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Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

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Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

Old 04-08-2011, 08:58 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Muley Hunter View Post
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
Muley Hunter: Maybe you have a high success rate for elk hunting, and this whole thread is sort of about what makes the difference -- how can you BE one of the hunters with a high success rate -- so whatever works for you. There are a lot of differences among hunters. One of my differences is I'm happy taking a cow.

I've gone elk hunting twice -- once in 2006 and again in 2009. In 2009, I was in place early on opening morning, well before legal shooting light (1/2 hour before sun-up). I took my smallish 3x4 bull elk about 9 AM: hunt over. Thus, on the 2009 hunt there wasn't any evening hunt. In 2006, my hours varied. I tried to get out and in position before shooting light -- I accomplished this twice -- but because I was kind of fumbling I didn't always make this work out. For example, when I had identified a place I wanted to be at first light, then I would get there. On several days, however, I didn't know where I wanted to go so I waited until light so I could see where I was going. Again, this was more of a learning experience than a skilled, informed hunting trip.

Again, everyone can do what they like. Speaking for myself, I don't think I would have any reluctance to take an elk 29 minutes after sun-down. I think I could probably safely field dress the elk and let it lie over night (I hunt the first rifle season very near treeline -- earlier season or lower elevation there may be more spoilage risks). I think a lot of people do that. Having said that, in practice what I would more likely do is field dress, skin, cut into big chunks, put into game bags, and leave most of the meat at the kill site, and return to camp to sleep -- leaving the heavy packing until the next day. This would likely take me about 3 hours. Maybe it would take less. This figure is based on my first experience doing this -- there is a fair chance I would be more skilled and efficient the second time around. I would prefer to get the meat out of the skin and cut up so that I could have more confidence that the meat wasn't going to spoil -- but I suspect that in most actual cases no harm would come leaving the animal to skin and cut up until the next day. It may depend on how far you are from your camp. I'm sure I would be very tired at the end of that kind of a day . . . but the knowledge that I had taken my elk and had it well cared for would sustain me.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:26 AM
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I just asked a question and told how I do it.

Trying to help.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:46 AM
  #23  
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Alsatian,

Those are some pretty good excuses. I have done all of them in the past as well except for maybe the Mondy night football. Although I do remember watching one while deer hunting on my fathers satelite in the motor home.

I am usually in place 1/2 hour before light 1 hour before sunup in the mornings. I hunt hard until about 11:30 to 12:00. Then we head back down the mountain for lunch and a nice nap. 2 - 3:00 we are up the mountain or different locations depending on what we are seeing. I am the last one back to the ride after dark.

In fact last year I had them drop me off and told them don't wait for me. I was heading down the mountain to the bottom road. I shot my elk just before sunset. I turned the GPS on and was 1.3 miles from the road. Action plan formed and started in about 30 seconds. Field dressed the elk started cutting a quarter off to haul out with me. Started snowing so I made the decision to leave the rest until the next mornig. Proped it up as best I could to let it breath from the ground and hiked out in the dark with my headlamp with a quarter on my back. Next morning I took three others with me and we had the rest out in one trip by 11:00 am.

I learned that I have to be out there and willing to go places most do not want to.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:19 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Muley Hunter View Post
I just asked a question and told how I do it.

Trying to help.
No problem. Sorry if my post suggested anything unintended. I was just trying to answer fully. Your comment was helpful. Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:09 PM
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I think what Muley Hunter was saying is that elk tend to be in steep country, sometime deep dark canyons. This terrain is nasty enough in day light, but can be down right dangerous at night. Throw a little snow or rain on it and it can be slippery.

I pack out our elk with frame packs. We do the Gutless method which works well. Climbing out of a snow covered canyon in the dark with a 70lb hind quarter can be difficult at best.

Just be careful and be smart. Take your time, the elk isn't going anywhere ;^)

Last edited by Rob in VT; 04-10-2011 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob in VT View Post
I think what Muley Hunter was saying is that elk tend to be in steep country, sometime deep dark canyons. This terrain is nasty enough in day light, but can be down right dangerous at night. Throw a little snow or rain on it and it can be slippery.

