Sitka Gear
Tree Stands and Ground Blinds for elk.
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
BlisteredHooves 14-Oct-13
Bowboy 14-Oct-13
Hardcore 14-Oct-13
stringgunner 14-Oct-13
Z Barebow 14-Oct-13
Z Barebow 14-Oct-13
Yellowjacket 14-Oct-13
oldgoat 14-Oct-13
wilhille 15-Oct-13
Mike Schlegel 15-Oct-13
wyobullshooter 15-Oct-13
Barty1970 15-Oct-13
cnelk 15-Oct-13
bowyer45 15-Oct-13
Yendor 16-Oct-13
SoDakSooner 16-Oct-13
CurveBow 16-Oct-13
DConcrete 16-Oct-13
willliamtell 16-Oct-13
REX 16-Oct-13
swede 18-Oct-13
TurkeyBowMaster 18-Oct-13
BlisteredHooves 24-Oct-13
BlisteredHooves 25-Oct-13
WylieCoyote 26-Oct-13
Wild Bill 18-Mar-24
Dale06 18-Mar-24
bowyer45 18-Mar-24
Wild Bill 27-Mar-24
Swede 29-Mar-24
easeup 08-Apr-24
wyobullshooter 08-Apr-24
Paul@thefort 08-Apr-24
GRbowman 09-Apr-24
Paul@thefort 09-Apr-24
stringgunner 09-Apr-24
Lost Arra 09-Apr-24
Goelk 09-Apr-24
wyobullshooter 09-Apr-24
cnelk 09-Apr-24
Paul@thefort 09-Apr-24
GRbowman 09-Apr-24
GFL 09-Apr-24
Wild Bill 15-May-24
Jaquomo 15-May-24
Jaquomo 15-May-24
14-Oct-13
I saw a huge increase in the # of blinds and tree stands this year in Idaho. I know people are going to be pissed at me but maybe it is because I grew up in the West and am not used to that style of hunting. I just want to know what how the hunter from a stand tells his story. Is it different when he shots a cow from when he shots a 400 pt bull. eg(He was really tough, took me over 5 minutes to get the shot, etc). I guess I just like seeing all the country and being on able to roam with the elk. Just stray thoughts......

From: Bowboy
14-Oct-13
I've used tree stands since the early 80's. Sometimes it pans out sometimes it doesn't.

My preferred spots are water holes, wallows, and funnel areas.

I love roaming also but you have to change your tactics and do what-ever it takes to get an elk.

The nice thing about a stand is they usally never see you and be patience and you'll get a good shot opportunity.

Most people that write a story usually tell how many hours or days they sat before there target elk showed up.

It's just another tactic in the elk hunters pocket to be successful.

I remember back in the early 90's where a guy from Oregon sat for 28 days until the roosevelt bull he was after finally showed. It was a monster bull.

Some people don't like sitting but it can diffently make a difference IMO.

It's all about patience!

From: Hardcore
14-Oct-13
I like to stalk in the morning and sit water of an evening, especially if it is not the rut. I would never be ashamed to tell a story of sitting.

From: stringgunner
14-Oct-13
My dad and I have hunted tree stands the past two years. We both tagged cows our first year and I shot a bull this year, my dad sat 18 days, 13 hours each day and didn't see an elk. I still like to roam and call but as there is much excitement in doing that, but meat in the freezer is nice as well. We hunt a very heavily hunted area with a small number of elk, fighting the other hunters on the ridge tops calling is frustrating, particularly when the elk go silent from too many hunters tooting their elk bugles. My dad is also getting up there in age can't hike like he use to, so given our area and my dads inability to hike the terrain, we switched tactics to better our chances.

Treestand hunting from what I have found isn't necessarily easier, just a different approach. I spend way more hours in the field now pre season than I use to, hiking to find new spots (transition zones, water holes, escape routes), scouting and knowing the elk movements has been key for us in feeling confident in our stand placements. Sometimes it works and some times it doesn't.

I have shot a couple of bulls which we called in running and gunning, and I will say the bull I shot this year from my tree stand felt just as good and rewarding.

It does take a ton of patience as well. Just some additional thoughts.

