Sitka Mountain Gear
Different hunting tactics
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Inshart 16-Dec-20
wyobullshooter 16-Dec-20
JohnMC 16-Dec-20
Jethro 16-Dec-20
greenmountain 16-Dec-20
Lost Arra 16-Dec-20
SIP 16-Dec-20
Rickm 16-Dec-20
Jaquomo 16-Dec-20
swede 16-Dec-20
Inshart 16-Dec-20
altitude sick 16-Dec-20
Inshart 16-Dec-20
Medicinemann 16-Dec-20
SIP 16-Dec-20
wyobullshooter 16-Dec-20
elkmtngear 16-Dec-20
SIP 16-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 16-Dec-20
Aspen Ghost 16-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 16-Dec-20
Jaquomo 16-Dec-20
joehunter 16-Dec-20
Inshart 16-Dec-20
stringgunner 16-Dec-20
stringgunner 16-Dec-20
Mule Power 17-Dec-20
Jaquomo 17-Dec-20
Inshart 17-Dec-20
Grey Ghost 17-Dec-20
ElkNut1 17-Dec-20
Inshart 17-Dec-20
Grey Ghost 17-Dec-20
Mule Power 19-Dec-20
Inshart 20-Dec-20
From: Inshart
16-Dec-20
This year early September, in CO a group moved in and camped next to us (public land - no big deal). There were 4 or 5 guys, guessing aged between 30 and late 40's?

As "normal" we left early, at least an hour before daylight, depending on which spot we were headed to, and if/when the wind began swirling we headed back to camp mid day. Most mornings between 9 and 10:30.

What we noticed right away was that the guys next to us would go out about the same time every morning - actually mid morning - about 10 AM or so.

When we headed back out for the afternoon hunt, about 2 or so, their truck was still parked in the same location and was always gone when we came back in just after dark. Nice guys, we chatted a couple times, they were from Mexico. You could tell by the way they talked elk and their clothes and gear were a bit "worn" that this wasn't their first elk hunt.

My question is: why would you wait until the wind was terrible and hunt mid day, every day? Not hunt mornings or evenings? They were close enough to us that if they were up partying all night we would have noticed it. They didn't get any elk - not surprised - and left after only 6 days.

Again, they appeared to be seasoned elk hunters, why hunt this time frame? any ideas?

16-Dec-20
There are times when hunting mid-day can be productive, but for me, that's in addition to hunting mornings and evenings...not instead of. The fact they left after a short time without any elk is a pretty good indication of how well their "tactics" worked.

Being a seasoned elk hunter doesn't necessarily equate to being a successful elk hunter.

From: JohnMC
16-Dec-20
I would not spend much time trying to figure it out if they were not pack elk out with their tactic

From: Jethro
16-Dec-20
Could they have been hunting out of camp on foot, in the mornings?

16-Dec-20
Big animals are taken each year by those doing it all wrong. Maybe one of those guys was luck the first time out and thought it would always work like that.

From: Lost Arra
16-Dec-20
I have a Wyoming friend who is an elk killing machine that will not hike in predawn darkness (no he's not afraid of the dark). He leaves before the sun is up but when he can see. He adamantly believes that too many opportunities are wasted by walking "blind" in good elk country. When I used to argue with him about when we should leave he would always say "these aren't whitetail deer. They could be anywhere. Just because the wind is favorable you will still spook them". After experiencing my own successes with him over the past 10 years I'm a believer. We rarely if ever return to camp during the day. When we find bedded elk that are in a tough spot due to wind, we just eat, cat nap, watch them and wait for an ambush opportunity or a stalk.

From: SIP
16-Dec-20
Or maybe another guys “right” is not any other persons “right”. People hunt different ways and for different reasons and if they are happy doing it, great for them. To think your way is the only way seems a bit off. And maybe your just not as good at doing it “wrong” as someone else is.

And go....;^)

From: Rickm
16-Dec-20
Maybe it was more of a vacation than elk hunt for them? Maybe they had bedded elk located and the wind was more stable after the thermals shifted?

Last elk hunt was 2019. We camped at a trail head and didnt even bother setting an alarm since a group would wake us up an hour before light when they were hiking in. We got on elk within 1/4 mile of camp most days after they marched past them in the dark. Eventually the elk moved on but those hunters had no idea where the elk were. We talked to the guys and they were not having any luck finding elk.

From: Jaquomo
16-Dec-20
There are places where one can hunt all day and have reasonably steady wind, and hunt bedded bulls very effectively. Those guys make videos and talk about hunting hard all day.

Where I hunt sounds like where Bob hunts, where the wind swirls wildly from about 9:30-10:00 until at least 6:00. Every year I see hunters who do the same thing midday, probably because they saw or read it somewhere. I have never seen one of those camps with an elk, but they tell me about how many elk they "jumped", as if that's some sort of accomplishment.

