Moultrie Products
2018 Rut predictions/forecast
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
ELKMAN 19-Aug-18
Darrell 19-Aug-18
fastjamp 19-Aug-18
LUNG$HOT 19-Aug-18
WapitiBob 19-Aug-18
Bou'bound 19-Aug-18
ELKMAN 20-Aug-18
HUNT MAN 20-Aug-18
jordanathome 20-Aug-18
ELKMAN 21-Aug-18
Michael 21-Aug-18
Glunt@work 21-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 21-Aug-18
Brotsky 21-Aug-18
altitude sick 21-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 21-Aug-18
Horseshoe 21-Aug-18
ELKMAN 22-Aug-18
maxracx 22-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 22-Aug-18
ELKMAN 23-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 23-Aug-18
ELKMAN 24-Aug-18
Rut Nut 24-Aug-18
Mark Watkins 24-Aug-18
Billyvanness 24-Aug-18
painless 24-Aug-18
NorCalVineyards 24-Aug-18
bigbulls6 24-Aug-18
ki-ke 24-Aug-18
ELKMAN 25-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 27-Aug-18
SBH 27-Aug-18
ELKMAN 29-Aug-18
ELKMAN 31-Aug-18
Horn Donkey 10-Sep-18
Horn Donkey 20-Sep-18
jordanathome 20-Sep-18
rattles33 20-Sep-18
Buffalo1 20-Sep-18
Thornton 20-Sep-18
Ucsdryder 20-Sep-18
Horn Donkey 20-Sep-18
Bou'bound 20-Sep-18
Ucsdryder 20-Sep-18
From: ELKMAN
19-Aug-18
Let's hear what everybody thinks about this year rut forecast and predictions. Dates, moon, temps, weather, fires/smoke, rut activity windows etc... What do you think September has to hold? And why? Hopefully we can get guys from all regions and compare thoughts and theories, then see what we were right on, and what we missed on after the dance.

From: Darrell
19-Aug-18
My brilliant prediction is that this year will be same as every other year (25+ now) that I have chased elk. They should be starting to talk a little about now, and they will ramp up every day until they get messed with. Once bumped by hunters or callers they will go somewhat nocturnal but continue to ramp up. On cool cloudy days there will be more talking and they may talk all day long. On hot sunny days, they will hit the dark timber and shut up early and may not come up until sunset. Some days, weather won't matter as there is a hot cow and/or a couple herds ran into each other and it all breaks loose. The moon messes with hunter's minds but in my experience doesn't have near the effect that weather does and nothing effects the noise like a cow that's ready to breed. Getting close! Tic toc, tick toc. . . .

From: fastjamp
19-Aug-18
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From: LUNG$HOT
19-Aug-18
The rut was early this year it’s already over! No use hitting the woods for this years archery season. Trade in your tags for rifle season as they will be impossible to call in close ;-)

From: WapitiBob
19-Aug-18
I'll be bugling Bulls in August.

From: Bou'bound
19-Aug-18
should start slowly then really reach a peak and tail off. You'll be in good shape if you are out there at the peak time

From: ELKMAN
20-Aug-18
Four bulls were bugling last friday in the back country here in MT. One of them was rubbed clean.

From: HUNT MAN
20-Aug-18
I saw 5 bulls Saturday night all cleaned. It want be long !!

From: jordanathome
20-Aug-18
September 25th.......delayed a few days by the lunar cycle. ;)

From: ELKMAN
21-Aug-18
I think the opener might be interesting this year...

From: Michael
21-Aug-18
I have been bugling every night for the past week. Peak rut is on like Donkey Kong.

From: Glunt@work
21-Aug-18
Same as always. Any week you can hear one camp discussing how the rut is early and the next camp over going on about how it's late.

From: Horn Donkey
21-Aug-18
Extreme drought conditions in the country I am hunting. The crystal ball says, "Find water and you will find elk." I'll be in the woods Sept. 18, the week before the Autumnal Equinox.

I predict sweating copious amounts of fluids out of my body. Sleeping on an air mattress that I slide off of in the middle of the night. Very sore limbs, crusty eyes, bad breath, chafed nuts, blistery feet, scratched up arms, leaky water bladder, broken equipment, deepest despair, and hopefully highest elation.

From: Brotsky
21-Aug-18
LOL^^^^This guy has obviously been elk hunting before! You summed it up perfectly horn donkey!

