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Author Topic: I've had it with WA elk  (Read 4327 times)

Offline mendozer

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2022, 08:38:27 PM »
Sorry man but I disagree. Some spots do produce year after year and if I tell you and you tell your brother and he tellsÖ. Then that spot becomes worthless. Itís hard enough to find those spots and to keep them quiet. I will share my b and c spots but never my A spots. That said ek hunting is tough. With how much you are looking at spending in travel and extra tag costs maybe finding some new land that holds animals closer to home that you can learn and hunt isnít so bad? I know what you are saying about timberlands but it does provide less people, especially non hunters. Some guys are successful year after year in low production units because they have spent the time to really scout and learn them. I enjoy hunting alone but now my hunting partner is my son and in enjoy that even more. How far do you go in WA? Do you think multiple units? I specifically hunt non motorized areas as I canít the roads warriors. Iím out there to be in the woods not a traffic jam. Whatever you decide best of luck to you!

I've done several units over the years 328,329,672, 699, 506 and once in the blues but i forget the unit and that was my 2nd year. When I mentioned i passed on many that was 328 and 329 spike units. The last 3 i've stayed with 672 based on size, stats, and a fair mix of drive/walkability. I typically see anywhere between 2-5 deer when looking for elk during early archery season. they're legal at that time but I always tell myself I'm going for elk but on the last day of typically a 3 day outing, i'll shoot a deer. Then of course on day 3 it's crickets in the forest. I usually go out on the first two elk weekends so there's deer overlap to hedge that. I also live in maple valley and had three blacktail in my yard yesterday but my wife has forbade me from shooting one of those. if i truly wanted to i could but that just goes to show that elk is my real prize and not deer. 

Offline Chesapeake

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2022, 09:39:13 PM »
I donít see Wyoming averaging 40% success on elk. And you have to consider what percent of success comes off private, and what percent comes from outfitters. Those 2 situations can skew the numbers.

But you should be able to find 20% success units in other states easy enough. Thatís more than twice the rate of success most any Washington general tag unit has.

But if you canít kill elk in Washington there is no way to measure where your at in skill set.
Would a 20% success unit even help you? Hard to say.

More ďat battsĒ would likely help you though. So hunting other states may be what you need.

Offline LDennis24

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2022, 09:54:58 PM »
First rule of elk camp...

You do not talk about honey holes! :dunno:

Offline boneaddict

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2022, 05:26:58 AM »
Iíve hunted elk in Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and of course Washington.  I can tell you Washington isnít that bad.

Offline blackpowderhunter

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2022, 05:50:17 AM »
an idaho/montana/wyoming etc elk tag isnt a magic pill to cure your tag soup blues...
i hunt wa and idaho every year.  i'll tell you what, out of state has it's own challenges beyond what youd imagine for wa.
if you want to pay a guide to up your chances, im sure it would...but like anything else, itll cost ya.

Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2022, 06:12:04 AM »
The only guarantees on any out of state tag is that you'll spend 2-3 days driving instead of hunting and $500-$800 on gas.


Offline Stein

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2022, 06:31:43 AM »
Study GoHunt, buy a cow tag and go do it.  I am self taught and so glad I bailed on WA a couple years ago.  Tag numbers will continue to decline as will public hunting opportunities in this state.  The sooner you accept that the sooner you will learn areas in other states.

For sure the cost is higher and the miles are greater.  If you are looking at a cow tag, maybe that's $200-500 and you need $500 more for gas.  That's $19.23 a week at most you need to pull out of your budget to open the door.

Offline Caseknife

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2022, 06:39:40 AM »
The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.  Yes, other western states manage wildlife much better than Washington, in my experience Wyoming manages the best.  The reduced cow/calf prices in WY usually have restrictions; private land, certain time frame, partial unit and all these can throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Leftover tags that go on sale late, are there for a reason mostly not conducive to out of staters.  Yes, many of us have been very successful in out of state hunts, but at the same time we have been successful in Washington prior to those hunts.  Out of state hunts are considerably more expensive with travel, tag cost, bonus/preference point cost and time.  If I hunted on the west side, think that I would be buying an access permit and learning the land.

Offline blackveltbowhunter

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2022, 07:04:08 AM »
If you want to get on elk start by taking all of the season off. The units you mentioned have elk and are not overly difficult to learn. I love exploring new areas, adventures in new states, different animals and types of hunts. But killing percentage climbs as knowledge of an area grows regardless of animal density. I know several guys that kill consistently in very low density units, because they know how to hunt the area the opposite is also true.

Offline GASoline71

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2022, 08:12:04 AM »
I've hunted Idaho for elk, and I can tell you we've come up with goose eggs over there too.

