Did elk ever bugle in N. Idaho/ NW Montana?

Praxeus

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Been in these areas hunting elk for a few years now and Im starting to wonder if there ever was a time when they were vocal.
 

Flatgo

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Early 2000s to about 2009 it was great hunting.... 2009 the wolf population exploded and the elk populations plummeted. Now just a handful of elk and deer left and lots of grizzly bears...that’s atleast what happened in the areas I used to hunt
 

Ross

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Unless you were around prior to wolves you would think they never did and that it has always sucked sadly as above noted about ten years ago got first wolves on cams and started to decline....many of bulls have learned this what happens if they get too crazy at the wrong time so often best to not bugle or quietly....I should go elsewhere but am silly in my old age B2BF7584-8DE6-4E07-B66C-21933C11D742.jpeg 32B0021B-525D-4D9D-8606-CBEDAC06BCEC.jpeg F5E8A84D-D4DC-4A62-A7A7-40B9718FB4E9.jpeg
 
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Praxeus

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I get it...in fact, I already knew the answer. I cannot help it....I love this area, these woods and this terrain.
 

Ross

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The mountains of both nwest Montana and Idaho are incredible and offer solitude I never did run into hardly anyone over 40 years, now in places just not many elk where decades ago the carved out elk trails were amazing
 

Wrench

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don't expect primos video quality bugles. Early morning through 8ish expect to hear growls and short sounds. They will make some that are very quiet.

The elk in here have a tough market with big black and griz numbers, wolves and cats.

They do however rut and they do exhibit rut behavior. If you don't hear them, bring them to you. Do your calling sequence and pay seriously close attention to the down wind quadrant as far as you can see plus a cushion.
 

Ucsdryder

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I still remember being 26 miles into the Frank church almost 30 years ago. They bugled, even in rifle season!
 

Flatgo

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I was about 20 years old when the elk numbers plummeted in the areas i used to hunt, and had no clue how to kill elk with a bow. it haunts me today the opportunities we let slip through being idiots and not having a clue. I wish every year i could roll back the clock, and go back and hunt that stuff when it was good. i have no doubt i would kill a 320 plus inch bull every year. i will also echo Ross in that some of the country i used to hunt is nearly inaccessible anymore due to lack elk trails, and the old elk trails have all been brushed in. i hope one day elk will return to my old hunting grounds, but I'm not very optimistic. there are less wolves (no elk left) now, but 10 times the grizzlies. personally I think there are enough grizzlies to keep the cow calf ratios low to where a recovery of the elk is very unlikely until serious predator control measures are taken. I hunted the great bear wilderness a lot between the southfork and middlefork of the flathead. after seeing the true lack of animals left it makes me wonder why hunters should have any support of wilderness and roadless areas. especially when i can drive roads in southwest montana and hear more elk in a hour of road bugling...than an entire season of hunting in NW montana.
 

Wrench

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I was about 20 years old when the elk numbers plummeted in the areas i used to hunt, and had no clue how to kill elk with a bow. it haunts me today the opportunities we let slip through being idiots and not having a clue. I wish every year i could roll back the clock, and go back and hunt that stuff when it was good. i have no doubt i would kill a 320 plus inch bull every year. i will also echo Ross in that some of the country i used to hunt is nearly inaccessible anymore due to lack elk trails, and the old elk trails have all been brushed in. i hope one day elk will return to my old hunting grounds, but I'm not very optimistic. there are less wolves (no elk left) now, but 10 times the grizzlies. personally I think there are enough grizzlies to keep the cow calf ratios low to where a recovery of the elk is very unlikely until serious predator control measures are taken. I hunted the great bear wilderness a lot between the southfork and middlefork of the flathead. after seeing the true lack of animals left it makes me wonder why hunters should have any support of wilderness and roadless areas. especially when i can drive roads in southwest montana and hear more elk in a hour of road bugling...than an entire season of hunting in NW montana.
You bring up an interesting point. I have two area that are 20 miles apart one as close to roadless as it gets without wilderness designation, the other is a patchwork of clear cuts of varying ages, closer to humans and generally would be considered whitetail habitat vs elk.

The remote area holds few elk, but better bulls. The areas they prefer are nearly inaccessible due to brush. When pressured they will not go far....sub 500 yards typically.

The elk in the logged areas will bump a section like its nothing, but never get too far from humans. It is almost as if they feel safer among us than the predators.

I've had wolf and cougar conflicts personally in both areas in the last 3 years.
 
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Praxeus

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As Wrench so aptly mentioned above, there must be a different expectation and tactic to be successful anymore. Im willing to adapt as I simply have no choice. I love these woods too much to go away
 

Huntnnw

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Into elk every year bugling, last year in wolf central ID in rifle season bulls were screaming all day. My cams have wolves and elk sharing the same water hole. Ill get multiple visits by elk and wolves in same day.
 

geewhiz

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They have learnt to keep their mouths shut otherwise they will become lunch for the big bad woof.
 
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Praxeus

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Through the years I have personally seen some absolute monster bulls coming out of this area (N Idaho/ NW Montana). A few years back, a guy who used to guide for Wayne Hill when he outfitted in the CDA NF said 'get into the bottoms if you want to shoot a giant...'

Makes sense since it can be the nastiest and the least travelled areas. And- its usually where the water is
 

jimmy33

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Yes they do...thats usually how I find them. I dont think the sound carries as well in a lot of that country so you have to be closer to hear bugles than you would in central washington or more open areas. No joke- The last 3 bulls I killed during rifle season I found because they were bugling.


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KHNC

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Cody Carr says their are PLENTY of elk in those areas. Its the lazy hunters that wont go after them. Elk populations are as strong as they ever were, just gotta know how to hunt them. Its a myth that the wolves have killed all the elk.

*sarcasm
 

Ross

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This 😄😂🕺 I knew I was lazy and glad someone told me🤙
Cody Carr says their are PLENTY of elk in those areas. Its the lazy hunters that wont go after them. Elk populations are as strong as they ever were, just gotta know how to hunt them. Its a myth that the wolves have killed all the elk.

*sarcasm
 

North Idaho Stickbow

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They ended up bugling plenty this year! I probably had more action this year than ever. However, as stated perfectly above, they won’t rip out Primos video bugles unless it’s after dark. In the daytime, you need to get within a few hundred yards, then they’ll respond.
 
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