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First Elk Hunt

Old 07-16-2012, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Wakeman Ohio
Posts: 25

Good info Topgun. I will seriously give that unit a look.
Fair2middlin2003 is offline  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 4

Alsatian gives good advice. I'd like to share something with you MOST elk hunters don't know... I grew up in the high country in Western Colorado, and I hunt elk every year. As Alsatian says, finding the elk is perhaps the hardest part of a successful hunt. We hear all the time to look for spore/scat, prints/tracks, rubs, etc. I'd like to share a little known bit of info with you- Look for a white "moss" on small branches and on the ground around those branches. I'm not talking about Aspen/quakies- I'm talking about dark timber. This is perhaps the ONLY sign you can see without standing right on top of it. Sometimes, this can determine which side of a ridge you hunt on, which in my experience has led me to being in the right place on more than one occasion. The white stuff is actually bleached out remains of shed velvet. The elk often rub on saplings and larger trees to scratch, but when they want to really get the bits of shredded velvet off, they sometimes use the lower branches of tall/large pines much the way we use a hairbrush to get tangles out of our own hair. The white, fuzzy looking moss ends up draped over the branches and laying on the ground.

Just last year, I made my first trip during muzzle-loading season for elk. I've taken them in archery and all three rifle seasons, but never muzzle-loader. I was ascending into my hunting area that was divided by a narrow ridge. I climbed straight up the narrow part of the ridge, and when I was near the top, I spotted the white stuff from almost 50 yards away. I had intended to hunt the left side of the ridge, but I made a bee-line to the white stuff and found that elk were still in the area, but not on the left side of the ridge. They were bedded down on the right. I found their beds shortly before nightfall and tracked them to a large meadow on the side of the mountain where I blew my first ever shot at an elk with a muzzle loader. I learned a valuable lesson about caring for my rifle on this hunt, but the lesson for you is this- if I had continued on my pre-determined route to the left, I likely would NOT have seen those elk. What's worse, I had planned to come back down on the right, after dark, which would have spooked them from the area. But because I spotted the white stuff, I got on their trail in short order. It's always old sign by the time it turns white, but when you find it, you've found where elk were during the shedding time. They likely won't be too far away unless pressure has driven them from the area. When THAT happens, it doesn't matter how fresh the sign is anyway. When they're gone, they're gone. They start moving- there's no telling where they'll end up because they can, and often do, run for a mile or more when spooked.

I just wanted to share my one little tidbit of rare elk-lore. Now, if you see that weird white moss and you think, "what the hell is this? It doesn't look like it GREW here, and it's all over the place!" You'll know what you're looking at.
amountainlyon is offline  

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