elk 101

bnsafe

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do elk bed on a certain side of the mountain, slopes, etc. and can you generally say the wind currents go down in teh morning and up at night. or do i have it all wrong
 

Ross

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For the time of year that we focus on them Sept-into Late October yes, they will tend to bed on North Slopes where it is cooler, there is more security cover and there are less bugs. As a rule of thumb the wind will be going downhill early in the morning and as the air warms with the sun the winds and air currents will then start to rise. That being said, in the mountains all bets are off many times throughout the day and you will have to continuously check the wind with something to be sure the currents are not betraying what you believe is accurate. I go through many bottles of wind checker or something similar constantly checking the wind when engaging an elk, because if there is one sense you cannot fool it is their nose.
 

littlebuf

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where i hunt wind comes down hill in the morning and up hill at night.i camps about a mile down hill from the meadows that the elk bed above.i stay to the west slopes and move toward the north ones.seem to run into um pretty good that way.but to answer your question i think elk kinda do what they want
 
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bnsafe

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thanks, i had read they preferred certain slopes but wanted to verify it with real elk hunters. and i realize the wind is a crap shoot, but some good generalizations there. i appreciate it. any other tips woud be great
 

les welch

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When it comes to elk EVERYTHING is a generalization. IMO NOTHING is for sure. If you only hunt North slopes, or only cow call, or only hunt water you are just limiting yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and have fun. You will learn more about elk, what they do, and have more success.
 

gil_wy

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Imagine you are wearing a fur coat and then think to yourself where you would want to be... If it's hot, northslope = shade... if it's cold, south slopes = warmth... For air currents, remember warm air rises, cold air falls... so generally early it's falling, mid-day it's rising, then falling again in the evening...

But as with anything regarding elk, whatever you expect to happen is likely not going to happen at all... Elk and mountains don't follow rules very well....
 

cnelk

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I would look for good elk spots within the top 1/3 of the north facing slope...

In N Colorado, the thermals drift downslope until about 11am. Then they swirl, and gradually drift uphill until the evening cool air brings the thermals
downslope again.

Its a real PITA...
 

Swede

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Warren Oregon
When the sun comes up it starts to warm the land, but it does not do it evenly. Parts warm up sooner than others and some more than others. Open east facing slopes warm up before the draws, basins, timbered areas, and west facing slopes, etc . The uneven warming of the earth causes swirling wind patterns. Also prevaling wind has its effects. Generally as the land heats up, more and more of the wind goes upslope, until afternoon. At that time parts of the land are in the shadows again causing swirling until eventually the sun goes down. After sun set the air cools again and the wind starts going down slope again until after sunrise. In other words; just pay close attention to what the wind is doing at all times.
 
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bnsafe

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sounds like a generalized rural is the elk are moving into the wind currents, thats great, i needed more of a challenge, lol. not
 

trophyhill

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Tijeras NM
When it comes to elk EVERYTHING is a generalization. IMO NOTHING is for sure. If you only hunt North slopes, or only cow call, or only hunt water you are just limiting yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and have fun. You will learn more about elk, what they do, and have more success.

i agree 100%. i have found elk on every side of the mountain and sides i never new existed until i ventured in to some of those nasty hell holes.
 

teamtoppin

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Eau Claire, WI
I used to be a forester and have fought fires for the state and forest service. I have had special training and full classes on "fire weather."

I think swede and les nailed it, and to sum it up, because of differences in topogrpahy, slope and aspect you get differential heating which causes swirling of the winds. This is why it is harder to hunt where seveal topgraphic features come together and you really need to watch the winds.

when I try to keep it as simple as I can for hunters If you remeber to follow the sun: "Hunt UP with the sun and DOWN with the sun."

IN general you will get mixing winds and 'changeover' at some point mid-morning to afternoon. If I am in good elk country I wil stop hunting after I getthe wind switch and take a break in the afternoon to wait for the winds to shift and then hunt with the wind in my face. Hope this makes sense.

As les said, make sure you pay attention to the times and even write them down if needed. If you make the observations in the area, you'll be suprised at how 'regular' they are with stable weather patterns.

It is this awareness of your natural environment and nature that makes me love the archery hunting.

A last tip is I use simple baking soda in my wind checkers and I carry several for the season . . . and use them obsessively.
 

ElkNut1

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Idaho
View attachment 1199 Bedding areas can be found in multiple type areas, elevation & terrain, too, they can be on any side of the mountain but generally elk seek out the cooler areas during the hotter months such as old growth timber, wet marshy areas or where the sun doesn't have good access to over-heat their already warm bodies! Too, it's common for elk to seek out more open terrain where winds can help keep those pesky insects at bay! It can be a 1-2 acre spot or 100's of acres along a mountain side that is heavily timbered with pines & or Aspen groves, finger ridges, benches, wide open hillsides such as above timberline etc. Most areas have very good escapes routes in case fleeing is needed by an intruder! When looking at google earth & topos it's not real hard to find such bedding areas & escape routes, they go hand in hand!

As far as thermals & their predictability it is normal the currents come down in the morning till 9:30 or so then up the mtn after that as the sun warms the earth & pulls the warm air up. Cloudy/windy days can have an effect on the currents so we need to be aware of this & constantly monitor the wind as we near elk or the area they may be in!

Here's a photo of my son as we both are listening for elk to sound off so we can get a location on them without burning up tons of boot leather for nothing! It's aprox 11 am. Notice to the left of the lake there, you will see several fingers that are solid rock, between those fingers are timbered draws. Those draws will bench out here & there about 2/3 up the mtn, elk can & do bed in any one of them, we sit & listen to hear which one they may be in. We could also wait them out until these elk move again midday & get a direction or pattern of movement. To the left of that photo it basins out in 3 different places right near the top of mtns, those too are great bedding areas as they are cool & have lots of dark timber to protect them from the suns rays. We will call randomly from this spot which is a couple miles in, in hopes of getting elk to answer us! This works very well!


ElkNut1
 
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