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Out of State new Elk Hunter

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Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 21, 2016 •  [Post 1]

Elk hunting is tough even if you are a veteran. There are rarely any gimmes it you hunt OTC public land areas. Knowing this; what do you consider the greatest challenge facing a new elk hunter, and what would you tell them to solve or alleviate the problem?
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby tikka » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 2]

For me it was actually going. Seems like a daunting task when your sitting at home miles away from where the elk are. Also talking to friends of mine. Everyone wants to go hunt somewhere else but a relunctant to try and go.

I tell them to just book or plan a hunt 1 or 2 years away. Squirrel away money and go. Also read everything on this site!!

Might take a few years to learn area but if you don't start you won't get there.

I always say you can't kill them from the couch!!
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Lefty » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 3]

Time away from home and family. And for me a work schedule is a killer ( special education teacher). Our district doesn't have enough substitute teachers so most Fridays are out.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Brendan » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 4]

Locating Elk when you don't live close enough to scout and become intimately familiar with your chosen area. What do you do when you get there and everything's quiet, or you're not seeing sign? How long do you give an area before moving? How far do you move? How often do you call or glass as you move?

To be honest, I'm not sure I can give the answers to my questions above, but perseverance is key. On my only two Elk hunts, year one I got my Elk with 1 hour left on the 12th (last) day. Year two I didn't get one, but had a bull come in with less than an hour left on day 12 again before getting busted by the wind.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby N&N Waterfowl » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 5]

I can speak from experience in that the hardest thing is to actually plan a hunt and do it!! For years I have wanted to head out west and hunt elk. Always talked about it but never followed through. Well...I finally had enough of that and headed out last year, and can't imagine why I waited so long
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 6]

Tikka mentioned saving money. For you folks with a family is that a big problem? Do other priorities get in the way?

My early hunting for elk was in State with a rifle. For me it was the let down after a few days. I would see elk all summer and into deer season, then it was like they vanished. Now, where are they? I would be tired, uncertain what to do and discouraged. Finding elk after the initial hunter influx into an area can be difficult. Sometimes just going deeper into the forest is not the answer.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Lefty » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 7]

Swede wrote:Tikka mentioned saving money. For you folks with a family is that a big problem? Do other priorities get in the way?.

Swede when I was single trapping and hunting were my priority I made enough money in construction and fur to pay for winter and sometimes spring tuition , house and truck payments. Life was easy and good
My wife made good money , but spent it on travel when we got married she had a job an education ( scholarships) a car and a stereo.

My wife and I made huge life changes getting married. In part we decided small town living, and country living for our kids was important. A small acreage, horses cows, chickens ATV. and NR Wyoming doe antelope tags.

We purposely chose places to live where I/we could hunt easily. Our family vacations was hunting or fishing weekends, or trips to the in laws along a reservoir ,. My adult daughters have never been to Disney land,..Or any of the other theme parks.
Money is more of a problem.
Our girls grew up being pulled behind a 14 foot boat with an 8 hp motor, $100 on clearance swimming pool I know we had more fun than families with a country club pool and ski boat.
We had great times without going very far and could do it for the cost of gas and tags. Working is just at the wrong time of year
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 8]

Lefty, I think that is really cool. I never went to Disneyland until I was on a ship nearby in the Navy. I may have taken the family once years ago, when we were down there visiting family. Life is good. :D
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby T.B. » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 9]

For me it was finally deciding that it really wasn't that expensive , especially when finding a reliable hunting friend. After the first trip west it's in my blood and I can't imagine not going
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 10]

As with anything in life whether it's fun like hunting or work getting started is half the battle. Solo hunters are a minority and a lot of the people I talk to say finding a partner they can rely on and have faith in is the biggest hurdle. The people who email or call me are the ring leaders. They are motivated and trying to get all of their questions answered so that they can convince a partner or two to go for it.

It surprises me how people sometimes hesitate because they find the whole licensing system confusing. Same goes for narrowing down where to go. But those two things and a whole lot more can be solved by getting that first hunt under your belt. Things seem so much simpler after that.

The fear of failure after all the planning isn't a pleasant thought but you need to realize and accept, for real, that there's a good chance you won't kill an elk. I think if you can get past that you'll relax more and enjoy the planning part.

