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Elk
Contributors to this thread:
cnelk 18-Feb-20
cnelk 18-Feb-20
buckeye 18-Feb-20
Adam B 18-Feb-20
BBB 18-Feb-20
Adam B 18-Feb-20
MtnHunter 18-Feb-20
Bob H in NH 18-Feb-20
JohnMC 18-Feb-20
cnelk 18-Feb-20
Vonfoust 18-Feb-20
elkmtngear 18-Feb-20
ND String Puller 18-Feb-20
HUNT MAN 18-Feb-20
Jaquomo 18-Feb-20
LINK 18-Feb-20
cnelk 18-Feb-20
bigeasygator 18-Feb-20
Ron Niziolek 18-Feb-20
drycreek 18-Feb-20
Bugle up 18-Feb-20
cnelk 18-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 18-Feb-20
altitude sick 18-Feb-20
MtnHunter 18-Feb-20
Vonfoust 18-Feb-20
Ucsdryder 18-Feb-20
loesshillsarcher 18-Feb-20
Bugle up 18-Feb-20
kentuckbowhnter 18-Feb-20
bill v 18-Feb-20
elkmtngear 18-Feb-20
ND String Puller 18-Feb-20
mn_archer 18-Feb-20
ki-ke 18-Feb-20
SD BuckBuster 18-Feb-20
splitlimb13 18-Feb-20
Rgiesey 18-Feb-20
ElkNut1 18-Feb-20
Z Barebow 18-Feb-20
Huntcell 18-Feb-20
Trophyhill 18-Feb-20
Jaquomo 18-Feb-20
FORESTBOWS 19-Feb-20
Surfbow 19-Feb-20
SBH 19-Feb-20
midwest 19-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 19-Feb-20
Smtn10PT 19-Feb-20
cnelk 19-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 19-Feb-20
Brun 19-Feb-20
HDE 19-Feb-20
bowhunt 19-Feb-20
Brotsky 19-Feb-20
BigOzzie 19-Feb-20
dirtclod Az. 19-Feb-20
WHOCARES 19-Feb-20
Jaquomo 19-Feb-20
LBshooter 19-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 19-Feb-20
Jaquomo 19-Feb-20
cnelk 19-Feb-20
Scrappy 19-Feb-20
Jaquomo 19-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 19-Feb-20
wkochevar 19-Feb-20
welka 19-Feb-20
IdyllwildArcher 19-Feb-20
Trophyhill 19-Feb-20
midwest 20-Feb-20
From: cnelk
18-Feb-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Here's the scenario:

You located a shooter bull across this old clearcut. [Yellow circle] He is slowly feeding around in no particular direction. The time of day is 6pm. Thermals going uphill. Good chance of rain. You are 3+ miles from the truck.

What's your next move?

From: cnelk
18-Feb-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: buckeye
18-Feb-20
thermals going uphill at 6 pm ? when do they shift back down hill? we need more info! I would get just inside the timber to the right and get on top of the hill and try to close the distance !

From: Adam B
18-Feb-20
Go shoot him

From: BBB
18-Feb-20
Run away crying because you don't know what to do????

From: Adam B
18-Feb-20
And then walk back to camp wondering what I did wrong

From: MtnHunter
18-Feb-20
Go after him. Depending on exact time of year, you'll have about 1 to 1.5 hours of shooting light. If it rains, that's good, keeps your scent and noise down. Go where the wind tells you to. Cut the distance and see if you can't get him to come to you.

From: Bob H in NH
18-Feb-20
Leave my wife right here with her call. Swing out to the right and up along the tree line if not inside the tree line. Shoot, start packing.

From: JohnMC
18-Feb-20
If I had on scentblocker and had an oxonics I'd go right at him forget the wind. I would also be more confident if I had a hecs suit on I would not need to worry about his 6th scent.

From: cnelk
18-Feb-20
Yep. Thermals go uphill until 30 mins before dark in the this spot, then switch. Dark is 1.5 hrs away.

From: Vonfoust
18-Feb-20
Head right to get about the same elevation as him. Work towards him. Cow call. Probably get surprised that he shows up and I'm not ready. Kick myself for not being ready once again while walking back to camp soaking wet in the rain.

From: elkmtngear
18-Feb-20
Wide circle up to the right, then creep in along the treeline. His behavior/direction at that point, would determine if I decoy/call, or simply move in to ambush him.

18-Feb-20
Yes! Now your talkin! This is way better than those schizophrenic blood trail games we’ve been duped into playing.

If .....I’d have time to kill him and find him before the rain, I’d keep an eye on him and wait for the thermals to fall down slope. Then I’d stalk in on him. I wouldn’t call at all, you already have the jump on him and cover for a stalk.

