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I’ll be on my first elk hunt the opening week of rifle season between 5000-6000 feet for non-migrating elk. If there is snow, do

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  • 268bull
    replied
    Don't try to determine antler size by the diamater of the rub. Look to see how high up the bull has scarred the sapling he's spared with. If it's showing scarring and broken branches 6,7, or possibly 8 feet up, your in the vicinity of a nice branch antlered bull. Also, if you find a punky but obviously beat up tree stump, odds are he's a nice branch bull also. ( At least that's a trait of the Roosevelt's I hunt. )

    Leave a comment:


  • therifleman
    replied
    You'll need to be in good shape and at least somewhat adjusted to the altitude if you're planning on tracking/stalking elk at all. That said, a herd will frequently stay put all day if nothing pushes them, so if you find fresh tracks, chances are you're not too far behind them. Be forewarned, they will leave lookouts to observe their trail and alert the rest of the herd if a predator (i.e. you) starts approaching. That lookout is going to usually be one of the older cows, not a trophy bull. If you aren't finding any fresh tracks, another one of my favorite methods is to just walk very slowly and quietly through the woods, listening for the mews from cows and calves.

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    OH, your story reminds me of a nightmare I had one time. I dreamed that I was in a wagon train crossing the prairie when we got attacked by native Indians. I shot a few but was no match for them when suddenly, I was hit by an arrow right in the stomach. I grabbed it but could not pull it out and knew I was about to die. I awoke to find a nice old shoulder mounted buck upside down on top of me with one tine poking me in the stomach. I was so happy it wasn't an arrow and would live to see another day! We had a storm that shook the house a little and down he came!

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    OH... more great wisdom. I will certainly heed your advise. I used to butcher 1000 to 1500 pound cattle and horses for my mink food and always dispatched them with a .22 so I know it has the energy to do it. You are very right though that they were not nearly as dangerous as an elk could be. If I ever need to, I will plan to use my rifle. I feel so fortunate to be a member of this site and the beneficiary of your wisdom. It has already set me on the right track for several elk hunting tips. Thanks much!

    Leave a comment:


  • Ontario Honker Hunter
    replied
    Dakota, don't try to get close enough to finish off an elk with a .22! I almost got it one night from a raghorn bull that was about bled out and only on three legs (I was responsible for the bleed out, the three guys from Pennsylvania were responsible for the sloppy ham shot). And an elk without horns can kill you just about as easily. A .30 cal bullet at the top of the neck will do the job humanely and safely. Using a scope just aim about 3" low. The hair is so long on a bull elk's mane that any taxidermist won't have trouble covering up a large caliber hole from a neck shot. For the life of me I don't know why anyone would want a shoulder mount elk anyway even if they did live in Windsor Castle and had room for one. Elk really are not the most attractive mount. Not as ugly as a bull moose but a close second in my opinion. Horns are beautiful and look quite magnificent mounted on their own. I had one set hanging over the headboard of my bed and the other resting against the footboard. If I ever get my bedroom out of the basement I'll display them that way again. Word of warning: screw the plaque to the wall! Especially if you live in a seismically active zone. That would make for an interesting autopsy report.

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  • DakotaMan
    replied
    Thanks even more guys! Great advice and well appreciated. Based on comments here, I'll carry a .22 in my pack for birds and I have depended on them to finish off cripples most of my life. I don't get too many cripples but sure don't like to blast one with a big .30 caliber at close range to finish them off if necessary. I really don't want to carry a 4 pound pistol and will leave it at home.

    I WILL have to watch out for dudiness since I am now an Easterner. My saving grace there is that my trusty brother-in-law is the truest cowboy I've ever met (he breaks and trains horses for a living). If one of my accessories is a little too colorful, he will have embarrassed it off of me by the time we hit the Montana border. I appreciate the advice though and should have a more pleasant commute because of it. I can remember being on the other end of those comments at one time but must admit, I've given lusty thoughts to Hoss' 10 gallon hat more than once. LOL! Thanks all and happy hunting.

