Elk Habitat and Strategy question


May 9, 2016
Hello, I am seeking advice from people more experienced with elk and elk hunting please. Thank you in advance for your help.

I have a WY rifle cow elk tag in a unit that is mostly flat sage brush with (2) mountains. The wildlife biologist said virtually all the elk live on these two mountains and there are not many elk in the vast flat areas within this unit.

My question in this scenario is about north-facing slopes and elk preferences. It sounds like virtually all the hunters in the unit will be targeting these two peaks. The regional biologist said the elk primarily inhabit the north slopes of these two peaks. I want to trust him because he is most intimately in tune with these elk and this unit and it's both of our objective to reduce cow elk numbers, but I also want to ask the experienced hunters....would you ignore the south slopes in this scenario? I want to be cognizant of the elk preferences but also cognizant of the hunting pressure since the elk and hunters will likely be in high concentration. There's a sweet burn from 2012 on a SW slope but the biologist really made me think I'd be wasting my time on the south slopes. Oct 1st, self guided, cow elk hunt btw.

Hopefully you are out hunting and not at your desk, but I would be thankful to any experienced hunters who would be willing to throw me an opinion on this. -PabloDiablo


Active member
Apr 4, 2015
Go to where it is thick and nasty regardless of whether or not it is north facing or not.

Solid advice here...


May 24, 2016
Brighton, Colorado
In my experience, they predominately use the north facing slopes due to the shade while bedding and in a lot of cases the north facing slopes are heavily treed so they have good cover. If the north facing slopes don't support good feed, they'll move to the adjacent slopes to eat late in the day through the night and into the early morning, so your SW burn slope is worth a look in the evening or morning.