From: swede
16-Dec-20
I hunt from a tree stand most of the time. There are places where the elk don't show up until mid morning, coming from their feeding area. There is can be exceptions at any spot, but sometimes there is little to no point waiting in the stand before daybreak, unless you just like being there. Other tree stand locations can see elk very early.

From: Inshart
16-Dec-20
Jethro ; Yes, they could have easily been hunting up behind their camp mornings and evenings. We've hunted up there many times - taken a few elk from there and see elk almost every year, had they not camped where they did, we for sure would have gone up there.

Ding, Ding, Ding, light bulb. "Let’s go hunt someplace else mid-day so as to not spook them out of our area." ????????????

Our camps were only about 150 yards apart and from there to where we parked our ATV'S was about 1/2 mile - then we walked in another mile or so. The second day where parked our ATV's is when they began parking their truck next to us. My partner mentioned to them that we have been hunting this area for about 25 years. Maybe they decided that since we’ve been hunting here that long – “lets go over in the general area where they are hunting, must be elk there.”

Maybe they didn't want to hang around camp mid-day and would hunt up there until the wind sucked then they came over in the area across the drainage from us. The area where they went is a good bedding area with thick dark, north slope timber. We almost never go in there until the last day or 2.

I appreciate responses and ideas.

16-Dec-20
Of the states and spots I’ve hunted. A particular unit in New Mexico is the only place I’ve hunted that it was doable to find them and then stalk them in their beds.

Not sure if it’s just a matter of pressure over generations

From: Inshart
16-Dec-20
SIP, I didn't say "my way" was the right way. I really don't care how they hunt - whatever floats their boat and I truly hope they had a great time.

My intent was in no way, saying they were doing it wrong, They probably know more about elk and killed more elk, then I ever will. I know the area they went into very well - hunted it many, many times. It is chocked full of drainages, small knobs, benches and little pockets of steep holes, the wind really makes it a challenge to hunt mid-day.

As I've said, we've been hunting this area (about 3 square miles) for many years - it's one of those areas - MOST DAYS - the wind goes nuts mid morning so we figure through many busted hunts it's best to back out and not push them onto private property which is only another 1/4 mile in from where we hunt.

From: Medicinemann
16-Dec-20
Why not just ask them?

From: SIP
16-Dec-20
Wasnt directed at you, Inshart. U made it clear u were more curious than anything, i thought.

16-Dec-20
Maybe SIP was one of those guys and that got his panties in an uproar?

He’s right, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but busting elk out of the country because you think your smarter than the wind ain’t one of them.

From: elkmtngear
16-Dec-20
Maybe they know the "escape trails" from certain bedding areas...and are surrounding them, then intentionally blowing them out ?

It's all I got !

From: SIP
16-Dec-20
FTR, im not even wearin panties, sooo jokes on u wyo. :^)

16-Dec-20
Different species. Same principle. One area we deer hunt is foot travel only. There are some trails into some of it. It’s 18.5 miles from gate to gate. Locking out all motorized travel. So, you gotta walk a long ways. 3-4 miles one way to the area we mostly hunt.

I leave a couple hours before daylight. My dad leaves an hour or so later. I hike up on the mountain before first light. He will wait on the trail until he can see to move without a headlamp. He hunts his way in. And, kills as much or more then I do.

He’s done this since I was 13 and it works very well for him.

From: Aspen Ghost
16-Dec-20
Maybe the outfitter on the neighboring private land was paying them to push the elk his way.

16-Dec-20
Sounds like Aspen Ghost has hunted CO.

From: Jaquomo
16-Dec-20
CO outfitters are a little more sophisticated and use guys on horseback or ATVs to run the elk back onto private, where possible. Foot soldiers would be too inefficient. ;-)

As the local Sheriff told me "we can't do anything unless we catch them in the act.." in a 1500 square mile county with one Sheriff and two deputies.

From: joehunter
16-Dec-20
Seems the "guys" on you tube sleep in much of the time. Especially this season. Maybe they are just doing the "midday madness"

From: Inshart
16-Dec-20
To everyone, I'm certain the guys enjoyed themselves. I didn't think it was any of my business to ask them about their hunting tactics, although in hindsight it might have been an interesting answer.

SIP, no hard feelings on my end. I always have a cold beer in my cooler to share.

As I said, I don't care how these guy hunted. Yup, we lost a couple very good spots - one behind where they camped and the other - the bedding area, or I should say the surrounding drainages. But, it's public and it is what it is.

I put a broadhead through a nice big cow, my partner and I are enjoying a bunch of elk steaks - that's what it's all about.

And yes, we have had issues with the outfitter that owns the private property to the north. He has sent guys on horseback with dogs making a LOT of noise. I'm not going to go into details, the issue was addressed and taken care of, no more problems with him.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone.

From: stringgunner
16-Dec-20
+1 Joe Hunter - they were waiting for “mid day madness,” the preferred way according to YouTube.

