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#13781908 - 04/29/19 Help with late season elk stategy  
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goosepilot Offline
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Have hunted elk diy a half dozen times, mostly archery early season and a couple 2nd season rifle. So still very green in general with a little experience, no kills yet, but have been close to some very nice bulls on a couple hunts. Some hunts have not hardly even smelled elk.

Started applying for a limited draw unit that is supposed to take 10 years to draw. Hoped to gain necessary experience by then to capitalize on a mature bull. Well somehow I got drawn in 3rd year. Now what? Work this year dictates probably no realistic chance to hunt until mid November. Season runs until end of November.

Would you hire a guide (I never have before) to get access to private lands and some elk experience and better chance at better mature bull at this time of year?

Would you just study as much as possible and go diy again and hope to find something still on public land that late in the year?

Maybe able to get out this summer to scout a time or 2. Gain some familiarity with terrain. (Not sure how much will translate to late season). Went out once a couple years ago with my super cub and flew around one evening and one morning, but no on foot yet. Had planned to archery hunt a few years prior to permit.

I obviously have a bush plane and Alaska bush experience, mod Jeep, side by side with tracks, possibly buddies with pack horses not terribly far away that might get tricked into some help. Not totally opposed to hiring a guide or at least getting access to private.

Any suggestions or tactics in general would be appreciated.

300 BP

#13782040 - 04/29/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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atse Offline
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What state are you hunting, and what is the terrain and elevation like? What is the hunting pressure like in the draw unit?

#13782046 - 04/29/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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When scouting for elk in mid or late summer , you will find they won't be there in November.You didn't say what state,but weather has a big effect on the late hunts as to whether the elk will be in migration mode or not.If you have the money,get on private land or you could easily end up with access problems because of snow or all the elk have moved to private land.


If God wanted you to walk and carry things on your back, He would not have invented stirrups and pack saddles
#13782190 - 04/29/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Couple of years ago I drew a late season cow elk tag in Washington. I hunted in mid & late December. Spent a couple of days finding out where they weren't.

Went lower, less snow, more feed, mixed private and public land and found LOTS of elk including some big bulls. No bull tag though!

I did get permission to hunt some private land, and the WDFW guys were helpful too. Based on my experience, I'd figure on hunting lower, and obtaining permission to hunt the private lands. I didn't need a guide, actually got phone calls from landowners telling me if the elk were on their land. Some backstrap steaks were shared with those kind folks! smile

Guy

#13782463 - 04/30/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Rock Chuck Offline
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More than once I've found a late Nov. herd of 80 to 100 elk but without a single bull in the bunch. I got a cow out of a herd like that this last fall. I don't know where the bulls were but they sure weren't with the cows. Just finding elk doesn't mean finding bulls.


If you work for a living, why kill yourself working?
Tuco
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#13782633 - 04/30/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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I would start with talking with game department biologists for the area you want to hunt. Some are very helpful. Start looking at harvest statistics for the area and numbers of hunters pounding the area. I would talk to some outfitters in the area to get a feel for the success rates and cost. I would wonder why it took 10 preference points to draw and now only three unless it is a bonus point or hybrid draw. If there area fewer resident applications or an increase in tags that might tell you something.


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#13783880 - 04/30/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Originally Posted by goosepilot

Would you hire a guide (I never have before) to get access to private lands and some elk experience and better chance at better mature bull at this time of year?
.


Late season hunts can be hit or miss depending on weather and where the elk are. As far as hiring an outfitter, that would be the best option IMO for a relatively new elk hunter who doesn't have a few late season spots dialed in.

That is, if you can hire the right outfitter. Their job is to put you on elk, and a good one will have a few different spots lined up and be able to do that.



A wise man is frequently humbled.

#13785663 - 05/01/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: atse]  
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goosepilot Offline
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Southeastern MT unit 799-20. Low elevation 4-4600 ft max. I think a lot of pressure with general deer and cow elk hunters from what I have read. Curious if bulls tend to stay scattered about because it is low elevation or if they still tend to migrate and all end up in river bottoms and private ag land by winter?

