Wyoming elk newbie without motivation question

D_Walt

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Apr 15, 2020
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Just teasing. I killed an elk by dumb luck on my first elk hunt and it kept me fired up and motivated for several years until I killed another one and figured a few things out. A little success finding some elk will get you motivated. Best of luck to you!
 

John Galt

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Aug 30, 2021
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Wyoming
@John Galt as in you tried to draw a tag and didn’t draw it? Or you drew a tag and didn’t get an antelope?
I tried to draw a tag and it didn't draw. Gonna try again next year. I heard on the radio that the drought has thinned the herds, so the amount of tags given out was less.
 

slamdmini

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Dec 14, 2010
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ive never lacked motivation, i just spent 8 days chasing mulies a few weeks ago and im hoping to head back up before the season closes. and its an 8 hr drive one way. i understand getting frustrated, that happens to all of us, especially when we cant find the game. as was already mentioned if ur not hearing bugles, and not seeing any sign, change areas. i hunt solo a lot since im the only one in my family that bowhunts, and i honestly like it, but it is nice sometimes to have someone to talk to after a long few days.
 

wllm

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Learned long ago what makes a successful elk hunter.

The elk hunter that gets up on day 15 with the same enthusiasm to hunt elk, after getting their butt kicked for the previous 14 days....yeah, that's the guy that will be killing an elk.

If you're heart isn't in it, your mind won't be either and that won't ever lead to success.
Also life’s short if you aren’t into it do something you are, you don’t need to hunt elk.
 

BAKPAKR

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Learned long ago what makes a successful elk hunter.

The elk hunter that gets up on day 15 with the same enthusiasm to hunt elk, after getting their butt kicked for the previous 14 days....yeah, that's the guy that will be killing an elk.

If you're heart isn't in it, your mind won't be either and that won't ever lead to success.
I agree 100% with Buzz. In my younger years, I spent a lot of time in the woods chasing elk, usually with a short range weapon of some sort. I don’t think I ever went out a day without thinking, “I am going to get my elk today!” Of course, many more days than not, I didn’t, but that mindset made me push the extra mile that would usually lead to success by the end of the season.

I would also suggest spending the entire day in the woods. I have shot as many elk midday as I have at either end of the day.
 
Joined
May 10, 2021
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So this is the third year of elk hunting for me. I just made up my mind yesterday to go this year but still lacking motivation. The first year I went hunting I was all hyped up to go. Then I was struck with emergency throat surgery a few days before my trip. But I went and hunted anyway on a diet of broth. Lost about 10 pounds in a week and had little energy. Saw one cow the whole time.

Last year I got sick the second day out and found out I caught the covid. Tried going a few different weekends but never saw a single elk.

This year, my luck remains. I broke my trigger finger in July. Still a little stiff and sore but I feel like I can use it. Been out here and there looking for elk and have yet to see anything. But people I work with tell me they see at least 5 to 10 each time they go out. I go by myself because I dont know many people here, and so I am learning on my own. I dont support outfitters because of the things I see many of them do.

So now I'm like WTH am I doing wrong? I have watched Randy Newberg videos. I have cyber scouted tons of potential areas with food (at least I think anyway), water, and shelter. But when I go out on the ground I don't see jack.

So I guess I am not really sure what my question is. What "food" do they eat? Do they like water holes, rivers, creeks? Do they hang out in the heavy deadfall stumbling their way through it? Do I cow call, or bugle?

My motivation is teetering. I just dont know...
John, I'm no expert, but scouting with an eye to the ground shows me where they were just before I got there. They like the quakies and the deep, dark pines; the hidden springs and smelly wallows. Sometimes they choose the easy path and sometimes the thick doghair. Sit and watch and listen. Someday we may both get our elk.
 

Redman

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Buzz is spot on. Make sure you have several places in mind to hunt. Check all elevations in that area. Check areas off your list and when you run out of areas start over. Keep moving until you find them. Hunting pressure keeps elk moving and puts them in places most people won't or just refuse to go.
 

John Galt

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Aug 30, 2021
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Wyoming
I did go out. Did not see anything through all of bow season. Saw two elk about a 1000yds away during rifle. Stalked them for a couple miles until they went onto private.

Never heard a single one. Starting to wonder if I am not calling enough. Or, just hanging out in an area too long when I dont hear anything talk back.

No biggie. Will try again next year
 
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Jim Anderson

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Meeker, CO
The hunting and the learning is supposed to be the fun part. The process is the whole deal. Sounds like you might have lost sight of that.

Instead of “I went out x days and only saw one cow. This sucks”, how about “I finally saw a cow today for the first time! I’m stoked!” That’s a pretty drastic change in mindset. It’ll do wonders for your experience outdoors.

This stuff ain’t easy - it shouldn’t be - and “hard” in hunting can be reasonably interpreted as spending years in pursuit of an animal. I say that to say that you’re not off track time-wise.
 

John Galt

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Wyoming
The hunting and the learning is supposed to be the fun part. The process is the whole deal. Sounds like you might have lost sight of that.

Instead of “I went out x days and only saw one cow. This sucks”, how about “I finally saw a cow today for the first time! I’m stoked!” That’s a pretty drastic change in mindset. It’ll do wonders for your experience outdoors.

This stuff ain’t easy - it shouldn’t be - and “hard” in hunting can be reasonably interpreted as spending years in pursuit of an animal. I say that to say that you’re not off track time-wise.
I will say it was neat tracking the two elk like I did. As I followed the tracks I saw where it looked like one had pissed as it walked. Noticed where they had ducked under a fallen tree to cross a creek that they left hair on one of the broken branches that were sticking down.

I was making sure to notice the small things as I tracked them.

Guess when I originally posted this I was in a slum. Not necessarily because I wasnt seeing Elk. But Mainly due to the first year having throat surgery and being absolutely miserable. Swallowing water was like swallowing goat heads. Then getting Covid then next year, and again feeling like crap. Then breaking my trigger finger this year. Not seeing Elk was just icing on the misery cake I guess. But I pushed through it each year. Including, shooting my rifle with my bad finger just to make sure I could do it. Then getting scoped between the eyes because I was flinched with my finger. I actually laughed at that one as I wiped the blood running down my face. :)
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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I will say it was neat tracking the two elk like I did. As I followed the tracks I saw where it looked like one had pissed as it walked. Noticed where they had ducked under a fallen tree to cross a creek that they left hair on one of the broken branches that were sticking down.

I was making sure to notice the small things as I tracked them.

Guess when I originally posted this I was in a slum. Not necessarily because I wasnt seeing Elk. But Mainly due to the first year having throat surgery and being absolutely miserable. Swallowing water was like swallowing goat heads. Then getting Covid then next year, and again feeling like crap. Then breaking my trigger finger this year. Not seeing Elk was just icing on the misery cake I guess. But I pushed through it each year. Including, shooting my rifle with my bad finger just to make sure I could do it. Then getting scoped between the eyes because I was flinched with my finger. I actually laughed at that one as I wiped the blood running down my face. :)
I wonder how many actually know what goat heads are.
 
Joined
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Durango Colorado
John, you need to taste success on big game. Do you have an antelope or deer tag for this season?
It also sounds like you need some hunting buddies. Hunting isn’t all about the killing. It’s nice to have someone to share camp with, or even a lunch while you sit on the tailgate. It’s also nice to have help packing an elk. Help someone pack one out and I bet they help you get on an elk.
This right here is great advice. I have always offered to be a helper packing out animals. I do enjoy the pain involved in getting them out at times, but it also gives you an exact reference as to where the elk are. Plus you will almost always get free meat out of the deal.
 

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