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2018 Elk Difficulties
Just wondering if anybody here has been experiencing the same difficulties as me and my hunting buddies. I have been elk hunting in Southwestern Montana for 15+ years, and I don’t not think I have had a more difficult year. I have barely had elk talk, let alone come in. They have opened our closest district to antlered and antler-less elk during rifle, because they claim our population is getting too high. Yet, I can count the number of elk I’ve seen, on public land, on two hands. I have yet to encounter any aggressive behavior that would suggest rut is/has occurred. In fact, two weeks ago I encounter a group of 4 mature bulls still hanging out together. Asking around work and town, I’m hearing a lot of the same struggles. Just wondering if anyone here is experiencing the same struggles, and if anyone has found a way to get the elk talking? Seems like an all around odd year for elk hunting, and I can’t seem to figure out an explanation. We seem to be having normal weather for this time of year, and didn’t have any nearby fires. Open to all suggestions or general discussion!
I don't think it has been much different than any other year. We had elk bugling on opening day in SW Montana, and called them in. Had elk bugling last week in the same place and called them in. I think that the rut was a little later this year, other than that, I would say that in places lots of hunters showed up this year, it was a little tougher to bugle elk - and every year there seem to be more hunters.
I hunt more south central MT and I had similar experiences this past season. The biggest difference from years past was the grass. Grass was more plentiful than I have ever seen and I wonder if that played some kind of part in it. I think it may have had the elk spread out and didn’t force them to certain areas, which caused less competition between bulls simply because there were less encounters. Just a thought
This year was weird, I heard 2 bulls bugling, and that was it. I think it was due to a few different reasons, but the biggest one, was the huge influx of people due to the antlerless tags. I have never seen this amount of people before, and as soon as the orange army came out, my elk sightings went to almost nothing, except on private, and that is where most of the elk went.
I hunted private lands for two weeks, expecting improvement everyday and it never came. There is very little pressure there so that wasn’t a factor for us.
Seen plenty. Heard plenty. Was a good year in my neck of SW MT. I was able to hunt a lot so that always helps.
I hunted elk in SW MT last year. 25 days up until Oct 3rd when I called it quits. I was in elk almost every day, but it was incredibly tough. You guys have more hunters out there than anywhere I've ever hunted.
I lived in Montana 35 years ago now and it was 20 years ago the last time I hunted up there. All I can say is, even the mtns around Salt Lake have fewer hunters per square mile :)
Amazing season though. Would love to learn it better.
Pete, nice video. Cool pictures, video, and background music.
Pete, great video and beautiful pictures and music. Great job! Thanks for posting, RobinHood.........
Very nice Pete! Thank you!!
I have heard from a bow hunter in region one that wolves are major reason for that. I guess very low sounding bugles have proven somewhat effective. Also new hunters tend to give away fake elk way too often I am sure that's making a lot of wise elk out there. Lastly I will post an article about elk population and distribution. Looks like much of the elk are on outfitter leased lands because A less pressure and B I have personally seen Castle Mountain Ranch herd elk back onto private. Can't make money and please clients when the elk go over to public land.
Timely thread to see. I was JUST commenting a couple of days ago how last fall was my worse archery season BY FAR! The elk were silent and the influx of hunters was through the roof. I did still enjoy time in the field with family and friends. In the end, the rifle had to fill the freezer tho. I'm hopeful for a better archery season this fall.
There definitely were more hunters out last year, because it was the first time in about 6 years that I didn't draw the Non Res Big Game Combo.
Last year was a slow year overall for me too. It just seems like every year it gets tougher and tougher to find many elk on public land. The days of going farther and hunting harder does not mean greater chance of success as it has in the past.