From: HUNT MAN
18-Feb-20
This^^^^^^^

From: Jaquomo
18-Feb-20
What ND said. Where Brad is hunting, the thermals may move uphill but the wind will still swirl until the sun drops behind the west mountain range and the thermal switches, hard and fast.

BTW, I've killed quite a few in that same unit by doing exactly that. Many bulls' lives have been saved by guys who rush in now and don't wait wait for that reliable thermal to switch.

From: LINK
18-Feb-20
What does the playbook say? I’d give him a slutty, pleading cow call and once he bugled I’d give him a young bull challenge and start glunking. After he hung up at 85 yards I’d give him some nervous grunts and tree raking then if all else failed fire up the cow party. ;)

I like string pullers idea but I couldn’t wait until light was fading and he started moving. I can’t keep up with moving elk. I would silently stalk him keeping the wind in my favor before it changed or another otc hunter slipped in and jacked it up.

From: cnelk
18-Feb-20
BTW - this was a real life situation. Stay tuned for an unexpected surprise and then what will you do.

From: bigeasygator
18-Feb-20
It looks like there's lots of cover and dead space in that clear cut so I'd look to cut the distance quite a bit in a direction I don't think I will send my scent to him. Then, let it play out and hopefully I could find a chance to cut the distance and let one fly.

More than likely I'll walk back to camp emptyhanded and question where the hell I went wrong!

From: Ron Niziolek
18-Feb-20
I'd go shoot him. Go uphill to the edge of the big timber, work my way across. Lots of cover. I would not call.

From: drycreek
18-Feb-20
Well, since I’m from Texas, if he won’t come to corn, I’ll wait ‘til dark and take my spotlight and my .22 mag and............

From: Bugle up
18-Feb-20
If rain is in the near future, as in before dark, I wouldn't count on the thermals holding. Usually the wind swirls before the onset of rain. But given the situation I'd head up to the right and try to get on the same level as the bull then work on a plan.

From: cnelk
18-Feb-20
As many have mentioned, I worked around to the right, staying at elevation. Before I got to the gully, I noticed movement to the right of the bull [ where those thick small trees are] and saw 3 cow elk....

Now what?

From: Grey Ghost
18-Feb-20
Spark up a smoke, watch him until dark. Come back in the morning and kill him.

Matt

18-Feb-20
He’s got droopy ears. I’d Keep looking.

From: MtnHunter
18-Feb-20
No chance sneaking on him now with all those extra eyes. Find cover, rake some trees. Bugle.. lightly cow call. If he responds, get in the game and piss him off enough to come looking for you

From: Vonfoust
18-Feb-20
As many have mentioned, I worked around to the right, staying at elevation. Before I got to the gully, I noticed movement to the right of the bull [ where those thick small trees are] and saw 3 cow elk....

Now what?

Since I've never shot an elk I'd shoot a cow and be thrilled.

From: Ucsdryder
18-Feb-20
In my experience stalking an elk in timber is tough unless it’s raining or snowing or the ground is very wet. Sticks snap, elk run.

The thermals are going to switch soon. I’d get somewhat below him with the wind still blowing past him, then when they switch I’d move in close and cow call. I would let his response or lack of response dictate the rest of his life. :)

18-Feb-20
What ND says also. lol. I wouldn't call either. Keep skirting closer. most likely they will feed out more amongst the sparse covered trees? try to keep your eyes on em most of the time? i like the rain aspect. good luck

From: Bugle up
18-Feb-20
I'd work my way in as close as possible to the cows, staying at the same elevation, and then sit still to watch where they're moving (which might be random). It's still early enough that you have some time to plot a next move. Since the elk are relaxed doing their own thing I wouldn't call at this point. Often times rather than come to a call they will call back expecting the lone elk to join them. Or if the area is heavily hunted the calls may put them on edge.

18-Feb-20
Practice 120 yard shots like they do on them hunting shows and shoot from there. No need to circle.

From: bill v
18-Feb-20

From: elkmtngear
18-Feb-20
Very possible he will be tailing those cows. I would back out a little, and watch their direction, using contours if possible to breakup up any "swirly winds". They might come downhill a ways, just before the thermals switch. At this point, I'd try to move in and get the drop on them after the wind switches, getting into an ambush spot. This is all assuming, we are at least into the pre-rut (approaching mid-September) ?

18-Feb-20
If cover allowed it I’d try to drop down below him and work up to him. Still trying to stalk him. If I ran out of time or cover I’d rake a tree first then maybe give him a bugle after he responds. He, thinking he has the advantage being above me, might come down for a fight. I just knew he had some lady friends.....they probably bedded above him on that bench. In the dark timber. Only 6 more months till sept!

From: mn_archer
18-Feb-20
I'd shoot him from there with my 6.5 prc... lol

From: ki-ke
18-Feb-20
I'm in the be patient, watch and move in quietly camp. My confidence in stalking and killing him is higher that my confidence in my ability to "speak the language"

What happened next Brad??!!

