Mathews Inc.
Beetle kill pines & elk
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
btb 09-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 09-Oct-18
Aspen Ghost 09-Oct-18
Treeline 09-Oct-18
Buglmin 09-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 09-Oct-18
otcWill 09-Oct-18
cnelk 09-Oct-18
Bowboy 09-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 09-Oct-18
LKH 09-Oct-18
Surfbow 10-Oct-18
midwest 10-Oct-18
Treeline 10-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 10-Oct-18
Jaquomo 10-Oct-18
elkmtngear 10-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 10-Oct-18
elkmtngear 10-Oct-18
Jaquomo 10-Oct-18
Ucsdryder 10-Oct-18
Surfbow 11-Oct-18
Hackbow 11-Oct-18
ki-ke 11-Oct-18
Whocares 11-Oct-18
Mule Power 11-Oct-18
Cazador 11-Oct-18
GF 11-Oct-18
WYelkhunter 11-Oct-18
Whocares 11-Oct-18
Trax 11-Oct-18
Paul@thefort 11-Oct-18
Mule Power 11-Oct-18
Buglmin 11-Oct-18
cnelk 11-Oct-18
elkmtngear 11-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 11-Oct-18
del_binari 11-Oct-18
Aspen Ghost 11-Oct-18
wyobullshooter 11-Oct-18
LKH 11-Oct-18
cnelk 11-Oct-18
Ermine 12-Oct-18
Surfbow 12-Oct-18
DL 12-Oct-18
ahunter55 12-Oct-18
Cazador 12-Oct-18
From: btb
09-Oct-18
In Colorado and I am sure in other states the beetle kill is devastating. Colorado has many thousands of acres completely destroyed by beetles and it gets worse every year. When these dead trees start falling it will be impossible for man or beast to get through. I wonder what the effect this has had on wildlife? Has anyone hunted these areas before and after the kill?

From: Ucsdryder
09-Oct-18
Speak for yourself. I followed a herd of elk in the snow last year through blow down. I would go a couple hundred yards and only touch the ground 1 or 2 times! They seemed like they had little to no issues based on the straight line they took.

From: Aspen Ghost
09-Oct-18
As ugly as it is, I think in many places it has helped the elk. Opens up the understory for lots of growth (food) and the elk don't seem to mind negotiating the deadfall near as much as the hunters. It seems to provide a fairly safe sanctuary for them. There are some hunters on this site who take nice elk in those awful deadfall areas.

From: Treeline
09-Oct-18
Elk love it!

From: Buglmin
09-Oct-18
I disagree. The area we try to access has needles 6" to 8" deep beneath the trees. It made for no grass at all in the deadfalls. We don't see the elk going through the deadfalls at all. Last fall we watched elk go completely around areas with high dead fall. The Forest Service started using dynamite this year to knock trees down, saying it was safer to blow them down then using chain saws to cut them down. It made the deer hunting very hard in the area, and pushed the sheep so deep it was unreal,

09-Oct-18
It's a heck of a lot bigger pain in the arse for us than it is for them. Where I hunt, elk are still in the same places they were when I started hunting there 34yrs ago. The beetle kill's been coming down in droves for a few years now. In places where the downfall isn't terrible, they use the same trails they always have. Where it's hard for even them to navigate, they've simply made new trails skirting around the edge. They adapt.

From: otcWill
09-Oct-18
I didn't know there was elk hunting without dead fall until I hunted NM this year

09-Oct-18
I have found that there is some kind of strange gravity at work that sucks me into the worst beetle kill places in the dark.

From: cnelk
09-Oct-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Old news. The beetles came thru in ~2005. Trees have been falling for years.

Elk have adjusted some but not a lot.

With the canopy gone, new growth has already begun

But it can be a real beeatch to get thru in places... eh Midwest? :)

From: Bowboy
09-Oct-18
It's worst when you shoot one and they fall in those places. It makes for an interesting pack out.

09-Oct-18
Bowboy, lol! THAT is fact!

From: LKH
09-Oct-18
Stobbed, at least that's the word I use. It's what happens when you are foolish enough to walk along a barkless wet or snow covered log. Just picture an uncontrolled fall on to all the broken branches sticking up from all the blowdown. Ugly dirty wound.