I used to slobber over stats, and rack my brain on what areas to hunt in this state.  We'd move camp year after year, barely learning an area.  It took all the fun out of it.

I don't hunt expecting to kill an elk or deer each year.  If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.  I didn't kill my first elk until my 9th year of hunting them in WA State.  That was back before all the Instagram warriors were posting up pics all over the place and making it seem like hunting elk and deer is like shooting fish in a barrel.

It's now been more than 10 years since I've killed an elk in this state.  But... you couldn't drag me from the elk woods with a team of mules.  I'm there, every year.  Why?  Because it's fun as all get out, and  love to see my kids and grandkids enjoying it too. 

So I guess I can't offer up any "real" advice to you, other than slow down and enjoy what you are doing.  The killing part will happen.  Just be ready when it does.

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 NorseNW

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2022, 08:27:22 AM »
I can attest medic6's comments.  If you can't find elk in WA going to a different state may yield the same result.  Been archery hunting West side for 6 years now.  Only one opportunity and didn't shoot because I was not confident in the setup.  I've seen elk every year but not always close and sometimes just straight up running for their lives.  I know they live somewhere around the areas I hunt just haven't figured out the magic some gents have.  Again as medic6 said - I'm doing something wrong.  I don't disagree and I'm trying figure that out.  I'm not giving up because guys and gals on here give me motivation that it can be done.  It may be rocket surgery to me but what the hell I'll try to learn anything!

I got on the out of state train 4 years ago.  Spent $1k on a tag didn't track fuel cost and time.  My hunting rig is a truck camper and diesel dually that identifies as a hybrid but doesn't drink like one.  Saw no animals, heard two bugles (maybe people maybe animal) and saw more freaking people and side by sides ripping around than I could believe. 

I'm back to trying to put as much time in the field as possible in closer to home spots and LEARNING all I can.  Someday maybe I will put all the complicated stuff - if not I'll die trying.

medic6 - you availabe as a tutor???????

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2022, 09:04:37 AM »
Just remember its called hunting
Not going to the grocery store
Out of state elk hunting is not cheap or guaranteed
Anywhere
Out of state hunting

Tags - $700+
Flights - $500+
4WD Rental for a week - $400-500
Or if you drive - $600
Lodging - $500-700+
Guide - $?????
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline bracer40

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2022, 10:27:22 AM »
Sorry man but I disagree. Some spots do produce year after year and if I tell you and you tell your brother and he tellsÖ. Then that spot becomes worthless. Itís hard enough to find those spots and to keep them quiet. I will share my b and c spots but never my A spots. That said ek hunting is tough. With how much you are looking at spending in travel and extra tag costs maybe finding some new land that holds animals closer to home that you can learn and hunt isnít so bad? I know what you are saying about timberlands but it does provide less people, especially non hunters. Some guys are successful year after year in low production units because they have spent the time to really scout and learn them. I enjoy hunting alone but now my hunting partner is my son and in enjoy that even more. How far do you go in WA? Do you think multiple units? I specifically hunt non motorized areas as I canít the roads warriors. Iím out there to be in the woods not a traffic jam. Whatever you decide best of luck to you!

I've done several units over the years 328,329,672, 699, 506 and once in the blues but i forget the unit and that was my 2nd year. When I mentioned i passed on many that was 328 and 329 spike units. The last 3 i've stayed with 672 based on size, stats, and a fair mix of drive/walkability. I typically see anywhere between 2-5 deer when looking for elk during early archery season. they're legal at that time but I always tell myself I'm going for elk but on the last day of typically a 3 day outing, i'll shoot a deer. Then of course on day 3 it's crickets in the forest. I usually go out on the first two elk weekends so there's deer overlap to hedge that. I also live in maple valley and had three blacktail in my yard yesterday but my wife has forbade me from shooting one of those. if i truly wanted to i could but that just goes to show that elk is my real prize and not deer.
Couple of things I noticed in your post. You mentioned going out on a couple of weekends. Weekends are great if thatís all you have. However most serious elk hunters give themselves a minimum of a week to 10 days to hunt. More is better. Iíve gone up to 5 days without encountering elk (moving 6-8 miles/day one year). And this was on several out of state trips! You mentioned hunting six different units. Donít know over how many years you did this but thereís a lot of value in getting to know an area well. Tough to do that on a couple of weekends a year. I think itís just as important to understand where NOT to find elk as it is WHERE to find them. If I pull up a 10 mile map on OnX in elk country, the majority of that area may not, or likely does not hold elk. Itís good to know where NOT to spend my precious elk hunting time.
I believe I read in an earlier post something about roads being closed and your frustration with that. I get that frustration for guys that want to ride their off road rigs or hunters have have physical limitations, but I got the sense from your posts that you might be a younger guy? (Iím 63 so many of you all are younger than me😜). If thatís the case, closed roads are your friend! I welcome them. Keeps the rigs out.
I think about elk hunting year round. But more importantly I plan and TAKE ACTION year round to improve my knowledge, fitness and skills. I only wish I had gotten this bug many more years ago. There are elk to be hunted in WA. Yes itís challenging. The advantage one has in seeking elk here is time is on their side. Elk can be found within a three hour drive year round vs six, 10, or 18 hour drive along with $1k tags.

