Go Back  HuntingNet.com Forums > General Hunting Forums > Big Game Hunting
Only 25% of elk hunters take elk >

Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

Big Game Hunting Moose, elk, mulies, caribou, bear, goats, and sheep are all covered here.

Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

Old 04-07-2011, 08:51 AM
  #1  
Giant Nontypical
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location:
Posts: 6,108
Default Only 25% of elk hunters take elk

I have read, in several sources, that only 25% of elk hunters who have licenses succeed in shooting an elk. Why is the success rate so low?

I have also heard that the people who DO take elk, have a much higher success rate, year-to-year, than the average hunter. Said another way, there is a first group of hunters that have a significantly higher than 25% success rate -- maybe 85% success rate -- and there is a second group of hunters that have a lower success rate than 25 -- maybe 15%. What is the difference between these two groups of hunters? Is it valid to put them into two separate groups or is it simply a continuum of experience?

Someone I know says that many people after the first day will hunt pretty close to the road. Maybe they are out of shape and just plain wore themselves out climbing the hills on opening day. Maybe they just aren't that passionate about hunting and are out for the general experience -- being in the mountains, being in camp with others away from the cares of their ordinary lives.

What are your thoughts? Why the low success rate? Why do some hunters regularly fare better than other hunters? Is it experience? Is it work ethic/physical conditioning? Is it level of passion? Is it a different reason for being out in the elk fields?

Another possible reason for the low success rate is maybe a lot of hunters are only looking for a bull, and bulls may be more difficult to come by than cows. Along the same lines, maybe hunters are looking for bulls with large racks and are passing on lesser opportunities.
Alsatian is online now  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:41 AM
  #2  
Giant Nontypical
 
salukipv1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: IL
Posts: 6,552
Default

I forget what the saying I've heard is, but something like 10% of the elk hunters take 90% of the elk year to year...

Personally my success rate is quite low, I think I'm running about 25% myself...but on almost every hunt I've ever been on I could have taken an animal.

I suspect this quote is a bit too simplified, ie there are hunters who take the 1st legal animal they see and probably tend to be more successful than others.
salukipv1 is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:54 AM
  #3  
Nontypical Buck
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,320
Default

Actually I am surprised its that high. I believe the statewide average here in CO is more like 17%.

my opinions based on nothing more than my opinion

its much harder than the average hunter realizes or remembers year to year

abundance of private land for refuge

unwillingness of hunters to walk great distances

poor scouting and intell

lack of planning

elk are smart beasts and they figure out that whole hunting thing pretty fast

I hunt and fish the mountains most all of the year, it gives me a huge advantage knowing where to go, where to stay and when to be there.

My personal average is around 75%. As far as shooting the first legal beast, that would be determined by the license I had. In our little circle of the world a cow elk is a cow elk. Bulls are a different deal.


I will say this about that. I can see elk everyday in just a short drive from where I'm sitting now. Come hunting season those same elk will be near impossible to find.

Last edited by skb2706; 04-07-2011 at 10:02 AM.
skb2706 is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:02 AM
  #4  
Nontypical Buck
 
Wheatley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Wright, WY
Posts: 1,281
Default

Another thought I was thinking about was the amount of work it takes once one is down. People hear these stories and they stear clear of many areas elk enjoy/goto for seclusion. Since I moved back to Wyoming I am 100% that is only two years but I have also taken my Wife, my brother and brother in law and got them an elk after mine was down. All of them had to be quartered and packed out. I cut all of them up and helped haul them all out. I enjoy it and the work is worth it to me. I suspect many people do not enjoy this and could be a reason.

I see it with the people I hunt with. Most of them do not like following me but I think they finally have noticed that you have to get out there and go after it if you want to be successful. I don't really care about the size of bulls I shoot either. I archery hunt and usually if a shot is presented I take it. I love eating elk and the cows and younger bulls eat better. I am always looking for that monster bull but not set on it. Last year I shot a smaller 5 x 4 and my wife shot one of the three 6 x 6 elk that came into our position. The other two were cows. I enjoyed every part of all that work we had last year.
Wheatley is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:21 AM
  #5  
Giant Nontypical
 
Muley Hunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 9,556
Default

Elk hunting is my passion. I work hard at it throughout the year. I know where the elk are long before the season starts. I stay in altitude shape all year long. My list could go on, but the bottom line is I put all the odds in my favor. I hunt alone so I can put 100% focus on what I need to do.

