Step #1 – Pick a good area.
This is the most important part of the whole process. If you’re not where the elk are then you don’t have a chance. One of the best things I did in the beginning was to go down to the fish and game office and visit with the person that was in the field a lot.
For the first year I visited this person quite a bit. In fact, we became good friends. I asked tons of questions like, in what units do you see the most elk, and at what times of the year were they in this area. Out of his answers I for a good idea of where to start.
The other way I found good areas to hunt was to talk with the locals. I found a local hangout where a lot of older men would go and have coffee and I would sit and chat with the boys. It seemed the conversation would always end up about hunting.
In the early stages of our talks it wasn’t good. It always ended up at “No-tell’m Creek” or “Round-about mountain”. After we got to know each other, here’s how it sounded.
Back in my day when I was able to climb there hills I used to hunt up on Sheep’s Head, and Browns Meadows. Man did I find some great places to hunt from these old boys.
Now I’m one of the “old boys” and I love sharing my stories and hunting spots to the new guys.
Step #2 – Scouting.
It takes a lot of time in the woods in order to find the perfect place to hunt. For me, I have my best success hunting the “transition” areas. That’s the areas between the beds and their watering spots or feeding areas.
In order to find their beds you have to walk the ridges and, in September, north facing slopes. That’s where most of the shade is at.
Their feeding areas vary. In where I hunt they’re on the south facing slopes or clear cut areas.
Watering holes can be almost anywhere but the elk tend to like springs. You usually find wallows when you are water hunting. That’s a good thing.
Now you found a great place for a mid-day hunt when it’s hot. When you find their beds, feeding areas, and the watering spots, you will find some main trails that connect these areas together. That’s when the trail cam’s need to be set up to determine the times the elk are travelling between these three spots.
I log all my info on maps and the times the elk are moving. You will find there will be a definite pattern. Now you know the moving patterns and the times to hunt these areas.
Happy Hunting from Hunter’s Best!