Wapiti Talk | Elk Hunting Forum | Elk Hunting Tips
 

Lessons Learned, 2019

Moderators: Lefty, Swede, Tigger, Indian Summer, WapitiTalk1

Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 25, 2019 •  [Post 1]

A wise old hunter once told me that "if you don't learn something new each day, that day is lost". As we are a constantly learning, evolving species... I believe strongly in that concept. We can transfer that concept to our fall hunting seasons. What did you learn this year, during your hunting season(s), about your area(s), your equipment, the game you hunted, or perhaps even yourself that you didn't know/realize in previous years?
User avatar
WapitiTalk1
 
Posts: 7253
Joined: 06 10, 2012
Location: WA State
First Name: RJ

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Swede » 11 25, 2019 •  [Post 2]

I learned my hunting area better. I will hang my stand in a different tree at one trail crossing. The shot angle on some elk that come around is too steep to be good. There is another area nearby that I want to explore. I am always watching for signs that it is time to hang up my bow for good, but the Lord has been wonderful and allowed me to hunt and shoot with good proficiency.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 7533
Joined: 06 16, 2012

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby 7mmfan » 11 25, 2019 •  [Post 3]

I learned the lay of the land much better, and how to navigate through it. ID'd some new areas to spend time in, and also learned that 4 years in a row, elk, and more importantly bulls, were in the same distant drainage, to far for a 1 day hunt. I'm going to fine tune my overnight setup so I can go there.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
User avatar
7mmfan
Rank: Spike
 
Posts: 193
Joined: 09 07, 2017
Location: Washington State

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Trophyhill » 11 26, 2019 •  [Post 4]

I hunted briefly in CO and learned that pressure doesn't necessarily come from predators and hunters. Treehuggers turned hiking trails into bicycle highways. Never seen anything like it......
Certified Elk Junky
Trophyhill
 
Posts: 1174
Joined: 01 20, 2013
Location: Tijeras, NM
First Name: David
Last Name: B

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Tigger » 11 26, 2019 •  [Post 5]

I learned I have a limit when it comes to grizzly bears.
User avatar
Tigger
Rank: An Elk Nut
 
Posts: 1375
Joined: 01 12, 2015
Location: Minnesota

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Fridaythe13th » 11 26, 2019 •  [Post 6]

I became a little better tracker, elk can go anywhere, hills are taller and valleys where much deeper this year. Pop-up camper was awesome. But the biggest thing was not to go the 3rd week there was more people than elk.
User avatar
Fridaythe13th
Rank: An Elk Nut
 
Posts: 954
Joined: 10 24, 2013
Location: Minnesota
First Name: Eric
Last Name: S

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Indian Summer » 11 26, 2019 •  [Post 7]

I relearned some old lessons. Go the extra mile and hit it hard from the start. After 30 hours of driving and a day of hard labor cutting wood etc we were exhausted. But I decided to saddle up the horses, make loads and pack my gear into high camp and throw the tent up. As it turned out the first day I went up to hunt instead of having any work to do in that camp I took the short hike over to my glassing spot.... and punched my tag. I’m certain a day later that bull would have been somewhere else where not only would I have had to take risks to get a shot opportunity but I’d have also had a much rougher pack out. From day 1 I kept the pedal to the metal and it paid off. Done hunting on day 3 of a 2 week hunt.

The other lesson is pick your partner with care. We had our share of ups and downs. Some tough times for sure. But two positive thinkers focused on our mission and had a good time doing it. My partner never gave up. Toughed it out through some damn ugly weather and ultimately punched his tag too. I’ve had had hunts where I killed bulls and didn’t have nearly as much fun overall. A partner makes or breaks the whole thing. Choose wisely!
User avatar
Indian Summer
Wapiti Hunting Consultant
 
Posts: 4361
Joined: 06 14, 2012
Location: Pennsylvania
First Name: Joe
Last Name: Ferraro

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Roosiebull » 11 27, 2019 •  [Post 8]

it almost seems like the rate of learning never really changes much, it seems like every encounter there is something to refine on, and things to pick up on the areas you hunt.

