Big Belts Montana - Fresh elk kill question

Bombsnbullets

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I’ll start with acknowledging this may be a dumb question. I am hunting black bear in the Big Belt range (NE of Townsend) and found a fresh elk kill. I have been told by many that there are no (or very few) grizzlies in the Big Belt and that the wolf population is low. I have seen what a wolf kill looks like and it was not consistent. There is bear scat nearby but I am not experienced enough to differentiate black and griz. I also could not find any tracks. Just seemed strange to me, and am wondering if anyone on here has any insight.
 

Big Sky Guy

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There are quite a few mountain lions there. Did you take any pictures of the kill? What makes you think it was a predator that killed it?
 

Twolftg

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When I was in the area last year, I talked to a former Fish and game guy that was retired and living in the area, and he told me he had seen a grizzly just the week before on the same train we were walking on. So there are some. On another not how is the snow?
 

EYJONAS!

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Tracks? Buried? Old wounded elk it could go on forever. Was there any snow around. I'd circle it until I cut a track. Could be a lion, I read in article from Canada about their diet for meat, their top picks are moose and horses up there they say. If they can whack something like a moose a elks gonna have a tough fight. I'd sit on that thing with a bow in had and get yourself a little south of the boarder fresh bait hunt. You can bet someone is gonna come back and look for it.

As far as tracks there's a little difference between the two to tell them apart. Oh yeah and the grizz scat ive seen before looks like a 13 lb bowling ball on the ground.

Good luck and stay safe.....
 

Bombsnbullets

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There are quite a few mountain lions there. Did you take any pictures of the kill? What makes you think it was a predator that killed it?
I didn’t get a picture today, and was kicking myself when I got back to the road. I’ll be up there tomorrow so I’ll swing by it. And it was just an assumption based where it was located. It most definitely could have been sick or wounded. The aftermath could have been caused by an opportunist.
 

Bombsnbullets

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When I was in the area last year, I talked to a former Fish and game guy that was retired and living in the area, and he told me he had seen a grizzly just the week before on the same train we were walking on. So there are some. On another not how is the snow?
That’s good to know, I just kind of always assume they are around. Although it’s kind of nice to know, as I am using predator calls. Snow pack isn’t bad. Basically dry up to 5800’ minus north slopes and heavy timber. Not much foliage past 5600’.
 

Bombsnbullets

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Tracks? Buried? Old wounded elk it could go on forever. Was there any snow around. I'd circle it until I cut a track. Could be a lion, I read in article from Canada about their diet for meat, their top picks are moose and horses up there they say. If they can whack something like a moose a elks gonna have a tough fight. I'd sit on that thing with a bow in had and get yourself a little south of the boarder fresh bait hunt. You can bet someone is gonna come back and look for it.

As far as tracks there's a little difference between the two to tell them apart. Oh yeah and the grizz scat ive seen before looks like a 13 lb bowling ball on the ground.

Good luck and stay safe.....
Definitely no way to tell the cows age. I tried to find enough intact hide to look at the muzzle but it was gone. No snow around and was in an area that was dry, rocky, and grassy. I looked for tracks for a while, but couldn’t find anything other than bear scat about 100 yards up the hill. I hadn’t considered cats, and that would make sense. I’ll be hunting the area tomorrow.
 

EYJONAS!

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Not sure when bears start to transition their diets, they're main goal is to get out and get some digestion going on with the greens. If they wintered hard up there and went in empty then theyre gonna have a tough time eating meat. The bear my wife took last week was the most lethargic bear I've ever seen. When we checked him in the biologist goes "well that isn't a great site to see right now, if he's this lethargic I bet there's a 100 more just like him." He also said that bears don't start really regaining weight until mid july that's when they really start lookin for the meat full tilt. I'd still sit on that elk though for sure.
 

Bombsnbullets

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Not sure when bears start to transition their diets, they're main goal is to get out and get some digestion going on with the greens. If they wintered hard up there and went in empty then theyre gonna have a tough time eating meat. The bear my wife took last week was the most lethargic bear I've ever seen. When we checked him in the biologist goes "well that isn't a great site to see right now, if he's this lethargic I bet there's a 100 more just like him." He also said that bears don't start really regaining weight until mid july that's when they really start lookin for the meat full tilt. I'd still sit on that elk though for sure.
When I was in the area last year, I talked to a former Fish and game guy that was retired and living in the area, and he told me he had seen a grizzly just the week before on the same train we were walking on. So there are some. On another not how is the snow?
correction: hunted a different area today and no snow found at 6200’ going to push up to the snow line tomorrow
 

EYJONAS!

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They're out when they're out. I am learning that more and more. All of my bears have come after 630 PM my wife's......1053a.m. no rhyme or reason some days. Good luck out there.
 

Bombsnbullets

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They're out when they're out. I am learning that more and more. All of my bears have come after 630 PM my wife's......1053a.m. no rhyme or reason some days. Good luck out there.
Just saw the pic of your wife’s bear. Awesome!! Looks like you guys are hunting some snowy areas. Good luck on your hunt, hope you find a big Bruin!! I’ll be out on Friday, should be pretty rainy but I’m narrowing down a decent spot with some sign. Do you guys call at all?
 

EYJONAS!

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Just saw the pic of your wife’s bear. Awesome!! Looks like you guys are hunting some snowy areas. Good luck on your hunt, hope you find a big Bruin!! I’ll be out on Friday, should be pretty rainy but I’m narrowing down a decent spot with some sign. Do you guys call at all?
I haven't called but have buddies that have and I am going to attempt it this season. I think it is definitely something a guy needs to have in his bag. She was super stoked about it and I was beyond disbelief on how it all unfolded but I am a firm believer in most bear hunts are a fait ending. Good luck to you out there i'm still looking for Mr. Right.
 
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