Try it without the internet or even hunting shows! We used magazines and telephones and never even though about people in all the other states that were doing the same thing. We used things called checks and stamps to buy licenses. :lol:
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Old school » 04 22, 2016 •  [Post 11]

My challenge is probably the same as many others here. I live in the Midwest with no opportunity to scout with boots on the ground before the season. I am making using of multiple mapping tools to identify spots that look "elky". Then when I finally arrive in Sept, between hunting pressure and quite simply how big the land is, I've found it most difficult just finding elk.

--Mitch
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby NYSureShot » 04 23, 2016 •  [Post 12]

Even tho this is my 1st big game hunt East of The Mississippi, I have gone on 2 Maine Moose hunts and 2 remote Maine bear hunts. I think the best part of those hunts was in the preparation. I enjoy the logistics of it all.

Yes it can be an anxious time but I find it exciting too.

Money must be budgeted, Family appeased and hunting partners papered.

That time... after the kill when you sit next to the prize, has always been anticlimactic for me... bittersweet, signaling the end of all the hard work. I think you all know that moment......

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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 23, 2016 •  [Post 13]

New York.. how about those Pittsburgh Penguins! :D

Very well said. I think the people who make the most of their very first hunt are the ones who naturally enjoy the planning. For some people sorting through all of the options can be stressful especially if their partners are putting their faith in them.

As far as a kill being anticlimactic... I agree. But that can depend on what part of the season or your hunt it is. There is nothing better than killing an elk on the last day of the hunt. It's like having your cake and eating it too. There is nothing like killing a bull on day 1 either. THAT is a bit anticlimactic for sure. I can remember walking up on a particular dead 6 point bull and me and my partner both shaking our heads saying over and over "Huh.... just like that, done!" Bittersweet is a good choice of words. I once killed a cow 45 minutes into the opening day of archery. Then it's like.... wow, another 365 days until I get to do this again. :( I like to kill elk but I like to hunt them too.

Then again I can think of a few really nice days riding a horse up the mountain at 10 am for kicks while my elk was at the processor.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Kessler10 » 04 23, 2016 •  [Post 14]

what in the F*** is a check.....what the F*** is a stamp...... :lol:
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby saddlesore » 04 23, 2016 •  [Post 15]

I think it is all a matter of priorities. I fellow can't be buying stereo systems, 60 inch TV's, a new truck /car every 2-3 years, or any other assortment of toys I see people buying and then giving excuses and then say they can't afford to got elk hunting.

I guess I started in about 69,I was driving a 58 Ford 1/2 T and an old Falcon station wagon. We were eating $11/100 pounds of pinto beans and old dairy cows that stopped producing. We bought them for 3 cents a pound on the hoof and paid a penny &1/2 to get them butchered.. I hauled my horse in a stock rack in the back of that Ford. There were darn few elk seasons I missed and darn few elk and deer tags went unpunched.

For almost 30 years I worked at the Nevada Test Site on underground nuclear test for at least 3 months out of every ear. I would fly out Sunday night and fly home Friday night on the companies dime. I would pack up the weekend before, get home Friday night and be back home to catch a plane that Sunday night.Very seldom did it take more than that Saturday to punch a tag. In 74, I moved to Colorado from New Mexico so I could hunt elk every year. For the last 10-12 years I hunt two elk seasons a year. Each one 9 -10 days .Spending at least 25 days in the field. I never did make a lot of money, but I hunted elk most years.

As for what a new elk hunter needs to learn is what elk do after hunting season opens,not their other 9 months out of the year.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 23, 2016 •  [Post 16]

Saddlesore, you need to keep on posting here. I like your perspective. It reminds me of some great times and great hunts. Elk hunters have every reason to be enthusiastic about elk hunting in these times, but it is different now. My first elk vehicle was a 2 wheel drive, 57, 3/4 ton Chevrolet. It had a rotted out wood bed that I covered with a sheet of plywood. The heater in the truck was rather anemic, and to get around in the snow, I learned to chain up with little time lost. Camp was a tent on frozen ground at times. Once in a while we shoveled back the snow for a decent place to set the tent, and we often cooked parts of our meal over an open fire.
I don't have any fires now, and haven't had one for years. I hunted very hard back then, but wasn't very good. Hard hunting kept me in the game, but I still had tag soup many years too. It is definitely different now.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby CurlyTail » 04 24, 2016 •  [Post 17]

One big challenge is where to hunt - you must choose if you will DIY or guided. If you go DIY, you must choose a State, and then choose a Unit, and then a spot within a Unit. Somewhat overwhelming.

