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Author Topic: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting  (Read 4628 times)

Online ghosthunter

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2022, 08:02:38 PM »
We have a saying written on our cook shack wall amongst others.


If you came for the meat, you came for the wrong reasonĒ
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Offline Kc_Kracker

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2022, 08:27:34 PM »
We have a saying written on our cook shack wall amongst others.


If you came for the meat, you came for the wrong reasonĒ

I don't think I said I was hunting for meat but after ten years it's still like looking for bigfoot lol

Online MADMAX

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2022, 08:29:32 PM »
You cant kill elk laying on the couch
Dont quit
I Ain't Captain Walker.
I'm The Guy Who Carries Mr. Dead In His Pocket


What would life be without the thrill of the hunt ?

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Offline Cylvertip

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2022, 08:44:09 PM »
This was another no elk seen or heard while in the woods season for me.  I did see 45 in private fields on the Hoh.    Last year was 3 bugles and one cow.  I admit that my choice to only target a  "Wall Hanger" pure bred Rosie adds a degree of difficulty.  It was a!so a strange year with it being so warm and dry for so long .  The consensus on the Oly Peninsula was that they just were not talking, at least from all the other sliver singers I talked to.

     I will add this next part to maybe show some credability...
Now I have not shot/ harvested an animal since 04.  But have had  plenty of opportunists on legal animals and really nice bulls. Only 1 seen in the woods in that time has checked all the boxes for me.  I let him walk at 20 yards  because I did not feel comfortable at the time to take a frontal shot. That one haunts me.   I have had more than a dozen in that same time that I had opportunities on- including a half dozen nice 5x5's-  that  all walked from as little as 5 yards. Since 2006 it has been almost 100% exclusively on the Peninsula.  The hunting does seem to be getting tougher over there.  But I saw a few signs of hope this year too.  Logging in National Forests is starting again, and some areas opened up that had been pay to play previously.  It is tough not interacting with animals.  But you just don't know what next year will hold.

What unit(s) have you targeted?  If you are after a any legal bull or a cow, I bet there is help on here.  I know I will share what I can for 500 and 600 units.

I wrote this thinking archery but will apply to muzzy and probably rifle too.
May that for which I prepare never come to pass.
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Offline Shank

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2022, 08:51:49 PM »
I've hunted elk since '89. With the last 6-8yrs off for coaching youth football and other reasons, this is my 2nd year back hunting
I share your pain whole heartedly.
As a child my families idea of hunting was driving around drinking beer and bitching there were no animals (go figure) in my early 20's I switched to muzzy and began to really "hunt" had to figure it all out on my own. Started getting into animals missed shots, had misfires killed more deer, but no elk. I've had seasons I never saw an animal but knew every place to be or look at.
Then my 1st elk I killed, was taken from me by other hunters and that was about the last time I hunted. I had, had it with this state
Came back last year, muzzy. No animals but got in to some cows. This year I switched to archery drew a quality tag hunted my ass off missed a 5x5, worked some bulls. And learned a ton more. All this is the same unit my family has "hunted" since '84
Yes this state does suck compared to other states.
But they key is perseverance and not giving up, learn from what hasn't worked. I'm still learning, we all are. It is hunting not killing, not saying that to be mean, I have to keep reminding myself about that. And I'm becoming a better hunter year after year so will you.

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Offline Stein

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2022, 07:02:49 AM »
My brother and I coined the term "catch and release hunting" this year, it makes you feel like you are really a pro.  All you have to do is get fairly close, it is especially helpful when they are on the wrong side of a magic line which is my particular specialty.

Offline Westside88

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2022, 07:21:17 AM »
Like alot of hunting scenarios, it's that "first" that is tough. First time you find them, first time to get a shot opportunity and finally to seal the deal. It can definitely be tough. Modern rifle season you might hunt hard in an area with elk and still not even see fresh sign.

Some years I'm more able to put the time in than others and it makes a big difference. My best advice is identify a unit that has decent success numbers, decent access and then block out a good chunk of the season to go there. Set up a camp if you can. Live it all day every day. You'll gain an understanding of when and where elk are seen. Hunting archery was a real eye opener for me. I've never shot my bow at an animal, but I have had close encounters and action on multiple days. It can be a real game changer for a hunters attitude. I know that I often don't have enough time to invest, so I try to put myself in an area I know that has elk and be out there. Having those close encounters, even if it doesn't come together is still a win in my book.

Offline Slamadoo

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2022, 07:39:21 AM »
A few thoughts...

1. If your constantly changing spots it can be tough. It takes time to figure out how the animals use an area.

2. If your hunting the same spot for 10 years without seeing elk, you need a new spot.

3. Find good people to hunt with. It makes all the difference. If you can, hunt with someone who is a better hunter than yourself.

Offline dreadi

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2022, 07:48:06 AM »
After ten years of attempting to complete a task and not being successful, it may be time to seek professional help
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Offline GASoline71

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2022, 08:05:45 AM »
I've been hunting elk in this state since 1991... I've only killed 3 elk.  I've switched from rifle to muzzleloader a few times, but never archery hunted.  But, I still get excited for it each year, and can't imagine not being in the mountains elk hunting.  It's a lot more than the harvest for me though.  I mainly just dig elk camp with my family.  :)

Gary
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted. If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

Offline bornhunter

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2022, 08:10:57 AM »
I throw in the elk hunting towel at the end of every October. Then every September I pull it back out and head for elk country. Successful or not just love chasing the wapiti.