From: Z Barebow
14-Oct-13
They don't taste any different when killed from a treestand. Hunt away. Whatever floats your boat.

From: Z Barebow
14-Oct-13
I pulled a TBM. Sorry about that.

From: Yellowjacket
14-Oct-13

Yellowjacket's embedded Photo
Yellowjacket's embedded Photo
Yeah and you can sit for days and have this toad show up while you're sitting at your desk at work.

From: oldgoat
14-Oct-13
I haven't used a treestand yet, I too love the roaming and setting up and calling, but the next time I pull the tag I like to pull, I found a place I can drive too in about an hour that I could hang a stand over a waterhole and sit on days when I can only go up for the day and don't want to make the extra hour each way drive to hit my favorite spot, it's an extra hour drive and about an hour longer hike in. Just another trick in the hat to use in my opinion.

From: wilhille
15-Oct-13
To each his own.

I Hunter out of a treestand on season while I was stationed at Ft Knox. I hated it. I only sat for a couple hours a day and shot a couple deer, but for me, it was boring.

It is no doubt a great way to kill elk when you do your homework, but I don't need the meat that bad and would rather run and gun. One day however, my thoughts might change and the ol treestand method might be the way to go. I hope not though lol

15-Oct-13
Just started dappling w/the use of tree stands and ground blinds for elk. Two primary reasons: 1) bull becoming less vocal and 2) will be 72 next month; the hills have gotten somewhat steeper! Definitely not as exciting as roaming the hills and calling in bulls but still rewarding it their own ways and not nearly as tiring!

15-Oct-13
I also grew up in the west and learned a long time ago that if I wanted to consistently kill elk, then it would be wise for me to utilize the tactic(s) that would bring me the greatest odds of success. Not quite sure what you mean when you say "I just want to know how a hunter from a stand tells his story", but I'll give it a shot.

The late afternoon/evening winds in the areas I hunt are unpredictable as heck. I simply got tired of fighting it. I hunt on the ground in the mornings, but for the past dozen years or so, I've spent every evening I've hunted sitting in the same tree. I'm not the most patient man on earth, so I limit my time in the stand to 2-2 1/2 hrs.

I can assure you that every bull I've killed out of my stand had my heart pounding every bit as hard as any bull I've killed on the ground. Fact is, in all my years of bowhunting elk, the most intense 30 minute period was spent in my stand.

Besides being very productive, the time spent in my stand has been entertaining as well. Not many people have had three 5 pt bulls walk so close under their stand they could have spit on their backs. I've had numerous cows, calves, and small bulls where I just sat back and enjoyed the show. One evening I had 2 cows and 2 calves under my stand for the better part of 15 minutes. I had a grin a mile wide as one of the calves carried around a stick like a puppy dog the entire time. I've also had a young pine marten play hide and seek with me 6" from my head as he tried to figure out what the heck that strange thing was sticking out of the side of his tree.

Sitting in a tree may not be for everyone, but to dismiss it for no good reason is removing a very valuable tool in that elk hunting tool bag.

BTW, I enjoy seeing the country just as much as the next guy. However, in September my top priority is to kill an elk. I'll save the sightseeing till later! ;-)

From: Barty1970
15-Oct-13
All I can see are the upsides for each facet of elk hunting, and each of the posts make cogent reasons as to why they run and gun or sit in trees/ground blinds...facets I very much want to explore when it comes to my turn to pursue the wapiti with my bow, please God

From: cnelk
15-Oct-13
I roam and call in the mornings. Usually put on lots of miles.

In the evening I sit in a tree stand. I consider it my front row seat in the woods. I can rest from the morning trek and still be hunting.

Elk do not know how to look up. Its pretty cool stuff to have them walk under / around your stand.

Cant just put your stand just any ol' place tho and expect to see elk.

I carry my compound in mornings and my recurve goes with my in the tree stand for the close shooting opportunities

 photo recurve1_zps7b7837e6.jpg

From: bowyer45
15-Oct-13

bowyer45's embedded Photo
bowyer45's embedded Photo
Then there is the ethics angle. From a blind either on the ground or tree, a sure kill shot is almost a sure thing, At 67 I can't run the ridges and drop into the valleys like I used to, especially all day. Yes it takes allot of scouting and patience. I have also hunted all methods and still do but as shared above it still is super exciting and you see things you would never see if you're on the move trying to catch up with the herd.