Another big challenge is Solo vs. Partner vs. Group dynamics. There are many advantages to a regular partner or two. Joining a pre-existing group is another possible option. My brother and I hunt a unit where we can usually get a tag every other year. We team hunt, and split the meat. Neither of us feels cheated when it is our year to "Call and Haul". Another thought would be to get 2-3 spots in 2-3 different States, and get a rotation going so that you are hunting one year and getting points in the other states the other years. Ambitious but possible.

Expense is huge where you are a beginner. You figure the chances of success are not high (maybe 9% Archery), and the expense of 10 days minimum off work, travel to another state, and a 600 - 1200 dollar license. We all fear the most expensive camping trip of our lives. Once you are established, and having some success, the expense seems much less intimidating. The time and expense required to hunt Elk is not trivial.

A fourth challenge is physical. Many of us are not in adequate physical condition to enjoy a week of elk hunting. Losing weight, and getting in shape can be a huge commitment of time and effort. You do not have to be an athlete to hunt Elk, but you best not show up with no physical preparation. At a minimum, you should be able to hike 6 miles in hilly terrain, with a 20 pound day pack, for a week straight.

If you are thinking of a Trophy Elk, and a one time experience, then paying for an Outfitter is a no-brainer. If you look at Elk Hunting as a long term commitment, where you hone your skills and knowledge every year, you should consider DIY.

The State to State regulations are indeed bewildering, but conquerable. Just don't think you will understand the system in less than 5 readings.

I would say that it is difficult to be a casual , frequently successful Elk Hunter. It does require a degree of obsession and commitment. It is also worth it.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby saddlesore » 04 24, 2016 •  [Post 18]

You really really have to be an addict about elk hunting to do this. I notice a lot of guys saying you must be in top shape to do this elk hunting,but there are alternatives. Physically because of some serious heath problems, I don't get in very good shape. that doesn't keep me from going elk hunting or punching tags.
If you have the drive and the mind set,you can do it. am 72 and I out hunt most guys 1/2 my age

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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 24, 2016 •  [Post 19]

Saddlesore you are so correct! I will never be tall or thin and I'm definitely not getting any younger. Neither are a huge number of other guys who are consistently killing elk. The best saying I can think of that applies to elk hunting if you want to do it until you are old is learn to hunt smarter not harder. A big part of that is learning your area. And yes... being an ekcoholic... that helps too. And let's not forget there are 1000s of young studs out there every season who cover a million miles because they can and don't kill chit.

The guy who owned my old outfit back in the 70s is getting up there in years these days. I'd say mid 70s. All his life he has been a lean mean back packing machine. Now he just picks a spot based on everything he knows and he sits there and reads paperback books until he kills his bull. He passes bulls up too.

God bless the senior citizen elk hunters!
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 24, 2016 •  [Post 20]

Indian Summer wrote: The best saying I can think of that applies to elk hunting is that if you want to do it until you are old is learn to hunt smarter not harder.


Word of wisdom folks, words of wisdom.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby six » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 21]

For me it was $money$. I had a tent, hunting gear, and a vehicle, but money was always tight. Until I opened up an elk hunting account at a local bank. I even went so far as to open the account in a different bank than I have my personal saving and checking account in. I figured out of sight out of mind. Now $25 a week goes direct deposited into the elk hunting savings account. That translates into roughly $1300 a year. I buy my tags as early as possible too so that's a big expense that is gone months in advance.
Elk are where you find em...
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Osprey » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 22]

For me the biggest hurdles were gear, learning about Elk, finding good areas to hunt from Indiana, then locating Elk in an area I never stepped foot. It seems like once you get a few trips in and start finding Elk the puzzles really start piecing together on the why and where. Not to mention you really start to get a feel for the gear you need.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby NYSureShot » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 23]

Hey six.....

