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?
Being a seasoned elk hunter doesn't necessarily equate to being a successful elk hunter.
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.
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.
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.
Not sure if it’s just a matter of pressure over generations
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.
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.
It's all I got !
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.
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.
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.
I agree, I thought their hunting tactics were a bit different, hence bringing it up here for comments, ideas.
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.
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.
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".