Yeti GOBOX Collection

Transferable skills... whitetail to elk

In my experience guiding a lot of whitetail hunters on elk hunts and also introducing a bunch of climbers/hikers/general outdoorspeople to elk hunting its way easier for the people who have never hunted but are comfortable living and moving in the mountains...whitetail hunters tend to have a lot of ingrained bad elk hunting practices, they move too slowly, don't cover nearly enough ground, and in general just are uncomfortable with mountain weather, walking a long ways in the dark off trail, navigating, the non hunting part of the skills equation...
If I were practicing anything while whitetail hunting it would be getting off quick, calm shots under pressure, the rest is better learned on a backpacking trip...
 
It’s not very similar. Unless you’re used to tracking deer in snow in the Northwoods and can transfer that into tracking in snow through dark timber. That works if you have snow. But deer stands and ambush hunting? Not so much.

Deer are browsers, eating woody brush. Elk are grazers, focusing on grasses by the time the rifle season hits. Entirely different food sources and habitat requirements.

Vast landscapes, huge terrain, long distances. Low(er) game densities are the name of the game, and you can cover far more country with glass than with your feet. But you have to be able to cover multiple miles with your feet. In the dark. Possibly without a headlamp.

The number one thing I have learned about elk is that they prefer to be in places you can’t see them by the time the sun is up. Be wherever you want to be, but get there before the eastern sky is gray. Then glass away.
 
If you can kill whitetails (from the ground stalking/calling) consistently, elk are easy.

My success rates on elk is much higher than my success rates on whitetail on the ground.
 
^^ I keep my boots on so I don't step on something and ruin my hunt. lol
 
The one thing that took me awhile to appreciate is how elk can be everywhere and nowhere. Whitetails seem to always be around. I can watch a whitetail on my 600 acre property from year to year and I’ve had a few that seem to have never left the property in their lives.

The last elk I shot was 8 miles from where my buddy got a photo of him a couple weeks earlier.
Totally agree! I spent all summer scouting elk. I have had 5 cameras up since mid-June and literally have over 1,000 pictures.

I have now been in the woods for 8 days and haven't seen an animal. The woods are like a ghost town. No animals on the cams either.

They are clearly not here so I'm heading home for the weekend to regroup and figure out my next step. It would be so much easier to wait for the whitetail to come to me!
 

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Totally agree! I spent all summer scouting elk. I have had 5 cameras up since mid-June and literally have over 1,000 pictures.

I have now been in the woods for 8 days and haven't seen an animal. The woods are like a ghost town. No animals on the cams either.

They are clearly not here so I'm heading home for the weekend to regroup and figure out my next step. It would be so much easier to wait for the whitetail to come to me!
You have described the difference very well with this example. Not an experienced whitetail hunter, but my perception is those deer are consistently found in same places time after time. Elk are all over the place in vast areas. Having taken many elk in one particular area, I recently marked waypoints on ONX map. Those sites are all over the map, with merely a few in close proximity to one another.
 
Totally agree! I spent all summer scouting elk. I have had 5 cameras up since mid-June and literally have over 1,000 pictures.

I have now been in the woods for 8 days and haven't seen an animal. The woods are like a ghost town. No animals on the cams either.

They are clearly not here so I'm heading home for the weekend to regroup and figure out my next step. It would be so much easier to wait for the whitetail to come to me!
You just described my september perfectly. ghost-town central. I finally checked a camera I had up on a wallow and through the entire month there were only 4 days where bulls came in.. (with a 17 day stretch where nothing came in) yes, whitetail are so much more predictable (patternable). I'm learning a lot and this season taught me I'm still a long way off from figuring these elk out

I hope you were able to figure out a plan that got you back into elk - on the bright side, I got plenty of exercise searching!
 

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