21-Aug-18
Like Clubber Lang said. “I predict Pain”

From: Horn Donkey
21-Aug-18
Altitude sick -- yer dang right! That is exactly what I expect. Forgot to add, altitude sickness. I live at 951' above sea level. My hike in to camp begins at 8,700' and my initial camp site is at 11,100'. I will begin my hike feeling confident, prepared, and strong. Approximately 1/10th of a mile later I will be gasping for air at peak heart rate, my reptile brain will be screaming in my ear that I will die if I keep going this way. He will tell me that I can't handle this. "You've got too much weight, why don't you set up camp here its a lovely spot, why continue to push yourself, you probably won't get close enough to an elk with your bow anyway, no one else you know at home does this why do you need to do this, maybe the neighbors are right I am crazy, there's no shame in quitting now you can just tell everyone you made it." WHY IS THIS QUITTER VOICE SOOO F'ING LOUD IN MY EAR! WHY ARE HIS RATIONALIZATIONS SO SEDUCTIVE!

Then I remember what it's like to be standing at full draw with a 6x6 elk at 12 yards when he lets out a deafening bugle and mauls the saplings that stand between us. I see the vanes on the arrow spinning and the glint of sunlight off the steel of the broadhead as it courses through the air. See the single off colored hair 2 inches behind his elbow as the arrow disappears in his body. Hear the freight train of hooves and breaking limbs as he tries to escape the inevitable. Feel the shaking as the adrenaline passes and quiet returns to the mountain. Live the psychotic nightmare that is simultaneously elation and despair as I slowly follow the red splashes that mark the tornadoes path. Feel the dump of triumph, happiness, and exitement when I spot an antler sticking up from the brush. Mix in some sadness for having extinguished the life of a warrior, and gratitude that my creator has blessed me. Absolute exhaustion as I pull off the final 80lb load at the truck. Fulfillment for a brief second when my head hits the pillow and I pass into a dreamless complete sleep.

I remember these things and tell the reptile brain not today. We're heading up the mountain no matter the cost.

What I predict for elk season is feeling alive on the mountain with the order and chaos that god has magnanimously placed between my ears. I couldn't be more excited.

From: Horseshoe
21-Aug-18
Well written Horn Donkey! You summed it up nicely. The successful don't give in to that damn voice. I'm going to keep trying to take my first archery elk. I also predict . . . pain.

It is hard to explain to people at work why I want to spend precious vacation time and money to have burning lungs & legs, be sleep deprived, unbathed, blistered, hot, cold, cramped, hungry, and unsure of what to next. I've tried, but most just don't understand.

Good luck and stay after 'em.

From: ELKMAN
22-Aug-18
Yes all very good technical information... ;-) LOL!

From: maxracx
22-Aug-18
Horn Donkey, I have chill bumps after reading your post!!! Thank you

From: Horn Donkey
22-Aug-18
Maxracx -- appreciate that compliment very much. It gives me chills to recall the memory.

Elkman -- Apologies for getting too technical. Possibly oversharing a bit! When I wrote yesterday I had just finished a 5 mile hike with 50 lbs on my back. No matter how loud I turned up the music yesterday that damn voice just kept trying to butt in on my training. "Dude, you're in the best shape of your life! You don't need this extra couple of miles today! You'll be fine when you get there, and besides you've got 28 days 9 hours and 43 minutes until you land in Denver, there's sooooo much time!"

Technically, I'm in an enviable position elk wise. My best friend since I was 3 years old lives in the unit we are hunting. He not only has eyes on bulls, but is feeding me motivation with pics from trail cams and spotting scopes almost daily. What I have to be able to do is execute when I arrive. Read as much ElkNut knowledge as I can. Study my terrain as much as I can. Listen to elk sounds and what they mean as much as I can. Work out hike routes from camp with different wind scenarios as much as I can. Shoot my bow in as many uncomfortable and challenging positions as I can. Pack and re-pack my gear until I'm as light as possible. Most importantly prepare mentally to accept that most of my pre-hunt theories are garbage, to adapt rapidly, and shrug off the plethora of failures that are inevitable in the mountains.

I wish all of you a tremendous amount of success how ever you define it. If you're chasing elk in the mountains and it's not going your way, lift your head up, look around and appreciate the height that you climbed.

From: ELKMAN
23-Aug-18
All very good stuff that not only speaks to the heart, but to the soul as well...^^^

From: Horn Donkey
23-Aug-18
ELKMAN -- Just looked at the gallery of animals on your profile. Just wow! How about some predictions from you. Which states are you hunting this year? Looks like a lot of Montana elk. What are you preparing for? How will your predictions drive your preparation?

From: ELKMAN
24-Aug-18
Thank you. I have been blessed for sure. I will not be hunting Elk this year. Had knee replacement almost 6 months ago, so I decided I will have to live on Whitetail and Pheasants alone this year. I think we will see significant "rut activity" earlier than normal this year for a multitude of reasons. I really hate to sit this one out completely so I predict I will be calling in some bulls for friends and family. I just hate to kill something if I'm not 100% sure I can participate in the pack out without risking a set back, and the places we hunt that's no small thing...