Money is a good thing and the root of all evil. So elk hunting must be evil. :twisted:

My thought is to find a woman in Colorado I can take up with. I don't need a "full time night woman" just residency. That'll save me lots of money.


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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Scrap_Iron » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 24]

I think the biggest challenge to success of out of state hunters is not knowing the area you will be hunting. A lot of hunters plan to hunt an area where they haven't yet put boots on the ground. Topo maps and aerials are a nice aide for scouting/hunting but that is all they are. Nothing compares to time on the ground.

If you can't get your boots on the ground I would suggest partnering with someone who knows the area or has hunted the area before. Or take a trip out with some buddies or the family or something and take a day or two to yourself to explore an area before you commit yourself to hunting there. There's A LOT of country out here and you could spend a lifetime of expensive week-long hunting trips trying to eliminate all the unproductive ground.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 25]

NY you are cracking me up!

I packed me a squaw once. Cheyenne she were. (I'll stop there)
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Dr. Rx » 04 25, 2016 •  [Post 26]

Not knowing the area.. greatest challenge.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Tigger » 04 26, 2016 •  [Post 27]

Pretty common theme here...not knowing the area. I am not a first timer, but I am going to a place this fall for the first time. Luckily, I have found someone willing to share some knowledge and that is huge. my biggest nightmare is hunting unproductive areas and wasting precious days. Last year we went to a place for the first time and wasted a day due to a bad decision on my part on a place to try. It cost us most of a day .... but we did get to see a pretty lady out hunting on her own! Really! We still talk about that. so maybe it wasn't a wasted day...?

I have talked to a lot of people and told them to just copy Nike and JUST DO IT.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Toothy » 04 27, 2016 •  [Post 28]

Brendan wrote:Locating Elk when you don't live close enough to scout and become intimately familiar with your chosen area. What do you do when you get there and everything's quiet, or you're not seeing sign? How long do you give an area before moving? How far do you move? How often do you call or glass as you move?

To be honest, I'm not sure I can give the answers to my questions above, but perseverance is key. On my only two Elk hunts, year one I got my Elk with 1 hour left on the 12th (last) day. Year two I didn't get one, but had a bull come in with less than an hour left on day 12 again before getting busted by the wind.




I could have typed this as my own story... :D

I was fortunate that my first hunt was with locals (friend of a friend deal), they were most helpful in early education and such. I won't be hunting this year, but I'll be out in late summer and early fall to scout 3 areas for more Plan B's and C's. My first trip out consisted of 8 of us in camp, last year I had 4.. next trip will be 2-3. I feel most that go west have hunting experience, maybe they're even great hunters and are used to "success". Elk hunting can destroy that thought. One mistake I made from last season was not realizing how quick/soon the elk moved from were we had a good idea they were.. and where they were going.

Somebody mentioned the enjoyment of planning, I get that.. the months of anticipation were passed by simply spending 30-45 minutes per day thinking of what next" what else" what am I missing?

fyi, if you have a google account, Google Maps let's you build custom maps, you can easily edit, set routes, drop pins or add routes to local bars! These maps can be set to private so only you can view them or share the link with your partners so they can add notes.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 27, 2016 •  [Post 29]

Have you looked at the Game Planner maps Toothy?

My first two elk hunts, one bow and one gun, were both elkless. Not just no dead elk but barely saw 2 elk. After that though I went off the deep end and hunted hard & long and learned fast and got pretty consistent. Those first two hunts though...... ugh. :roll:
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 27, 2016 •  [Post 30]

I believe the worst thing that can happen to a new hunter is to hunt some and not get into elk. If you are not into elk, what can you learn? It isn't very satisfying to say, "they must be somewhere else" after you spent your time in the wrong places. If you are seeing elk; even if you don't get one, you make mistakes and learn. The most common mistake I observe is lack of patience, and the second worst is giving up too soon.
If you have 10 days to hunt, before you must get back to the grind; hunt 11 days then beg for mercy. :D
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 27, 2016 •  [Post 31]

Swede wrote:I believe the worst thing that can happen to a new hunter is to hunt some and not get into elk.


