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I am having a hard time.....
I resolved myself to stay out of my several hunt areas until season to keep from spreading scent and bumping out elk. But I have 3 spots I can easily reach within 40 mins to an hour and a half.....plus another I've scouted around but not gone all the way into which I'm saving as a back up.
I have cameras hanging in 2 of the spots that I plan to retrieve soon. I'm dying to see what new stuff I've captured and it is the first time I am using video mode.
I know other folks are likely tromping around in the areas but I keep reminding myself to stay out. It is just hard to do.
I may run to the closest place later this week and find a rocky outcrop to glass from, although there is only limited openings to peek into there. I'd sure like to get some pics on my D3300 to see how they turn out.
Anyone else struggling with letting their spots rest this close to season?
Good news is I found a new route (after Google earth scouting and driving some FS roads) through some dense public/private mix to access more open and maneuverable public ground where I've found some nice elk....fixing one problem to hunting the elk that spot.
Not elk but I (reluctantly) pulled my cameras out of my whitetail area today and bumped a few of them on the way in, but the way I see it, I'm sure we bump animal/ leave our scent, just about every time we venture into our areas, I don't think it's as huge of a deal as people make it out to be, I've hunted and gotten into elk in my areas all throughout the season while other hunters were in the area as well, and I still see them from day one to the end. That's my thoughts on it at least, but that being said, I stay out as much as I possibly can.
I do a two week thing. Two weeks leading up to opener I do not set foot in my spots. The closest I'll get is glassing from a far off ridge, or car. I think it's a matter of would I rather have meat, or pictures?
Nope - because when I hunt my CO areas I know everything changes during the first few days of the season. Bulls that were there in summer are gone, new bulls arrive. I scout for cows. They are the bait. I want to leave them alone and not goof them out of their normal routine because the bulls come to them when the rut starts. Often from many miles away.
If I were you I'd leave your primary spots totally alone and spend your time learning the terrain in plans , E, and X. Figure out the other access you mentioned. What I've found when scouting new spots - about 90% of what I thought I'd figured out during the summer is blown as soon as season starts. Then I'm finding elk and new spots on the fly. Since you're hunting a relatively limited unit it may not quite work that way, but you already suspect others know about your spots because you've seen cameras. So leave it alone and branch out. Figure out where those elk will relocate when the other guys blow them up.
BTW, we expect a FULL report on your season since we've followed your scouting progress all summer! What you learned, what you'd do differently, what worked. Good luck!
No problem Lou....that was my promise to Will.
I would check on cameras every week if I could. Too many things seem to go wrong with them. Issues with cards, batteries, elk knocking them around, bears breaking them, me forgetting to put cards in, or turn them on right. As far as scent goes, I see elk come in sniff the camera with my scent on it, and still hang around day after day. Like Lou says they will be where the cow elk are in a few weeks anyway, and around here that will be where the cow elk find their best source of food. I have a different issue, my cameras are in grizzly country, and even though I would like to sneak in quietly, I tend to make noise deliberately.
Lou makes solid points about not getting too hung up on just your "primary" spots.
Since you live close enough and want to check your cameras you could carefully watch the weather. You could go in shortly before or during a midday rain/windy front. You would be far less likely to bump animals and the rain will wash away your scent after you've gone. This would minimize your impact. Good luck and keep us posted.
I would take this opportunity to maybe explore new areas you've been meaning to check out.
Just my 2c worth but you can't kill um if you don't know where they are and bull elk during rut are very unpredictable in the daily travels which are dictated by cows and other hunter/human encroachment more than anything else IMHO.
Jordan, FWIW, in my longtime OTC spot the bulls we hunted (and killed) were often cammed in the summer by other guys we knew who scouted/hunted 4-6 miles away in a different unit, where the bulls summered. They came to us because we hunted where the cows calved and summered.
Somebody scouting our basins for bulls in summer would be really bummed at not seeing any bulls, or maybe only a few raghorns.
I hear ya....and I'm in areas with cow elk and tons of rutting sign so I hope I have this sorta figured out. The best looking area with big meadows is actually the least encouraging area as far as sign and elk seen in person or on game cams. Lots of feed but not a lot of elk. Heck there are at least 3-4 wallows that have had ZERO use in that spot despite the heat. That is my plan c area plus it is the 2nd furthest spot away from the house, but I intend to keep an eye on it to see if the weather/rut changes the usage.
My other spots have cows and bulls and I think I will stick with letting them be until its time to hunt. Perhaps this weekend I go into some new areas......that might hold me until season. LOL I have my own restless rut mode each year it seems......
I would go check your cams. Take the Jane Goodall approach.
*Australian accent (not sure why, but nature show narrators sound good with Australian accents)
"By mid-August the elk had accepted Jordan as one of their own."
"The herd grazed peacefully as their newest member playfully sparred with the younger bulls being careful not to make eye contact with the old monarch that would soon be defending his breeding rights against challengers"
I am in a huge tapering down mode. I am cruising through workouts, not really pushing the limits. I am done exploring my areas. I am packed and for the most part ready to go hunt. The only thing I am having a hard time with is making sure everything is done around my house, including spending enough time with my family and the honey-do-list.
Do what you can but it seems you have these areas on good faith from OTC, ask him if he thinks you should be in there or let it rest.
Glunt.....OMG......coffee spewed everywhere.....that was perfect. :)