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Author Topic: Muzzy elk tactics???  (Read 1094 times)

Offline NorseNW

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Muzzy elk tactics???
« on: September 24, 2022, 10:46:51 AM »
Did some searches and just scrolled back over the past couple of years of posts in the muzzleloader forum.  I'm looking for what strategy or tactics folks use in the early muzzleloader season.  Calling (bugle or cow)?  Spot and stalk?  Sit on used trails?  Looking at options of for multi-season tag or changing weapons choice in the future. 

I hunt West side GMUs in case that makes a difference.

Thanks for anyone willing to share their plans!

Offline usmc74

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2022, 11:18:10 AM »
I still hunt, spot, and Stalk VERY slowly (I am old!).  Usually wet side.

Offline highside74

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2022, 01:22:04 PM »
Oct 1st is definitely time to use calling options. Elk will be vocal in the mornings and evenings. If I'm hunting new areas I generally want to be in the woods listening hours after dark and hours before light to hopefully locate elk in the area and then make a plan for the day.

Offline NorseNW

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2022, 04:46:14 AM »
I appreciate the input.  I also want to admit I'm an idiot with the search function. Clearly there appears to be plenty of tactics / strategy in the Elk Forum.  I only searched in Muzzleloader.  I get the dummy award for that one.  My research abilities are lacking!

Thanks again and good luck out there front stuffers!

Offline bkaech

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2022, 07:27:37 AM »
I think the best way to hunt elk is how your are comfortable. I don't call much to elk during the muzzy season, but I have been doing it more recently and is something I plan to continue to increase. I think cow calls are more likely to bring bulls in in the later part of the rut than bugles. Bugling may help you locate, but I find that elk are tired of fighting and just want to be near any cows that may still come into heat. But I think you should find areas that you can hunt in the way you are most comfortable. I have killed more elk doing what I have always done than when trying something new. My go to tactic is to spend time where the elk are...cover lots of ground to find elk, when I find tracks I follow them, then go slow and hang out all day in areas where the elk have been or are likely to be based on sign. I keep moving all day but that is just what I prefer.  Do what you are good at and if you are around elk you will get it done.

Offline NorseNW

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2022, 08:34:27 AM »
I think the best way to hunt elk is how your are comfortable. I don't call much to elk during the muzzy season, but I have been doing it more recently and is something I plan to continue to increase. I think cow calls are more likely to bring bulls in in the later part of the rut than bugles. Bugling may help you locate, but I find that elk are tired of fighting and just want to be near any cows that may still come into heat. But I think you should find areas that you can hunt in the way you are most comfortable. I have killed more elk doing what I have always done than when trying something new. My go to tactic is to spend time where the elk are...cover lots of ground to find elk, when I find tracks I follow them, then go slow and hang out all day in areas where the elk have been or are likely to be based on sign. I keep moving all day but that is just what I prefer.  Do what you are good at and if you are around elk you will get it done.

bkaech - thank you for taking the time to give your insight.  I definitely need to do better with covering ground and learning an area.  I've been at it for 5 years now with one shot opportunity that I screwed up the setup on and never got to take the shot.  I've changed areas twice in that time. 

I know you are correct with do what you are good at but my problem is - I don't think I'm very good at anything at this point.  Don't get me wrong I'm not giving up just putting in the work the best I can.  As I told my wife this season (she hunts with me) I feel like I'm the front seat passenger on the elk hunting struggle bus - just trying to get off the bus at the next stop!

Offline HntnFsh

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2022, 08:56:35 AM »
I think the best way to hunt elk is how your are comfortable. I don't call much to elk during the muzzy season, but I have been doing it more recently and is something I plan to continue to increase. I think cow calls are more likely to bring bulls in in the later part of the rut than bugles. Bugling may help you locate, but I find that elk are tired of fighting and just want to be near any cows that may still come into heat. But I think you should find areas that you can hunt in the way you are most comfortable. I have killed more elk doing what I have always done than when trying something new. My go to tactic is to spend time where the elk are...cover lots of ground to find elk, when I find tracks I follow them, then go slow and hang out all day in areas where the elk have been or are likely to be based on sign. I keep moving all day but that is just what I prefer.  Do what you are good at and if you are around elk you will get it done.

This is pretty close to what I do. I feel I have been very successful at muzzy elk hunting. Cant tell you how many times I have followed track that led me to my next elk harvest. If I'm not actively in pursuit or trying to find elk I already located I will drive and look for sign.  Its paid off many times!

Offline bkaech

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2022, 04:47:23 PM »
There are times and places where I will walk through the woods at a decently average pace and not worry about noise or even am too concerned about wind, If I jump the elk up and I hear them run away, or see their fresh tracks I know I am in business. West Side elk don't tend to go too far when they are jumped. After that I move slowly and follow their tracks, I almost always get close to those elk again. I say this because this is not a tactic that works in the open country that you see on TV and people don't use it much, but it is really important for how I hunt. I can cover much more ground than the basic "still hunting" tactics. But this won't work for everyone everywhere, there is a lot of nuisances to this technique and I spent many years hunting with more experienced better hunters than I that taught me different versions of this. I think the biggest part of my elk hunting success comes from being in the woods, looking for sign (which includes driving roads) every hour of daylight during the season.

Offline Peewee

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Re: Muzzy elk tactics???
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2022, 12:25:37 PM »
In western wa guys who can read sign and track elk really well do 90% of the killing, keep a cow call handy and walk them down, most people lose the tracks or just plain give up.
1 tactic is to drive super slow watching the ditch line until u cut tracks, park your truck mark it with your gps and dog those tracks until u catch up to them, good luck trying to play the wind or flanking them it usually screws u up, just donít give up, and if your with a partner stay single file n take turns but donít start flanking each other.

 


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