I got better at getting close this season, though it wouldn't apply if I was hunting a specific animal

I applied some concepts calling bulls, and that felt like my biggest breakthrough. I was looking at it in terms of what really happens between 2 bull elk.... and using their own tricks on them before they could to me. once I got a bull changing his attitude, I would be very aggressive and deliberate, and it seemed to work really well (I think roosies are just easy to anger and they all think they are big) I think most people lollygag way too much calling here on the coast.... if you try to be patient, the wind WILL change, and it will be over.

keep your distance, interact until you get a change in intensity, then storm the gates. bulls are always trying to circle your wind if you hang back patiently.... that's the first thing I do when I get a bull answering... I circle his and start his way. I know that's not possible in a lot of country, but it generally is on the coast with low visibility, and they don't seem to like that. the whole posturing sequence of 2 bulls seems to play out in a similar way most times, but humans don't seem to reenact that scenario well when calling.... that's what i'm looking forward to most next year, is diving deeper into that.

I found a video that i'm gonna post here with a totally different perspective on calling bulls than I have ever heard, and it's coming from a guy who is really successful at getting bulls killed, and it makes a lot of sense... so I look forward to trying that as well.

there is so much take away from a hunting season.... this was probably my biggest year of "growth" since my second year hunting. I sucked at shooting my recurve under pressure, and had a little bad luck mixed in too, which meant I got to hunt the whole season, and I had by far my best season of action.... tons of really good encounters with bulls. can't say I would change anything about the season if I could (especially at this point with my wife killing her first deer and elk this year)
User avatar
Roosiebull
Rank: An Elk Nut
 
Posts: 1063
Joined: 02 27, 2017

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Old school » 11 30, 2019 •  [Post 9]

Elk don’t read forums. You know - when it’s warm, elk will be in cool north facing timber, blah blah blah. After 8 days of hard hunting, bushwhacking and covering over 100 miles of terrain between our 2 “teams” and not hearing a single bugle, on day 9 I found where they were. Nobody around us was hearing anything either. It was pretty warm - in the mid 60’s. Everyone was saying that the elk were holed up somewhere in a dark, cool pocket. Where I found them they were completely out in the open - bedded in the open, bugling like crazy and it was still 60+ degrees.

Lesson - don’t box yourself into a certain pattern based on preconceived ideas of where elk will or will not be. You may just find them where you least expect to.

Lesson I implemented from the previous hunts - don’t ever give up - push on. When you’re not getting into them, don’t give up - allow that frustration to push you further. Sometimes that means moving camp.
-Mitch
User avatar
Old school
Rank: Satellite Bull
 
Posts: 384
Joined: 06 20, 2015
Location: MO

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Swede » 11 30, 2019 •  [Post 10]

Mitch, I have watched elk out in the open numerous times with the temperatures well above 80 degrees. They don't all go to dark timber on north slopes.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 7533
Joined: 06 16, 2012

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Old school » 11 30, 2019 •  [Post 11]

Swede - yep. Learned that first hand this year. They were bedded down out in the bright sun. Multiple herds. Don’t know where the satellites were though. These were herds of cows and a herd bull. No satellites. Some had 6 cows while others had 15 or so. Got to see an entire harem of cows ditch their bull and head over to another bull who had an awesome sounding bugle. The bull losing the cows was running like a cutting horse trying to get in front of his cows and turn them back. It was an awesome sight and I had a front row seat from about 150 yards away. He finally gave up and just fell in line following them over to the other bull.

Didn’t come home with an elk but wow - it was a great experience.

