For years I have been trying to tell guys that when the elk hear back packers, horse packers, people setting up camp, pounding stakes,cutting poles, etc, moving in right before the season,the elk line out and leave.Then these same guys camp right in the middle of prime elk habitat and wonder where the elk go. Same thing, they then procede to walk around in the timber with the pretense of "scouting". What elk may be left from the previous noise of the packers, leave also. Add acouple of ATV's to the equations and you end up with a camping trip instead of a hunting trip. Guaranteed this will have repsonses from guys that say they see elk right around camp, etc, butvthatis theexceptionto therule
Where hunter pressure is low, this isn't as common, especially on private land where elk come in contact with landowners working the land more.
Any bull that lives to be 3 yrs old gets educated real fast.One big educator is these guys that persist on calling bulls in and then the bull either bust them or the guys decides that bull isn't big enough and spooks the bull on purpose.
Those bull stick that info away in the recesses of thier brain and use it the next time they hear a bugle.
Gotta remember it's life and death to them and just a game to hunters.
I have found this to be the simple truth. I have seen it more time than I care to count. Heck I was one of those guys for a long time wondering where in the heck did the elk go.
Now I play the escape routes. I try and learn my area well enough and just try and anticipate the pressure. Then I just try and get high and glass. Elk will camp on the same bench all season if something has moved them there. Why move if you feel comfortable.
I have found in several of my areas that the elk have established travel routes. Traditionally those have paid off but don't get the idea I kill elk every year. I don't. It's just sometimes they are where they are supposed to be and sometimes...