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I smell him... how close is he?

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I smell him... how close is he?

Postby eltaco » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 1]

This seems to happen to us in the elk woods pretty frequently... moving through the timber and you absolutely catch the scent of a stinky bull, sometimes even accompanied by green squishy terds on the ground. I'll be quite honest, I'm not sure I've ever caught wind of a bull and had success finding him. Always makes me wonder, how close am I to this bull right now? If you have some tactics that have been successful upon walking on the scent of elk, please feel free to share them. I always feel as though I'm so close and I'm failing to capitalize on the opportunity. Then again, it could be that the scent lingers for quite some time and that elk is a country mile away by the time I catch wind of him...? Let's hear your thoughts.
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby >>>---WW----> » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 2]

"Been there, Smelled that"! LOL!

The first think I usually do is freeze in my tracks right where I am. There are two possibilities. #1 is that you have entered or are very close to a bedding area. And #2, I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that the elk knew you were coming and vacated the area.

Leaving heavy scent is a natural defence that cows often use to avoid preditors. One of the first things they do when a predator is coming is to get up and pee before they leave the area. This leaves a very strong scent in the area and often confuses the predator long enough to make a clean get away.

These have been my observations. It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby Swede » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 3]

To add just a little to what WW said, it is my recollection, that when I smell elk, either one or a gaggle, they are less than 100 yards away. Likewise wallows, bedding area etc., are fairly close when I catch wind of them.
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby easeup » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 4]

yes for sure to be less than 100yds for me too.
However, they may have left or they were previously there. so you know you are close.
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby N5J » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 5]

BUSTED!! I was walking into my area early one morning; it was still dark with the wind in my face. Still on the trail I was trying to get to a small stand of timber in a draw which was I knew was still 75 yards away before light. I was moving slow when instantly I had a strong odor of elk, I froze…thinking I had elk coming my way, I quickly jumped off the trail to my right setting up next to a bush (Big Mistake). :shock: Because of the darkness, I made some noise when trying to take my pack off when it hit the bush. Immediately, I heard horns hitting trees as the bull was busting out of there. I cow called still nothing, I knew I was busted. I held tight till I could see…nothing…I started up the trail again till I got to the timber. Once there I seen fresh elk droppings and urine…It reeked of elk. I my case I know you can smell them at least 75 yards away. :)


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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby foxvalley » 07 12, 2012 •  [Post 6]

A really cool tactic that has worked for me is get on one side of a hogback,about 20yds from the top in the afternoon/evening, I camp in the bottom, so I am always heading down, anyway parrallel the hogback on the side you think holds elk, the thermals have been going up all day, and you will smell an elk if there is one below you within 100 yds or so. Follow your nose right to him.
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby Lefty » 07 14, 2012 •  [Post 7]

I would guess my tracking abilities are better than my general elk knowledge (or lack of :o )
My last rifle bull I smelled his and only his bedding area 40 yards before the first sign. 100 yards fron his bed 150 yards fromn where I shot him coming back to bed.
A couple years ago , poor tacking conditions, Light winds, bright sunny, 80 degrees.A bull with 50 cows and calves cut in front of me. I was able to track them to their bedding area 1 1/2 miles mostly by the smell of dropped feces and urine. I slightly coursed the wind like a dog would, it was faster than following track in the rock and grass in many places.
I was maybe 1 1/2 hours behind the herd at one time and definatly could smell the herds trail as i tracked them to their beds.
We humans do a poor job of using our noses
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Re: I smell him... how close is he?

Postby Broken arrow » 07 14, 2012 •  [Post 8]

During my scouting trip while laying in the shade taking a breather (I'm a flatlander lol :D ) every few minutes I could smell elk. After the break we headed up the mountain and 300 to 400 yards later jumped up 5 elk also had a single cow that I smelled from 100 yards and it was not a faint smell very strong we watched her until the wind hit us in the back. Think it depends on the elk and the individual sniffer.
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