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Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

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Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

Old 04-07-2011, 03:21 PM
  #11  
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My rational of thinking for the people who are not successful at punching they're elk tags on a yearly basis, there hunting like how you would go about hunting for deer not realizing that elk hunting is not deer hunting in many reguards. If the unsuccessful hunters who generally do not punch there elk tag year to year figures that statement out, will greatly up there odds of killing elk instead of hunting elk every year.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:39 PM
  #12  
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must be nice muley, I have a 5 hour drive to where I hunt. What projectiles are you using? I have some no excuses conicals that don't like to be shot out of my Knight. I think I need something about .002 larger in diameter. I had bought them to hunt elk with but never have got around to trying another bullet.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:55 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Wheatley View Post
must be nice muley, I have a 5 hour drive to where I hunt. What projectiles are you using? I have some no excuses conicals that don't like to be shot out of my Knight. I think I need something about .002 larger in diameter. I had bought them to hunt elk with but never have got around to trying another bullet.
I'm using the 300gr Thor with 110 gr of BH 209. Good elk load.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:34 AM
  #14  
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I've hunted elk for 25 years been guiding hunters for 22 of those years. As a guide you don't get to pick the choice seasons. Go after the bulls in the prime time. I almost don't know what that would be like to get to pick my one season every year. I didn't kill a bull elk myself until I was 19 years old. That was right at the time when it went from spikes to 4 points or better. Finding an elk with a rack was hard to do. I believe back in 85-86 was the time frame. Since then I've almost went 100% on taking a bull elk every year. I'm on the verge of taking 20 bull elk myself and with clients that number of elk taken is a lot higher elk taken but lower on the ratio of success.

Hunting for one's self is a lot different than adding in extra person or a buddy you are dragging along behind you. For one you want to be considerate and make sure they are safe, comfortable and having a great time. But when there's distance to cover between you and the elk, you have to eat that ground up in a very short time. Elk hunting can be enduring. Twice hunting for myself and once with my brother I've actually ran over 500 yards to get in a position to shoot elk on the move. I can't do that to a client and I sure would feel bad doing it to a buddy. But if you want to go 100% year to year on taking a bull elk you have to be ready to do whatever it takes to get it done. Try it a few times just for fun, run a couple hundred yards then calm yourself for a shot before the elk get out of the area. Not really a fair point but I grew up in the mountains and I guess i'm adjusted.
But it's not about running one into the dirt that was the extreme of being successful. You have to hone those stalking skills. Know how to use the terrain in open country to get close and make that shot even with a bow. Last year archery season a father/son duo and myself stalked on a herd above timberline and we got in position for a shot. It was a long shot 50+ yards but I think that was one of the most rewarding stalks on elk I've ever did. Stalking elk with multiple people where the only cover is the shape of the terrain and the grass not even a boulder to hide behind. Now that's fun. If he wanted to have killed a cow they were only 19 yards from us. We missed the bull but who cares it was the experience that made the day.

There are so many things a person could write about how to help a new person in the elk world but there is a few core things that will make a difference.

Shooting- This is the biggest make it or break it in the elk world. 450 yards for a rifle/ 150yards for a muzzle loader/ 50 yards for a bow. Standing, Kneeling, Sitting, Prone. You need to be able to make any of those shots to increase your chances of getting an elk. I know you just think I went stupid. But I can do it and a few people around me and a few that I've guided can do it. It's not a matter of can't do it, it is a matter of practice. Don't do what so many people do and see an elk and go Oh my god and elk and get flustered and all their shooting capability's go right out the window. It's sad because they don't get the elk. I could write a book solely on first hand witnessing people missing elk. Some of them big ole bulls I sure with that would of been my turn and my season.

Being in shape is number two, if you can't get there you can't get the shot. It's that plain and simple. I've hiked 65 year old men plus patiently up rough nasty terrain miles to get a shot on a bull that I knew the elk had moved into that area. If a 60+ person can do it you better be able to do it too. I used to think take the young man get to the elk. I'll take the older gentleman and be packing out an elk at the end of the day.

Attitude- I can't count the number of elk taken on the last hour of the last day with friends and clients. Keep your head in the game. Stay positive. So many times I've seen guys get poor attitudes because a hunt isn't going perfect. If you start giving me attitude about finding elk how do you think you next day of hunting is going to be? My most important thing is to get someone an elk. That's my lively hood. That's my passion.
People just don't understand that even outfitters get skunked. If elk hunting was easy then I'd probably have a different number one game animal on my favorite list. If your attitude sucks I can imagine your hunt is going to be miserable. I hunt myself by myself. I want to go where I want to go. If your like me don't bother hiring an outfitter, it will drive you nuts being led around all day.

What's the one consistent tip I can give you that always works for me. If your not looking into the north facing timber for elk your not looking at the right area's. Elk have a massive hide full of hair and even on the coldest of cold days you'll find them bedding on that north face out of the sun. This is not 100% but it's as close to right for knowing where the elk are. And just because an area looks small rugged and nasty doesn't mean there's not quite a few elk held up in it. And turn your scope down when you walk into it. Three to five steps and you better be looking or glassing. Elk move around in the timber during the day so sitting and taking long breaks is a wonderful idea.

Hunt the same mountain side or canyon everyday and you just increased your odds of seeing an elk 10 times. I move around a lot but I've got 20 some years of learning my area. I know where the elk tend to eat, sleep, and play games. If you killed a bull there the year before chances are your going to do it again. Maybe not in the same scenario but in the same area.