#13785843 - 05/01/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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saddlesore Offline
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Usually bulls separate from cows later in the fall to get away from hunters and recoup after rut. Won't join up again until early winter


If God wanted you to walk and carry things on your back, He would not have invented stirrups and pack saddles
#13787011 - 05/01/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Even on private land, if it’s hunted at all, the bigger bulls will be off in some out of the way place. I’ve killed big bulls as early as October 2 that had already pulled themselves off the cows and gone solo. If it’s late season and you are hunting for a big bull and you are seeing cows, probably in the wrong spot. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a long ways away, might just be a little pocket somewhere.

They usually timber up all day and may come out into small clearings or even just more open stands of trees. Warm weather and a full moon make that even worse.

If you can going with a quality outfitter would be a good plan.

Bravo

#13787080 - 05/01/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: Ralphie]  
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atse Offline
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Originally Posted by Ralphie
Even on private land, if it’s hunted at all, the bigger bulls will be off in some out of the way place. I’ve killed big bulls as early as October 2 that had already pulled themselves off the cows and gone solo. If it’s late season and you are hunting for a big bull and you are seeing cows, probably in the wrong spot. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a long ways away, might just be a little pocket somewhere.

They usually timber up all day and may come out into small clearings or even just more open stands of trees. Warm weather and a full moon make that even worse.

If you can going with a quality outfitter would be a good plan.

Very good advice here for the OP.

#13787205 - 05/01/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: Ralphie]  
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goosepilot Offline
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Thanks ralphie

#13789468 - 05/02/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Nothing beats doing actual feet on the ground exploration. I realize being out of state complicates such . If at all possible you could find the time to come out before your hunt that would be golden. Easy for me to say living here but I always learn something new each season about the game .

#13789548 - 05/02/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: Hesp]  
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goosepilot Offline
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I agree and I will try to get out once this summer and then again in early sept for a week each. What do I look for in sept that is going to be useful to narrow an area down for in late November when I’ve basically never been there before this year?

#13812291 - 05/11/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Hesp Offline
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At that time of the year there can be considerable snow. I would concentrate on elevations below 8000'. Depending on the weather pattern & snow level , elevations below 7000' . I live at 7630' & that's when I start seeing elk on my place. Each season can be different. Long range weather forecasting can't be depended on. They are wrong or reverse their forecast many times.

#13814118 - 05/12/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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Rock Chuck Offline
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This last Christmas, we were in Albuquerque with our daughter's family. My SIL and I took a drive to look for elk. We got as high as 10k before we had much snow on the road. We saw tracks everywhere and there were streams of tracks heading down. We dropped down and found the elk at about 8 to 8.5k. There wasn't all that much snow at 10k. In fact there was a lot of bare ground. I don't know what chased them down.


If you work for a living, why kill yourself working?
Tuco
#13817342 - 05/13/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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As the OP stated, elevations in that neck of the woods are not significant. They have no role in where the elk are in this unit. Dude's gonna need access to private land (alfalfa and winter wheat is what I'd be thinking) to pull this off, esp with his window of availability. That means getting the checkbook out, I think.


"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin.'"
#13820895 - 05/14/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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goosepilot Offline
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Yes altitude is low, 3000-4700ft and i really can only plan on hunting last 2 weeks of Nov. I generally hunt very low budget and often solo and archery more than rifle. If some mature bulls stay holed up that late on public im not afraid to put the miles on the boots, but if they all move to private i dont really want spend my time sight seeing with no real chance at descent bull.

If i do go "guided" or private access route, are there any recommendations for someone i can learn from and hunt hard, not just be led around in a pickup?

#13821635 - 05/15/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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It is very unlikely that you will just drive into a private property and get access to go shoot a bull elk. At least for free. You have to understand where landowners are coming from, plus a lot of the good ranches are outfitted. By late season much of the wildlife is going to be pushed into private ground because of hunting pressure. Without knowing what is happening in that area, it is going to be difficult to be successful.

#13823743 - 05/15/19 Re: Help with late season elk stategy [Re: goosepilot]  
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goosepilot Offline
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I do totally understand the private land. I am willing to pay to play if that is where ALL the elk will be at that time of year. That is what im asking. Do i have a chance to find a mature bull on public in late nov if i work hard, or is that highly unlikely after a month of the orange army and the onset of winter even at these low altitudes?

I have or have access to all the gear, toys or critters or whatever needed to go on public, but if bulls are all on private its all useless. If i need to secure private, i would like to start that process.

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