From: stringgunner
16-Dec-20
+1 Joe Hunter - they were waiting for “mid day madness,” the preferred way according to YouTube.

From: Mule Power
17-Dec-20
In reality you don’t know if they did morning hunts or not. Just because they didn’t leave camp as early as you and relocated before you got back doesn’t mean they didn’t hunt. Maybe some headed out on foot while a partner or two drove to where he started hunted. I find it extremely hard to believe that any elk hunter especially ones that look experienced are skipping morning hunts completely.

From: Jaquomo
17-Dec-20
MP, there is an annual camp of flatlanders in the drainage where I used to hunt, with a couple guys who are totally afraid of the dark. They head out around 8 am, sometimes not until 10, and are always back in camp by 4, their reasoning being if they shoot an elk after that they might get caught out in the dark.

From: Inshart
17-Dec-20
Mule, yes I did assume they were not hunting mornings. One of the reasons I did so was on the 5th day we slept in so we could go make phone calls (travel about 1 mile from camp to get cell reception) get water from the creek for showers and to spend part of the day processing my elk. When we went past their camp about an hour after sun-up they were milling around their camp. Then about 10:30 or so they drove past and parked in the same location again.

I agree, I thought their hunting tactics were a bit different, hence bringing it up here for comments, ideas.

From: Grey Ghost
17-Dec-20
Hmmm...leave an hour before sun up and drive ATVs only 1/2 mile to where you hunt? Or, leave mid-morning when winds are bad and elk are bedding down? Neither tactic sounds particularly effective to me.

Matt

From: ElkNut1
17-Dec-20
At one time or another in past years they have most likely experienced success at that time frame so they are sticking with it good or bad. They are most likely sitting water sources or active trails to & from these spots that are near bedding areas. (may even have treestands or ground blinds they go to) They may use calling sparingly once there to play on an elks curiosity to bring them over their way if needed!

ElkNut

From: Inshart
17-Dec-20
Matt, if you would have read my post, we hunt about a mile or so from where we park the ATV's. I like to be where I want to be before first light so leaving the ATV with plenty of time is paramount (for me). According to my GPS, where I shot my cow was 1.69 miles from camp. Sooooooo, the "tactic" worked just fine for me.

Just curious Matt; do you normally leave camp at daylight or plenty early so you can get "back in" to where you want to be before first light? Not throwing rocks - serious question.

Paul, Thanks, that's the kind of comments I was hoping for from seasoned elk hunters. That makes sense.

Maybe they did find someplace with consistent winds.

From: Grey Ghost
17-Dec-20
Inshart,

I was merely pointing out that your tactics could appear as questionable to some as you found the tactics of the other hunters you mentioned. To me, a 1/2 mile is an extremely short distance to fire up an ATV and ride to, especially if you were hunting only a mile from there. I think I'd leave 10 minutes earlier and walk from camp.

This year alone, I watched elk get spooked by ATVs, that were at least a mile away, several times. I routinely rode my e-bike to within 300 yards of the same elk without alerting them in any way. That's not a sales pitch for e-bikes. Instead I'm just pointing out that I think a lot of hunters don't realize how much game they spook with their ATVs.

I'm glad your tactic was successful on your cow.

As for when I leave my camp, it all depends on the circumstances. If there's a reasonable expectation of seeing game near camp, I'll wait for enough light to glass before heading out. If I need to cover some ground to get to where the game is, I'll leave before light, and try to time my arrival accordingly.

Matt

From: Mule Power
19-Dec-20
Time is the biggest factor. One place you’ll never kill an elk is in the tent. I don’t care if you killed the world record at noon you should still be somewhere special before the sun comes up. No you know one reason why success rates are what they are. A reason why 10% of the hunters kill 90% of the game. Because they get out of bed and go do it.

From: Inshart
20-Dec-20
It's an easy 10 to 15 minute walk from camp to where we park the ATV's. As far as spooking the elk with the ATV's. Where we park the ATV's is right next to a MAIN east/west trail that gets constant ATV, motorcycle and foot traffic - especially on the holiday weekend. My partner has a spot only a couple hundred yards off the trail and has watched elk look up as "traffic" goes past and then go right back to feeding.

At times when they stop on the trail and talk loud, that does get the elks attention, sometimes they just stand perfectly still and watch that direction until the machines leave, other times they simply walk off into the thick cover.

However, sometimes hunting public land you use whatever tricks and tactics you think might "help" get you away from or deter, other hunters.

From where we park our ATV's to the private land is only about a mile and a half, our hope is that by parking where we do along a main - east/west trail, (we go north of it) others will see our ATV's and possibly deter them to hunt someplace else.

It goes hand-n-hand with what has been said many times here on BS. Part of being a successful, get away from the crowd, elk hunter is "FIND WHERE THE HUNTERS ARE AND GO HUNT SOMEPLACE THEY ARE NOT".

  • Sitka Gear