Travel to bedding areasContributors to this thread:
Grey Ghost 02-Dec-20
How far will elk tracel to bedding area
Might be just up the side of a drainage, but I've also heard it can be miles...
From: Grey Ghost
I think habitat, water, feed, hunting pressure, etc.. all factor into the answer to this question. I watched elk routinely travel over 3 miles from their evening feeding/watering areas to their bedding areas this year. On the flip side, I've seen herds never move from the same location for days, if they had everything they needed.
I followed this game trail for 5 miles and the elk never got off. The ridge line is 10 miles long. I ran out of time to continue. Never heard or saw a elk this year. Plenty of signs and trails of elk like of the picture above. The elk were diffetly traveling thru never getting off trail. I tried everything early morning before sunrise, evenings ,mid day . I dont own a cam . One thing i did notice not much fresh droppings.
I would follow the trail with interest to see if I could find a watering place close by. It does not look like it is getting used daily, but could be worth putting a stand up if you can find a choice location.
Maybe a pressure migration trail? I know of others like that where elk move miles to escape human pressure after the season starts. They often use these routes after dark, and the lead cows know the way. The lack of fresh droppings is another clue. If they were using it regularly as a back-and -forth trail from feeding to bedding or vice-versa, you would see some droppings.
I disagree partly with what Lou says in his post. Elk can use a trail regularly though not daily. Where I hunt now they come around about once a week or ten days. They are quite regular, but if you are seeing fresh sign, they have passed through already. Many times I have hunted areas where elk are not present all the time. For me that is one of the reason I find it hard to decide to move on. This past season my son and his friend were thinking they had a sure place to get an elk. I was skeptical as I had been there before and found no fresh sign. When we hunted there for just three days, it was not filled with fresh elk sign and elk sightings were very infrequent. There were places pounded to dust by elk, but the elk were gone. On the first day of the 2019 season I had my son sit along a trail in a tree stand I had set. When he got there he saw no fresh sign and discounted to quality of the spot. He hung his bow on the hanger I had placed there and decided to take a nap. He did not place an arrow on the rest as he normally would. He felt he was stuck there and wasting time. Within the first hour he heard the sounds of something moving around. He looked down and saw a herd of elk. He killed a bull there where no fresh sign was showing but the camera had recorded regular use. I would find the trail in the picture above of interest, but it would be good to find a nearby water hole and place a camera there to see just what is happening and how frequent.