ELK HUNTING TIPS

Discussion in 'misc hunting and range related' started by grumpyvette, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. 87vette81big

    87vette81big Guest

    I took a look at the Wildgame License fees Grumpy.
    Yes that's insane prices.
    Not much of hunter but I would like to try someday.
    Haven't heard from GT much lately. He likes to hunt Elk also.
    Free if we make it to Riches house to hunt deer he telks us.
    Rich hates those deer a lot.
     
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    https://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/hunting/2014/08/11-mistakes-elk-hunters-make-and-how-avoid-them


    As hunters confess blunders less eagerly than they recount kills, it’s hard to know how many elk would fall if hunters made no mistakes. Perhaps the elk keep track.

    Elk Lessons
    1. Mistake: Chief among failings, according to outfitters, is a hunter’s sorry state of physical readiness. Elk country isn’t all steep, high, rocky, and strewn with jackstraw timber, but that’s often where hunted elk go. Saying “I’m just a little slow” doesn’t negate the fact that elk are not slow. They live in big places and cover distance very quickly.

    Lesson: At a minimum, walk or jog for several weeks prior to your hunt to get your legs and lungs in the best shape possible.

    2. Mistake: Many riflemen shoot poorly without a bench. Over the years, I’ve muffed several shots that seemed at the time to be too easy to miss. As a guide, I’ve seen clients drill golf ball–size groups from a rest only to miss beach ball–size vitals with hasty pokes at elk.

    Lesson: Practice regularly with a paper bull’s-eye from sitting, kneeling, and off-hand positions. A .22 makes practice affordable and more comfortable. Determine a “90 percent kill” sight picture, and fire only when you have acquired it.

    3. Mistake: Long-range rifles often handicap hunters. Once, before I could stop him, a client crippled a far-off elk when we could have gotten closer. Another fellow who’d zeroed his rifle at 400 yards overshot a bull at 200. Heavy rifles also slow your step, tire you in the hills, and keep you from wanting to venture into the best elk cover.

    ▶ Lesson: Limit your rifle weight to 9 pounds. Zero at 200 yards; hold center to 250. But most important, always get as close as you can.

    4. Mistake: While I’m fond of iron sights, scopes are faster, with elk and reticle appearing in the same plane. But you lose target-acquisition speed, brightness, and field of view when you crank up the magnification. I’ve killed elk at 300 yards with 3X magnification. High power once cost a client an easy shot when he couldn’t find two bulls in his scope as they trotted by at 60 paces.

    Lesson: Keep your scope at 3X or 4X. You’ll have time to dial up for long shots.


    [​IMG]
    As fond as we are of iron sights, scopes are faster.

    Wayne Van Zwoll

    5. Mistake: Often on elk hunts, a good option can scuttle a better, easier one. Topping a ridge long ago, I glassed across a draw at meadows and second-growth that screamed elk. A few minutes later, as I glassed the slope, a twig snapped close by. The bull that had stood there surely wondered why I didn’t fire before it bolted.

    Lesson: Look near before you look far.

    6. Mistake: Elk hear well but dismiss some noises. Once, I sneaked into an aspen copse on an elk trail, pacing my steps as an elk might, and I passed a bedded cow at 4 yards to kill a bull. Padding along other tracks, I’ve surprised bulls that were bedded just feet away. Some were so astonished that they stood for a shot. But hunters who talk loudly or let their gear clack and rattle as they walk send elk packing.

    Lesson: Move like an elk where elk move. If you must communicate, whisper.

    7. Mistake: The wilderness pack trip has come to define “pure” elk hunting. But odds at a shot can improve on forest fringe near agriculture, where elk densities run higher, especially in late seasons. Success in Idaho’s Frank Church, Montana’s Bob Marshall, and Oregon’s Eagle Cap wildernesses hovers below 15 percent. While I’ve killed elk in all of them, they yield elk reluctantly.

    ▶ Lesson: Places of legend typically offer better scenery than shot opportunities.

    8. Mistake: Dreams of outsize bulls fuel elk fever. But assuming you can always kill a lesser elk later in the hunt if a big one doesn’t show early on is perilous thinking. One client passed up several fine bulls looking for a brute we knew was in the area. I admired his discipline, but he went home without firing a shot.

    ▶ Lesson: Have a realistic plan. As an outfitter pal advises his clients, “Shoot the elk you’d take the last day as soon as you see it.”

    9. Mistake: Crusted snow and bare ground can make for noisy tracking and spooked elk. But as I hunted through crust one day, I caught up with a bull, thanks to wind, topography, and knowing when to leave the track. I moved wide around the herd through cover, and my chance came as I paused at the cover’s edge. Across a meadow, the bull had stopped to check his backtrail.

    ▶ Lesson: Tracking can produce but always assume that the elk are stopping frequently and looking back.

    10. Mistake: While taking a friend on a hunt, we passed a thicket in the dark and heard elk. He wanted to stop, but I urged him on. We ignored the animals and kept climbing. At dawn, in some Douglas fir, the flick of an ear caught my eye. The bull fell to his .300.

    ▶ Lesson: Hiking past elk early puts you where elk don’t expect hunters to be. Don’t stop in the dark to listen for elk. They’ll spook. Hike purposefully; the elk will let you by, and you’ll shoot one later.

