Contributors to this thread:
What time of day is the best to hunt elk wallows ?
All day long...
As the rut heats up they will be using them more frequently, especialy the frustrated young ones...
Will they use them on cool day's
Wallows can be a fantastic way to hunt rutting elk. I have seen nice bulls wallow throughout the day in Arizona, Idaho and Colorado. But it's been my experience that they seem to get used more during the pre rut and early rutting stages before the actual breeding starts taking place.
Nochawk has it right, elk will hit wallows and water holes throughout the day. Especially if those places are near bedding areas and in heavy cover.
I have sat all day several times and have been surprised to see how many animals come in during the heat of the day (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Two years ago, I shot right under a big 6-point bull that came to a water hole at 3:00 in the afternoon. I wasn't in a stand but was sneaking down the trail to check out the hole when he came in. I put a stand up there last year and missed a decent 5-point the first week and then the hole went dry.
When the weather is hot and after the elk bed in the morning, I will go sit rather than head back to camp. Sometimes an early morning sit will be productive too. I have also sat in the evening, which is also productive. The way I see it, by sitting at water, you are adding tools to your arsenal and increasing your odds of being sucessful. I mix it up, but if I had to choose my favorite time to sit, it would be mid-afternoon til dark.
It has been my experience that elk wallow activity does not decrease a lot cool days (but it may decrease some), but the activity will decrease a lot if it the weather is rainy.
Do a search on the Bowsite home page and you'll find about twenty threads about the best time to hunt wallows, how to hunt wallows, what color ATV to use to get to wallows, best broadhead for wallows, best shoes for wallows, what kind of mud elk prefer, etc.
Some waterholes/wallows will dictate when you hunt them by their layout and location. One such spot I hunt is pretty much evening only, due to wind flows. There, I set up on the ground next to an aspen about 15 yards away, located downslope. I know that the elk tend to always approach this hole from uphill or side-hill. The evening downdraft usually starts flowing just before it's time for the elk to come in, which is perfect. I've never been busted in this early-season spot. Also interesting is that I've never seen a cow elk in this spot...always bulls in singles or pairs. Here's a young bull I let pass in that spot last year. He came to within 7-8 yards and hung around for a good while, never knowing I was there.
Then there are other holes I hunt where the winds swirl so much it's just hit or miss. Might as well hunt them all day or any time of the day, and just hope you get lucky WRT the wind.
Hunting these spots get much more spotty as September wears on.
Elk begin wallowing the very end of August or the first few days of Sept. Once they begin in earnest to wallow is the best time to hunt them that way. Usually by the 3rd week of Sept. it begins to fall off pretty fast.
Although elk wallow anytime of the day, the very best time seems to be early to late evening. The photo with this post was taken in the evening, as were the two photos that will follow this post.
Have a great bowhunt. BB