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Finally first Elk hunt, harder than you think!!!

Just sent my VLT request for tomorrow. Plenty of elk around on public so don't be afraid to look around outside your lease. Not sure what the public/private interface looks like on the property you're hunting, but when the elk start moving around and visibility improves, lead in the air could definitely push them onto the private you're hunting so be ready, especially this weekend.
 
It was decent weather when I got here Sunday
Bad weather for elk hunting, though
I was able to glass the 1200 acres in Mountain City that I am hunting
Sounds awesome, Montana City?
It has several access roads leading to the various parts of the farm
Got a buggy? 😂
I am able to glass most of the place from one high spot which is located near the entrance to the farm
One thing most elk hunters in MT won't say this year, you're making us jealous
I am sure after studying the map, those elk went across the street
Another thing I can't remember ever saying. Maybe a streetside ambush is in order?
I see a ton of elk sign on the place and a couple wheel barrow loads of elk poop in most of the fields and coves
Trying to visualize this
The most depressing part of the trip is the incoming weather
Weather events can be your friend
It is allegedly going to snow 8 to 12 inches here in the next few hours
This
What will the elk do in weather like this? Feed in the meadows more?
Get shot
I tell myself, that I need to restrict myself to glassing from the truck and set out to intercept any elk that I see
Ditch the truck, contrary to popular belief it doesn't provide a tactical advantage
as there is now way in these wind gusts a person can survive single digits for long.
It's not all that bad
It is not what I had thought my elk hunting trip would be like but, I must adapt.
Yes, you must adapt
My plan is to glass from the truck most of the day and maybe make some short trips to check some pockets of timber weather permitting.
Ditch the truck, dress warm, kill an elk. Then go warm up in the truck
I know that I cannot kill one if I am not here
Correct
so I plan to be here as much as possible.
Good
What would you experienced elk hunters do in this weather?
If you wuss out because of weather, it's gonna be a long drive home kicking yourself. I'd say hunt hard. If you give it everything, at least you know you hunted hard

And yes, it's a lot harder than it looks on TV
 
Just as a FYI - and Im sure you have researched, but 335 is brow tine bull only for elk during general season. 380 is the nearly impossible to draw either sex tag. You can shoot antlerless in some portions of the North and South of 380 - but only off National forest land. So if the public you're referring to is Nat. forest you can only shoot a Spike (No cows, no brow tine bulls). Best of luck.
 
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I'd give up on finding them in the meadows, get in the timber and figure out where they're hiding cause that's what they do as soon as the shooting starts. Cover lots of ground, sounds like you've exhausted glassing opportunities, time to start griding, look the entire property over, try not to run them off, but spooking them a little is better than never seeing them, at least then you can track them. If you search the whole property move to public and put in at least a five mile loop through what you think looks like good hiding cover.
 
I expect you’re cutting up your elk right now. Send some pics when you’re done.
 
I saw about 30 elk, they went over on the neighbors tall grass and stayed there for a long time. There was a spike and a broken bull with 4 points.

Long day, I put 11 miles on today. We are supposed to get 6 to 9 more inches of snow on top of the 8 inches we have already.

Back at it in the morning.
 
Man and he’s got a private lease 😂

I thought you’d of been asking for help packing by now. At least I don’t feel so bad not having shot one in all these years. And I live here.

Lived in MO for awhile too, you ain’t seen cold like you’re about to. And even then, you’re lucky it ain’t what it could be. Get out there in that cold and I better see some rosy ass cheeks and some chapped lips on that trophy photo 😉 🤣🤣🤪🤪
 
Glass the trees. I'm thinking they're feeding on the ranch yer on at night and hiding in timber. My brother's ranch was in Montana City. First year I could hunt we hunted there, weather was pretty close to the same. Found elk in the trees, below ridge lines. I'm not an expert by any means just throwing out ideas and what brother's step-dad said about that area and talking with others that did as well.
 
I do know they are feeding at night (lots of tracks) followed some tracks but they lead to private property.
 
Be patient on your lease. Pretty easy to push elk off of 1200 acres. I recall betting you would be able to just about cover the whole thing from one vantage point, sounds like that is the case. I would sit that trail they are using to get on the neighbors place, intercept them there, and based on your photos if you think there are elk in those strips of timber I would wait them out, even if it means driving into town for more down layers.
Looks like you have an hour until shooting light, good luck. “Endeavor to persevere.”
 
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After asking a lot of questions here, the time came for a 53 year old retired guy to set off on his first Montana elk hunt solo. I drove from Missouri to Montana, 23 hours total. Its been a long time since I took that long of a road trip.

It was decent weather when I got here Sunday, I was able to glass the 1200 acres in Mountain City that I am hunting, which is just ten miles south of Helena, MT. The land is made up of several meadows with two active creeks following through it. Also it is surrounded by mountains on two sides. There is a few dense pockets of pine timber on the place with a lot of sporadic timber pockets with a lot of little coves of grassy areas. Some of the grassy areas near the creeks are still very green. I was given a tour of the farm, which has been homesteaded since 1907 by the same family. It has several access roads leading to the various parts of the farm.

I am able to glass most of the place from one high spot which is located near the entrance to the farm. The first day, I saw a cow and her calf. I was within 50 yards of them for about 10 minutes. I saw no other elk. Yesterday, I saw no elk. Each day, I have checked a few pockets of timber after glassing for a few hours. Today when I pulled into the farm this morning there were several elk present in the dark in the meadows. I could see several elk through my bino's even thought it was not yet legal shooting light. As it started to get light in about 15 mins, I could hear and see the elk begin to move off the property onto the neighbors. There is a rock quarry near the farm and I have seen several elk crossing the road from there to the weapons restricted area basically located across the street. I am sure after studying the map, those elk went across the street into that area as I have seen several cross the road behind the neighbors since arriving here (antelope use the same path as well). I see a ton of elk sign on the place and a couple wheel barrow loads of elk poop in most of the fields and coves

I have five days left to hunt, I slipped through some pockets of timber checking some coves today to see if I could find any bedded elk. I saw none. The most depressing part of the trip is the incoming weather. It is allegedly going to snow 8 to 12 inches here in the next few hours. Then the temps will nose dive below freezing for days with single digit temps at night, by this Saturday, it may warm some above freezing and be in the teens at night.

What will the elk do in weather like this? Feed in the meadows more? I tell myself, that I need to restrict myself to glassing from the truck and set out to intercept any elk that I see as there is now way in these wind gusts a person can survive single digits for long. It is not what I had thought my elk hunting trip would be like but, I must adapt. My plan is to glass from the truck most of the day and maybe make some short trips to check some pockets of timber weather permitting. I know that I cannot kill one if I am not here, so I plan to be here as much as possible.

What would you experienced elk hunters do in this weather?

Some pics
Check your PM when you get a chance and keep after them. You only need that one opportunity.
 
I was thinking the same thing...he must be hunting a private piece he has access too hoping they come through.
This is a property that is listed on Land Trust, so paying each day to hunt. The elk are apart of a local herd that meander through the surrounding subdivisions and mining properties.
 
I saw about 60 elk eating in peoples lawns and their shrubs today in the subdivisions around the farm. I saw no elk but 7 mule deer.

I made it to 5800 feet up Jack Mountain, it peaks at 6171. I kept slipping in the knee deep snow. I had to quit. I saw a lot of mule deer tracks but not very many elk.
 
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Thanks everyone. It finally came together. It was 2 degree outside and still deep snow, but I stuck it out.

Thanks for all the advice. It may not be huge compared to some, but I am pretty happy with it. It took me 4 hours to cut it up by myself. Thanks for all the great threads and knowledge.
 

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