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Are these wallows?

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Are these wallows?

Postby Freebird134 » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 1]

Paul keeps posting pics challenging us to determine if it is a wallow, waterhole, etc. These threads got me thinking about how often I might be wrong about what I am finding. I thought I would post these pics of from the last time I was in our elk area. We thought they were wallows at the time, but now I am second guessing myself. Would love to see what others think. Unfortunately the pics aren't the best, but I think clues are visible.

This was about September 13 or 14 in Central Idaho, right off a trail. It had fresh elk, deer, and even a bear track. We thought "wallow" at the time, but now I'm thinking water hole. The water doesn't look cloudy and all those deer/bear tracks suggest other species are using it too. Thoughts?
Wallow1.jpg
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This was a day or two earlier (Sept 11 or 12). It was within 20 yards of a creek and not next to a trail, but there were lots of trails in the close vicinity. It was at least 10 feet across and down in a hole (steep sides). The water looks muddier here. I think this actually was a wallow. It's been almost 3 years since we were there (2009). We'll be back in 7 weeks. What are the chances this wallow is still active?
Wallow2.jpg
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby RockChucker30 » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 2]

I'm no expert, but I'd agree with you. Although I think that most things in nature are fluid instead of set in stone. That first one may be wallowed in from time to time, but I imagine it's mainly a waterhole. The second may be primarily a wallow, but I bet animals drink from it too.

Maybe the more important question to us as hunters is "Is it being used regularly right NOW?" rather than whether it's a wallow or waterhole.
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby elkohalic » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 3]

I would agree that they are both wallows.
The first one has some mighty clean water in it, Unless it is being supplied by a steady stream of water I would say it's to clean to have been used recently.
The other one has the day or two old muddy water look to me, and I see no sign of fresh mud up on the banks.
Myself I would keep looking for fresher sign, but I'm always on the move.
Just my 2 pennies worth
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby Freebird134 » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 4]

elkohalic wrote: The other one has the day or two old muddy water look to me, and I see no sign of fresh mud up on the banks.
Myself I would keep looking for fresher sign, but I'm always on the move.
Just my 2 pennies worth


I wish I had better pics of the banks or at least could remember what we saw. But I do know that there were lots of elk in the area, within hundreds of this spot. I don't know for sure they were using this wallow, but there were elk there that day.
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby CrazyElkHunter » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 5]

Hard to give a precise answer with just pictures, but what I can see is the 1 st picture deffinately is a wallow, just not used recently. Most likely during summer and early Sept. The fresh tracks tell me they still water there. I've got a spot that has 5 wallows just like that one in a 40yd circle. They mainly hit one on a consistent basis. The second picture reminds of a watering hole wading pool where I used to hunt. Elk would drink the muddy water and wade in it to cool off. Occasionally a bull would lay in it, but hard to wallow do to the depth of the water and steep banks. They want the mud on them and hard to make a muddy wallow out of a deep hole full of water. So I would lean more towards a watering hole from what I can see on the second one.
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby Swede » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 6]

I see two wallows. Keep in mind; just because a place is wallowed does not mean that elk and other amimals won't drink there. In fact, I like it when a spring gets double duty so to speak. The rounded out character of these spots indicates wallow. So does the washed up mud around the basin. When you are there, you can usually see where mud has been thrown out away from the wallow. That mud is not jusr material that has fallen off of their hoves. Sometimes it extends ten feet or more out from the wallow and several feet up on a nearby tree. Bulls can make mud fly. On occasion you can also see antler prints in the mud of a wallow. Do not use dirty water as much of a guide on determaining if something is a wallow. Cows and especially calves will come and play in the water. I have seen a whole herd of 8-10 elk all playing in the water hole I am watching. Too bad there was not one bull to shoot.
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby moosemeat » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 7]

they are more than likely both,When the bulls are really in rut the smell will tell you what they are,As they urinate in the wallow to give that lovely aroma the cows love.. :lol:
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby ElkNut1 » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 8]

Freebird, I would agree for sure that both of those are wallows! Of course elk can & do drink out of them. As far as will the elk be using them? An educated guess would be yes, those are not the type that dry up easily, too they appear to be not far from a bedding area with the timber as thick as it is! When I say not far, I'm referring to 3/4 mile or less, to me that is close enough that elk can hear if you called or splashed around in it! Please let us know your findings from this years hunt! Thanks man & super photos!!!

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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby Freebird134 » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 9]

Indeed they are both close to bedding areas. In fact, the second picture was just a few hundred yards down the mountain from where more than a dozen had been bedded the day before. HOw do I know? Because we busted them out of there on our way down the hill! :( doh!!!! We called in a raghorn real close to that second wallow too the night before too. The big mess up: we didn't realize how close we were to these wallows and in the elk, and we actually camped about 50 yards from that second wallow. We were quite surprised when we stumbled onto it after waking up! We won't make that mistake again!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Are these wallows?

Postby CrazyElkHunter » 07 27, 2012 •  [Post 10]

Swede wrote:I see two wallows. Keep in mind; just because a place is wallowed does not mean that elk and other amimals won't drink there. In fact, I like it when a spring gets double duty so to speak. The rounded out character of these spots indicates wallow. So does the washed up mud around the basin. When you are there, you can usually see where mud has been thrown out away from the wallow. That mud is not jusr material that has fallen off of their hoves. Sometimes it extends ten feet or more out from the wallow and several feet up on a nearby tree. Bulls can make mud fly. On occasion you can also see antler prints in the mud of a wallow. Do not use dirty water as much of a guide on determaining if something is a wallow. Cows and especially calves will come and play in the water. I have seen a whole herd of 8-10 elk all playing in the water hole I am watching. Too bad there was not one bull to shoot.

Swede, I agree with you about the mud being thrown for several feet. A hot wallow will have mud on all the surrounding trees and grass, on occasion,up to 15 to 20 feet. I see some of that in the the 1st picture, but your eyes are better than mine on the 2nd one or you've been to this wallow. :shock: All I can see is bark on the trees. :shock: Pictures are tough to judge unless the obvious is shown. On the positive side, they both attract elk. :D Good explanation for new elk hunters what to look for ;)
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