18-Feb-20
I would hop the logs in front of me.. Sneak slight right to the depression between me and the bull.. Crawl up the other side and wait for a 70 yard breadbasket shot.

From: splitlimb13
18-Feb-20
If he's over 350" go kill him haha

From: Rgiesey
18-Feb-20
I’d go right and figure the wind and his travel rou te as I moved in. Probably as quick as I could. If he was big I’d problem shoot him low in the shoulder or high and forward. Less than 260 I’d probably make a workable shot.

From: ElkNut1
18-Feb-20
6 pm & 3 miles from camp/rig is the deciding factor to head back & return in the morning & go after him or a bigger bull that is likely in the area as well. I'd have my Son with me this time to help packout!

Come morning there's a good chance that bull won't be far from where you last saw him!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Z Barebow
18-Feb-20
Go after him. Stay right just inside trees. Cut distance. Now that you have spotted cows, watch them. They can be good bait. I wouldn't call.. If winds starts shifting, back out ASAP. Don't let them smell you and you can try another day.

From: Huntcell
18-Feb-20
Since it’s the last day last hour , Asked the guide for his 30o Win Mag . And start taking photos.

From: Trophyhill
18-Feb-20
I'm gonna move quickly and quietly up to the right, get on the same elevation, then sneak in and kill him.

From: Jaquomo
18-Feb-20
Elknut's advice is pretty sound too.

For you guys who have never hunted that particular unit just below a big curve in the Continental Divide, where the wind swirls HARD before the thermal sets up, going in this early in the afternoon would teach you a valuable lesson when the bull smells you and runs away. I learned that lesson in this unit back in about 1975.

19-Feb-20
I'm sending a Arrow from there

From: Surfbow
19-Feb-20
If I'm by myself, probably just try to sneak in on him for the hell of it, assuming my timing will catch the thermals perfectly...then blow it

From: SBH
19-Feb-20
A bird in the hand when hunting public land! No way I’m waiting tell morning on public land. It’s never worked for me, they’re almost always gone. I’m gonna try and kill him. I like moving up to the right a bit, 1 1/2 hours is a lot of time. I’m going to close some distance then wait for the wind.

From: midwest
19-Feb-20
I would try to keep eyes on them, wait for steady thermals and move in fast. That last half hour can be magic. He may fire up and be very callable if you can't sneak in for a shot.

From: TrapperKayak
19-Feb-20
Buckeye, thermals go downhill when the sun goes down, and by then legal shooting time is done in most states. IDK about CO.

I put a stalk on him from above (to the right) immediately. Slow and easy, staying in the reprod. That's where the best chance to remain hidden is, not in the bigger timber. If I alert him I stay still, dead still, for as long as it takes for him to look away again and resume feeding. If he starts to move off, I do a soft mew. Otherwise I stay silent. Put stuff between him and me until I get a good shot. Or usually, blow it due to a wind swirl. Wind is rarely unidirectional in that kind of cover in hilly habitat. Get in position when I see an opportunity, or anticipate one. Then I shoot at him. 30 yds or under. Not going to rely on hi-tech scent cover gear to try to get close. Gonna try using skill. I don't stink unless I sweat hard, and I have figured out how to keep that in check. If I can't do it the conventional way on this one, I'll try another. To me, that's what hunting is all about.

From: Smtn10PT
19-Feb-20
I circle around to the right, once I spot the cows I observe them from a safe spot and try to slip into shooting range of their travel route after they have passed and hope the bull is following,

From: cnelk
19-Feb-20
When I saw the cows, I stopped my approach and accessed the situation.

Then the bull bugled..... and it began to sprinkle

From: TrapperKayak
19-Feb-20
If the cows didn't see me, I'd continue to sneak on the bull. If they did I'd stay motionless and quiet and wait to see what transpired. IDC if it rains, I'm gonna do this hunt until the end. Just gonna wait to see what the bull does. If I'm hidden from all the elk and can remain so, I am continuing a sneak on the bull. I anticipate the wind direction in relation to the time and avoid spooking any of the elk. Cows are always the ones that bust you in these situations, that's one reason the bull has them spread around. Once I got into position undetectable, I'd bugle once. If he comes, I shoot. If no answer, I'd stay quiet and watch and wait. If no shots, I'd back out undetected hopefully and come back in the morning. Hike out 3 miles in the dark. NP.

From: Brun
19-Feb-20
I would continue to watch and access the situation. I would not call at this point. Looks like you are close enough to wait and make your move after the wind changes

From: HDE
19-Feb-20
"I'd shoot him from there with my 6.5 prc... lol"

This, except I'd be packing a 7mm WSM.

