PSA: yes, you have a sweet new hot tent, now please stop camping in the elk...

GrantK

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Aug 30, 2018
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328
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Western CO
Maybe this is something everyone else has already encountered, it's new to me this year...I have had multiple hot spots ruined, and a lot of the elk I scouted blown out from people camping right in the elk with their fancy heated teepee setups, by right in the elk I mean like right in the prime bedding areas, I had one guy tell me he had a hard time finding a spot that wasn't a frozen elk bed big enough to set up...we aren't talking far enough off the roads to require camping at all, all less than 3 miles in, some a lot less than that, really easy to day hunt areas where there isn't a good spot to camp until you drive down the road a couple of miles...

So far I've encountered 5 groups who are camping right where they saw elk, a couple have even gone so far as to tell me: "boy, we saw a lot of elk here when we were walking in trying to decide where to camp but they seem to have vanished" as they are listening to music in the tent with the stove rolling 10 minutes into legal light, on a ridge where I glassed up 25 elk bedded the previous morning...

From the guys I've talked to (almost all of the camps have people in them at prime time) it is too hard to hike in and out every day so they are setting up as close as possible and staying hoping to shoot an elk from camp...

In my experience even if you are pretty careful to be stealthy with your camping it's good to have close to a mile of buffer from where you want to be hunting or a really significant terrain feature as separation, does anyone actually have experience killing elk from your camp if you are doing this? I've hunted most of these spots for years and I've never seen anything as effective at pushing elk out as the hunting from-camp tactic...
 

wllm

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Dec 9, 2015
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16,494
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Boston
Maybe this is something everyone else has already encountered, it's new to me this year...I have had multiple hot spots ruined, and a lot of the elk I scouted blown out from people camping right in the elk with their fancy heated teepee setups, by right in the elk I mean like right in the prime bedding areas, I had one guy tell me he had a hard time finding a spot that wasn't a frozen elk bed big enough to set up...we aren't talking far enough off the roads to require camping at all, all less than 3 miles in, some a lot less than that, really easy to day hunt areas where there isn't a good spot to camp until you drive down the road a couple of miles...

So far I've encountered 5 groups who are camping right where they saw elk, a couple have even gone so far as to tell me: "boy, we saw a lot of elk here when we were walking in trying to decide where to camp but they seem to have vanished" as they are listening to music in the tent with the stove rolling 10 minutes into legal light, on a ridge where I glassed up 25 elk bedded the previous morning...

From the guys I've talked to (almost all of the camps have people in them at prime time) it is too hard to hike in and out every day so they are setting up as close as possible and staying hoping to shoot an elk from camp...

In my experience even if you are pretty careful to be stealthy with your camping it's good to have close to a mile of buffer from where you want to be hunting or a really significant terrain feature as separation, does anyone actually have experience killing elk from your camp if you are doing this? I've hunted most of these spots for years and I've never seen anything as effective at pushing elk out as the hunting from-camp tactic...
 

neffa3

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Apr 17, 2015
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Wenatchee
To play devil's advocate. I have stalked elk from camp multiple times, we did it in WY this year, both backpacking and car camping (this year). If it had been rifle season we could have used a sleeping pad for a shooting rest. And in backcountry areas that are really high density elk, it's hard to find a place to camp that's not "in the elk".

But yes, the better play is to camp away from where you want to hunt.
 

2rocky

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
4,250
To play devil's advocate. I have stalked elk from camp multiple times, we did it in WY this year, both backpacking and car camping (this year). If it had been rifle season we could have used a sleeping pad for a shooting rest. And in backcountry areas that are really high density elk, it's hard to find a place to camp that's not "in the elk".

But yes, the better play is to camp away from where you want to hunt.
GUILTY

This bull had cows run through our camp and bugled all night in the meadow. He died right in the trail to camp..And I had to wait until daylight to leave camp so I didn't bump the herd in the dark...

IMG_3193-580x435.jpg
 

Rzrbck918

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Aug 13, 2016
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1,619
Location
Bixby Oklahoma
There are alot of people out there that don't have a freaking clue how to hunt elk, but still spend thousands on fancy new gear and feel like they need to use it whether it makes sense or not.
OBVIOUSLY, other Elk Hunters will only recognize me as an elk hunter if I take all my cool new gear and use it in Elk Country.
 