From: Rut Nut
24-Aug-18
Horn donkey- LOVE your posts! Any serious elk hunter can relate- especially the PAIN! If you wanna ever “kick it up a notch” go out and find a Timber Rattler and let him bite you in the leg. (Make sure it’s a TIMBER so you get the full effect! ;-) From then on, any PAIN from an elk hunt will pale in comparison! LOL! : )

Just make sure you do it in the off-season and give yourself at least 4-5 months to recover! ;-)

From: Mark Watkins
24-Aug-18
Great thoughts, comments and predictions!!!

Man, I wish I was chasing the buglers this year (but hard to complain about the hunts I have coming up)!

Mark

24-Aug-18
September 18th give or take a day be there.

From: painless
24-Aug-18
The last 2 years have been the best in my 30 years of elk hunting. The best we did 2 years ago was to call up 14 different bulls in 1.5 hours. My partner and I got a double out of that. I'm hoping they get real hot mid September.

Horn Donkey, very well written. The most memorable uphill climb I had was several years back. My brother-in-law and I were headed straight up a long rockslide at about 11,000' . I thought I was going to have a heart attack and turned around to tell my bin this dire news. Suddenly I couldn't help but to break out in laughter because he actually looked like he was having a heart attack.

24-Aug-18
Flying back from the Datil area now ( quick over night scouting mission). Seen about 50 cows, a bunch of spikes and rags and a 5x, all close to the cows. Lush green grass, cloudy cool weather that last two days. Didn’t hear any bugles but that wasn’t the purpose of the trip. Set two ground blinds over water, and a ladder stand. Cameras are up and come Sept 6th it’s on. If it’s anything like last year, around the 9-10th bugling and movement will increase. Although it’s nothing like last last year as the grass is green, there is water in the tanks and the moon phase is dead perfect for the 1st archery season. Let’s go!!!!

From: bigbulls6
24-Aug-18
Never Know cant wait to get there and find out!! Good luck to all!!

From: ki-ke
24-Aug-18
Horn Donkey!

I'll have what he's having........WAIT! I have! I just never could articulate my feelings like that....nice!

From: ELKMAN
25-Aug-18
I am going to check out an area

From: Horn Donkey
27-Aug-18

Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Elkman -- Sorry to hear about the knee. Hope that your family and friends get to benefit from your experience though. Would be cool to hear that you called one in for them!

RutNut--I read your Timber Rattler thread from start to finish. I live in Georgia, soooooo, now all I can see on the ground where I'm hiking is rattlers! Seriously though, I learned a lot from your post about the do's and don'ts. Hopefully will never have to use it, but important knowledge to have.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm super pumped about being on the mountain in 22 days, 12 hours and 28 minutes. My hunting partner sent me this picture last night at midnight.

From: SBH
27-Aug-18
They are hard horned here in MT! Few more days......

From: ELKMAN
29-Aug-18
Some talking here in the big sky...

From: ELKMAN
31-Aug-18
Rain expected monday and tuesday

From: Horn Donkey
10-Sep-18

Horn Donkey's Link
8 Days 11 Hours and 31 Minutes until the wheels are up. The friend I'm hunting with had a 5x5 at 3 yards last night. He's got eyes on a couple of herds and says the bulls are starting to mix it up pretty heavily. Bugling activity ramping up quickly. Hoping that the muzzleloader season is quiet and that conditions remain about the same for another week. Still dry as all get out, and I've got 3 water sources to concentrate on with good options for approach based on wind.

So stinking pumped to be on the mountain next week I can't concentrate on anything else. Honey'dos piling up cause I'm shooting the bow 2 hours a day, hiking 2 hours a day, doing the Elk101 workout 2 hours a day, looking at maps 2 hours a day and f'ing with my gear 10 hours a day. Wife says I'm having an elk affair on her.

Pro-tip for any married dudes leaving for extended period....Pre-order flowers to arrive in the middle of your hunt with a sincere message telling your wife how grateful you are that she supports your dreams. Works like a champ.

For any above who have already gone and come home, how did your predictions match up to the mountain?

From: Horn Donkey
20-Sep-18

Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Horn Donkey's embedded Photo
Predictions turned out to be accurate. Water was the key. Me and my buddy doubled up on bulls within 15 minutes of one another. Caught the herd coming from water to bedding right at day break. The other predictions were even more accurate. Pain. Altitude sickness. Pain. Doubt, gut wrenching doubt.

After hiking down a point that my friend thought they herd would use to get to bedding, we split up about 80 yards apart. He began a calling sequence, and 2 minutes later I was staring at a cow and a calf trotting directly towards me. About 60 yards behind them was a nice 5x5. I had my arrow knocked, my release on, was in a reasonably good position behind a juniper and then the cow and calf just kept coming. All the way to 5 feet in front of me. The wind was good, but you never know what will set off that lizard brain that tells an animal danger is near. At 5 feet she and the calf busted towards my friends position. The 5x5 however stopped dead in his tracks and looked straight towards where my friend was calling. Not having time to range him, I drew, picked my spot and let fly.

