Elk Scouting Question

Kyle Wheeler

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Jun 19, 2019
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Florida
I recently went scouting for this upcoming elk season. My brother has the tag for first rifle and we are hunting CO. I noticed there were bulls with the herd we saw currently.

I consider myself beginner to intermediate and this is my first time scouting in the summer.

I wanted to know if anyone has experience with seeing herds in the summer compared to the fall? Is it typically the same bulls with the herd in the summer and fall? Or are there other bulls that join up?

Also typically does antler growth stop in July or August? They were velvet.

We were encouraged to find them and I realize they will probably move before now and then.

Any feedback regarding this would be helpful!
 

bsnedeker

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Usually any bulls with cows this time of year are spikes and 2 year olds. They will be kicked out of the herd by the bigger bill's as the rut gets closer.

There are exceptions to that but that's how it normally works.

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ElkNut1

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Idaho
Antler growth can continue into Aug for sure. By mid Aug onward bulls will start rubbing the velvet off.

Odds are you are glassing these elk up from roads or off of maintained Trails, many hunters will be on those in Sept.

Do not count on those same elk to be in the general vicinity, bowhunters will harvest some & the remainder will be pushed around avoiding hunting pressure. Too, feed can dry up on those open slopes moving elk to better restaurants!

This time of year I'd be more concerned with getting a good Lay Of The Land over where elk may be found later in Oct.. Too, look for camp spots & Trail Systems so you know where most hunters are camped. Then you can find areas where elk may be pushed to come your Oct. rifle hunt. In many cases you will need to locate areas that see little hunter pressure! Good Luck!

ElkNut
 

Marble

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Antler growth can continue into Aug for sure. By mid Aug onward bulls will start rubbing the velvet off.

Odds are you are glassing these elk up from roads or off of maintained Trails, many hunters will be on those in Sept.

Do not count on those same elk to be in the general vicinity, bowhunters will harvest some & the remainder will be pushed around avoiding hunting pressure. Too, feed can dry up on those open slopes moving elk to better restaurants!

This time of year I'd be more concerned with getting a good Lay Of The Land over where elk may be found later in Oct.. Too, look for camp spots & Trail Systems so you know where most hunters are camped. Then you can find areas where elk may be pushed to come your Oct. rifle hunt. In many cases you will need to locate areas that see little hunter pressure! Good Luck!

ElkNut
This right here!

Traveling through wyoming today and saw a few herds. Only spikes and cows in the groups.

Big mature bulls have been known to move and travel on the same dates to the same locations miles away from where they summer. Or not. Just depends.

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Gerbdog

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As other have stated already here, its awesome you got to see some elk this summer but i wouldnt count on them being there when the Fall comes around, things will change and the elk will move (unless you saw them on a massive private ranch in which case.... they may still be there in the fall haha). When i go scouting in the summer i look for pre-rut and rut activity areas... there may or may not be any fresh elk sign around at all. Wallows, a high density of rubs, heavily used trails... things that tell me sometime around September a bull or two likes to hang out here and ... fingers crossed he wasnt killed and decides he's gonna visit again this year. Better have multiple spots like this... elk do what they want or may have been killed.
 

GreyGhostBuster

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When scouting for elk, I have rarely ever seen a bull that I saw during the summer in the fall. Except for in desert units. What I have found to be successful is scouting for the habitat. Evidence of old rutting grounds, wallows, etc. After that, the scouting habitat still applies, in the sense I will keep in mind where I saw the richest foliage and water sources. When the rut is over and elk are settling back into the woods and their new herds, they tend to seek out that foliage that was once the greenest in the summer. Even if everything is crunchy and dry, that once greenest stuff still holds more nutritional value to them. Also, pre-rut and post-rut diets are different. Their diet seems to incorporate more woodier species the later the seasons go. Just my thoughts and opinion in my experience's, cheers!
 
OP
Kyle Wheeler

Kyle Wheeler

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Usually any bulls with cows this time of year are spikes and 2 year olds. They will be kicked out of the herd by the bigger bill's as the rut gets closer.