Lilhowie83

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Jun 19, 2020
Messages
611
Location
Southeast Idaho
The last 2 years I have gone into some of my "honey holes" for deer and elk only to find some dumbass with his brand new seek outside tipi set up right where it shouldn't be. I don't know if they expect to wake up, roll out of the tent and shoot something. But it has always been my M.O. to camp at least a mile from where I want to hunt. I'll never understand it.
 

GrantK

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Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
328
Location
Western CO
To play devil's advocate. I have stalked elk from camp multiple times, we did it in WY this year, both backpacking and car camping (this year). If it had been rifle season we could have used a sleeping pad for a shooting rest. And in backcountry areas that are really high density elk, it's hard to find a place to camp that's not "in the elk".

But yes, the better play is to camp away from where you want to hunt.
one of the funniest things I've seen in the elk woods was a guy who walked in and set up camp after dark during archery season, he was up probably 2 hours before daylight hiking up the hill, I then watched him try to sneak back into his tent as soon as it got light and he realized he had put the tent right in the middle of the biggest wallow complex on the whole mountain and had probably 70 elk within 50 yards of the tent screaming their heads off while he was a mile up the mountain...

I think you can get away with a lot if you don't expect to stay long, and for some reason, roadside camps seem to be much less impactful...
 

KB_

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Jul 12, 2018
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Bozemen, Montana
You can get close to your spot if you are down wind of it and/or there is a large enough terrain feature. Its really about wind. My usual spots are shockingly within few miles from a road so I just walk in from my camp by the road.

Last couple of years people have been camping down in my hole, with their rental atvs and wall tent. Right in the middle of their feeding area. Like come on man, have you ever heard of STEALTH!

I'm not against wall tents at all, I love em. Use them all the time. But keep it by the road and walk in unless your on a horseback wilderness trip.
 

geewhiz

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Aug 11, 2020
Messages
261
one of the funniest things I've seen in the elk woods was a guy who walked in and set up camp after dark during archery season, he was up probably 2 hours before daylight hiking up the hill, I then watched him try to sneak back into his tent as soon as it got light and he realized he had put the tent right in the middle of the biggest wallow complex on the whole mountain and had probably 70 elk within 50 yards of the tent screaming their heads off while he was a mile up the mountain...

I think you can get away with a lot if you don't expect to stay long, and for some reason, roadside camps seem to be much less impactful...
What I'm hearing you say is its annoying when guys that don't do their homework screw things up for guys that do their homework, and I wholeheartedly agree. And no, hunting an area once a year for 6 days is not "doing your homework".
 

Beignet

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Feb 27, 2021
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Montaña
I’ve found that the fresher the elk turds the better they fuel my wood stove. Gotta get right up and in there cause I’m too lazy to break twigs for a heat source.
 

Lyfter1013

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Mar 11, 2020
Messages
532
...we aren't talking far enough off the roads to require camping at all, all less than 3 miles in, some a lot less than that, really easy to day hunt areas where there isn't a good spot to camp until you drive down the road a couple of miles...
this is the one that always confuses me. Opening morning of deer season this year I hiked in early and beat 5 guys back to the canyon I always hunt on the opener who had set up camp on the hillside the deer feed on in the mornings. They had got there 2 days early and mysteriously stopped seeing deer after they set up camp… 🤦🏼‍♂️ Then to top it off had one guy set up on the hill 40 yards behind me at daylight. Never understood the packing in a camp in an area that you can walk to before daylight. And then set up camp in the feeding area. Needless to say no one saw anything in the area opening morning .
 

Shortbowshot

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Jan 28, 2021
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286
A few years ago in Idaho I arrived 4 days early. I had drawn a rifle tag. I found a herd of roughly 200 elk with several 320 ish bulls that spent the nights in the valley floor on private and came into the public to bed. The night before season some bright guy set up camp right in the middle of where the elk came into public. This being wide open country it spooked every elk in the country except 1 herd with one of those bulls. But I killed him. 😀
 

GrantK

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Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
328
Location
Western CO
I’ve found that the fresher the elk turds the better they fuel my wood stove. Gotta get right up and in there cause I’m too lazy to break twigs for a heat source.
that may explain everything... I'm always confused by the "I'll get more sleep" argument when you have to feed the stove more twigs every 30 minutes...
 
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