In gut wrenching slow motion, I watched my arrow sail directly over his back. He took off. Straight towards my friend. Two nanoseconds later I heard a cow call and the unmistakable sound of a bow thump. Prediction of deepest despair? Check.

Right when things couldn’t get lower for me, a bugle erupts from the 100 yards down the point. My friend answered him right back. WHAT? The herd bull is answering him? I’ve got a shot? Back to cloud 9! I see bushes moving violently from where the the bugles are coming from. I see antler tips! I pull out my range finder and it says 70 yards. The bull lets out a another bugle and chuckle and continues thrashing the bushes. This goes on for another 5 minutes, and then I see him. He comes out from behind the bush, lets loose another bugle and stands and watches. My friend answers back, the bull turns as if to leave, and then I see the bushes being thrashed again. I knew that I needed to move to him.

50 Yards I tell myself. You need to get 20 good paces closer to this bull and you can take a shot. So I start moving. As I move from my position to the next tree, I am totally exposed in the open. Naturally, the bull stops thrashing the tree, moves to the opening and lets out another bugle and sees something he doesn’t like. ME. Luckily, his testosterone gets the better of him and he decides to respond to my friends challenge bugle and goes back to thrashing the tree. I move up quickly to the next tree and range the opening. 49 yards.

The bush stops moving. I draw. Anchor. There he is. Pick your spot. Squeeze. The arrow is gone. My heart stops as I watch the arrow. The cosmos was created in less time than it took that arrow to arrive at it’s destination...and then it hit. Exactly where I put my pin. Right in the V. The bull spins and takes off like a locomotive. Beating hooves booming down the mountain. I drop my bow, raise my hands, and revel in amazement at what just happened.

I run up to my friend. He says, “I got that 5x5! He only went 20 yards, he’s right there! Did you see that 6x6? They just busted outta here.”

I say, “Did you not hear me shoot?”

Friend, “No, did you shoot the 5x5 too?”

Me, “No dumb sh*t. I shot the 6x6!”

After hugs, high fives, and a sip of bourbon, we went to find my bull. I walked directly to where he was standing and my nightmare came to life. “Are you sure he was standing right here? Are you sure you hit him?”

“Yep, that is the tree he was standing next to, those are his hoof marks as he high tailed outta here. This is the spot.”

Zero blood. Absolutely no blood. No arrow. Nothing. We followed his exit tracks for 20 yards. No blood. We continue along his tracks another 20 yards. Nothing. I’m going to throw up I’m so nauseous. This can’t be happening. I saw the arrow clearly. It happened in slow motion after all.

40 more yards. Nothing.

20 more yards. What’s that? Holy sh*t! A white blazer vane. My arrow. I pick it up and there’s only 6 inches. That means I’ve got 21.5” in him. What’s that next to the arrow? A single drop of blood. I’ve come out of slit your wrist depression to just above sitting in a beanbag naked eating Cheetos all day depression.

We keep following the hoof prints another 40 yards. I’m furiously searching the ground for blood. All of a sudden my friend’s hand crashes against my back and he let’s out a whoop! There he is!

My god what a rollercoaster. I’m absolutely exhausted. We humped meat and horns from 8:30 am to just before midnight. What an adventure. All the preparation and mental thought that went into this trip. It was just amazing.

I wish that you all get to experience a hunt like this once in your life. Hope you enjoyed the story.

From: jordanathome
20-Sep-18
Nice!

From: rattles33
20-Sep-18
Love it! Way to go!

From: Buffalo1
20-Sep-18
Great adventure and nice trophy. I'd say more "thank you" flowers are in order !! Congrats

From: Thornton
20-Sep-18
There will be a few bugling bulls in 2nd rifle season like there always are.

From: Ucsdryder
20-Sep-18
Great story! Where did your arrow end up hitting? Any reason for lack of blood?

From: Horn Donkey
20-Sep-18
Ucsdryder — Thanks! From what I can tell the initial impact terminated on the opposite scapula. The entrance would looked to be blocked up by the arrow, but I really couldn’t find any reason blood wasn’t coming out of cuts from the broad head. When I opened up the cavity 100% of the lungs and heart were cut to shreds. I found the arrow facing the way it had entered, which leads me to believe that when the arrow broke off the broad head bounced around and cut stuff every step he took.

I’m shooting a Magnus Snuffer SS 100 grain. It was shaving sharp. Still a little bit baffled about why the blood didn’t pour out.

From: Bou'bound
20-Sep-18
Great job. Well done

From: Ucsdryder
20-Sep-18
Thanks! Cool stuff!

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