From: Yendor
16-Oct-13
I have shot 50% of my elk from ground blinds and tree stands, and 50% from still hunting. When you still hunt, you probably will see more elk, but getting close is more of a crap shoot. More than likely they will see you before you see them. They are much more practiced at listening than we are. However elk are frequently on the move mornings, evenings and where I hunt mid day for a drink or a quick bite. So, if you stand (tree or ground) is on major trails, water, etc. An elk or group or whole herd is going to walk by. Ass you get older, tree atands and ground blinds will work better. I like hunting both ways, but when everybody is out waling around sit and let them drive the elk to you.

From: SoDakSooner
16-Oct-13
We didn't this year. didn't even bring them, but when we draw the tag we had this year again, treestands(and game cameras) will be going with us. FOund a few waterholes/wallows that would be perfect for the afternoon hunt. Found at least a dozen prime treestand spots on wallows.

From: CurveBow
16-Oct-13
Basically, treestands and blinds are tools in a hunters toolbox, as is stalking or still hunting & calling. Some people like to shore fish using live bait, others like bass boats and casting all day with artificial lures. Under different conditions or different locations, different strategies can produce results. Pick the one you think best for all the circumstances you are faced with or that you prefer.

>>>>----good luck---->

From: DConcrete
16-Oct-13
I hunt a lot from tree stands an ground blinds. And I've been teaching my son the same tactic. And I do often times hear from people like you that feel like there's "nothing to it". Well, come along and hunt with me. Let's put stands in, let's build them, let's find the locations together. And then when it's all said and done, let's go sit them. Sittin is a game of patience that most people do not possess. The best way I can equate it is, when you're stalking an animal, you're doing your work right then and there. When I'm sitting a stand or a blind, my work began months ago. So to think that sitting a stand is a lazy mans way, you're wrong. And I'm from out west. I welcome any and all forms of hunting. But they all do take a certain degree of mastering the art. And furthermore, when hunting from a stand, most guys would botch the shot. You have narrowed the game down into the animals red Zone. So getting your bow, let alone drawing it back isn't as cut and dried and a lot would think.

From: willliamtell
16-Oct-13
There are lots of places I've been where I'd love to hang a stand. Also located a few stands already there when I was at a spot looking for where I'd hang one. As noted by concrete, those are probably best found well ahead of time cause hauling a stand and steps isn't usually sensible when running and gunning. Here's another question - what is the lightest stand that people use and like?

From: REX
16-Oct-13
wyobullshooter +1

Some of the most incredible animal behavior I have ever seen was from 20' up in a tree. I watched a tense stare down between a 5-point bull and a small black bear last year.

From: swede
18-Oct-13
Some folks continue to disagree, but I believe you are going to see more and more elk taken from tree stands. It is a very effective hunting method when you do your homework It does require some patience. I have written quite a few magazine articles about successful tree stand hunts. it never occurred to me that telling the story would present any kind of problem. I am as proud of my tree stand kills as those I shot from the ground. Just like calling, it takes skill and a little luck to be successful.

18-Oct-13
This is basically the same delimma turkey hunting presents...run n gun without a blind or sit in one spot with one. My way is run n gun with my homemade lightweight blinds and I would have to believe it would work with elk too.

24-Oct-13
Lots of good input. I was just wondering the mindset and strategies used.

I am just so used to walking and calling. It would take a training period and a good pair of handcuffs to get me started.

I tagged out in MT the other day. So got my Idaho and Montana tags filled this year. Not easy to take both with bow.

25-Oct-13
You must be my long lost brother. I can not sit still.

From: WylieCoyote
26-Oct-13
Alas...when the bowhunter gets older (like me) the all day stalking in the wilderness holds much less fascination and the comfortable chair in the ground blind gains in popularity...it's a simple realization...sneaking around the woods, you see much more game (elk)...sitting on a stand you get a much better shot opportunity. The thrill of the stalk is immense...but the act of finding a good wallow, etc, setting up the blind right and making the shot when the opportunity arises is equally fulfilling!! At least, IMHO...

