Elk proximity to ATV trails

s10

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Feb 9, 2022
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I have been doing some e-scouting for an upcoming elk hunt this fall. I have one mountain that I have been working through that has good potential. The only down side, is an ATV trail that essentially runs the circumference of the mountain. This is a first season hunt and the trail is about a mile from where I would like to hunt. Should I care that the trail is that close in proximity? I want to explore the area, but do you all think it will be too disturbed of an area with the trail being so close? Thanks.
 

Lyfter1013

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I wouldn’t rule it out, but I also wouldn’t count on it either. What does the terrain and cover look like between the road and the area you want to hunt?
 

s10

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I wouldn’t rule it out, but I also wouldn’t count on it either. What does the terrain and cover look like between the road and the area you want to hunt?
Mainly increases in elevation, a saddle or two with ridges mixed in. Fairly thick timber, small breaks that seem to be meadows. What I would consider a decent spot to look at, especially with potential bedding in thick timbered drainages on north facing slope. Checks a lot of boxes, minus the trail.
 

jeremys4

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Reno,NV
The only problem I see is not having it all to yourself with you being new in the area it’s probably someone’s supper secret spot. I hope you can scout before the hunt. Elk like traveling roads.
 

Wallydeuce

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I've archery hunted elk 50 yards from a paved highway. Why? Because that's where the best cover was during the day. Water and the best feed were in the open. You could watch them filter into the fields just before dark. I say start hunting them as soon as you find the first draw. The ATV trail should also have tracks on or crossing it if they're moving around.
 

peterk1234

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The biggest problem I see is that hunters can access the area with ATVs. I have watched guys ride the trail. Park walk in ten feet. Come back out. Drive 100 yards. Repeat.
 
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dan.kirkpatrick

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mulino oregon
i have seen a number of places where the elk travel on the atv trails,,you can sometimes determine movement from since the last atv was there,,i would however figure to get a ways off of it while actually hunting,,depending on how heavily it is used.
 

Mallardsx2

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It might be different in other places but where I hunt you are not killing an elk during the archery season within a half mile of an ATV trail. ATV's scare the crap out of them. Just what I have noticed.
 

WapitiBob

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Bend, Orygun
I killed an AZ about 150 yards from a road. He bugled before I could get off the atv. I've had them bugle at my atv in NM and WY as well. In OR they tend to leave quickly.
 

Wallydeuce

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I've used the noise of passing trucks on a major highway to conceal my approach to bedded elk. Don't automatically assume they're miles away from man made noise.
 

Jkitchen

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SW Colorado
I think a big part of it depends on how many other ATV trails there are in the unit. If trails are fairly common then people maybe spread out, but if there is just one or two it might concentrate people. My wife took a good bull last year about a 1/2 mile from an ATV trail. Most of the traffic on the trail was random people. We only ran into 2 other hunting groups while up there and people did a good job of respecting our space while the ATV was parked. Maybe a couple trips to the area to see what normal traffic looks like. Might give the game warden a call as well, they tend to know how packed certain trails get. Good luck.
 

JMG

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MONTANA
I personally would not rule this spot out. You can always hunt it and determine whether elk have been in there or not. As with all hunts ... have a plan A, plan B, and plan C. There are spots I have discovered where other hunters pass thinking they have to go deep, only to have elk in a location that gets overlooked. If your hunting the rut, listen to this area in the dark. If the elk are pressured, they may not be vocal in the daylight hours and have learned to be vocal "at night". Just some thoughts.
 

wytex

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Wyoming
Elk hear atvs all summer from folks just riding. They get used to the sounds of them puttering along.
I've watched elk watch atv trails that had riders. They just pause and watch the atv go by. I've seen elk bolt when the atvs stop and get silent.
You may be surprised at what you see along trails when you are on foot.
 
Yeti

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