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Here it is the obligatory I drew a great tag (2nd season) now help me out thread!! Have uncovered a few "likely" spots from my internet scouting. Slaughter Mesa, Fox mountain, around Quemado, etc. Just wondering which area to hone in on south or north part of the unit? Sounds like getting away from roads, atvs is difficult. Any advice there? Also what are the realistic expectations for a bull size here? Hunting techniques? Chase bugles in am and sit water in pm I would guess? Thanks in advance for any help!
You'll see most of the outfitters on top of Slaughter Mesa. You'll find elk, but will be chasing them with everyone else. Fox Mountain...good area, doesn't get hunted as hard as the area east of the highway. Seen a huge bull killed out of there a few years back. Quemado lake as elk, and a lot of guys drive past them heading farther in. We found some bulls two years ago right out of Quemado on the left in the lil sand hills. Wasn't expecting the quality of bull we called in one evening. He came in too fast and caught us flat footed.
Unit 15 is a good unit, lots of 300" bulls, and sometimes you'll find a true Gila Monster. Watch out for guides and outfitters blocking roads as a lot of them will put clients up on water holes next to the roads. So, they'll park trucks sideways to block the roads. Mick's guides are good and known for this. Don't quit hunting and go back during the day for lunch. We called bulls in at 11:00 in the morning before. The first time we hunted 15, I was told not to call much. After a few mornings, we started getting aggressive on the calls and called in some good bulls. Spend a day listening to the bulls and where they are going. Learn their area, and if you get behind them on their way to bed, bulldog them. The bulls get mad and bugle a lot headed to bed. As for waterholes, everyone hunts them, everyone!! You'll see treestands, pop up blinds and ground blinds on all the waterholes. You won't find some magic hole no one knows about. Guys spend a lot of time in 15, lots of roads and relatively flat. Take my advice and carry and learn a GPS and use it. It'll safe you a lot on unwanted walking.
Follow Mick Chapel and his boys around and shoot what they let walk.
Take a tow strap for those sideways trucks.
Wapiti is right. A little rain goes a long ways there. Plenty of 300 type bulls to go around. They should be bugling second hunt. I would drive in evening and morning darkness pinpointing bugles. Hunt water of an evening of the elk aren't talking put personally I'd move and find elk that are talking. I've spent about 20 days with a guy that worked for the forest service, for 20 years, in that unit, mostly the sw portion. I'll pm you a few details.
Wanted to revisit this thread now that season has come and gone. Appreciate the help offered here and wanted to give my impressions of unit 15. There were lots of 300-320 bulls. Saw a couple 330-350 class and then one true giant in 10 days of hunting. Unfortunately I was not able to harvest. Hit one in what looked like the perfect spot (which might be a topic for another thread) but he lived to see another day. Bugled and cow called but no avail most times. Probably would bugle more if going again. Buglmin was dead on about them liking to bugle as they moved. Cows were plentiful and keen sighted which pre-empted most stalks. If they caught movement they were GONE! Despite the trepidation I had about the many Atv trails and large outfitter contingent it did not affect my hunt at all. Were there hunters around?-yes but I never felt crowded at all. I do want to give a plug to Timberline Outfitters as I talked to two of their guides and both were cordial and even willing to give advice. Definitely a great experience considering I was hunting in the same area and not their client. Weather always plays a factor and the strong winds all week lead to many a swirling defeats but I can always hope for another miracle draw down the road!
I hunted ML season and it looked like water had been hit HARD during bow fyi. I also found elk on hot spots and not on cool slopes like I did elsewhere - threw me off.
hunted the second season also in unit 15 ,, killed my first elk ever, (i"m 59 ) third year to hunt the area , water was key , the highs and lows of a 10 day hunt are exhausting. killed the morning of the 10 th day but had several close encounters during the hunt something always went wrong. Love to be in the mountains,
I hunted with DonV. We hunted a few waterholes, saw plenty of cows, bear, and coyotes. The only bull I saw was on the last day when Don and I were looking at another spot. He was probably in the 320 range, I choked, and missed him....Lol
Hunting pressure where we were at was not bad. My inexperience didn't help either. If I had to do it again I'd probably go higher up the mountain.
Wade, we were across the road from you second season and found the wind to be the biggest factor. Elk literally disappeared when the winds got over 40 mph. Way to get it done on the last day!
Thanks for reporting back despite the no harvest, gooshnt. Always nice to hear about everyone's experience in these premier units.