Sitka Mountain Gear
Best times to hunt water
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 01-Sep-18
jordanathome 01-Sep-18
Cazador 01-Sep-18
oldgoat 01-Sep-18
400 Elk @Home 01-Sep-18
DonVathome 02-Sep-18
Cazador 02-Sep-18
WFG in NM 02-Sep-18
wyliecoyote 02-Sep-18
DonVathome 03-Sep-18
elkmtngear 03-Sep-18
Kurt 03-Sep-18
kscowboy 03-Sep-18
ki-ke 06-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 07-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 07-Sep-18
MathewsMan 07-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 07-Sep-18
smarba 07-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 07-Sep-18
Lost Arra 07-Sep-18
Brun 07-Sep-18
smarba 07-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 07-Sep-18
dirtclod Az. 07-Sep-18
jordanathome 08-Sep-18
Bowriter 09-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 09-Sep-18
DonVathome 11-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 11-Sep-18
smarba 11-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 13-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 13-Sep-18
South Farm 13-Sep-18
smarba 13-Sep-18
Madman88240 13-Sep-18
Michael 13-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 13-Sep-18
NorCalVineyards 13-Sep-18
swede 19-Sep-18
From: DonVathome
01-Sep-18
What is your favorite time to hunt water in early September?

From: jordanathome
01-Sep-18
3-5 pm

From: Cazador
01-Sep-18
AM, Dawn to 10am, PM, 6 to Dark.

From: oldgoat
01-Sep-18
Only thing I'll add, is, stay till legal shooting hours are over or until you can't see well enough to shoot whichever comes first, oh and don't assume the direction the elk will come from till you hear them coming!

01-Sep-18
Don,

I have always had the best luck hunting water when the elk are drinking it or wallowing...

Just messing with you. I have had quite a few hours in treesstands over water in Wyoming. I have always found that from about 3:00 to dusk is best. I have had a lot of time in the stand and way more trail camera photos and have only seen elk in the morning on water a couple of times. Compared with the hundreds of photos and encounters in the afternoon. Makes it easy choice.

From: DonVathome
02-Sep-18
Interesting. I always thought evening but recently a few experience hunters told me early in the morning!

From: Cazador
02-Sep-18
You'd be surprised how many are taken in the AM. Most people like to run and gun in the AM, rest/sit the PMs. I know of 5 elk this year alone shot on AM waterhole sits.

From: WFG in NM
02-Sep-18
I can’t help it, I did laugh a bit. Hunt water when you are thirsty. I also chuckle about fishing for ice. :)

—Bill

From: wyliecoyote
02-Sep-18
My experience in Idaho?? early morning by far and away better than evening... Joe

From: DonVathome
03-Sep-18
What about bulls sneaking away from their harem and watering mid day around noon?

From: elkmtngear
03-Sep-18
"What about bulls sneaking away from their harem and watering mid day around noon"?

They'll do it regularly, especially when it's warm...but, your chances of getting winded at that time are super high (in most cases).

From: Kurt
03-Sep-18
Shot my biggest bull at 7:30 PM and second largest at 4:30 PM both at water....one a pond, the other a little spring. . Also had a dandy water at noon while I was up a tree hanging a stand with the Bow laying on the ground. And I never spent much time hunting water versus all the other methods. It can be a “killer” good way to get a nice bull.

From: kscowboy
03-Sep-18
Just had a 6x5 come in at 2:00 to a wallow to drink after all the rains this AM.

Watching a cow and calf come in now.

From: ki-ke
06-Sep-18
I believe it may be the answer may be more geography dependent than anything else. I've spent a lot of time in the Gila where water can be scarce, or requires the elk daily traveling distance to get to it. They tend to spend the night near those sources and have had their fill of water before they go back to wherever in the AM. In the evening they are more likely to hit a tank, seep or other small hole after not drinking all day. My observations.

In hot weather, I would sit a muddy wallow mid day, every day!

Good luck!

07-Sep-18
Currently sitting a remote tank that has water. It rained some before dark last night but warm today. I’ll let you know should the school bus arrive.

07-Sep-18

NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
How will my V.Tricks fly through this netting at 30 yards?

From: MathewsMan
07-Sep-18
That looks exactly like the spot I sat here in NW Colorado.

I've always been more productive sitting mornings. Some of the best bulls will sneak away from their bedded cows anytime during the middle of the day to get a drink too.

07-Sep-18
and It’s raining at the water hole

From: smarba
07-Sep-18
I personally don't like shooting thru netting. Even numerous claims it has no effect. I slice shoot thru ports vertically ~6" wide in my mesh so I don't have to leave the window entirely open. If you've NEVER shot your BH through the mesh I wouldn't want the first experiemental shot to be at an elk...

07-Sep-18
Frustrating when you hear a bugle off in the distance sitting in a blind. The ball and chain has you locked down.