    11. Mistake: Many years ago, when bugling to attract bulls was still a novelty, a pal insisted on shadowing a herd bound for shade at dawn. The bull thought him a pest and left. That afternoon I probed the timber silently toward a sometimes-vocal elk. At last I glimpsed him long enough for a shot.

    ▶ Lesson: Rutting elk sometimes respond to a bugle by moving away. Still-hunt toward a noisy bull, and be aware that he might lie beyond alert cows.
     
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    reading through the list above brings back a wealth of memories
    Id say the vast majority of the guys I,ve hunted with assumed they were in good physical condition, but were amazed to find out they were hardly up to a few days let alone a week of scouting steep canyons.
    let me absolutely assure you that the stuff you can do with minimal effort at a couple hundred feet of elevation become almost impossible to do at 9000 ft-11,000 feet of elevation,
    yes your body in most cases will adapt slowly to the new environmental conditions, but your very likely to feel terrible due to altitude sickness ,which will figuratively kick your ass, for the first few days,
    unless you take it very easy physically, take aspirin and drink a lot of liquids, this is why its almost mandatory to arrive a few days early and move up in altitude slowly, and generally sleep at a lower altitude than you hunt!
    and most guys assumed they could shoot accurately from field positions, even though they had spend almost all their time shooting off a bench rest.
    the one really consistent factor I noticed is that most guys , even with their favorite rifle, can,t hit a coke can, you place on a stump,
    at 100 yards from a quickly acquired field position , once we get up into elk hunting country, if their life depended on it!
    the fact that you can shoot a dime at 100 yards off a bench rest at 100 yards is totally meaningless if you can.t hit a 4" circle at 100 yards sitting on the ground or leaning against a tree.
    A good high quality 7x-10x field glasses can be very helpful,
    your rifle scope is not a substitute.
    use of good quality camo, IT DOES HELP!,
    keeping too the timbered areas and staying in shadows when ever you can do so, and while moving slowly, and irregularly , and yes while your watching 360 degrees around you,
    as its hardly rare for game to let you walk by then exit the area.
    If you need to talk to a buddy, squat near cover and only whispering is critical, voice/sound carries you want to make the chance of game detecting you as low as possible, so also be aware that your scent travels down wind and with the thermals that travel different directions as the temperatures change durring the day.
    a good wide brim hat too shade your eyes and good comfortable boots , and a small comfortable day pack to carry gear , like a down vest, rain gear, knife ,ammo ,canteen,fire starter, small block & tackle and your meds, topo maps compass, and some good food, and toilet articles, may not seem like critical gear but it makes a big difference.
    you need to stay warm, dry,and not have your boots hurt, or feel lost, and you need too stay,well fed too cover territory and stay alert. youll burn a great deal of calories if your hunting and covering large areas , and sitting in camp because your feeling dead tired or sick won,t get you an elk.
    don,t worry about your ability to make a theoretical 600 yard shot, in 45 plus years of hunting elk ID say 90% plus of the opportunities I've seen too shoot a legal bull elk, were at ranges under 250 yards.
    I've killed and seen a whole lot more elk shot at under 150 yards in thick timber ,
    than the few times I've seen it done at greater ranges,
    and its not usually due to people not being able to hit game, at extended ranges,
    (most people I've had try it, can,t hit a 6" diameter paper plate target,
    on the first shot from a quickly acquired field position,at ranges past 300 yards at BEST, many find 200 yards very challenging)

    the reason they seldom need to shoot longer ranges is simply that bull elk are not stupid enough to walk out in open areas,
    during day light hunting hours.

    related
    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...-practice-shooting-from-field-positions.9380/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...-favorite-and-most-used-big-game-rifle.13113/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?threads/whats-a-good-light-weight-elk-rifle.3738/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ange-calibers-for-elk-are-not-mandatory.1275/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ing-a-handgun-for-hunting-hogs-deer-elk.1864/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ou-so-dependent-on-your-weatherby-rifle.2403/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?threads/why-do-so-few-use-semi-auto-elk-rifles.6104/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...hat-are-you-looking-for-in-an-elk-rifle.2368/
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    you can kill an elk with damn near any center-fire rifle under the correct conditions
    thats not too suggest you can,t make an intelligent choice that has some distinct advantages
    ideally you'll want to select, a cartridge that can reliably punch through to an elks vitals at reasonable ranges and angles.
    there are a basic range of well proven calibers that will do the job,
    personally Id suggest nothing less than a 270 win and something like a 35 whelen or 300 win or 300 wby makes more sense in my opinion, in my 45 years experience,
    Id suggest anything that throws at least a 200 grain bullet to at least 2400 fps at the muzzle ,
    and Id prefer a 250 grain at at least 2600 fps.
    what I can tell you is no mater what physical shape your in you'll wish it was better after a week hunting in steep canyon country,
    and you need all the practice you can get shooting from field positions out to at least 250 yards, to maximize your chances of success.
    I can not pick what works best for you, but read the links below









    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...hat-are-you-looking-for-in-an-elk-rifle.2368/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...-favorite-and-most-used-big-game-rifle.13113/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?threads/whats-a-good-light-weight-elk-rifle.3738/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ange-calibers-for-elk-are-not-mandatory.1275/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ou-so-dependent-on-your-weatherby-rifle.2403/

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...i-hunt-the-more-i-like-the-33-38-45-cal.2846/
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

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