-Mitch
User avatar
Old school
Rank: Satellite Bull
 
Posts: 384
Joined: 06 20, 2015
Location: MO

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby elkstalker » 12 02, 2019 •  [Post 12]

Take advantage of good/bad weather. I took for granted early season snow and cold that hit the first week of rifle season and didn't hunt much, wanted to wait for the early season hunters to clear out first. Weather got warm and we had loud crunchy snow for the next 4 weeks that made stalking almost impossible and elk in the nosebleed section or on private. Finally got a storm last week that got them moving and harvested on the last weekend of the season. Should have hunted harder the first week when we had great elk hunting weather.
User avatar
elkstalker
Rank: Satellite Bull
 
Posts: 300
Joined: 04 16, 2015
Location: Montana

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 12 02, 2019 •  [Post 13]

Plan your campsite around your toilet, not the other way around. At least if you have gut issues like me :mrgreen:

I also learned that having the right treats in the food bag sure helps me keep grinding on day 7.
User avatar
Trumkin the Dwarf
Rank: Satellite Bull
 
Posts: 394
Joined: 06 14, 2013
Location: Montana
First Name: Malachi
Last Name: C

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Lefty » 12 03, 2019 •  [Post 14]

I like joes comment about relearning
I’ll state it this way some lessons need to be reinforced

Elk are not that smart,

My reinforced lessons
Herd bulls will charge in or run off with the cows
Satilitte bulls to often try to slip in and check things out
At times 40 minutes on a call location isn’t long enough
There are bigger and badder things in the woods than us







Just checking
Looking for discussion on smart elk
User avatar
Lefty
Wapiti Hunting - Strategy and Tactics
 
Posts: 4517
Joined: 06 25, 2012
Location: Pocatello Idaho
First Name: Dennis
Last Name: H

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby elkstalker » 12 03, 2019 •  [Post 15]

Lefty wrote:Elk are not that smart,

Just checking
Looking for discussion on smart elk


I would agree with that statement, but add that they have great instincts for self preservation and much sharper senses than we do. Those instincts can also make them predictable in some situations, and to be successful we need to take advantage of that.
User avatar
elkstalker
Rank: Satellite Bull
 
Posts: 300
Joined: 04 16, 2015
Location: Montana

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Swede » 12 03, 2019 •  [Post 16]

If elk are stupid, why is it so hard to get one? :D
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 7533
Joined: 06 16, 2012

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby ABQ_Chica » 12 04, 2019 •  [Post 17]

Oh boy...where to begin?! Some new-to-me lessons:
1) Cows and calves can hit wallows as often as (or more than) bulls do. Our cams showed cows and calves coming to wallows almost every day to drink. We even saw cow elk guide their calves past a full tank and to a mucky wallow.
2) Seeing other hunters or recent game kills in your area doesn't always mean the spot is ruined. If that spot is where the elk really want to be, they'll stick around, or at least won't be gone for long.
3) Don't be afraid to move your stand (*face palm*). As a new-ish tree stand hunter, I wanted to commit to my chosen spot and give it a chance. But in retrospect, I should have trusted my instinct and moved after the first day or two.
4) Carrying spare headlamps is SOOOO worth it. Ditto for extra batteries.
5) Fresh sautéed elk liver is the breakfast of champions after an all-night pack out!
User avatar
ABQ_Chica
Rank: Spike
 
Posts: 132
Joined: 05 22, 2013
Location: New Mexico

Re: Lessons Learned, 2019

Postby Swede » 12 04, 2019 •  [Post 18]

Interesting observations ABQ__Chica. I have observed elk drink out of a mud hole or small trickle of water below a range trough. I have seen then go for the trough too. I have seen cows and calves play in a pool of water, but I have never seen them wallow like a bull does. I cannot say a cow or calf won't wallow, but I have just not observed then rolling around and mudding up like a bull will.
There is a time to stay put and show some patience and perseverance, and there is a time to move. It is a tough decision. I sure have not figured out that situation very well. Good luck.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 7533
Joined: 06 16, 2012