Learning elk

freu1chr

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Apr 5, 2018
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83
Location
Jordan, Minnesota
First year elk hunting I learned a lot we filled out in 4 days of total hunting all public land. 3 bulls a 5x5 a 5x6 and a 6x6. We saw 99 elk in the 4 days of hunting. Every elk we saw was always walking into the wind no matter what. We saw movement throughout the day even at noon. Got far away from roads and hunters all the pack outs were 2 plus miles. Thanks for all the advice on this forum learned a lot from this page. Is it normal to always see elk walking into the wind?
 

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ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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692
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Washington
Great trip it sounds like! Congratulations

It's not always the case with the wind but they are pretty smart creatures. Typically will bed with wind at their back and good sight line view in front of them specially if it's a single bull. Just when you think you have figured them out you will learn something new. Been chasing them for over 40 years now and I learn a little something every year. If this was your first year you have really got some high expectations and big shoes to fill in years to come. Glad you had success. Great job to you and your party. Nice job!
 

David58

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Oct 13, 2020
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166
Location
Northern NM
Great trip it sounds like! Congratulations

It's not always the case with the wind but they are pretty smart creatures. Typically will bed with wind at their back and good sight line view in front of them specially if it's a single bull. Just when you think you have figured them out you will learn something new. Been chasing them for over 40 years now and I learn a little something every year. If this was your first year you have really got some high expectations and big shoes to fill in years to come. Glad you had success. Great job to you and your party. Nice job!
I shot mine this year, they were bedded pretty much nose in the wind. Shocked me, and they didn't figure out what we were and bugged out until I walked up to the one I shot.
 

Nick_CO

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Dec 20, 2018
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146
Location
Southern Colorado
So you may have heard that Elk, when bedding down will often do a big loop or "J" shape pattern. I've experienced this tracking Elk in fresh snow, and have heard this maneuver may be to smell if they are being followed as the scent of something behind them would come back uphill to them via warming thermals as they loop around uphill of their earlier track. If this is true it seems like a very smart tactic.

This year during 3rd rifle in Colorado I saw a bull come out onto an open slope in the evening and he seemed like he was in a hurry. He would stop and eat for a few seconds, then put his nose in the air and walk fast or even trot at one point and then eat some more. I tried to make a move on him from 1/2 mile away only to send him running back into the timber. Afterwards I followed his tracks and what he had done was walk around the side of the mountain and at one point he just stops and does a 180 and follows his own tracks back several hundred yards to where I had first seen him and that's where he busted me. I firmly believe that he was on high alert and circumnavigated that hillside to assess danger via the wind and then came back to where he wanted to feed after checking it out. They are smart for sure. I would have had a great shot on him had he not done the 180.
 

diamond hitch

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Feb 9, 2020
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609
Location
Western Montana
I've had them make a loop then walk in my tracks while I was walking in his and then stepping off in a patch of brush leaving you walking in circles until you find where they stepped off.

Sometimes if they are bored and curious, they will wait to see what is following them. An approach to this game is hunting in pairs with one on the tracks and a partner that parallels you about 50 ft or so above you. Sometimes either lingering or a little advancing in front of you. The key is to go slow but steady and quietly. Cats stop and go and similar type traffic makes elk nervous and they will panic and run.

Often where it is noisy the edge of riding a horse with four steps can cover your entrance. Hunting in pairs can somewhat do the same under certain conditions.

Stalking elk in the jungles is a patience game but one of the most exciting challenges of the sport.
 

nrpate05

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Jan 5, 2015
Messages
1,153
Its not a success unless you saw 100 elk on your first trip! Lol, kidding, sounds like an awesome first elk experience. Could be all downhill from here!
 
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