From: Lost Arra
07-Sep-18
I'm taking a treestand this week for a specific location of a marshy seep where I have encountered elk numerous times always in the afternoon (3-5pm) as they move down towards a meadow. Waiting for them at the edge of the meadow doesn't work because it's always dark by the time they get there. I've tried getting there in the pre dawn hours as they move back up the mountain but it's hopeless in the dark. I've caused elk stampedes because I couldn't see them and we were heading to the same place.

From: Brun
07-Sep-18
I guess the meaning of remote has changed. If you can sit there and post things with your phone it's not very remote in my view.... I wish you luck, but if you hear a bugle and want to go after him, what's stopping you?

From: smarba
07-Sep-18
LOL Brun, I too wonder how one can be remote and posting on Bowsite. But at least we can follow along vicariously.

NorCal, I've been in your shoes before. Decisions decisions...continue to sit water or charge off after the bugle? There's no right or wrong answer. Don't second-guess your decision. If you're going to sit tight, do so (I've done that and it paid off). If you're going to tear off after the bugle, get up and do it (I've done so and it paid off too).

The blind isn't a "ball and chain" it's an opportunity for a relatively close, controlled shot situation. If a bull comes to water it's 90%+ you're going to get a shot and kill him. But while you're waiting for one it can be slow (although I enjoy watching songbirds, other animals, etc.)

You can chase bugles and call and have a ton of fun and action, but the odds of you getting a shot & killing one are lower (more to go wrong: no shooting lane, wind swirls, bull catches you moving and locks up with vitals blocked when you're at full draw...)

You're elk hunting...it's all good. Just enjoy whatever method you're using.

07-Sep-18
Remote is relative, access is poor to the tank, but the phone works. Have you ever hunted around 13?

From: dirtclod Az.
07-Sep-18
Shooting through mesh is asking for trouble.If a twig can deflect an arrow,mesh will surely change the flight path.

From: jordanathome
08-Sep-18
Don.....what did you see?

From: Bowriter
09-Sep-18

Bowriter's embedded Photo
Bowriter's embedded Photo
Don't overlook this: During the heavy chase phase of the rut, on a warm or sunny day, try hunting secluded water holes during the midday. I learned this many years ago. Just as do we, bucks get thirsty after a period of hot chasing. I have killed two or three mature bucks between 11-2 hunting a small pond.

09-Sep-18
Last two days sat water from 9:30-4:30pm nothing came in. Can’t get myself to sit out the evening. Rains showers every afternoon. Was crazy yesterday all day we heard only one bugle at first light. The day before we probably heard 30. Either we bumped the elk or they were not talking. Lots of fresh tracks. Sitting in the dark listening for bugles.

From: DonVathome
11-Sep-18
No elk seen at water. Sat 2 or 3 times. Had one coming in but a whitetail doe winded me and snorted her brains out which sent the herd fleeing. gggrr

11-Sep-18
We sat 3 6 hour 10am-4 sets, no elk. The cameras show them coming in between 6-dark. It’s been warm and dry last couple of days so we are going to give tonight a go.

From: smarba
11-Sep-18
NorCal besides sitting dark to dark I'd sit exactly the opposite of what you have been doing. I'd be in a blind an hour before daylight, leave midday if you need to for whatever reason, and sit until dark. Apparently your camera is telling you similar. Good luck.

13-Sep-18
Once we started sitting the water holes in the evening, we started to see elk. Where we hunted, it’s all about the evening sits.

13-Sep-18

NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
Sometimes you take what you get.

From: South Farm
13-Sep-18
Nice!

From: smarba
13-Sep-18
Congrats, pls share more detail. Appears to have been late evening?

From: Madman88240
13-Sep-18
Shot my bull this year at 4:30 in the afternoon right after a rain. I even let him get a drink or two before letting the arrow fly.

From: Michael
13-Sep-18
Nice bull NorCal! Congrats.

Had a bull at a waterhole at 8:30 this morning. Unfortunately no shot. Needed him to take 3 more steps or the blind needed to be on the south side of the tree instead of the north side. He didn’t come for a drink though. He was interested in the cow he kept hearing there.

13-Sep-18

NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
Bull came in following 6 cows 75 yard side of the pond. They came to the edge a started to jump in. They swam to the middle of the pond, started to relax and I waited for him to quarter away. I touched it off through the lungs and the viper trick buried in his opposite shoulder (actually punctured through). He ran out of the pond 60 yards and was dead in sight at 7:10pm. I then waited in the stand and listened to bugles.

13-Sep-18

NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
NorCalVineyards's embedded Photo
No tracking needed, dead bull on the hill.

From: swede
19-Sep-18
For me the answer to the time to hunt water depends on the area. I have found springs near bedding areas, in semi arid places, get hit mostly in the late afternoon and evening. Near trails through general travel routes, they seem to arrive from daylight to about 10:00 AM. I prefer the semi arid regions as water holes are more predictable, but evidence on the ground can show you good places to ambush elk in areas where water is very abundant.

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