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Scouting Plans

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Scouting Plans

Postby JGH » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 1]

I plan on getting back out this coming weekend to scout a bit ...

I've got two trail cameras already up out there ... I put them over water holes that, during September last year, had dried up and were used as wallows.

That said, I was kind of kicking myself for putting them in those locations. I mean, they won't be using wallows in July!

So -- a question for the group -- Since I'll be able to check these again in mid-late August, what location types do you like to use in July to put trail cameras on? My ideas are for a couple pinch-point trails spots on trails leading out of a bedding area.

(Of course, I'll check them and elk may be using those watering areas now -- if so, I'll leave them where they are.)

Also, what are you looking for while scouting in July? (As opposed to August/September).

I break down scouting into two phases:

Phase 1 = learning the major geographic features like roads (hunter-input spots), saddles, watering areas, feeding areas, getting an idea of current use, i.e. looking for sign, marking camp spots and back-up camp spots, finding feeding and watering areas for horses.

Phase 2 = narrowing things down ... taking specific saddles, for instance, and investigating thoroughly for trails ... finding the headwaters of creeks and searching for wallows, etc.

This will be a Phase 2 trip.
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby Swede » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 2]

My cameras are set up on water holes that have good trails coming in to them. Since I am a tree stand hunter primarily, I set up trail cams to determine more precisely what is coming in to them. I can see evidence of use, but I like to get a picture of the animals, and know when they are coming. It is my personal belief that wallows are over rated. Sure, they get used, but they are rarely predictable. I have seen many wallows get hit only once or even not at all during a season. Now water holes along trails get more frequent use, and a wallow with a water hole is great. I doubt the moist mud bog you describe would not be of much interest to me. I do not know how much time you have to scout and how large your area is, but I would recommend you prioritize your scouting, unless you can see it all and do it all.
Cnelk and a few others have started threads and made posts of where they are placing cameras. I don't remember most, but cnelk's spots were extra good. You might check them out for some ideas.
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby ChukarNUT » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 3]

Here is a question...in my area water is everywhere! there are creeks-seeps-water holes-etc all over. id say elk dont have to travel more than a 1/4 mile to get to some source of good water. how do i key in on areas that might lure them more often than others? the one drainage i hunt is north facing dark timber and the creek runs the whole length of that north slope. with seeps-bogs-wallows down the entire 2 mile length. seems as though elk could be very comfortable near the creek the whole length?? and in seasons past there seems to be bulls using that area as daytime bedding with multiple bulls at different elevations of the drainage--that typical? what would be the best approach hunting that area?
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby Swede » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 4]

Chuckernut: You have "your area" down generally to a certain north facing slope with dark timber. Scouting is designed to show you where to hunt more than anything else. If you are interested in finding out what will be available when you hunt that spot, set out some trail cameras on some well used trails. It sounds like you have a honey hole to go to. All you need now is to decide the tactic you want to use to hunt it. You could tree stand hunt it effectively if you can reasonably predict where the elk will be on a fairly frequent basis. If you cannot pattern them, go with calling or spot and stalk. I would check out the archives to read some great posts on calling tactics and how to approach elk.
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby JGH » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 5]

Swede ... I hear your point about wallows and unpredictability.

What do you think, though, about using wallows as a place for trail cameras? They may not be spots to hunt, but could tell you what kind of bulls are in the area, no?

(Of course, this would apply to August and early September primarily, not July).
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby Swede » 07 16, 2013 •  [Post 6]

I find that by putting out several cameras in an area you get a good idea what is there. I have wallows that include water where I place cameras. I will be setting out some cameras at the end of this month. They will be in place for about three weeks before I get back to them just before the season opens. The interesting thing to see is that the elk will show up on several cameras. It is fun to follow their movements.
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby ChukarNUT » 07 17, 2013 •  [Post 7]

Swede-- I do have cams in "my area", :oops:. didnt mean to sound possessive, as i am not--it is public!! :D sorry torefer to it that way. my cams in years past produce a ton of elk and nice mature bulls in july and august and as season gets underway it seems the cows of the area dont use the spot as much and in turn the bulls follow. i do have a a stand i put up on a very nice shaded bench about 100 yards off the creek that has a nice wallow within sight of the stand. i have used that stand site for the last 3 years, but what is weird is a bull always seems to be in a spot just below my stand site, next defined bench along creek, and then a ways uphill tends to be another they are almost always at in the afternoons. i was going to ask a question but im starting to say realize im answering my own questing and saying duhhhhh!!!! :oops: move the stand??!!
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Re: Scouting Plans

Postby Swede » 07 17, 2013 •  [Post 8]

Chuckernut: I have enjoyed the discussion. I can see you have things pretty well figured out. I never viewed your posts in a negative way. Even if you get something wrong, and we all do, we can use that as a point of discussion and hopefully we all advance out understanding. Best wishes on you hunt. Keep us posted on how you do.
BTW: My son is law is trying to deal with a situation up in the Washington Cascades very similar to what you are working on. He has taken one elk in two or three years where he hunts, and is trying to improve his score.
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