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First time elk hunting next year.

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by NDGlock, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. NDGlock

    NDGlock OIF2, KFOR12

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    What can you experts suggest to a plains hunter who only has hunted deer?

    I have an opportunity to go Elk hunting with a co-worker next year in Colorado. He has gone once before with his in-laws and was successful. He took an bull at approximatly 350 yds with a single shot from a .270. He has ideal connections as his in-laws have a large hunting cabin and lots of land. They have horses for the extraction and help process the elk at their ranch. They don't have guides but they give you a two way radio to call back for extraction. They just point you in the direction and you are on your own (I don't mind). My co-worker did see a huge bear at around 500 yds last time so I am thinking of packing a .44mag along with the rifle.

    I will probably use a Tikka in either .308 or .30'06. I think either is enough gun if he can anchor an elk with a .270.

    The area where I hunt deer is full of wide open spaces. We usually chase them out of shelterbelts or sloughs and take them in the open, often running at 200-300 yds or more. Will elk behave in a similar manner? Or do they stay in the cover of trees rather than come out to clearings?

    How close have you been with your elk shots?

    What is their keenest sense?

    Yes, I realize this will be in the mountains but I work out regularily. This past summer I spent a week hiking in the Bob Marshall wilderness area in MT and didn't have a problem. On our exit day, my group did 12 miles in 4 hours w/full load in the mountains so I think I am in shape for this...especially if horses are evailable to haul it out.

    Anyway, what advice/tips can you give?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. tjpet

    tjpet

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    Ditch the .44 mag. If a rifle won't kill a bear no sense antagonizing him further with a pistol.

    I've killed elk from 40-300 yards with about 80 being the average. Pretty much depends on the type country you're in. Elk will stay in cover, for the most part, and once they start to run you can forget about catching up with them as is possible with deer. They won't stop for quite some time.

    Their sense of smell is excellent.

    As you say you're in good shape and can clip running deer out to 200-300 yards I'd guess you shouldn't have any problems whatsoever.
     

  3. paulito

    paulito

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    i agree with tjpet abou the elk running off and not even bothering chasing them, but i disagree about the handgun. if i'm in the mountains by myself and don't live there year round, you better believe i'm going to be packing a large handgun like you mentioned. there's just too much that could go wrong.
    i've noticed in wyoming that while the cows are all in a heard, the bulls will stay outside and keep a watch out for anything that moves. keep your eye out for them. i've taken elk from 35 yards out to 350. the majority of my elk have been taken from one ridge to another. a good investment would be a good rangefinder and either a gps (which i prefer) or a cumpass. i'm sure you already know that, but it's probably the most important piece of equipment you take with you. good luck! don't forget to post the pictures when you get back.

    paulito
     
  4. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

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    NDGlock,

    Sorry guy, but you got about as much chance of a blackie coming after you, as a bus falling out of the sky on your noggin.

    Did i say, "it can't happen?" NO! I said it is highly unlikely.
    Now we can hear all the "bear eats hunter, and kills tourist stories" etc.. But There are rattlesnake stories too...
    I have never once been bitten by a rattler, and this ranch has more rattlers on it, than any other ranch in the county. We are only a spit from sweetwater, Tx, where the anual rattlesnake roundup is held. The ranch in Oklahoma i coyboyed on, and the area there where i grew up, in the N.W. part of the state, was also filled with rattlers, still have never been bit.

    My whole point is this. In almost 30 years of guiding hunts, climbing in the mountains of N. New Mexico, and S.W. Colorado, i have never had a bear problem ... Most of this happens, when #1.. folks put their camp food, or elk/deer kill, to close to camp..(you invite trouble)... Even then, the bear wants the food, not you!

    #2..A sow with cubs, can be a bad situation... usually, she has to feel like your a threat though. These situations are really over worked by hear say and people who 'flat don't know' what they are talking about.

    Like ..tjpet, said above in his post..."(quote),Ditch the .44 mag. If a rifle won't kill a bear no sense antagonizing him further with a pistol." (end quote).

    I agree... If something 'were to happen'.. your rifle is enough.. from an escaped convict in the hills, to a enraged mama bear, or your elk!

    Go and don't worry! Have fun an enjoy the senery and the hunt.

    BTW.. if you were to choose between the two calibers you mentioned...308/30-06..... with all due respect to the 308, (i love that gun, and it will do the job), but, the '06, will be a better choice, not knowing your particular angle , distance, a million other things concidered...

    Good hunting!

    CanyonMan
     
  5. NDGlock

    NDGlock OIF2, KFOR12

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    Thanks for the advice gentlemen. The event is a good while out and I am already getting anxious!
     
  6. trapfan

    trapfan Got Glock?

