Wapiti Talk | Elk Hunting Forum | Elk Hunting Tips
 

Patterning Elk Movement

Moderators: Swede, Lefty, Indian Summer, WapitiTalk1

Patterning Elk Movement

Postby Swede » 09 11, 2012 •  [Post 1]

After reviewing our trail cameras, my son Luke observed that he did not think elk could be "patterned". Even though several bulls were seen on each of the different cameras, only a few showed up twice in our pictures. I know this has been a debated subject on different hunting forums.
For the sake of starting a discussion, I want to state that I believe elk can be patterned. Generally just a few elk can be patterned individually at a specific location. However, special places that more elk use, can be determined sufficiently to put the odds in your favor if you want to kill one. To say they can be "patterned" means you can find those spots where the probability is high that elk will visit. You can determain such locations by observing the sign on the ground. These indicators include tracks/trails, feces, rubs, and wallows. It does not matter much to me if it is not the same animal; if that spot is attracting suitable elk to shoot. I just want to know that my stay there will probably not be too long. Every elk hunter can benefit by knowing some places where the probability is high that elk will spend at least some time. For the tree stand or ground blind hunter, knowing these locations is of paramount importance.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 5949
Joined: 06 16, 2012

Re: Patterning Elk Movement

Postby AZelk » 09 11, 2012 •  [Post 2]

I agree with you, but I also believe that elk "patterns" are obviously different during different times of the year. For instance, I have a buddy who had several trail cams up to 60 miles apart - in 2009 he was specifically honing in on a particular bull that he captured on cameras at two different water holes 60 miles apart within 6 days!!! He knows this because it was a bull with a particular rack that he estimated would gross 375. Now, obviously this is (hopefully) a rare occurence that a bull would travel this far, but during the pre-rut/rut, I believe bulls move in and out of canyons that can at times be miles away.
AZelk
Rank: New User
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 20, 2012
First Name: Aaron
Last Name: Scott

Re: Patterning Elk Movement

Postby Swede » 09 11, 2012 •  [Post 3]

Azelk is absolutely right. Elk normally start of the year on their winter range. As the year progresses and the Spring weather sets in they migrate to higher elevations. The cows go their way to calve, while the bulls go to other places. Where I hunt, they may be very close, but they are seperate. In archery season we see prerut movement and the full rut movement. It can be frustrating that during this time, elk can get displaced by hunters, cattle, industrial activity, and a host of other things. This kind of elk movement requires us to be alert and flexible. We need to monitor closely what is happening. Just when you think you have the perfect location to wait at for elk, they have moved. Start checking if a place goes cold. I often use the middle of the day to see what activity is like in surrounding areas. If we are not careful we could find ourselves wasting time waiting where elk were. It is always good to have a plan B. You know plan B is a good one if you have a difficult time choosing between it and the place you decide to go to first.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 5949
Joined: 06 16, 2012

Re: Patterning Elk Movement

Postby AZelk » 09 11, 2012 •  [Post 4]

Swede, great discussion. I have a question:

1. Do elk move out of an area because of predators? I say this because I have a decent spot that I hunted last year. Plenty of month old elk sign this year, but a bear has also moved into this canyon, and I actually met face to face with him during my hunt this year. Did not see one elk, and again, only old sign (but lots of it). Confounders - dry hill sides, pre-rut.

-Aaron
AZelk
Rank: New User
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 20, 2012
First Name: Aaron
Last Name: Scott

Re: Patterning Elk Movement

Postby Swede » 09 11, 2012 •  [Post 5]

Aaron there must be people on this forum that are better qualified to answer that question. When the elk are gone from their old haunts where I have found them in the past, I am often left to speculate and wonder. There is currently a significant change happening where I hunt. I think it is due to excessive cattle being placed on the range just before the archery season opens.
I asked Elknut a question about elk leaving an area and often not returning, a few years ago. My gut says that predators will displace elk from an area, but I can't measure how many predators it takes or how long. I do not know if or when the elk will return if they are forced to leave. I have heard that in the Steens Mountains of Oregon, that the elk numbers are way down due to predators (cougars), but some elk are still there. What compicates the matter is that, I have also heard the the State transplanted some elk from that area. You have a good question.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 5949
Joined: 06 16, 2012