If I had to go to another state to hunt elk. My percentage would be way down.

As it is. I get an elk every year.

btw..I hunt the muzzleloader season only. That weeds out the wannabees around me.
Muley Hunter is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:30 AM
  #6  
Giant Nontypical
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location:
Posts: 6,108
Default

Originally Posted by Wheatley View Post
Another thought I was thinking about was the amount of work it takes once one is down. People hear these stories and they stear clear of many areas elk enjoy/goto for seclusion. Since I moved back to Wyoming I am 100% that is only two years but I have also taken my Wife, my brother and brother in law and got them an elk after mine was down. All of them had to be quartered and packed out. I cut all of them up and helped haul them all out. I enjoy it and the work is worth it to me. I suspect many people do not enjoy this and could be a reason.
This is another good point. Maybe people are not so much interested in the meat, so they hold out for a bigger bull. Maybe they just don't get very far from the road because they don't know how to get the meat out farther back in. My hunting partner had his elk packed out a couple of years ago due to weather complications, and it cost $350. Some people may not want to go back in too far to fetch their elk and don't want to shell out $300+ to have it packed out.

I love the entire experience, and to me there is no significant difference between taking a cow or a bull. I do prefer to go during either sex first rifle season in Colorado, because the hunting is better -- the elk are not yet stirred up and hiding out in the dark timber. Also, I like hunting near treeline, and the elk are still up high, on public land in the first rifle season. Later seasons? Maybe not. I took a 4x3 bull in 2009. This year I will probably take a cow. I'm a non-resident.
Alsatian is online now  
Old 04-07-2011, 12:41 PM
  #7  
Nontypical Buck
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,526
Default

I think you guys have pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Elevation, difficulty of terrain, location of animals, difficulty of getting dead animal out of the terrain. It all adds up to a difficult hunt compared to your average whitetail hunt.
I read somewhere that 90% of the hunters dont make it a mile away from the road, and that 90% of the elk occupy only 10% of the woods.......so if your in the 90% of hunters you are probably only able to see/hunt somewhere around 10% of the elk population. Obviously there is a little give and take there, but hopefully you get my point.

All in all, come September I'm going to be about 8 miles in the backcountry bowhunting some elk!
Hurricanespg is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 01:30 PM
  #8  
Giant Nontypical
 
Muley Hunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 9,556
Default

Originally Posted by Hurricanespg View Post
I think you guys have pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Elevation, difficulty of terrain, location of animals, difficulty of getting dead animal out of the terrain. It all adds up to a difficult hunt compared to your average whitetail hunt.
I read somewhere that 90% of the hunters dont make it a mile away from the road, and that 90% of the elk occupy only 10% of the woods.......so if your in the 90% of hunters you are probably only able to see/hunt somewhere around 10% of the elk population. Obviously there is a little give and take there, but hopefully you get my point.

All in all, come September I'm going to be about 8 miles in the backcountry bowhunting some elk!
If you see an old guy sneaking along with a muzzleloader. Say hi.

If i'm any good. I'll see you first.
Muley Hunter is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 01:41 PM
  #9  
Nontypical Buck
 
Rob in VT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Central VT/Big Horn WY
Posts: 1,340
Default

I am relatively new to elk hunting. Since I have been hunting Colorado (2006) I am 3 out of 5 or 60%. I think the main reason for my success is two fold. First I hunt an area that has a fair amount of elk. Second, and most importantly, I hunt the same area every year so I am very familiar with it. I know the places elk like when it's warm, when it's snowing, when it's windy, etc. By sticking to one area you become a better hunter and know how to react to the elk.
Rob in VT is offline  
Old 04-07-2011, 01:56 PM
  #10  
Giant Nontypical
 
Muley Hunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 9,556
Default

Exactly Rob. That's the reason for my success too.

I can even sleep in my bed every night, because my area is only 25 minutes away.
Muley Hunter is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.