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    Hunted the Rifle area of CO. on the western slope in 99. Took a .300 Win mag Sako TRGS with a Leupold 3.5X10 Veri-X III scope and a Weatherby .270 win Alaskin MK-V as a back up. IMHO a 30-06 will be just fine as the ranchers we talked to out there used .270 win. and .243 Win.(neck-shots only) for taking elk. Pratice shooting from real field stance's as everything out in CO. was a long way off with no shooting bench in the mtns. I took a ton of stuff I did not need you will learn after your first trip what is important. Bears are there....but were not a problem when I went. Good luck and I hope you draw a cow tag as if I had not I would have came back empty handed.:)
     
  7. MarkCO

    MarkCO CLM Millennium Member

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    .30-06 is a good elk round. It will do more than most hunters can. 350 yards from a .270 on a bull...he is either a very good shot or got lucky.

    I've been hunting elk in Colorado for 22 years now, and they are an awesome animal, even the cows. As far as taking a pistol, why not, just make sure you carry it exposed. State average elk harvest success runs in the 12% range annually. I've shot elk from 20 yards to 425 yards with various firearms. My first elk fell to a 12 guage 3" magnum slug at about 60 yards. I primarily use a .30-06 and a .444 Marlin depending on where I am hunting. Getting a .338-06 built in the near future. I've filled 10 elk tags in a row now, so I have a bit of experience. I've killed 14 elk myself and seen a total of about 40 shot personally.

    As far as being able to catch up to them...it all depends on season, weather, time of day, and where they want to go. I've stalked herds from a mile away and walked right into the middle of them. I've seen herds at 1000 yards that saw me and ran. KNOWING the terrain and their tendancies is very important.

    Elk are not daily habitual like deer. Their patterns may run in terms of a few days to several weeks before they repeat a pattern. You'll obviously be hunting a rifle season, but even which one can greatly affect the habits of the local elk herds.

    You won't much find them in the same types of areas as deer. They like to feed the fingers that go into the meadows around treeline in the early seasons and will feed wide open meadows, protected by ridges, at lower elevations in the late seasons. At a minimum, you need to be 1/2 mile off of vehicle traveled roads to be successful at elk hunting. Sure they will cross roads and such, but they will be moving. They do bunch up and switch positions running a LOT, as opposed to deer who usually string out.

    Their best sense...they have it all. Scent, sight, ruggedness. When pushed or shot at, they usually run UP the meanest slope they can find.

    Tricks of the trade: 2 weeks before hunting, go vegetarian, no meat. Wash all your hunting clothes in a normal (not color enhancing) detergent with NO softeners. Let them air dry and sit outside in the sun for 3 days. Wash again with water only again airdrying and sit outside in the sun for another 3 days. A few days before you are to hunt, stop using shampoo, soap, and deoderant. There are some natural non-scented soaps that you can use if you have to, but nothing with scent. No aftershave, no perfumes. Boots, I hose mine down if they are new and get all the filler materials out. DO NOT use waterproofing. You need Gore-Tex or other water repelant material, leather is not a best bet. The chemicals will stomp your chances. Man made chemcial scents are one of the reasons a lot of folks never even see elk, especially in the heavy timber. I started doing these things after I studied elk and sat down with some old timers. The scent-block stuff is worthless. Elk do not fear the scent of man, they fear the scent of meat eating predators and man's chemical scents. I've had deer step over my legs and not even know I was there, I can walk into elk herds, if they are not already spooked.

    When you are spending $425 for a tag, you need all the help you can get.

    If you know the season and area, feel free to e-mail me. I've hunted most of the state and I might just have hunted where you are going.

    Best of luck,
     
  8. BJSM16

    BJSM16

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    I love it more than deer hunting. I have only hunted in SW colorado for 3 years. My father has been going since 1972 and only missed maybe 4-5 years in between. I have shot 2 elk so far and both were out around 250-300 yards. My first was with my Remington 742 30-06 and the second was with my cousin's Winchester 243. I don't use scopes and have not had to shoot twice. The 308 will work fine and you can take the 06 along for the ride just in case. I had to use my cousin's 243 because the sight ramp on my Remington fell off. Always bring a spare rifle. Take the pistol along. I use a Desert Eagle .357 mag and will try to take one with it the next time I go. I third the motion about not chasing elk when they take off and up into the ugliest and thickest mountainside they can find. Good luck and stay safe. Most importantly, have fun! Brandon.
     
  9. Quake Guy

    Quake Guy Superior Member

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    If you are hunting private land, you already have a huge advantage.

    However, elk are much more a herding animal compared to deer, you typically have quite a few elk in one place or none at all.

    Depending on the size of the land and nearby pressure on public lands (which is typically lots) expect for the elk to be out for only the first and last minutes of daylight. Any shots you can take inbetween is luck and finding animals being pushed out by other hunters. Only exception is bad weather pushing animals towards winter pastures. I understand the locals usually hunt the last rifle season counting on the animals having to move.

    If you can get horses, I highly recommend it. Especially if you are forced to look for elk on public lands. You can cover a lot of ground and get far back where there is less hunting pressure.

    Get good binoculars. Either .308 or .30/06 is fine. Ditch the .44 Magnum unless you are on horse, the extra weight isn't worth it.