It's something I gave up doing a long time ago.

From: Surfbow
10-Oct-18

Surfbow's embedded Photo
Surfbow's embedded Photo
The elk love that old blow-down with new growth in it, it creates a sanctuary from hunters who don't like to walk through it.

From: midwest
10-Oct-18
Not only a PIA....it's noisy!

From: Treeline
10-Oct-18
Have a few “stob” scars...

10-Oct-18
LKH, I don't know anyone that's foolish enough to walk along a barkless wet or snow covered log. Most of us have the sense to step over, or go around, that log.

I agree you have to be careful, but if you want to hunt elk anywhere in large portions of Colorado or Wyoming, you either deal with the downfall or quit hunting elk. That second option isn't an option.

From: Jaquomo
10-Oct-18
I got "staubbed" when I stepped over a deadfall, rammed the staub through my calf, and my body weight broke it off inside the leg. Just missed the artery.

In one of my most consistent spots on a ridge funnel between two drainages, the deadfall is now so awful that the elk have stopped using it altogether. And about 3/4 of the dead trees are still standing.

From: elkmtngear
10-Oct-18
I was lucky to get off with just a minor stab this Season. Going directly from creek crossing to deadfall can be a bad combination, after dark!

Another reason for hunting with at least a single trekking pole. I'm getting very good at getting through the blowdown jungles.

Elk bed in there...count on it! Look for the best elk trails, they'll show you the way in and out.

10-Oct-18
Jaq and Jeff...are you saying you now have an "innie"? ;-)

From: elkmtngear
10-Oct-18
"Jaq and Jeff...are you saying you now have an "innie"? ;-)"

No, but I was almost prison-raped in Oregon by one, in 2012...:^/

From: Jaquomo
10-Oct-18
No, but I still have chunks of wood working their way out now and then, and it happened 13 years ago. As the ER surgeon advised, my career as a "leg model" ended that day.

From: Ucsdryder
10-Oct-18
That’s crazy jaq! I’ve had a few close calls. One with a very special to me, part of my body.

From: Surfbow
11-Oct-18
My buddy's dog actually got disemboweled on a deadfall branch when she jumped over a log, he had to carry her out and the vet was able to put her back together, pretty nasty! When I run into that stuff I try to follow the elk trails, they've usually figured out the best way through.

From: Hackbow
11-Oct-18

Hackbow's embedded Photo
This area wasn't much fun. But the elk sure liked hanging out in and around it.
Hackbow's embedded Photo
This area wasn't much fun. But the elk sure liked hanging out in and around it.
Hackbow's embedded Photo
My buddy did battle with a stob in camp on our first day in this season......and lost.
Hackbow's embedded Photo
My buddy did battle with a stob in camp on our first day in this season......and lost.

From: ki-ke
11-Oct-18
In the areas I've hunted south of Durango, most of the dead timber is still standing. Kinda sad to see that much devastated forest. It seems to me that fire would be the natural fix. I'm not schooled in controlled burn methodology, but I cant imagine controlling a blaze once it started in that stuff....

That blow down must be impossible for horses.....

From: Whocares
11-Oct-18
Tell me about it! I've hunted places where I swear I never touched the ground a quarter mile at a time! But.. I'm smarter now...for the most part I think. And true, elk often can show you the best way through, particularly in the older blowdown. What amazes me is how, when you spook an elk in that stuff, they can go wide open down hill through that stuff and it sounds like they are breaking every leg they have!

From: Mule Power
11-Oct-18
I got a nasty puncture 2 years ago. It happens in the blink of an eye.

When I think about beetle killed trees I think about the massive amount of fuel for fires and the facts that hotshots can’t really get in there and do anything about it. That stuff is an inferno waiting to happen.

From: Cazador
11-Oct-18
I put hunting those places on the same level as packing in 10 miles. Not worth the trouble.

From: GF
11-Oct-18
"It seems to me that fire would be the natural fix. I'm not schooled in controlled burn methodology, but I cant imagine controlling a blaze once it started in that stuff...."

" That stuff is an inferno waiting to happen."