Good luck to you and keep a positive attitude.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:44 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Wheatley View Post
must be nice muley, I have a 5 hour drive to where I hunt. What projectiles are you using? I have some no excuses conicals that don't like to be shot out of my Knight. I think I need something about .002 larger in diameter. I had bought them to hunt elk with but never have got around to trying another bullet.
As Muley stated, you should try the Thors: http://thorbullets.com/

He doesn't list them, but he now has 300 gr ballistic tip bullets. You just shoot him an email to order and he will send you the bullets with an invoice that you then send in to him (doesn't take credit)

Also, you should try some 350 gr Hornaday FPBs. They shoot well in my knight and I have taken two elk with them.

If you want to stay with big lead projectiles, you can order whatever size you want from Bullshop: http://bullshop.gunloads.com/

Last edited by txhunter58; 04-08-2011 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:30 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by txhunter58 View Post
As Muley stated, you should try the Thors: http://thorbullets.com/

He doesn't list them, but he now has 300 gr ballistic tip bullets. You just shoot him an email to order and he will send you the bullets with an invoice that you then send in to him (doesn't take credit)

Also, you should try some 350 gr Hornaday FPBs. They shoot well in my knight and I have taken two elk with them.

If you want to stay with big lead projectiles, you can order whatever size you want from Bullshop: http://bullshop.gunloads.com/

Thanks for the information. That is how I got the no excuses conicals. I think I will try the Thors and see how it goes. Just a quick question, which diameter are you shooting in your Knight. I am thinking the 503s would be the best. I can't remember what the NEX were now.

Last edited by Wheatley; 04-08-2011 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:43 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Muley Hunter View Post
I can even sleep in my bed every night, because my area is only 25 minutes away.
Must be nice, I have to drive 2,000 miles!
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:09 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Blackelk View Post
I've hunted elk for 25 years been guiding hunters for 22 of those years.

Attitude- I can't count the number of elk taken on the last hour of the last day with friends and clients. Keep your head in the game. Stay positive. So many times I've seen guys get poor attitudes because a hunt isn't going perfect. If you start giving me attitude about finding elk how do you think you next day of hunting is going to be? My most important thing is to get someone an elk. That's my lively hood. That's my passion.
People just don't understand that even outfitters get skunked. If elk hunting was easy then I'd probably have a different number one game animal on my favorite list. If your attitude sucks I can imagine your hunt is going to be miserable. I hunt myself by myself. I want to go where I want to go. If your like me don't bother hiring an outfitter, it will drive you nuts being led around all day.

Good luck to you and keep a positive attitude.
As usual, good points Blackelk.

I thought I would give an example of "bad attitude" from my own experience, from my first elk hunt in 2006. This is an example of what not to do. I was hunting, climbing a ridge, looking for sign of elk. I wasn't really seeing anything, but I was working at it to the limited skills and knowledge I possessed at the time. I persuaded myself to quit for the day about 30 minutes before the end of legal shooting light. Here were the reasons -- bad reasons -- I told to myself that persuaded me to quit early. (1) if I got an elk at that time, then I would be out in the dark, field dresssing my elk, and that would be a little unpleasant. (2) I would have to find my way back to my truck in the dark and that might be difficult. (3) Hey, what are the chances I'm going to see an elk now? not very good. (4) It was Monday and if I left early, I could get back to town and watch Monday Night Football. I could be sitting in a warm restaurant, with tastey food and a cold beer in front of me, comfortable hotel bed 5 minutes away.

#1: So what? Isn't that what I'm there for? Is it a whole lot more unpleasant field dressing an elk in the dark than in the light? It is kind of unpleasant anyway it goes. Also, I had field dressed deer in the dark -- not that big of a deal. I had a head lamp, so there wasn't going to be any special difficulty with doing that.

#2: Nonsense. I was going up a ridge while hunting. If I went down the ridge, I would have to intersect the road my truck was parked on. Thus, I couldn't get lost. Additionally, I had a GPS device which could provide assistance getting back to my truck.

#3: Just because you haven't seen an elk up to the present doesn't mean you won't find one in the next 10 seconds. My experience hunting is that . . . there are no hunted animals, and then suddenly here they are! Perhaps in the next 10 minutes I would have found an open meadows that was a good place to come back in the morning to hunt. Perhaps the meadows would have at that time had elk in them.

#4: You have to be willing to forgo the comforts of civilization -- a warm room with a comfy chair, TV with Monday Night Football on -- to hunt most animals.


I think this is a good example of bad attitude, because all these 4 issues were examples of the wrong kind of thoughts to have if you want to hunt elk (or many other animals as well).

This was my first elk hunt. It happened to be a DIY elk hunt. And further, I was hunting by myself without a partner. I hope I will not make these kind of attitude errors in the future. I made a lot of errors on that first hunt. But I learned from that and identified some of the things that I needed to correct for the next trip.

One comment I will make is that I remember thinking that elk hunting was kind of unaccessible to me. I thought there were too many things I didn't know. I decided, notwithstanding, that I was going to go out and do it not withstanding. I think that was the right decision. In some sense I couldn't learn some stuff -- like this attitude thing -- without going out and falling down. I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned from most of those mistakes.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:18 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Hurricanespg View Post
Must be nice, I have to drive 2,000 miles!
Me too if I hunted in North Carolina.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:33 AM
  #20  
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Alsatian...............I'm curious. Did you hunt from before sunlight to what you describe in your post?


I ask, because I never hunt late in the day. I'm on the mountain when most are still snoring. Elk are active early and late in the day. I don't choose to hunt late. I'd rather give 150% to hunting early. It's never failed me, and it gives me most of the day to dress the elk and get it out.

I enjoy hiking into the mountain in the early morning darkness. I'm fresh and alert. I'm full of hope for the hunt. I'm alive.

Hauling hundreds of pounds of meat in that same darkness when i'm dog tired has no appeal to me. I refuse to do it.

Hunt smart.

Just my .02
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