Joe

From: Wild Bill
18-Mar-24
Being a 68 year old hunter with joint issues, stand hunting (tree or ground) is about the only way I can hunt elk nowadays. I just don't have it in me to hike miles anymore. Carefully spot&stock hunting into a spot covering a waterhole, I set up and sit all day - sometimes several days - patiently waiting for a shot to present itself. There are so many hunters beating the brush in a public general hunt that sitting and enjoying the day in a beautiful spot becomes very inviting. With the elk being pushed around, I never know when a elk will suddenly appear within range. Its a 50% success rate option. I do not use calls. I've done nothing but spook elk away from me. Sometimes, I use food scents (Alfalfa hay, etc.) to help attract cow elk, but the jury is still out on that trick. I've found if I try to still hunt, I'll see elk as they run away.

From: Dale06
18-Mar-24
I’ve arrowed three elk from tree stands and two from the ground, via calling them. I don’t care/worry about how others prefer to hunt, as long as it’s legal.

From: bowyer45
18-Mar-24
Well, if you know your country well and you can't walk like you used to, a ground blind or tree stand is better than sitting home. And the elk or deer still taste good. Us old timers have done the rest before.

From: Wild Bill
27-Mar-24
Old DIY solo hunters are forced to switch to hunting elk/mule deer from a ground blind. I like my pop-up ground blind. I have experienced a dramatic increase in my success rate. Patience is key! I guess covering a water source in a ground blind is the common placement for ground blinds. I like hunting early in October so I can spend the night in my ground blind awaiting opening morning. I stay warm by dressing in layers and placing hand/feet warmers in my pockets while in the blind. Forget game calls and/or making noise of any kind. I like to sit still and listen to the sounds of wildlife around me. Come first legal light, I shoot my game animal long before any other hunters arrive. Yes! Its a long sleepless night of anticipation, but I've spent a few of those in my lifetime!

From: Swede
29-Mar-24
"Forget game calls and/or making noise of any kind." I think this is generally very good advice. I use tree stands and occasionally a ground blind. Just before I get into my stand, I will commonly make one short bugle. At that time, I may also rake a tree or bush or splash the water at a wallow. After that I quickly get into my stand and stay silent. If you are going to try this tactic, I have found it is essential to find a calling location that requires the elk to come to where the hunter can get a shot at him before he can determines there is no real elk there. Trees or brush cover, slash piles or steep narrow draws work well as calling locations. If the bull can see where you called from at 100 yards away, they stop there and just look before they turn away. Make sure the elk must come in close to check out you the caller. This tactic does not work often, but it does not ever hurt as far as I have found. I have killed five elk that came in for the call. Several took two hours to come in. They are in no hurry to check out the caller. Before I realized what I had done wrong, I had several come and just observe where I called from. One friend disregarded this advice and called from his stand. He had a big bull come into view him in his stand then turn around. My friend had no shot opportunity as the bull stayed too far away. The five elk I have killed that came in arrived at the exact location I called from. Some just stood at my calling location, looking around until shot. One was behind a large bush I had failed to pay attention to when I called, so I had to wait about five minutes for it to take a few steps forward and stop again to look for me.

From: easeup
08-Apr-24
the old guy hunts sitting and waiting are now appealing to this old wretched body. What little I tried so far has not worked.....maybe just a little more prep to keep from getting seasick 20ft up in an aspen swaying in the breeze or finding that pop up is too heavy to carry very far. I guess I'll ponder the opportunities a little more

08-Apr-24
easeup, the base of my treestand is no more than 10’ above ground. You’ll do just fine. As far as the rest, it’s no different than real estate…location, location, location.

From: Paul@thefort
08-Apr-24

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I am in the tree stand behind the running dead elk. Tree stands, sure.

From: GRbowman
09-Apr-24
So for you tree stand hunters, how far are you up the tree. In the dead elk running photo does not look like you are very high up?