Very true. Just staying interested let alone motivated if you aren't even seeing elk or sign isn't easy. When guys email and tell me they have been on 2 or 3 hunts that were really bad and so they want a plan I know they are going to be good hunters. I figure if their success has been that bad and they are still determined enough to stick with it they have obviously been bitten by the bug and have what it takes to get it done.

In other words they are gluttons for punishment which is a good thing. :D
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby saddlesore » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 32]

I read a lot about if you don't see elk,move. That may be true to some degree.However, you may see elk the 1stday of the hunt and not see anymore for 9-10 days.Then too,you might not see any elk for the first 8-9 days and run into a big herd the last day. It depends on hunting pressure and the fact that elk usually only stay in one locale for a few days and then move on to better food,they may even make a big circle, returning to that local every week or two or even longer.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Scrap_Iron » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 33]

I think that holds true: if you don't see elk, start walking. And keep walking until you do. True, they may come into the area in a couple days but I think your odds of finding/seeing elk are much greater if you put some miles on rather than waiting for the elk to come to you.

The area that I hunt is hit or miss. The elk can be there for a day or two then not come back for two or three weeks. I will usually sit that area first (as it's the closest). If I don't see anything there in a few hours or I haven't come across fresh elk sign I''ll head over the ridge and go looking for them.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby CurlyTail » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 34]

I read a lot about if you don't see elk,move. That may be true to some degree.However, you may see elk the 1stday of the hunt and not see anymore for 9-10 days.Then too,you might not see any elk for the first 8-9 days and run into a big herd the last day. It depends on hunting pressure and the fact that elk usually only stay in one locale for a few days and then move on to better food,they may even make a big circle, returning to that local every week or two or even longer.


You have just brought up a huge advantage to knowing your area, and having a history with locations in your area. First year hunters have no way of knowing if they are in a good spot with no Elk today, or a bad spot with no Elk ever.

I totally agree you may need to recheck a spot a few days later, or even wait for the elk to come in a proven location. However, if the spot is not proven, you better keep looking. Maybe not leave the area, just check the next drainage over or go up an area not covered previously. This is a danger of the "drop camp" scenario. You have been dropped off in a remote location , with no easy way to move on if Elk are not present, or if too many other hunters are present.

I think that in a good area, you should be seeing Elk or fresh sign most days. If you are only in the Elk once a week, you do not have a hotspot. It is a very fine line to locate a spot with enough Elk that you have regular encounters, but not enough Elk to attract hordes of other hunters. I think one of the best solutions is to develop multiple spots over time so that you have options if things are not working out.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Swede » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 35]

Some area have elk around all of the time. Some areas have elk on an intermittent basis. Many areas have influxes of more elk, then the numbers drop off. Some areas are transitory with elk there for awhile then they are gone. These things are rather academic to a new elk hunter. Read the sign on the ground. If you see fresh sign; the elk are around. If you can't find fresh sign, you need to move. I have seen areas where a few hundred yards makes a huge difference. Don't just get out of your truck and look around and leave. It takes some investigation to know if and where the elk are. If after investigating an area you can't find fresh or even recent sign, move on. There is no use spurring a dead horse.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Toothy » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 36]

Indian Summer wrote:Have you looked at the Game Planner maps Toothy?

My first two elk hunts, one bow and one gun, were both elkless. Not just no dead elk but barely saw 2 elk. After that though I went off the deep end and hunted hard & long and learned fast and got pretty consistent. Those first two hunts though...... ugh. :roll:



no, I haven't, are they different than onXmaps?

I bought the MT onXmap last summer, and thought that was a huge leap forward.
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Re: Out of State new Elk Hunter

Postby Indian Summer » 04 28, 2016 •  [Post 37]

Yes different. Here's a link. Zoom in on your area and start adding layers. Overlap an aerial view and a topo map. Fade the layers in and out until the map looks best for your purposes. Play with other layers.

There's a link and banner to Game Planner at the top of the page here. Ed is a new sponsor. The system is really nice. Oh yeah the other difference between that and onX is you can do lots of things for free. Check it out.

http://www.gameplannermaps.com/index.ph ... map-viewer
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Indian Summer
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