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pre rut vs rut

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pre rut vs rut

Postby bnsafe » 07 17, 2013 •  [Post 1]

ok as a whitetail hunter I know wt rut and pre rut stuff and what to look for. and I kinda prefer pre rut hunting as the bucks drive themselves crazy looking for a doe that will allow it. but, about what time period does elk go from quiet and water food, to starting to ramp up a little, to bulls looking for cows, to actual rut. and I know the best time to hunt is anytime you can be there, im not asking for a day, but instead a period, ie pre rut vs rut vs whatever that you prefer to hunt.
im really excited about labor day weekend and the first hunt as this is my first year living out here, but seems like the longer it goes the better it should get.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Swede » 07 17, 2013 •  [Post 2]

I have not read an official definition of pre rut, but I consider it the time from when elk start to rub off the velvet from their antlers and begin sparing around in mid August, until they start the regular breeding period about the 15th-20th of September. I prefer to hunt the pre rut, but the rut period is good too. To my way of thinking it is not when you hunt that matters so much, but how much you hunt. The formula for that is simple. The more the better. :D
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Bullnuts » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 3]

I would much prefer to hunt the pre rut. In a perfect world, I would like to be in the woods at just about the time that the bachelor groups are starting to break up and the bulls are starting to run with the cows. It seems that during this early period the smaller bulls are a little more ballsy and will come in hot to a cow call, where later in the season they become a little sneaky and try to avoid taking a butt kicking from any bigger bulls that are around. Late August, from around the 25th to the second week of September are my prime times.

Having charted our party's success over the past 20 years, we kill more bulls before September 7 than at any other time of the year and collectively, between my brother and I, we've killed over 20 bulls during that time. Pretty good statistics, I think.

By the way, that success is based mostly on our philosophy that a 5X5 eats every bit as good as a 7X7. We're only 'trophy' hunters until the first legal bull steps in a shooting window, and then we're hauling meat. You won't find many big sets of antlers at my house but my freezer is usually full!
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby ElkNut1 » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 4]

I like being in the woods from Sept 10th & on. But for the best possible action Sept 15th through the end of the month can be chaotic! It's a great time to be in the elkwoods!

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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Swede » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 5]

Bullnuts wrote:By the way, that success is based mostly on our philosophy that a 5X5 eats every bit as good as a 7X7. We're only 'trophy' hunters until the first legal bull steps in a shooting window, and then we're hauling meat. You won't find many big sets of antlers at my house but my freezer is usually full!

ditto. Most of my elk come in the early season too. That is probably due to adhering to the Bullnuts philosophy. :D
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby elkmtngear » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 6]

Bullnuts wrote: By the way, that success is based mostly on our philosophy that a 5X5 eats every bit as good as a 7X7.


Heck, a 0x0 eats pretty good too :D

Lots of "sneaker bulls" the second week...they can't seem to resist coming in to take a peek at a prospective cow. The problem for me is detecting them when they sneak in...it's amazing how quiet an 800 pound animal can be.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby POk3s » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 7]

With my experiences plus what I've just read I don't think it's off base to say that the "pre-rut" is the raghorn's rut! :) . It's almost as if the 3 1/2 bulls and over know they can't survive if they start rutting from the end of August into mid October. Those raghorns will get all fired up though. Ordinarily I see those 2 1/2 year old bulls with cows early in the season with no sign of big bulls herding up at all, but the raghorns are bugling like crazy. I was able to get within range of a few big bulls last year that were bugling early but nothing would make them come in. It's almost like they just wanted to hear the sound of their own voice but didn't want any company from cows or bulls. It turned into a "listen to where they are and stalk in on them and hope you see them first". Didn't work.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Bullnuts » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 8]

POk3s wrote:With my experiences plus what I've just read I don't think it's off base to say that the "pre-rut" is the raghorn's rut! :) . It's almost as if the 3 1/2 bulls and over know they can't survive if they start rutting from the end of August into mid October. Those raghorns will get all fired up though. Ordinarily I see those 2 1/2 year old bulls with cows early in the season with no sign of big bulls herding up at all, but the raghorns are bugling like crazy. I was able to get within range of a few big bulls last year that were bugling early but nothing would make them come in. It's almost like they just wanted to hear the sound of their own voice but didn't want any company from cows or bulls. It turned into a "listen to where they are and stalk in on them and hope you see them first". Didn't work.

I don't know if it's the raghorn run, but it's certainly easier to call them in early in the year. Big bulls, they say, don't get big buy being stupid and that's probably true, so I don't see as many big bulls rushing in to a call at any time of year, at least on public land. I have had big bulls come sneaking in early in the year and those have been true monsters. It seems like the majority of big ones are more apt to come in and look close before committing. If they aren't seeing other elk or they pick up your movements, they leave without making another sound and you never know they're there. I'll take a rag horn, or a cow for that matter, over tag soup any day of the week and both are pretty darned exciting when they come running in so most that have made that mistake haven't lived to regret it!
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Swede » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 9]

I think rag horns come in easier, early in the season, because they haven't learned their lesson on who is the boss yet. After a big bull sends them packing, they are reluctant to come see one again. I don't think true rag horns like spikes have the strong urge to mate yet, so they are not willing to hang around and take a beating just to be sociable.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby bnsafe » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 10]

are we talking a bull with 4 pts as a raghorn.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby cnelk » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 11]

Ive seen bulls with 6 points called a raghorn

But typically any bull with raggy looking rack is called a raghorn and those most common have 4-5 points
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Swede » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 12]

Considering the size of the bull and his antlers, I believe the first year some bulls get antlers, they can be a rag horn 5 point. I killed a 4 point and a five point that weighed 200 lbs. hanging quarters. That is the same size as a typical spike. I kept the ivories on one and it was the same as a spike. These are also little boys that do not want to mess around with a big bull.
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Re: pre rut vs rut

Postby Bullnuts » 07 18, 2013 •  [Post 13]

Swede wrote:Considering the size of the bull and his antlers, I believe the first year some bulls get antlers, they can be a rag horn 5 point. I killed a 4 point and a five point that weighed 200 lbs. hanging quarters. That is the same size as a typical spike. I kept the ivories on one and it was the same as a spike. These are also little boys that do not want to mess around with a big bull.

Yep, we see some pretty smallish 4s and 5s every year that look like branch antlered spikes for lack of a better term. Short, squatty racks with short points. These guys won't typically come in bugling hard but if you use a little cow calling, make some herd sounds, they seem to come in on a string. They want to be around other elk and they throw caution to the wind when they hear someone that sounds like momma.
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