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Best prep hunts for AZ/UT LE Elk?
I'm getting close to drawing some decent elk hunts in Arizona and Utah. Problem is, while building points, I've been totally consumed with high country mule deer, and I haven't hunted elk. Rather than going in blind, I'd like to try a couple DIY elk hunts to hopefully gain a bit of experience. I'd like to get some general opinions on what types of hunts would help gain some knowledge of elk behavior and tactics. Colorado OTC? Low-point CO draw unit? Wyoming (I have 2 points)? Try to get lucky in the NM draw? Also, which do you guys think would be most important to try to simulate in the prep hunts? Terrain? Elk population? Pressure? Time of season? Sorry for all the newbie questions, thanks!
All of the above. There's good hunts in mid tier NM. Southern ID. Southern CO. WY Gen tag (too late this year).
Your second set of questions is impossible to answer. It's the same animals, really. They can be hunted differently in different terrain, but they're the same animals. All of the states you listed have a lot of the same type of ranges of terrain with some states having more of one and less of the others. The thing that's going to help you more than anything if you're really interested in "prep," is time. Spend more time hunting them and that'll help you be a better elk hunter than anything.
I agree with Ike. Also, the better the elk population the more encounters you are likely to learn from. You can learn about elk hunting without tangling with a bull, but you learn so much more every time you get close IMO. The better the population the more close interactions you'll encounter. All of the options you mentioned are decent options and will teach you a lot. I'd pick the ones that offer the best numbers of animals with lowest pressure.
You could always do a Spike/Cow bow hunt in Utah and get to know the LE bull unit you desire to draw. Cheap tag considering $388--I believe it is and you already have the Utah license.
Whatever you decide I hope it all plays out for ya
I also agree with Ike. Any elk hunting experience is better than no elk hunting experience. Personally, I chose a low demand LE unit in Colorado to gain experience and was able to hunt that unit three times before drawing a premium elk tag in Utah. No regrets...as that strategy worked out great. But if I had to do it all over again, I would likely pick the Wyoming general tag just due to the difference in quality potential.
What Robb said. Or, try to draw a mule deer tag in the area where you'll draw an elk tag. Kill two birds with one stone.
What idyll said. Apply in New Mexico, when you don’t draw go to CO otc and Wyoming. You will soon forget about mike deer.
Personally, i see a big difference between the elk in OTC and the elk in the good limited units.
The elk in limited units are less pressured and easier to call with more opportunities. Almost not even the same animal, IMO.
The difference; you can be much more aggressive in limited units...don't go in there tippy toeing around.
A week late on NM draw deadline. A handful of bugles and you'll forget what a deer looks like.
Ike and Robb have good advice.
Get out and spend time around elk!
As several others have said, elk in good limited draw areas act very different from elk in unlimited OTC areas. After you have hunted in a good elk area, you will not want to go back to an unlimited area.
Not so sure about forgetting about the deer, though... I would still rather hunt a big old mule deer buck any day over elk! Unless it is in an extremely good elk unit :)
Can ya get an OTC bow elk tag that overlaps your high country muley hunt unit?
No doubt you are seeing elk in those high basins while ya chase muleys.
Keep the faith--------->
Can't see why you need any license at all.....or a weapon either. Make your practice runs anywhere you like. Just be respectful if there are hunters in the area , so you don't booger up their hunt . I would think it's legal to hike hunting units with a cow call in your pocket and gather knowledge of the elk and possibly your target unit all at the same time .
For practice for your Arizona tag, you can buy an OTC mule deer tag in almost every elk unit (with the exception of 11M and 3A/3C), for a hunt that would run the three weeks prior to archery elk opening. It would give you the chance to learn the country. You've already purchased the license when you apply for elk, the deer tag costs $300 for a NR.
Thanks for all the advice guys! I'm pretty set on a CO mule deer hunt this year, but I think I'll either do WY general or put in for the NM draw next year and have CO OTC as a backup plan.
StickFlicker, do any of the AZ units in the 4's, 5's or 6's have much opportunity for spot and stalk mule deer? That's likely where I'll spend my elk points, but I was under the impression that the terrain was pretty thick.