From: bowhunt
19-Feb-20

From: Brotsky
19-Feb-20
The rain starting will likely cool things faster and switch the thermals in your favor sooner than expected. Once that happens I would slide around under the cows and try to get in range if possible through the jack pines using the downhill thermals and the sound of the rain as cover. I would not call but would use his bugles to pinpoint his location during the stalk. If I'm unable to close the distance stalking and I want to be super aggressive I would try to get between him and the cows and scream at him if cover and wind allowed.

From: BigOzzie
19-Feb-20
If I go straight at him moving slowly I hope to avoid the uphill downhill thermals. In the meantime I can evaluate if the group is moving uphill or downhill. My guess would be downhill to a non access chunk of private land to feed for the night. If air movement gets unpredictable ahead of the rain, I bail out. If the air movements are stable I hope I have not gotten too close and I skirt above or below depending on air and elk movement. hoping for a simple ambush point.

oz

From: dirtclod Az.
19-Feb-20
Mark the spot on my gps.Back out go back to camp and drink beer till bed time.Go back in the morning with extra man power and kill him.

From: WHOCARES
19-Feb-20
Similar to what Brotsky thinking. And I would be breaking down that bull by dark with my headlamp.

From: Jaquomo
19-Feb-20
TrapperKayak, we get roughly 45 minutes of good consistent thermals there before legal shooting ends, as soon as the sun dips behind the mountain range to the west. You can do a lot in 45 minutes if the elk haven't smelled you and spooked. About half of our (partner and I) elk have been killed in that 45 minutes over the years.

The rain is the primary variable right now, IMO. I would want a REALLY close broadside shot, or back out and wait until morning.

From: LBshooter
19-Feb-20
Would run right at him til I get about 15 yards and then shoot. The only reason I can get away with this tactic is due to my scent block, and Hecs suit. Otherwise, I would watch him and then get back there bright and early the next day and hunt him down and pack him out around 2 .

From: TrapperKayak
19-Feb-20
Well in that case, assuming the thermals turned downhill (logical) at 'sundown', I'd position below him in the reprod and put on a slow methodical sneak keeping an eye out for more cows. Once I get close to within range, if he doesn't present a shot pretty soon, I blast out a challenge scream and see what the heck he does. Not doing a cow call, he already has cows. Gonna piss him off right before nighttime. Not gonna worry about tomorrow. I am hunting right now, no telling what is going to happen by tomorrow. Just me though, they usually settle down overnight and forget about stuff from the day before. After all they are rutting and have more interesting stuff to think about than a fake bull call at dusk... :^S

From: Jaquomo
19-Feb-20
LB shooter, I did that once, the cows were so surprised that they stood there looking at me. The herd bull had his head behind a tree and didn't see me, and I shot him at 8 yards with a longbow.

From: cnelk
19-Feb-20
Soon after the bull bugled, the wind switched. And with that wind switch, also came the weather front. The wind and rain came with a gust.

The bull then came closer to where the cows were at - still probably 150yds away - he bugled again and they all made their way uphill into the wind, to the edge of the trees and over the rim.

It was a long, wet hike out.

From: Scrappy
19-Feb-20
In this scenario I would do like all my other opportunities. I would just stand there and watch the wind switch for absolutely no reason other than to let all the elk within a mile of me know I'm there.

My favorite tune I hum while on the mountain is EVERYWHERE I GO I HAVE A TAIL WIND.

From: Jaquomo
19-Feb-20
Ha, Scrappy! At our longtime camp not far from where Brad described this scenario, we used to have a wind sock on a string atop a pole in the meadow out front. It would get tied in knots during the day.

From: TrapperKayak
19-Feb-20
As soon as they started making their way uphill into the wind, I'd sprint after them off to one side a bit, not right behind them, in a last ditch effort to maybe get a shot. Or just get a better look at them, esp. him, for future reference.

From: wkochevar
19-Feb-20
I do not trust "Thermal changes" in the area I hunt....too many times to count I've walked out in the dark downhill with wind in my face.....and vice versa. Go after him, give your best shot and risk a blow out or sit and put him to bed for the morning, that's a call you can only make by being there, but totally trusting wind in the elk country is follie.

From: welka
19-Feb-20
I agree on not getting too close until thermals are about to switch and who cares how long it takes to walk back. IF I would have gotten within 200 yards and had the wind even with only 15 minutes left I would have tried to cow call to see if he paid attention. If not, start walking and get out like Paul said and come back in the dark to see where they are and get after him when it gets light. Good post Brad!

19-Feb-20
I also would have cut right and not called. That's a great stalking setup with nice cover and just enough room to keep tabs. I'd get as close as I could with a good chance that they'd wander by and then wait them out.

From: Trophyhill
19-Feb-20
Yep this ^^^^^^^^

From: midwest
20-Feb-20
I'd have an awesome dinner in camp with you that night along with a couple beers while you sipped on some Windsor telling the story and making plans for the next morning. :-)

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