Offline hunter_sean08

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2022, 09:14:21 AM »
Iíve been elk hunting since 2004 and have yet to kill a bull. Weíve done ok with cow tags but bulls are a challenge. Thatís not to say my group hasnít taken bulls- I just havenít been the fortunate tag filler yet. Iíve been on cow tag hunts where I couldnít shoot a bull and had the 3 pt or better dead to rights in my sights multiple times. Iíve been the caller on an archery hunt where we got within 15 yards of multiple legal bulls, one of which was giving the lead cow the business. Sadly it worked out that I was the only one with a good broadside look at those animals with no tag in my pocketÖ

What I will say about elk hunting is your success is predicated on being prepared and being committed in all arenas of the hunt whether itís scouting, calling, tracking, pre-season fitness, etc. Elk hunting can break you. Itís emotional, itís physical, itís challenging. But if you commit yourself to it, youíll find animals. Thatís only step 1. There are many eyes, ears and noses in an elk herd and closing the gap can be tough. No matter what happens though, the experience of being among these massive beasts in their living room is worthy enough of calling the hunt ďsuccessfulĒ. Watching the behavior of these animals, hearing their calls, seeing how they function as a herd, smelling the barnyard in the breeze. Itís something that canít be beat.

We once killed a cow that went over a bank and down into a shallow stretch of a river. I remember walking up to that cow and witnessing multiple king salmon running up river around her thinking that was something that not many people get to see. Those are the moments that keep me coming back to hunt elk.


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Offline GASoline71

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2022, 09:42:43 AM »
Thatís not to say my group hasnít taken bulls- I just havenít been the fortunate tag filler yet. Iíve been on cow tag hunts where I couldnít shoot a bull and had the 3 pt or better dead to rights in my sights multiple times. Iíve been the caller on an archery hunt where we got within 15 yards of multiple legal bulls, one of which was giving the lead cow the business. Sadly it worked out that I was the only one with a good broadside look at those animals with no tag in my pocketÖ

Same here... I've had my opportunities, and either blew them on a stupid mistake on my part, or somehow just couldn't make the connection and the bull walked. 

Then there was 2014 where I had a cow tag and a big cow elk not even 70 yards from me.  I flat out missed her for some damn reason.  To this day I don't know how I screwed the pooch on such and easy broadside shot with a rifle.   :dunno:

It happens.

Gary
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted. If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

Offline JeffRaines

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2022, 10:15:32 AM »
After ten years of attempting to complete a task and not being successful, it may be time to seek professional help

I find that with some folks, the more they do something unsuccessfully it starts to jade them. You're looking at a spot on the map, and when you first started hunting you'd have been all over it... now since you've seen "a few spots like it" and had nothing come of it, you're more willing to pass it over because "it hasn't worked before"... that's just one example. Its also hard as hell to learn something with zero feedback. I've been there and I'm still there with a lot of stuff. I'm not dense - I know I'm doing something wrong... but what? Is it a single thing? is it a combination of things?

In OPs case, since they say they haven't seen an animal in 10 years... I'd forget everything I thought I knew and start over from scratch with an emphasis on keeping a completely open mind. Pick a unit with a high number of animals harvested regardless of hunter pressure... if its pay to play, then so be it(within reason). You need animal encounters to learn how to hunt 100% because you can and will squander opportunities as a beginner... if you can get a few opportunities a year, you'll learn faster. For this reason, forget hunter pressure. Its gonna be everywhere, and I'd rather be hunting with the masses seeing animals than hunting alone in a unit where only 10 are taken every year... those numbers look good from a solitude perspective, but who knows where those 10 animals were shot. If there is any private land in said unit, its highly likely most if not all of those were shot on private.

I don't know if anyone played Nintendo or anything as a kid, but you didn't start out with the game on max difficulty. You started on easy, learned how the game worked, then turned it up later when you had the controls down and understood it. Trying to hunt any animal in a unit with low harvest numbers as a beginner is like starting the game on max difficulty. Once you're seeing animals regularly where you expect to see them and you have one or two on the ground, then you can start trying to find a honey hole in those low harvest units.

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Re: Ready to throw in the towel on elk hunting
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2022, 12:55:55 PM »
Usually I'd say nobody should ever take my advance on anything as I am, roughly speaking, a very terrible hunter.
However, in this category my expertise shines.

Elk started off as my bucket list success marker, specifically archery elk. That was quite a few years ago now and I've yet to see an elk, any elk, with a tag in my pocket (I've bumped them while scouting or while holding the wrong tag during the wrong season). I am no closer now by any measure than I was when I started hunting 6 or so years ago. That said, it hasn't deterred me for one reason in particular that I don't think people talk about enough:

This is really hard. Not many people succeed, and VERY few people succeed regularly. It's so easy to see social media, youtube, and forums post and get the idea that everyone's just harvesting elk all the time like it's no big deal. It is a big deal, it's a very big deal, and it's ok if it takes you a very very long time to connect.

That's it, that's the entirety of my advice. Just don't get discouraged, because you're not trying to climb a hill; you're trying to climb a mountain. Hell of a lot more work, requires more prep, takes longer, but the view is going to be great when you get there.


 


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