I pack out our elk with frame packs. We do the Gutless method which works well. Climbing out of a snow covered canyon in the dark with a 70lb hind quarter can be difficult at best.

Just be careful and be smart. Take your time, the elk is going anywhere ;^)
Plus, I hunt alone and i'm 68. I also use the gutless method, but go beyond that and debone the meat to make it lighter. I need a lot of daylight to do that.

I usually don't have to go past the 3rd day before I have my morning elk.

Most of my hunting is done in the months before the season opens. Pulling the trigger is the easy part.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:28 PM
  #27  
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I've had 4 elk tags in the last 3 years and shot 3 bulls. 2 out of 3 on a Wyoming general tag.

2008 Wyoming Bull - shot him at 8:30 opening morning.


2009. Struck out on my Wyoming general tag. Had a chance at a nice bull opening morning, but my friends son shot at him before I thought he should have and missed him.

2010 Wyoming Bull. Shot him at 9:00 on opening morning.


2010 New Mexico Bull. Shot him at 10:00 second morning.


I've hunted several more days trying to help my friends get their tag filled as well.

In 2008 we ended up filling 2 out of 3 tags. In 2009 we went 0 for 3. In 2010 we went 2 for 2 on Wyoming general tags and I went 1 for 1 on my New Mexico tag.

That puts my group at 5 out of 9 over the last 3 years for a 55.6% success rate.

We typically try to be out there where we want to be at least 1 hour before sunrise. Sometimes that means leaving camp at 3:30 in the morning. On most of our successful hunts being in the right place before the sun comes up has been critical. 4 out of the 5 elk taken by our group were taken by 10:00 am.

You can never stress enough that to be successful you need to be where the elk are. I've been lots of places that look like there should be elk there, but if they aren't there you are just wasting your time. They might have been there a few weeks ago and they might come back in a few weeks, but you need to be where they are now.

It never hurts to draw a good tag either! I passed on several bulls I would have shot with my Wyoming general tag on my New Mexico hunt before shooting that one on the 2nd day. I probably could have shot an even bigger bull, but I couldn't pass on that one.

Elk hunting is for sure an addiction!

Last edited by npaden; 04-08-2011 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:05 PM
  #28  
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P.S. On our Wyoming hunt last year we had to camp in a different spot than we normally do because a group of 6 other hunters got our spot. They had horses and their camp looked like a full blown outfitter camp. They were experienced hunters from in state, but had never hunted that specific area before. We killed 2 elk within 3 miles of their camp in the 4 days we were there and they didn't even see an elk during that time. They covered a ton of ground on their horses and worked hard, but they weren't familiar with the area and it showed. Knowing the area you are hunting is critical.

On the other extreme the spot I hunted in New Mexico I only scouted 1 day before the season and saw a couple dozen elk each day of the hunt. On my 2 successful Wyoming hunts the only elk I saw were the ones I shot. That helps show the difference between a general hunt area and a limited entry area.

Last edited by npaden; 04-08-2011 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:20 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Rob in VT View Post
I think what Muley Hunter was saying is that elk tend to be in steep country, sometime deep dark canyons. This terrain is nasty enough in day light, but can be down right dangerous at night. Throw a little snow or rain on it and it can be slippery.

Just be careful and be smart. Take your time, the elk is going anywhere ;^)
Yes, I get that now. I know what you mean. Just packing my first quarter (and not a full quarter, just the thigh, in essence, as I separated at the ball joint of the hip and took the thigh off in one piece) down the hill to a convenient nearby trail I slipped on some snow and nearly blew out one of my knees. I started going down with a switch-back path after that incident! And this was in full daylight and rested!
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:12 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by npaden View Post



Elk hunting is for sure an addiction!
PHWOAR, I gotta get me one of those for my wall
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