There are exceptions to that but that's how it normally works.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
Thank you! That makes sense. Really appreciate the feedback!
 
OP
Kyle Wheeler

Kyle Wheeler

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The real problem is the aliens.


They come in and suck them all up few days before season.
Haha I’ll be watching fo
Antler growth can continue into Aug for sure. By mid Aug onward bulls will start rubbing the velvet off.

Odds are you are glassing these elk up from roads or off of maintained Trails, many hunters will be on those in Sept.

Do not count on those same elk to be in the general vicinity, bowhunters will harvest some & the remainder will be pushed around avoiding hunting pressure. Too, feed can dry up on those open slopes moving elk to better restaurants!

This time of year I'd be more concerned with getting a good Lay Of The Land over where elk may be found later in Oct.. Too, look for camp spots & Trail Systems so you know where most hunters are camped. Then you can find areas where elk may be pushed to come your Oct. rifle hunt. In many cases you will need to locate areas that see little hunter pressure! Good Luck!

ElkNut
This is excellent thank you! I will continue to focus on routes and campsites. Everything was so lush but I’m sure that will be different in October. Thanks again very helpful!
 
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Kyle Wheeler

Kyle Wheeler

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This right here!

Traveling through wyoming today and saw a few herds. Only spikes and cows in the groups.

Big mature bulls have been known to move and travel on the same dates to the same locations miles away from where they summer. Or not. Just depends.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
Thank you! Very helpful I didn’t realize this was typical behavior in the summer!
 
OP
Kyle Wheeler

Kyle Wheeler

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As other have stated already here, its awesome you got to see some elk this summer but i wouldnt count on them being there when the Fall comes around, things will change and the elk will move (unless you saw them on a massive private ranch in which case.... they may still be there in the fall haha). When i go scouting in the summer i look for pre-rut and rut activity areas... there may or may not be any fresh elk sign around at all. Wallows, a high density of rubs, heavily used trails... things that tell me sometime around September a bull or two likes to hang out here and ... fingers crossed he wasnt killed and decides he's gonna visit again this year. Better have multiple spots like this... elk do what they want or may have been killed.
It was really fun seeing them but this makes a ton of sense. A lot will happen between now and October. I will definitely keep these tips in mind thanks again.
 
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Kyle Wheeler

Kyle Wheeler

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Messages
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When scouting for elk, I have rarely ever seen a bull that I saw during the summer in the fall. Except for in desert units. What I have found to be successful is scouting for the habitat. Evidence of old rutting grounds, wallows, etc. After that, the scouting habitat still applies, in the sense I will keep in mind where I saw the richest foliage and water sources. When the rut is over and elk are settling back into the woods and their new herds, they tend to seek out that foliage that was once the greenest in the summer. Even if everything is crunchy and dry, that once greenest stuff still holds more nutritional value to them. Also, pre-rut and post-rut diets are different. Their diet seems to incorporate more woodier species the later the seasons go. Just my thoughts and opinion in my experience's, cheers!
Thank you so much. Had no idea their pre and post diet was different. Looks like first rifle is pushed back this year so I’m thinking it will be more post rut. Really appreciate the help!!
 

Marble

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Thank you so much. Had no idea their pre and post diet was different. Looks like first rifle is pushed back this year so I’m thinking it will be more post rut. Really appreciate the help!!
Yesterday I scored an area I have never been. I have a tag there for archery this year. I located an area about 150 yardss long, flat, with timber and water and a dozen rubs from last year. There was not a lot of fresh sign, but since it's July, I'm not worried. If there are bulls rubbing in there in September is all I need to know.

I also located seversl animals up high. Above tree line. To me, this is normal. I'm looking for where they will be, not where they are at.

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Poser

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Summer scouting is fun and exiting because you see a lot of elk and fresh elk sign everywhere. Roll back in the same area Come Sept/Oct and it’s usually void of any fresh sign. They will disperse to tight pockets of security and often push down into thicker habitat where they are far less visible.
 
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