'21 Elk in Wy

np307

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5/20 (tag draw) Update Here: https://www.hunttalk.com/threads/21-elk-in-wy.303344/post-3207589

12/8 Update Here: https://www.hunttalk.com/threads/21-elk-in-wy.303344/post-3112489

1/15 Update Here: https://www.hunttalk.com/threads/21-elk-in-wy.303344/post-3134208

Okay, so next year is the year. Unless point creep does something crazy, I'll draw my first ever elk tag. Looking to pull a general season WY tag. Me and a couple buddies went out to WY in '19 for an antelope hunt and had a great time. Learned a lot about what is and isn't needed for a week of hunting out there and making the trip. Elk was always my goal though. I've got one friend who is committed to go and another who is confirming plans to go. We're planning to leave NC on 10/12 and return on 10/23. That should give us 10/14 to scout and 10/15-10/21 or 10/22 to hunt. Not quite as long as I'd like to have, but pretty much the longest we could feasibly do with work schedules and the fact that my wife and I will have a 5 month old by that time. Our plan is to drive into the area I've e-scouted and camp at the truck. My general understanding of how a hunt should go is leave camp and get to a glassing point before dawn, hunt through the day, nap mid-day, glass in the evening, return to camp after dusk. This will be a rifle hunt. I'm looking forward to this and working on plans as much as I can. I'll try to update this thread as we go through the process of applying, preparing, and then hunting.

So I do have a couple questions as we get ready for this. Keep in mind that this is a general tag in the SE part of the state (MBNF). Speaking of that, if anyone is willing to PM me I'd love to run the spots I've got marked by you to get a feel for terrain/vegetation/roads/etc.

First, what's the probability that we get very cold temps and/or heavy snow? I know it's obviously a possibility, but looking at the average precipitation and temps, it doesn't look like the weather is too unfriendly to a few boys from the Southeast. I'm assuming wind will be the biggest weather factor we will combat, but I'd welcome correction.

Second, how foolish would it be for my buddy to apply for a cow tag? General season rifle is post-rut if I'm not mistaken, and I'll obviously be trying to find a bull. Are the bulls and cows going to be grouped together or separated? Mostly young bulls hanging around the cows, while the mature bulls hunker down?

Third, how should we plan our scouting day? Ride around or have the three of us go to different glassing points? Two guys glassing and one driving around? Something else?

Fourth, I see people talking about cooler capacity and saying they put an elk in a cooler "cut up and frozen". Maybe this is extremely stupid to ask, but how are you getting the meat frozen? Find a processor that will let you freeze your meat? Temps cold enough for it to happen naturally? What am I missing? (Yes, I realize that there's a good chance that we won't be successful, but a guy can hope)

I'm sure I'll have some more questions but those are the ones that come to mind. Thanks to anyone who can lend some advice.
 
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MTLabrador

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1) You might get some serious cold and snow mid October. I’d be prepared for it.
2) It’s not foolish at all to apply for a cow tag. I’ve seen a surprising amount of rut activity mid-October in Wyoming.
3) Your guess is as good as mine. If I was new to the area I’d try to cover as much ground as possible.
4) I wouldn’t worry if you can’t get it frozen. You will definitely be able to get the meat cold enough for coolers on the drive back with ice or dry ice.

Good luck!
 

ntodwild

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Cold Temp,,,, Whats cold to you?

Oct. in that area can be in the 60's or 20's not that I am an expert on WY weather. "WyoDoug" is the guy to speak with on that front. On that note, I did a hunt in early Oct this year near the Green River and had great hunting weather for much of it (temps in 60's) then a cold snap moved in, temps dropped 25deg with some light snow for a few days and wind. As they say, just prepare for the worst and anything better will be a joy.

Wyoming draw system gives non residents a decent chance of being drawn even with zero points so I would tell your buddy apply.

Scouting is really hunting in my eyes. With the little amount of time you have, hunt and hunt hard is what I would tell you. Splitting up will obviously cover more ground but he who has a tag needs to be prepared to get it done. Unless you are a trophy hunter, every opportunity is precious.

Coolers. No need to "freeze" meat. Dry and cool is the key (mid 40's and shade make for great hanging conditions). I have kept meat in coolers for over 10 days as long as you allow the meat to air regularly and don't allow it to get water soaked. Two 50qt rotomold coolers will be minimum for a full size elk if you process gutless. Bone out meat if you need.

Good luck and have fun.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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20201025_074509.jpg This was Oct 25 this year in the Snowy Range, so definitely be prepared for snow and cold. This is a pic of the highway. I think it was in the single digits that day.

Sounds like you are on the right track. I would get the extra cow tag. As far as scouting, I think just checking out the area and terrain would be the biggest help rather than actually looking for elk. But still look for elk.

Also, half the Snowy Range burned this year. So that might affect where you plan to hunt.
 

2rocky

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Scouting day I'd cover as much country as possible around your Spot choices 1,2,3 to assess/ground truth the degree of accessibility. Verify Water an your map and find burns and places you can glass them from. Both for your own use and gauging your competition. Pay special attention to the basins on the back side of ridges that block the view from the road/main trail and don't have roads/trails accessing them.

Verify glassing points and their field of view. If the weather is generally clear, you may only have a few minutes at dawn to spot elk in the open as they head to bedding cover.

Midday setup where you can see the edges of bedding cover. Reason being folks will try still hunting it and likely bump elk who will run over the ridge and find a deeper hole to hide in. I hunted an area where I watched a herd of 150 elk (OK their dust) basically make a 10 mile diameter circle getting bumped time and time again. More than once between 10 and 2 I'd see elk cross over a saddle after being bumped. So plan on napping on a high spot, not back at camp.
 

kwyeewyk

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Be prepared for cold, we had -20 the last week of October last year, and this year we did the same time you're planning and had more than 1 night with single digits, especially when you add wind. But in my opinion weather=better.

