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When to rifle elk?

Old 05-10-2009, 01:57 PM
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Default When to rifle elk?

When is the best time to rifle elk hunt in your opinion for a big trophy bull elk?

An early rifle season that includes the rut?
Or a typical rifle season?
Later season where snow/weather/migration may affect the elk?

I guess its hard to imagine a successful elk hunt that isn't covering the rut or a later weather related/migration type elk hunt, so how do rifle hunters really go after an elk in a general season? just glass and get lucky? seems like a even tougher way to pursue an elk.

As of right now I'm thinking anytime you can hunt the rut, it's the way to go, but maybe I'm unaware of what a normal rifle season has to offer, or a later season hunt could as well?

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Old 05-10-2009, 03:57 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

Here in Wyoming it is best to draw a late season tag hoping for snow to push them around. During the normal two week season you just have to be persistant. The bigger bulls tend to be alone after the rut.

If I am unsuccessful during archery season I just get as much time out there in the two weeks I have to up my odds.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:20 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

If trophy is on your mind, I would go with the rut.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:33 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

Personally I hunt the general rifle season, and as you said I do a lot of glassing and preseason scouting, now I have been lucky so far and have found a high mountain meadow that elk frequent after the rut is over just before they move down into the lower elevations around the IDF&G winter feed sites. So I don't or haven't had to do a lot of looking for them they have been in and out of this location for the last few years and like clock work they seem to move from the BLM land to private property in the first two or three days of general rifle season so I usually slip in between them and their route out and take one every year so far. I do some scouting during this time of the year while out bear and turkey hunting as to see what the winter weather havoc has wreeked on the elk herd and where they are moving at his time frame, then again in Aug. Sept. time frame during our archery season and our upland game season I am watching them and trying to pattern their movements; I have yet to bag an elk with my bow but this year is showing some promise if I do not end up taking a job in Ky. this year!!!
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:47 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

Here in Colorado, there are several "rifle" seasons to choose from, and although I no longer rifle hunt, several of my family members do and they go first rifle season, and it seems like every year, that get a few because they are still bugling some. I'd choose that option, not only for the possiblity of hearing them, but also to avoid the any deep snows.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:36 AM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

Montana & Wyoming both have early season backcountry elk hunts that open in mid-september. The success rate is higher because the bulls are in full rut. You can locate the bulls with a bugle.

The earlier I can hunt elk with a rifle the better. I have been hunting cow elk only for the last few years in Wyoming. The cow season openson October-1st. inmy hunt area. I like hunting cows early because thehunter numbers are low and they have not been spooked by other rifle hunters yet.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:40 AM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

For trophy bulls in the rut is by far the way to go for me. You've got bugling bulls, fall colors, and fairly decent weather. It's not only a great time to have some success but the whole experience in unequaled in my opinion.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:30 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

I am by no means an expert as I have only taken a few elk, but honestly I think they can be had at any time.
More than likely it will be easier while they are in the rut since they are a little preoccupied, and are vocal, but I have taken a couple outside of the rut before the weather migrations started.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:32 PM
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Default RE: When to rifle elk?

If you are rifle hunting, I have to agree with Howler. If you can hunt the first season after archery you still get some bugling elk, making them easy to locate, although they generally stop bugling pretty fast after the first shots go off. And avoiding the later snows is pretty nice. As for tactics, I would recommend getting out into the woods a couple days (minimum) before the season starts to do some glassing/listening. I've been most successful, even when there are plenty of other hunters around, if I can glass and pin down movement patterns for a few days.
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