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Lessons Learned

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Lessons Learned

Postby Elkhunttoo » 01 13, 2021 •  [Post 1]

What is the best thing/tactic/sound you learned in 2020 that you will use in 2021 and beyond? (Or a few) it might even be just something you learned around your camp. I’ve been hunting elk for 25 years and every year I try to improve so here are a few that I picked up on.

Sounds that I used a lot this last season were panting and glunking. I’ve heard them both before but going into this last year they were sounds I was focusing on using. Luckily enough I was able the hear both several times this year a pick up on a few things. What I learned was that I will use them a whole lot more in the future. Every time I get in close with elk I’m always amazed at how much they are talking and how soft it is. I paralleled a group this year as they were coming out of the sage in the morning. I watched this bull for around 300 yards (I was about 100 yards from him most of the way) every 10 or so seconds he would “pant” “heavy breathing” whatever you want to call it. I felt like he was answering one of the cows with it but it might have just been timing. Nonetheless panting and glunking I feel we’re both a big part of me being in on elk this last year. Hard sounds to make sound good in my opinion and I will do a lot of practicing this year.

Now that I got that out of the way my next one is silence (calling that is). When paralleling that herd I stayed silent the whole time. Several times this last year I was able to locate elk and then move in close. Once I got close I stayed silent while trying to move with them (super steep country so this can be difficult) I felt like the herd treated me like a satellite bull. The cows either didn’t hear me or could just care less because they paid me no attention as long as they didn’t see me move and I even got away with some of that. The bulls I felt like treated me like a satellite too. The would search and search to see me, they could hear me move and would intensify their bugles the closer I would get. This tacit is this area will require me to get in much better shape than I was last year but gave me several close encounters

I was mainly hunting 1 bull this last year and had my chances. Practice will make perfect and I hope he lives through the winter so we can dance again this next fall.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Elkhunttoo » 01 13, 2021 •  [Post 2]

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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Elkhunttoo » 01 13, 2021 •  [Post 3]

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I had him close on several occasions. My arrow went right over his back on one of them :( ...just hope he didn’t get shot in the rifle hunt because the forest service either didn’t close the gate for that road on the day they were supposed to or a hunter cut the chain the the forest service just left it open for 2 weeks because they didn’t care. Either way it gave guys access to the area he was in without them having to work near as hard as they would of
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Swede » 01 13, 2021 •  [Post 4]

I learned a new area with multiple tree stand locations. I suspected the new area would be like the area I had been hunting, but the guys I was hunting, with assured me the elk hang in there all the time. I was skeptical and contended that I had been in there, and there was no fresh sign, so I had my doubts. It turned out that there were a few elk early, but nothing like they believed. Still it may be worth another hunt. The elk are there on a rotating basis, so it is just a matter of timing. Still it may be no better than where I have been hunting. I guess I do not learn a lot on every outing.
I learned that I am still not too old to drop and elk with my bow, and pack it out.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Indian Summer » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 5]

It never ceases to amaze me that after 9 years I am still learning things about my area. This year’s bull came from an overlooked spot that’s not far at all from base camp. To think that a hunter can learn much from the internet is kinda laughable to me. Even with boots on the ground you’ll be learning your spot for years and years. So keep an open mind when hunting and looking at maps and I guarantee you’ll keep seeing things in a new light.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Tigger » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 6]

I have a buddy that hunts the same spot we do. His group usually goes in opposite years that we do due to licensing. So we freely share info. He made the statement that after hunting one particular draw he is convinced if you booger an elk or group of elk they dont go far but behave kinda like whitetails and stay close. Kinda goes against conventional wisdom that elk boogey long distances when spooked.

Well sure enough, i manage to spook a small herd of elk off a waterhole. 2 days later I shoot the herd bull from a small herd of elk off that waterhole. Maybe a different herd, but if I was a betting man, I would bet it was the same herd.

Agree with Joe, you can learn some things off the internet, but no where close to what you can learn being out in the woods hunting.

