fletch

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2019, 05:52:26 PM »
Shoot shoot shoot, be it a fire arm or a arrow , practice until it is first nature, make it so it is so easy it natural for you

Offline Lumpy Taters

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2019, 06:51:00 PM »
Practice shooting in the field not just at the range or backyard.  Use every resource you can find.  Get out of the truck and into the woods as often as possible.  Don't be afraid to mess up, it's how you learn.  Patience is key, you might get lucky right away but any kind of hunting is a learned skill that takes time to develop.  Too many people want instant results.

Offline 444Marlin

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Re: Rookie Elk Hunting Questions
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2019, 11:29:08 PM »
I really struggled with understanding all the gimmicks out there that they really over-sold in the hunting shows.  For example, I worried more about having the right scent controlling clothing and spray than actually playing the wind.  I obsessed over a lot of details and gear that didn't matter. I finally got tuned into some classic hunting/gun writers that really set me straight on things:
1. Observe.  That means slow down and be quiet, and glass.  Life is too short for bad glass.
2. Camo doesn't matter as much as being still and quiet.
3.  Being hidden, still and quiet doesn't matter at all if the animals are down wind from you.
4.  Finding animals doesn't matter if you can't hit them in the right spot.  And an 06' is about all you need.
5.  You can't kill as many animals if you're sitting around in camp drinking beer and playing cards.

 


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