Caribou Gear

Hunting Waterholes in the Gila?

Letemgrow

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May 17, 2015
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I'll be in unit 16C NM, first 14 days of Sept. and had been planning on hunting waterholes and chasing bugles.

I've had several guys tell me that it looks like it will continue to be a wet year, and if it is still wet then, that waterholes would be a waste of time.

Sure seems like it would still be a good plan, especially if they've been wallowing in them.

What do ya'll think?
 

Big Fin

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Lots of moisture makes it a lot tougher, but I wouldn't worry about it until you know. 16C is like three different units, depending upon which area of the unit you hunt. There are some deep canyons that will hold a lot of water even in lesser monsoon seasons. If you sit on their fringes in late afternoon, you will be surprised how many elk come out of those canyons. It is there where they get shade and water, with night time feed up on the benches.

We hunted that unit a while back and there was water all over the place. The bigger bulls will still come to water in mid-day. Just a matter of whether or not they will come to the water you are sitting. During peak rut, the herd bulls come in alone, after bedding the cows. They will leave the cows, come and get water, then get back to the cows in quick fashion. I've seen it many, many times in NM and AZ. This is a trend that is more reliable as the rut peaks a week after your season is over, but I suspect it will still be a good tactic.

Far better to be snoozing at a waterhole where a bull might come in during mid-day, than snoozing in camp where the bull is the BS being slung around camp. I would always be sitting some sort of water in the middle of the day during that season. You never know when one might come in.

Good luck.
 

Letemgrow

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May 17, 2015
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Probably wont see my tent during the daylight on this hunt!

Are the elk pretty wary of hunters sitting water? I've never sat water, but i would expect them to approach from downwind, to make sure nobodys there. Any advice on selecting a spot for a homemade groundblind?
 

danr55

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Dec 18, 2000
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Mesa, AZ
Check from Tom Moore Canyon, west toward Bloodgood Canyon. Not only will you be on the east fork of the Gila River which may of may not hold water, but there are a couple of tanks in there. XSX tank and another one I can't recall the name of. Both held water last time I hunted this area. If you hike west toward the Gila Ruins you will be on the north side of Tom Moore canyon. Check down into the canyon at every drainage.
 
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Rooster52

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Feb 18, 2014
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I have never seen an elk come to a water hole in daylight hours.A wallow yes but not a water hole .
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
I have them surprise me at my windmill tank anytime. I have gone down @1:30 on a hot afternoon and there is a solo bull or cow walking in.
Never know what one will do when pushed in a rut.
 

Topgun 30-06

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Jun 8, 2009
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Allegan, MI
I have them surprise me at my windmill tank anytime. I have gone down @1:30 on a hot afternoon and there is a solo bull or cow walking in.
Never know what one will do when pushed in a rut.

The rut definitely changes things no matter what animal you're talking about! I've seen a lot of videos from down in NM where bulls are out in water so deep they are almost swimming in order to cool off.
 
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