Also, elk can be anywhere. What we do as hunters is put the odds in our favor. A great feeding or bedding area is MORE LIKELY to have elk, but that doesnt mean they are always there or they are never in a weird spot. Hunting pressure really impacts this. Food, water, security, rut. That is an elks world. When the rut is over, it is just food, water, security. Food and water can be had at night. Security can many times dictate elk location.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby 7mmfan » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 7]

I learned to be patient. I got excited, and made some decisions that cost me a shot at the largest bull I've ever laid eyes on. Patience patience patience. Obviously when it's time to act, you act, but I need to get better at learning to wait for the right moment.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Swede » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 8]

How far will an elk go when spooked. There are so many variables involved in that it would be easier to say how long is a string. Are the elk residents that stay in a particular area, or do they travel around on a circuit. How great is the pressure they are experiencing? Is there a better sanctuary area available to them? Did you just bump them or are you pursuing? Are they migrating? Etc.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 9]

I learned you should shake down hunters you invite to your camp to ensure they don’t have an E Caller :?
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Swede » 01 14, 2021 •  [Post 10]

WapitiTalk1 wrote:I learned you should shake down hunters you invite to your camp to ensure they don’t an E Caller


How disgusting! Say it isn't true.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Indian Summer » 01 15, 2021 •  [Post 11]

Tigger.... for the most part they don’t go far. I missed a bull once and caught up to him and killed him.

If they run up or down a ridge they’ll usually top over a finger and stop as soon as they feel they are safe. Remember half the herd has no idea why they ran. If they were spooked enough to drop downhill and cross to the other side they’ll go further. One thing is for sure they stopped somewhere and it’s very possible to get back on them. I’ve seen them run from one small ridge to another and bed down in plain sight.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Swede » 01 15, 2021 •  [Post 12]

One time I was about to shoot a bull that came into water. Suddenly a squirrel started chattering and the elk spooked. How far did it go? I have no idea, as I stayed in my tree stand.
If a squirrel spooked it; it would likely be spooked by every sudden noise in the forest. On the other hand I have seen elk head for the ranch where they found sanctuary, and I could do nothing to coax them off. I know where elk feed in a field at night and head up to the forest, which is six miles away, in the morning. I have spooked elk in the canyon and observed them go out over the rim and who knows where? How far does an elk go?
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Indian Summer » 01 15, 2021 •  [Post 13]

Swede wrote:One time I was about to shoot a bull that came into water. Suddenly a squirrel started chattering and the elk spooked. How far did it go? I have no idea, as I stayed in my tree stand.
If a squirrel spooked it; it would likely be spooked by every sudden noise in the forest. On the other hand I have seen elk head for the ranch where they found sanctuary, and I could do nothing to coax them off. I know where elk feed in a field at night and head up to the forest, which is six miles away, in the morning. I have spooked elk in the canyon and observed them go out over the rim and who knows where? How far does an elk go?


Maybe that depends on how bad you smell.

One time we had a bull bugling hard. He came in fast and busted us. He saw us.... not smelled us. He spun around and bolted. We all know that feeling... aw man back to square one! :cry: We sat down on the ground, 3 of us, and pulled out the topo map to decide where to go since that bull was probably halfway to Iowa. After about 2 minutes I just happened to glance over to the edge of the small clearing we were in and that freaking bull was standing there 25 yards away watching us! It was thick brush around the opening and all I saw were his head and neck... and a nice 6 point rack. When I made eye contact with him he was gone in the blink of an eye. For good that time. What the...... :shock:

The joke that day was “Well he saw the whole plan laid out on the map so we ain’t killin him!”
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Swede » 01 15, 2021 •  [Post 14]

I am not sure if the elk in the herd smelled me or not. That was of little or no concern once they were gone. What I wanted to know was; did the squirrel use a language I do not understand, to warn the bull?
Would that dirty, bushy tailed rat do that again? It was definitely not my friend that day.
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby Lefty » 01 15, 2021 •  [Post 15]

Well I dont need to hike in as far as I liked too.
I really do like to spend the night in a tent,.. I miss the night sounds,.. elk, cranes, coyotes

Well I knew this , but no more waiting on others ( my daughter)
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Re: Lessons Learned

Postby jmorr » 01 22, 2021 •  [Post 16]

I learned that as long as bull is responding, keep pursuing. They will often times reach a point where they feel like they should stand their ground, turn around and fight. I blew it on one of my few good chances last year when I decided to stop because it was getting late and we were waaay back in a nasty alder choked canyon. I shouldn't have been a wuss and just kept on him. One of my callers didn't get the wuss memo and kept bugling his lungs out. Wouldn't you know it, that bull sounded off at half the distance of his previous bugle! I was pinned down too far above his elevation at that point and gave up my wind trying to reposition. Had I kept on his elevation I would have been right on him when he turned around :cry: . Also, another screw up was trying to reposition after a setup where we thought the bull was lower than he was. I ran up to where I thought he would come but so did he, and picked me off while I was moving. Had I just stayed put I would have had a better chance at having a shooting lane as he likely would have come right above me in a line towards my caller.
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