    Leave a comment:


  • mike0714
    replied
    If you have a rifle a pistol is just extra weight and not as accurate or powerful. Also if it is a bolt or lever action then your follow up shot should still be faster than drawing a bi pistol. Since you are not bow hunting don't bring a pistol for protection bring a 22 lr with fmj's and snakes shot. Small game and snakes are you biggest worry when you have a rifle for bears.

    Leave a comment:


  • Safado
    replied
    Great post DM,
    The guys responses are making me wish I was going too!I love hearing from you guys that know what you're talking about. Keep us posted as you prepare. You've got to be so excited.
    Good Hunting

    Leave a comment:


  • Ontario Honker Hunter
    replied
    Gees, I forgot about those knee-high cowboy boots worn on the OUTSIDE of his jeans. Guess he liked walking on ticks, pine needles, mud, snow, and everything else that parachuted into his socks.

    Dakota, a better thread to start would be a discussion about what else should or should not go in the day pack if you're going to be tracking.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ontario Honker Hunter
    replied
    Thanks, Pray. Means a lot to be able to pass some of this stuff along. No kids left except my daughter and she's not real interested in that sort of thing. I'll be 76 before my grandson who arrives this month will be able to hunt. So not much chance of passing what I know along to anyone in the family. No sense in burying it with me. I added a couple of elk hunting stories to Dakota's last thread. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

    Dakota: As to carrying a bigger pistol, in a word ... no! You are going to have your hands full with altitude changes and possible knee issues. DO NOT load yourself down with a bunch of useless extra weight. And you will note I said to toss the .22 in the pack and not on the hip. Why would you need an extra larger pistol in the daypack? And I can tell you right now you're not going to track anything with a pistol strapped to your leg! If you're worried about bears, which is just wasted anxiety, pick up a small light pepper spray dispenser. Stick it to your pack or straps somewhere. Really though, you have about as much probability of needing a backup weapon for a grizzly as you would needing a helmet to protect you from meteorites. When was the last time you heard of someone shooting a grizzly with a "back up gun"? Not once as far as I know. Well, not in the modern era anyway. I think Davy Crockett had to resort to a knife or something once to finish a charging bear that his muzzle loader failed to kill. As I said some months ago when this issue came up, strapping a hog leg to yourself only advertises your dudiness. Somewhat like the "guide?" for Desert Mt Lodge wearing his mile long .44 Ruger Blackhawk on one hip, Bowie knife on the other, and both over his lovely purple frilled rodeo chaps. Oh, and the Hoss Cartwright fire-bucket on top of his head. Yeah, that was the finishing touch. Hmmm. I almost forgot the pink silk scarf. All this on a 6" tall kid who didn't weigh 150 lbs. Man, I wish I'd had a camera. Any self-respecting hunter would have taken one look at that clown and got right back on the plane!

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    DM,
    My cut on big handguns is don't if you are humping long distances and armed with any rifle. I only pack a handgun when out and about without a rifle.

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    OH, thanks for the advice on bringing the pistol + all the other info. I will keep one in my pack. I'll plan to limit my take on blues to only what I can carry. I'll post another question about carrying a bigger pistol too.

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    You guys are giving me an adrenalin rush four months before the season! I really appreciate the advice from you all. I'll work hard at getting in shape and hope to at least try tracking one if I get a chance. If the knees don't hold up, it won't be because I didn't try. I hunt South Dakota in those same time frames and am familiar with sunburn, drizzle and snow all happening on the same day. I suspect it will be even more pronounced in the beautiful Rockies but to me that is part of the excitement.

    I wish you guys were coming with me too. You all sound like you would make any hunt a good one, elk or no elk!

    Leave a comment:


  • Montana
    replied
    Another piece of advice, I have hunted the Montana elk opener when its been 80 degrees and I have hunted the opener and had it be -15 degrees, bring a wide selection of clothing. A few pairs of good walking boots that are well broke in are a must as well. Take your time, drink plenty of water, and most importantly enjoy yourself. I work the whole year to enjoy a week or two of elk camp on the mountain.

    Leave a comment:


  • Pray- hunt-work
    replied
    OH- I wish I was going with you both, reading your advice painted a picture that I wish to live someday. Thank you for that!!

    Leave a comment:

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