Sitka Gear
Northwest Elk Hunt Reports?
Contributors to this thread:
EnDoB 10-Nov-23
goelk 13-Nov-23
KHunter 14-Nov-23
EnDoB 18-Nov-23
EnDoB 18-Nov-23
pronghorn21 19-Nov-23
cnelk 19-Nov-23
Brun 20-Nov-23
SlipShot 21-Nov-23
GTBCOLO 21-Nov-23
OldFart 24-Nov-23
OldFart 28-Nov-23
bowyer45 29-Nov-23
From: EnDoB
Any elk hunt reports from the NW corner? I'm curious if the tough winter had any effect on the numbers and quality of bulls up there.

From: goelk
i hunted 10 days and saw only two elk both bulls one a spike the other a 5 point and miss.

From: KHunter
Cannot imagine this is anything other than a unit-specific issue, “NW” is a quarter of the state?

From: EnDoB
Curious about 2,201, and 10.

From: EnDoB
Curious about 2,201, and 10.

From: pronghorn21
Hunted 1st rifle units 11/211. Saw a herd of about 50 that had 5 bulls in it. No shot. On public.

From: cnelk
My good buddy hunted 3rd season (last week) near Craig. They’ve been hunting the same big private land sections for 20 years.

He just told me it was the worst he’s ever seen. Typically they would see 100 deer a day and only saw 20. Elk were basically non-existent. Just a spattering of cow elk when they would typically see hundreds

The winter kill was a real thing.

From: Brun
I just finished guiding for 10 weeks in Units 3 and 4, as well as some time spent in 2 and 10. I think this extended period of time in the field gives me a little more insight into the situation up there so I will share my observations. First, the winter kill was real, but it seems to have affected each of the different species in slightly different ways. Pronghorns, being the smallest and most vulnerable were unquestionably hit the hardest. Our best guesses were that were about 1/4 of the usual numbers of Pronghorns. Deer numbers ended up being the most surprising to us. During September we were shocked at how few we were seeing, but this changed pretty dramatically around mid October and beyond. Our theory was that the lush conditions created by the heavy winter may have provided more feed in the really brushy stuff and we just weren't seeing as many deer in the open country as we usually do. In any case we saw a lot more deer the last three weeks and while less than previous years, it was nowhere near the lack of animals we observed with the Antelope. We were also pleasantly surprised at the fawn recruitment. I personally saw dozens of does with twins over the course of the fall and our other guides observed the same thing. We did not see as many really good bucks as usual. Our feeling is that the biggest bucks were weakest after the rut and took higher losses than the rest of the population. The elk situation was harder to judge. Where I hunt we have resident elk and we also see migrating elk as fall progresses. We saw less elk that usual early on, but not a huge difference. I was guessing we were seeing about 2/3 of usual numbers. During November the discrepancy was much greater, but at least some of this was due to lack of snow and less hunter pressure(due to reduced licenses and shorter seasons) which makes me less confident in our observations. We all agreed that the elk calf recruitment was not as robust as the deer. No idea why. I did not spend as much time in 2 and 10, but the general consensus among everyone I spoke with was that the numbers(of elk) were not reduced much, but there were less bulls in the upper end. Lots up to the 320-330 range, but not as many 340+ running around. That's my two cents worth.

From: SlipShot
Brun, thanks for the information. That is the most thorough report that I have heard to date.

Brun, excellent post. Thanks for taking the time to share what you have observed and heard over the last 10 weeks.

From: OldFart
Brun, Thanks for report. I have a late season cow elk hunt with Outdoor Buddies in December (early on) in 301. Heavy snows up high yet?? I had another cow elk license for another totally different area but was asked by Outdoor Buddies to change, and did. Ray

From: OldFart
Anyone know or hear about snow up high? Where do the migrating elk come from? Anyone seeing any elk? THANKS

From: bowyer45
Not enough snow to move elk yet, to the lower ground anyway.

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