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Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

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Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby ElkNut1 » 11 30, 2012 •  [Post 1]

This is a question that I get every year & I'm sure many here do as well! As a newer elk hunter folks have a tough time in choosing where to start & what to bring? Choosing a State is the 1st priority, once this is done many other things will fall into place! Here's a list I've put together, it can also be seen at anytime in the "ElkNut Tips" Forum! This should help many out to decide how to proceed & what's best for them! Consider the following guidelines here, hope this helps!

1 Where to start? Picking a state to hunt

2 Understanding the regs for the State chosen!

3 How to apply in that State.

4 Tag and license fees for the State chosen.

5 Research - Who to call? Game Biologist in the area chosen!

6 Research - Web scouting your chosen area.

7 Research - Topo Maps and how to read them

8 Animal behavior pre rut phase, Sept 1-11 - whichever of 8-9-10 applies to your time frame?

9 Animal behavior peak rut phase - Sept 12-25

10 Animal behavior post rut phase - After Sept 25 through Oct 30

11 Fitness - Depending on terrain you will hunt?

12 Weapon selection

13 Camping vs Motels

14 Gear - What do you really need & not need!

15 Basic survival Gear, keep to a minimum on your person & bulky things in camp!

16Navigation-Topos USGS 1-24000 7.5min-Compass-GPS

17Animal care - meat preservation, 2 knives, game bags!

18 Photos - sharing your hunt, memories are huge!
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby T/H » 12 01, 2012 •  [Post 2]

Great place to start Paul! And a great time to start doing the leg work. After thinking about it for a bit i think something else to be considered might be the style of hunt you are looking at such as a spike camp type hunt, a base camp type hunt or a bivy style hunt.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby Swede » 12 01, 2012 •  [Post 3]

Even though I have hunted the same way at the same place for years now, I still have a routine to go through in getting prepared for all of my hunts. Preperation begins right after I finish my annual elk hunt. A list or lists are sure a good way to efficiently get all of your prep done and to arrive ready for the hunt with everything you will need.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby foxvalley » 12 04, 2012 •  [Post 4]

Don't forget to get the elknuts playbook,cd's etc.
Picking a state, applying for tags, getting gear etc. is easy compaired to learning elk behavior,and understanding the language. There is a ton of info in the playbook, and should be memorized. If you don't live in elk country,like me,it's a huge disadvantage not to be able to spent time learning about them before the hunt. Now is the time to get that stuff,and start practicing your calls.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby pointysticks » 12 04, 2012 •  [Post 5]

if the newb is considering a state with a draw system..

i would move the entire list down and make number one.."go to Church...pray". :)

#14..gear. funny. i imagine it higher up on the list. hhahah.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby easeup » 12 04, 2012 •  [Post 6]

pointysticks wrote:if the newb is considering a state with a draw system..

i would move the entire list down and make number one.."go to Church...pray". :)


thats right!
It is simple math in a state like NM, if you are a non resident. the odds are so lopsided to draw, Divine assistance is what it wil take to draw a tag.

so for item #1: choose a state- a guy really need some help here - as a newB will have no knowledge of the draw statistics and regulations of various states.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby foxvalley » 12 05, 2012 •  [Post 7]

easeup wrote:
pointysticks wrote:if the newb is considering a state with a draw system..

i would move the entire list down and make number one.."go to Church...pray". :)


thats right!
It is simple math in a state like NM, if you are a non resident. the odds are so lopsided to draw, Divine assistance is what it wil take to draw a tag.

so for item #1: choose a state- a guy really need some help here - as a newB will have no knowledge of the draw statistics and regulations of various states.


LOL. Going to church and praying is a good idea for all parts of the elk hunt. A great way to do things is apply for tags in the state or states you want to hunt, but have a backup OTC state like ID or CO where if you don't get drawn, you are still going on an elk hunt.
If a person only wants to go once, and get an elk, I think an outfitter would be a good choice,but if you want to go every year or every other year,an OTC state would be a good choice because then you start to learn the erea that you are hunting.
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby Z Barebow » 12 05, 2012 •  [Post 8]

RE: Picking a state. Start by visiting the state website and reading the regs. Then visit different state forums on websites and USE the SEARCH function if they have one.

You need to build a base of knowledge before you start asking a ton of questions. (Most questions have been asked and beaten to death, it is your job to search for them! And it is half of the fun!)

Use the tools which are avaialble to you. Start looking at areas via Google Earth, ARC GIS Explorer and other tools. Start building a data base of info on that state. Save certain websites as your favorites. We know the obvious ones, but there are less obvious ones to save.

State G&F website- No brainer. Search the website for documents. And not just hunting docs. Look for wildlife reports, studies on wolves (I hear wolves eat elk), etc. And search archived docs also. This gives you population trends. Look for maps which identify public and private ground, etc. The site may have a conctact list for game wardens and biologists.

USFS- (There are the biggest land manager! You will need contact info for US FS Biologists, view road closures, forest fires, etc)

BLM- Another land manager.

ICS-Fire- This website shows US FS active fire operations throught the west. You can also look to see if there have been fires in the area you intend to hunt.

These are a few places to start. If you still have questions, (And you will), you can start asking questions. Develop as list of questions (10-15) for game wardens and biologists. (I have it saved in Word and print up multiple copies. I'll write the name and conct info on the doc and answers to the questions, I then file) But here are couple pointers for Q&A. (Phone or web)

Do's

Ask general questions to get a feel for area. EX What is the avaiabilty of filterable drinking water in the Shoshone NF? (You are interested for you own survival and as well as elk need water too!)

Dont's

Be careful about asking about specific units. If the unit is an OTC or or general unit, you may get general info, or be on a "snipe hunt". Guys that know something and hunt it regularly are not going to give up specific locations. Ask about tendancies in the unit. (EX In unit 123 in CO during archery season, will the elk still be near timberline or will they be pushed on to lower private lands?)

Unless you are one on one, (Private message or phone), do NOT ask about specific locations. (And you may never ask specific questions) This can put someone off and cause them to clam up. Especially if you lead with this question. It will paint you as someone not willing to work to find animals or your own spots. If someone does volunteer specific locations and they prove to be great, respect the info, unless you want to lose a hunting spot and/or a friend.

I can come up with tons of other pointers, but break is over!

Embrace the research. (I went on my first elk hunt in 1998. I had my maps marked up and hiked into a spot I identified on my map. I hunted and was into elk every day and blew a chance on the last day. And I had never even been in the state prior to my hunt). And this was in the days before Google Earth!
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby twinkieman » 12 05, 2012 •  [Post 9]

First on my list would be to pick a state that you can hunt elk each and every year. I routinel apply for draw states, but my backup is to have somewhere to hunt EVERY YEAR. After that everyone elses suggestions are great!
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Re: Where Do I Start On My Elk Hunt?

Postby ElkNut1 » 12 06, 2012 •  [Post 10]

Great post Z Barebow! All items on list should be considered regardless of order! Some are more important than others depending who & where we are!

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