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First Weekend in a Tree

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First Weekend in a Tree

Postby db.cannon » 08 18, 2020 •  [Post 1]

New to the forum after picking up Swede's book this summer. Great info and hoping it will help harvest my first elk after a discouraging season calling last year. Thought I would share my experience so far.

Hunt a HIGH pressure unit with very early season dates, figure a treestand could be a useful tactic. Summer scouting showed this particular secluded bedding area on the north side of a steep mountain was getting daily use for the last 4 weeks. They got up a few times a day to feed in this dark and cool avalanche chute. Several trails converge where my stand is located, just over a pinch point in a ridge where the elk feed through in the morning.

Both mornings this past weekend, I was able to glass the elk from the top of the ridge and confirm they were close by. I quickly and quietly got in my stand about an hour after first light. After settling in, I waited about an hour and gave two soft cow calls. That was all I did for calling all day. After about an hour, I heard some sticks popping on a sidehill trail a few hundred yards below me. after about 5 minutes I slowly grab my bow and then hear them quickly move across this chute into the woods. As the thermals started moving uphill, I smelled them the rest of the day. I didn't dare move or leave my stand but no elk showed up. A couple does walked by throughout the day. The same thing happened the second morning. Except the elk moved across the chute above my stand.

I'm wondering if the thermals on this steep hillside are giving me away or if they're catching movement from me reaching for my bow. I'm set up in an aspen tree about 25ft up, overlooking this trail junction. Could be something wrong with my setup but I'm a newbie so I don't know. Have 4 more days later this week to hunt this area. Will try to be patient and let things unfold.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Swede » 08 18, 2020 •  [Post 2]

Welcome to the forum db. It is good to have you here. I am pleased you liked the book.
It is hard to sit here at my computer and analyze what is happening at your stand. It could be coincidence or it could be you are seeing the symptoms of a problem.
I suspect the elk that showed up about an hour after you called were responding to you. That is common. I think you did right by giving out a few calls then staying quiet. Sometimes I rake a tree then call before I climb into my stand. I have found it important to be careful where I call from, because they will come just close enough to see the location where the sound came from. They will see no elk there then move away. They will just look some then leave. They will be cautious and stay back. The only way to get them is to call from a spot where they need to come close enough for you to get a shot before they can determine no real elk is there. That may be a challenge in some places, especially if you have no idea where the elk may come from. You will need to make your best guess in that case.
As far as your scent coming down to the elk is concerned, here is my thought on that. If the diurnal winds (thermals) are moving upward or even shifting some, you should be fine. If they are going down, you are high enough that your scent is likely well out of the area when it hits the ground. Short downdrafts can get you mid morning and early evening. They can be a problem, but we just live with it.
A common problem I see is that newer hunters pick the wrong tree. You want to get high off the ground or above the point where you expect to see the elk. Sometimes any height is good enough, but you are trying to increase the odds. Do not get too close and need to shoot nearly straight down. It can be deadly on elk, but the shot angle is not the best. If you can find a tree that had branches or other trees behind you, that is good. If the tree does not have its own cover, I sometimes have to make some. My jacket strung out a little, or my pack, or anything else that breaks up my outline, or disguises me is ok.
Best wishes and please let us know how you do.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby db.cannon » 08 19, 2020 •  [Post 3]

Thank you, I appreciate the detailed response. I will try to keep these points in mind while I'm up on the mountain the next few days.

I think I'll try no calling that first day to see if that puts them at ease a bit more, we'll see. I like that jacket idea to break up my outline a bit more. I'll try draping it across my bow hanger almost like a mini blind.

Thanks again
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Elkhunttoo » 08 19, 2020 •  [Post 4]

Good luck to you. It could be you for some reason or another or it could be the elk just took a different course on those days but if they are still in the area just hang tight, hopefully they will take your path soon
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby db.cannon » 08 24, 2020 •  [Post 5]

Well I gotta say I'm a believer in treestand hunting for elk.

Hunted 3 pm till sunset on Thursday. Quiet, no elk. Friday I tried swede's recommendation to rake a little bit and give a few soft cow calls in the morning before getting into my stand. I crossed the avalanche chute about 100 yards to call in a thicker stand of fir trees before coming back to my stand. About an hour later I heard some sticks popping in the bedding area close by. After several hours of some movement in the trees I hear cow calling both above and below me on the slope. After several hours of hearing elk close by, I catch a few glimpses of them in the thicker brush and cover. I could hear them panting a bit in the heat of the afternoon.

Around 3 pm I see some of the tall grass and wildflowers in the open area start to move and rustle. Sure enough, I see a decent sized cow pop out from cover and walk in to my shooting lane at 35 yards. Luckily she stopped for awhile, I had to draw and let down several times because I was shaking so badly from the nerves. I shot and hit her behind the left shoulder. She didn't run but kinda trotted away after a few seconds out of sight. Didn't hear anything else after, super nervous that I hit her too far back. Waited a nerve-racking 3 hours in my stand afraid that I might bump her if I got down. Heard a really big crash about an hour after shooting and couldn't tell if she ran or had dropped. She went about 75 yards from where I shot and expired over top of a couple logs. I was solo for skinning and quartering. It was a chore and a half trying to roll her off the logs.

Super sore and happy after a long and tiring weekend. Like I said, this was my first elk and really happy with harvesting a cow. Total of 4 days in the stand, only 1 of those did I sit all day. I can definitely see myself treestand hunting in the future. Thanks again, found a lot of great info on here.
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db.cannon
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 08 24, 2020 •  [Post 6]

Excellent! Congrats DB, the smile says it all. Make sure you put a pic over in the meat pole thread; it appears you've gotten the first of the year among the WapitiTalk members.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Elkhunttoo » 08 24, 2020 •  [Post 7]

Congrats!!! I always tell my group that if you have the patience of a trail camera you will do great!
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Tigger » 08 24, 2020 •  [Post 8]

Congrats on your first trophy elk! Any elk with a bow is a trophy!

Just dont give too much credit to Swede or we will have to hear about it for the next year! :D
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Swede » 08 24, 2020 •  [Post 9]

I am always pleased to read where someone here got an elk. If I had some small part in it that is great. Honestly, that is why I wrote the book and one of the big reason to post here especially on the tree stand forum.

P.S. I enjoyed reading about your being nervous. When elk hunting loses its excitement, it ceases to be worth the effort.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby db.cannon » 08 25, 2020 •  [Post 10]

Thanks all. Had a couple tasty elk steaks last night. Man were they good.

Good luck to everyone on their hunts this season, I know a lot of places are opening soon. Curious to hear how they go.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby SpikeChaser » 09 16, 2020 •  [Post 11]

Awesome stuff! Really inspiring post! I'm buying a tree stand tomorrow til then I'll keep praying for more rain.
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Re: First Weekend in a Tree

Postby Swede » 09 22, 2020 •  [Post 12]

I understand praying for rain when the fire danger is high and the smoke is thick like it has been, but I sure don't like rain when I am in a stand. Anyway I hope your prayers are answered the way you like, and you are successful in your new stand.
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