Yup. The drainage my brother and I have always hunted is mostly grey on Google Earth. Once those hills get lit, seems like there'll be nothing for it but to protect as many structures and as much livestock as possible.

But if you think the deadfall is tough now, just wait 'til it all grows back as DogHair...

From: WYelkhunter
11-Oct-18
it is to bad they don't get loggers and firewood cutters in to the beetle kill right away. The dead fall and blow down really limit forage growth for wildlife. It is also a major fire hazard.

From: Whocares
11-Oct-18
There has been logging and firewood cutting in places but there is just far too much it of for for the limited markets.

From: Trax
11-Oct-18
When the conditions are perfect (no wind, somewhat damp with rain or snow on the way) would they ever control burn some areas where the beetle has killed most everything off?

From: Paul@thefort
11-Oct-18
one other thing that I have noticed where I elk hunt is that the elk have found other places to bed, and some miles away. With the loss of the over head canopy, (mature pine cover) the heating index has risen higher causing a significant increase in daily temperatures in those once used shaded bedding areas.

From: Mule Power
11-Oct-18
I can hardly get the Forest Service on the phone. Well I can but it takes months to get any answers or action. But one time I saw lightning spark a fire downslope from a big patch of standing beetle killed lodgepole. They had their hands full to thecwest of me and didn’t need another situation elevating. I guess they took me seriously when I said “If this fire burns uphill and gets to the beetle kill you guys are gonna have a whole other can of worms to deal with over here!” I was shocked when within 15 minutes of my call a plane topped the ridge and doused the blaze with slurry before it could amount to anything. Boom done! They know that those beetle killed timber stands in August are like a giant tinder box.

From: Buglmin
11-Oct-18
We've had two huge timber sales this fall in unit 78, over 60,000 board feet of standing dead stuff and they have to take the trees on the ground. Wish they'd do more.

Our beetles came in after 2009. And its very dangerous walking in the dead standing trees. A man was fishing last summer in turkey Creek, 3 mile into the wilderness, 6 miles from the trailhead when a tree fell over and hit him. His horse ran off and his buddy went to catch the horse. He walked out almost four miles when the buddy returned with the horse. Trip to doctor showed a broken neck. Jimmy is a tough older man, but I didn't think that tough!!

From: cnelk
11-Oct-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
This is what it looks like after they log beetle killed areas. The Forest Circus calls it ‘thinning’

From: elkmtngear
11-Oct-18
"The Forest Circus calls it ‘thinning’"

Looks like a lazy man's clearcut...at least they could dozer it all into slash piles, if nothing else.

"And its very dangerous walking in the dead standing trees"

Heard two go down within 100 yards during my elk hunt this Season, both midday, when the wind came up.

11-Oct-18
Jeff, when the wind comes up, I stay out of the woods. Heck, last year a tree came down and missed my camper by a foot...and it was green!!!

From: del_binari
11-Oct-18
Burn it.

From: Aspen Ghost
11-Oct-18
How long does it take for these fallen logs to decay and rot to compost? 10 years? 25yrs? 50 yrs?

11-Oct-18
Aspen, there was a fire that burned in my area back in the 30’s. Some of the downfall still shows evidence from that burn. Some of it looks like it burned yesterday. Amazing.

From: LKH
11-Oct-18
Decay requires water and much of the wood doesn't touch ground. The aspen die off was a couple decades back and it's starting to come down pretty thick. Some gets hung up and is pretty solid years later.

From: cnelk
11-Oct-18
I think Aspen Ghost was referring to my pic with all the logs on the ground, not standing dead timber.

It will take a loooonng time for it to rot. I don’t think they will be dozing it into slash piles and burning it either

From: Ermine
12-Oct-18
The beetles did the job of what fire should have done. But we attempt to stop fires quickly. The beetles had to take over.

From: Surfbow
12-Oct-18
^This

From: DL
12-Oct-18
That crap is real fun at night. Place I’ve hunted has trees 2-4 feet in diameter like that. For some reason my GPS wasn’t reading right and I had to go through that junk twice.

From: ahunter55
12-Oct-18
you cant be a pussy if your going to hunt Elk.. Just suck it up.

From: Cazador
12-Oct-18
True, but you can be smart about it.

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