Thereís a thread started sometime in the past six months by a member from the wet side that detailed his journey learning how to hunt Roosevelt elk. Iíd highly recommend you search it out and see if there are any lessons you might consider.
Good luck in your journey!
ďJust give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.Ē
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Offline bracer40

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2022, 10:42:38 AM »
This is the fellow I was thinking of. He was sharing his own plan of how he was researching an area and learning how to hunt elk. One of the best plans Iíve seen in this era of guys posting online ďseeking knowledgeĒÖwhere should I go? Whatís the best xyz? Etc, etcÖwhen those same questions have been answered 10x over and a simple search would provide the answers (small rant over).

I got my first Roosie (and animal) this year with a bow. I started last year and was pretty determined to figure them out this year. No expert by any means. Here is what I did:

1. I picked a unit that harvests a lot of elk. If I knew there were elk in there...and those elk were killed every year... it gave me hope. I understood that hunting pressure would be a challange, but my goal was to get as many elk encounters as possible. I knew that finding elk is half the battle, but you also have to call them in or sneak up on them and finally shoot them. I simply wanted more experience with these things. And, knowing that elk were in that unit gave me a mental safety net when things got tough. I lot of people pack up and leave after the first 3 or 4 days because they don't see or hear anything.

2. I spent 10-15 weekends in the same unit. Same general area. Walking around, setting up cameras, and hitting as many areas as possible. I looked for last years' rubs and sign. If I didn't find old rubs or sign I crossed that area off my list (they might actually move into these areas during hunting season, but I assumed that they would not be there) Generally, what I found is that the elk were making 2-3 day loops through the same general area. That's how I was seeing them on camera at least.

3. I set up a nice camp. It was nice to have a comfortable and dry bed to sleep in every night. Makes hunting all day a lot more feasible. Last year I was sleeping out of my car and I only lasted 5 days. I made sure I had good and healthy food so I would have energy to hunt all day.

4. I came up with a game plan for a 9 day hunt. I was going to spend the first 4 days hitting the same spot every day (it's about a 9-10 mile loop). I was bumping elk in there all summer. My thinking was that if the elk were making a loop they simply might not be in one area on one specific day. But, I want to emphasize that I was going to hit that area no matter what on all 4 days. I feel like I moved around too much last year. The next 3 days I would hit other areas I had scouted in the summer. Covering as much ground as possible. Finally, I left the last 2 days as wildcard days in case I had come up with a better plan.

5. I came up with a game plan on how I was going to hunt the elk. For the first 4 days I was going to alternate morning, afternoon, and evening strategies (calling, still hunt, ambush, etc.). For example, I would do a lot of bugling and calling morning 1. But, I would still hunt morning 2 while bugling and calling afternoon 2. I still don't really know how to hunt these elk. My thinking was to try a systematic approach and see what sticks.

6. Be flexible. I was very surprised when my super top secret spot that had zero bootprints all summer had 9 trucks parked at the gate on opening morning. I remember telling myself "it's a marathon not a sprint" over and over as I drove away to plan B (same general area just different access point). I walked into some dark timber in hopes of intercepting elk that would be pushed... 30 minutes into my hunt I had a bull bugling and killed him after 15 minutes. 95% luck for sure, but I still have meat in the freezer.

7. Be persistent. Stick to the plan. I went back into my area 3-4 days after opening morning to pick up my cameras. No pick ups at the gate. Not a soul out there. I had 2 bulls bugling their heads off right where I thought they would be.

My plan for next year is to figure out another unit closer to home. I was driving nearly 6 hours every scouting trip, so that takes a lot out boots on the ground time. I have an general understanding now of what the elk appear to like (timber, reprod, etc.), so I will escout places that appear similar to the ones I found this summer. I'm going to repeat the same process in the new unit and then decide which one I want to hunt next year. Worst case scenario I have more intel.

Hope this helps. If you need more insight reach out to me on instagram @Hunt_phd

M
ďJust give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.Ē
― Groucho Marx

Offline zwickeyman

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Re: I've had it with WA elk
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2022, 11:32:16 AM »
Ive killed a lot of archery and muzzy bulls in WA. Last year shot a 6x7 in Wa and this year shot a spike in ID  :dunno:
The mountains are calling and I must go

 


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