First year hunting in Idaho and had some wolves move in to the area I'm elk hunting. My question is how long before the elk move back in they seemed to have completely disappeared. Or do I just cut my losses from scouting and try a new area?
The elk didn't get sucked up in a tractor beam to some alien spaceship. They are around, just not where you saw them last. You can got to a new area, but you really don't need to. Elk go where elk want to go. They might come back in a day or 10.
We hunt unit 33 sometimes (one of the original release spots), as well as the rest of the sawtooths and sometimes McCall. the elk just seem to move more then hold tight. It's not like when grandpa hunted back in the day, in my 5 years of elk hunting thick wolf country, we have not found lots of elk In the same drainage year after year. Not even close. They are always moving. A honey hole one year is a ghost town the next.
If there is a pack in your drainage they will wise up quick and stop bugling, but stay in the thick timber.
You won't want to call much, as then you will get the pack riled up and they will start howling making the elk hole up tighter. Really pay attention to rubs, wallows and crap. The Bulls will come in silent, it happened to us twice this last weekend.
If it's an October rifle hunt, I'd probably scout a new area then decide the week before the opener. Since you most likely won't have visible elk nor the advantage of the rut. I feel like I have more experience hunting around wolves than I should! But then again, it is pretty cool each time I get to see one in the wild. Just keep trying all the adjacent drainages to your spot if your not finding them.