Not foolish for cow tag, nearly every group of elk I found this year had bulls and cows together in Sept and Oct.

I usually spend my limited scouting time learning the roads, verifying access points, figuring out where the other hunters are concentrated, and if time on ground confirming terrain or glassing.

If it's too warm (consistently above 40 in day) dry ice in the cooler works good, otherwise just have a good place to hang it in the shade, if it's cold it will freeze, no problem either way, just keep it below 40.
 

GrantK

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As said above weather could be anywhere from shorts and running shoes to -10... I had snow every day of my WY hunt this year, it was 70 on our scouting days...

good chance of success on a cow tag, if you find bulls you will probably find cows too at that time of year, I think the question you should be asking is how much time do you want to give up if you get one? with 3 guys it's not as big of a deal but figure on giving up some, maybe a lot, of hunting time, if you get a cow, especially if you aren't picky on where you shoot one...

Limited scouting time I would cover as much area as possible, glassing and driving, Ideally, be at a glassing point early and see some elk, use the midday to confirm that your plans to hunt them work as you think they will...(roads and trails actually exist, not 20 other people just over the ridge, etc.) and then put them to bed while your other guys look for plan B elk...
 

ElkFever2

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Here are my 1/2 cent opinions, take it for what it’s worth if you want.

A “cooler” is actually just an insulator. Put chilled meat in the cooler on ice and it’s stays cold and fresh a long time. Use 5 game bags to split up the animal, hang in a cool shaded spot with good air circulation overnight (meat temp will be close to overnight ambient air temp), and then in the AM pack meat into coolers with plenty of ice, making sure you have a system where no meat sits in water on the cooler bottom.

Snow is elevation-dependent. If you look at weather data for a locale that is often based on a weather station in the nearby valley, i.e. the town, and avg snowfall inches where you’ll be hunting and where the elk are might be greater on the mountain. Every 1000 ft of elevation climbed its 3 1/3 degrees colder too.

Re: scouting - in my extremely limited experience I used e-scouting to have a in-person scouting plan, and then work that plan. AM glassing knobs A-E, PM glassing knobs A-E, and an anticipation (guess?) of where elk will be mid-day as well, and specific A-E plans of places I will check for fresh sign. The A-E options let you move on from one to another based on what you find or don’t find in those places.

This year AM glassing spot “A” was a bust. Moved to “B” at sunrise and found elk. Mid-day scouting spot “A” had old sign, warranting a more thorough check, and I hiked a couple miles until I found fresh sign. Then using wind to my advantage picked apart the landscape until I found bull and his harem.

Good luck and have fun.
 

elkhnter

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On the road again.
Was in the Medicine Bow last year from 10/15-10/28, hunting in 18” of snow and 11 degrees in the mornings.
A cow tag is definitely something worth buying.
In you hang the quarters a couple days, they may not be froze, but dang close.
Hope to be back out next year!
 

wytex

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Your hunting will be mostly by foot. Just driving maybe to a trail or closed road to walk in.
Personally, elk can be found pretty much all over MBNF, I like to walk in with some light as to not bump elk and possibly get a shot.
You'll be here opening week, expect plenty of other hunters. Locals will set up camps but may only be there on weekends, don't let lots of camps deter you. I would hunt all day first weekend for sure, elk will be moving with the hunting pressure.
The fire in south part burned a really nice mosaic pattern. Don't overlook the area because of the fire. Be very wary of falling trees though.

Have a chainsaw in your truck, trees will be falling across roads and you may need to make a campsite safe.

The cow tag is a good idea.
 

brockel

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I’d personally push your dates a day. With your short window and a couple guys with tags I’d want to be “scouting” with a rifle in my hand because if you guys knock one down odds are that day is shot. So might as well give yourselves as much hunting time as possible
 

338 win mag

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I’d personally push your dates a day. With your short window and a couple guys with tags I’d want to be “scouting” with a rifle in my hand because if you guys knock one down odds are that day is shot. So might as well give yourselves as much hunting time as possible
I agree, you can scout with a rifle in hand during season. Sent you a pm
 

np307

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Thanks everyone for the comments so far. Definitely helpful information. I'll make sure that we include some plans for weather turning very cold and snowy. For reference on my cold exposure, I think I've been in daytime highs in the single digits maybe two days in my entire life. I've toughed out plenty of tree stand sits in below freezing temps, but this'll be different I know.

Regarding pushing the trip dates, we've got two pastors on the trip. That means two Wednesdays and two Sundays missed is just not feasible. I understand your points though. We may end up using that day to scout hunters as much/more than we scout elk.

Thanks again everyone for the info. I'll keep this thread updated as the trip progresses.
 

WyoDoug

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I live in Cheyenne and hunt the SE areas a quite a bit especially for antelope. I can answer a lot of your questions about the area. Feel free to message me if you want to ask. I won't give you specific spots (my own hot spots) obviously but I will give general info if I know it.

As for weather, you can get full blown blizzards and heavy wind with gusts 60MPH+ in the middle of July. You need to be prepared for all weather anytime you go into the wilderness and NF areas. Generally, the weather is mild until January to April time frame. You can be hunting in short sleeves and shorts in the morning and needed artic grade parkas and insulated clothing by noon.

Scouting pays off even for meat hunters like me. I generally try to get 2-3 days in during archery season and a day or two right before opening day rifle season.
 

np307

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Questions like this will send this thread sideways in a hurray! Bottom line answer is “Yes”, either of those is more than sufficient.
Yeah, I'm hoping to roll this thread all the way through the trip but caliber discussions will kill that dream lol
 
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