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-24

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Same bull standing at the wallow.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Same bull standing at the wallow.
Bryan, if you notice I have a lot of back ground cover so I blend in well with the surroundings. The Stand is only 8 ft off the ground so the bow/arrow is about 11 ft and the shot angle is low for a good broad side shot as this one was at 18 yards. This was the only tree that would work in this situation so I took advantage of it. As important was knowing in what direction the elk might come from but his bull and his cow came from behind me but not down wind. The 9 am wind was about to change to flow over the meadow in front of me, and I was preparing to get down when I noticed a tan colored shape coming in behind me. If this would have been ten minuets later, I would have been heading back to camp without a bull elk. That hump behind his shoulder is the broadhead almost sticking out. Down in 50 yards. Lucky? Yep but with good planning. I have another spot where I hunt off the ground in a make shift ground blind 20 yards from a wallow where I have killed 3 bulls. I only hunt this wallow in the evening and only for 1 1/2 hours when the cool wind currents come down and in my favor. There are trees in the area that can accommodate a tree stand but this ground blind seems to work and I am in the dark shadows.. This bull I killed there with the recurve at 20 yards. Yea, tree stand or ground blind, they both work.. My best, Paul

From: stringgunner
09-Apr-24
Swede has good experience on the question about height in the tree. My experience also aligns with what Paul is saying, in some cases being higher in the tree affords more opportunity to escape scent issues, but depending on the terrain and the wind patterns, not all locations that look good are truly good no matter how high in the tree you are.

I’ve followed Swede’s tree stand hunting methods for over 10 years now, and my dad and I collectively are nearly 100% in the last 10 years from trees stand hunting. Above all, the location is the most important. Anyone can sit in any tree in the woods, but those successful at this hunting method find the right spot which gives them the highest probability. It can take years of scouting to find those “honey hole” spots and then some times it’s luck.

From: Lost Arra
09-Apr-24
One morning I was setting up a tree stand by a wallow. I'm not organized enough to get everything set up in one trip up the tree. So I'm standing on my top stick getting ready to pull up my stand (pack and bow on the ground) and a 5x5 bull walks into the wallow. I'm about 20yds from the wallow but after a glance at the pack he goes about his mud bath. Then he just lays there looking off in the distance. It seemed like forever before a spike came by and the bull left to chase him off. I got everything set up and only the spike returned that day.

From: Goelk
09-Apr-24
How are you climbing trees?

09-Apr-24
Tree steps.

From: cnelk
09-Apr-24

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Here’s my son setting up his tree stand. We use ladder sticks.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-24
Yes, also screw in tree steps but only needed 6.

From: GRbowman
09-Apr-24
Thanks Paul! I have a few spots that I think I could sit at for a few hours in the evening, this might be the year to give it a try. :)

From: GFL
09-Apr-24

GFL's embedded Photo
GFL's embedded Photo
Pop up on a wallow in a huge meadow. I’m surprised it worked out. Set blind 3 hours before.

From: Wild Bill
15-May-24
If you know where elk go to get away from hunting pressure, ambush hunting from a ground blind works great! Why hunt from a ground blind? Consider; Your old enough that osteoarthritis has set into your joints big time and severely limits your physical mobility and ability. In order to continue hunting, you have switched to a rifle which gives you a range of approximately 400 yards. You have aged out of many other methods of big game hunting, and yet, the mountains continue calling to you bidding you "Come!" Becoming a good ground blind hunter, for all species of game animal, is your only choice in answering that call from the wild or else sit like a caged zoo animal awaiting death with a broken spirit. How do you become proficient with a ground blind? Use the pre-season summer months to head out to wilderness areas, setting up your blind, and catching animals unaware. After awhile of doing this for fun, you will become deadly come hunting season. You will be able to instinctively know when and where to set up for a shot. You will know just how much brushing-in your popup blind requires for each range. You will be able to set up your sniper ambush position and have patient confidence in your hunt. Let the young hunters do all the leg work because you are where the elk are heading, and you are there awaiting them!

From: Jaquomo
15-May-24
I use screw in steps and Lone Wolf sticks. Definitely sticks if it's a spruce tree that drips goo all over from the screw-ins

From: Jaquomo
15-May-24
If you can shoot out to 400 yards, WTF do you need a pop-up blind for? And why lug it into a "wilderness area" for practice when you have no idea where elk will be months later. Especially when you are supposedly "mobility limited". What an idiotic post.

Really, Wild Bill, that post reads exactly like it was written by ChatGPT. Betting anything that's where it originated.

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