First OTC Elk Hunt Failure

wytx

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Learn to read a topo and you'll know just how steep an area is.
Many times I've spent a day in camp resting up. Surprising what you may hear or see there while doing camp chores.
Get there early and get acclimated next time.
Don't give up though.
 

Ucsdryder

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Jan 24, 2015
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Find someone that has been and killed before. Once you learn the ropes, know what to look for they will hit the ground more, and more often. We killed 4 in 3 days, and if you saw the shape of 2 of the guys, you'd laugh. Way more to hunting elk than getting in shape. Way more!

I killed my bull an hour after I set camp. Lucky? Maybe, but this is the 4th time I've done that (killed elk same day camp.set) Way too many things were done correctly to be lucky 4 times. Elk are not hard to kill if you understand them.

Good luck

Grab a leftover tag in Idaho in a unit you’ve never been to, drive out there opening day and set up camp and let’s see you kill that bull within a couple hours. Saying they’re not hard to kill if you understand them is 10% of the story. Hunting the same area for years or even decades makes a huge difference. I had a bull at 40 yards opening morning within 2 minutes of shoot time, then another bull 30 minutes later. Then a bull that night. Then the next morning had one at 35 yards. Maybe I’m just that amazing because I “understand” elk.

But instead of patting myself on the back, let’s be honest. I know my area, and I know every trail, wallow, bedding area, etc. Drop me in a new unit and I’ll be wondering around looking for elk like everyone else until I figure it out.
 

Coveyleader

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Grab a leftover tag in Idaho in a unit you’ve never been to, drive out there opening day and set up camp and let’s see you kill that bull within a couple hours. Saying they’re not hard to kill if you understand them is 10% of the story. Hunting the same area for years or even decades makes a huge difference. I had a bull at 40 yards opening morning within 2 minutes of shoot time, then another bull 30 minutes later. Then a bull that night. Then the next morning had one at 35 yards. Maybe I’m just that amazing because I “understand” elk.

But instead of patting myself on the back, let’s be honest. I know my area, and I know every trail, wallow, bedding area, etc. Drop me in a new unit and I’ll be wondering around looking for elk like everyone else until I figure it out.


You act like I hunt the same spot year after year all alone with no interference from others like some of the other private land "OTC" BS artists that once booted from their spot, they can't kill shit. This year was a shit show, in terms of pressure. Haters will hate, is all I got. But you're right, knowing an area, and knowing elk, is way higher on the scale than "I hiked 5 miles" I'm in shape" etc etc. Elk could give a shit less you can hike 10 miles in a day. Not my problem you have a problem with others success. Do something about it.

@ the OP, find someone who has killed elk. You will learn a ton.
 

Ucsdryder

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You act like I hunt the same spot year after year all alone with no interference from others like some of the other private land "OTC" BS artists that once booted from their spot, they can't kill shit. This year was a shit show, in terms of pressure. Haters will hate, is all I got. But you're right, knowing an area, and knowing elk, is way higher on the scale than "I hiked 5 miles" I'm in shape" etc etc. Elk could give a shit less you can hike 10 miles in a day. Not my problem you have a problem with others success. Do something about it.

@ the OP, find someone who has killed elk. You will learn a ton.
I love other people having success. I didn’t even get an elk tag for archery season because I’m focused on helping others this year. Combined the 3 of them have 1 elk killed in their lives. This the reason we had multiple elk in range and nothing died. So once again your full of shit.

I have a problem with people that thing they are gods gift to the elk woods, definitely not people having success.
 

Antarctica

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Dec 22, 2017
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Maryland
So today I just left Colorado after my first ever elk hunt. I ended up going it solo, driving 18 hours one way across country. I planned for almost 10 months, escouted multiple areas, and worked out hard for 3 months to get in shape. And even after all that preparation I ended up having to go home after 3 days of a planned 5 day hunt because of how bad those mountains kicked my ass. I learned a lot but still feel super disappointed that my hunt ended early. The area that I hunted was super steep with lots of deadfall, and I made the mistake of hiking up the mountain my first day there and believe I got altitude sickness as I couldn’t eat for the next couple days and felt terrible. I have to say I was shocked at how steep and rough the terrain was compared to what it looked like on the maps. I wasn’t expecting to actually kill an elk but was hoping I would at least find some or hear bugles, which I never did. Even though I failed at my goal I am already trying to think of things I could have done differently that can help me next year . Any advice on how to better prepare next time or any stories of how your previous failures let to future success?


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If you went out there, and tried, you succeeded. I was here sitting on my ass reading this forum.
 

Nomoretyrants

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Sep 15, 2021
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Wow! I’d love to get out there too, but sounds like I might have a lot more prep work than I have anticipated, to have a successful hunt.
 

Coveyleader

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I love other people having success. I didn’t even get an elk tag for archery season because I’m focused on helping others this year. Combined the 3 of them have 1 elk killed in their lives. This the reason we had multiple elk in range and nothing died. So once again your full of shit.

I have a problem with people that thing they are gods gift to the elk woods, definitely not people having success.

Clueless and full of hate. Good luck on your rifle hunt.
 

Ucsdryder

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Clueless and full of hate. Good luck on your rifle hunt.
Please expand. Clueless how? Hateful how? Because I called you out for your pompous attitude? Whether is bowsite or Rokslide you prove over and over that you think you’re an elk hunting god. It old and I’m tired of reading it. So please let me know how helping others is clueless and hateful Lord Elk Killer. I’m all ears…
 

Shipanik6

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Jan 11, 2019
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Illinois
So today I just left Colorado after my first ever elk hunt. I ended up going it solo, driving 18 hours one way across country. I planned for almost 10 months, escouted multiple areas, and worked out hard for 3 months to get in shape. And even after all that preparation I ended up having to go home after 3 days of a planned 5 day hunt because of how bad those mountains kicked my ass. I learned a lot but still feel super disappointed that my hunt ended early. The area that I hunted was super steep with lots of deadfall, and I made the mistake of hiking up the mountain my first day there and believe I got altitude sickness as I couldn’t eat for the next couple days and felt terrible. I have to say I was shocked at how steep and rough the terrain was compared to what it looked like on the maps. I wasn’t expecting to actually kill an elk but was hoping I would at least find some or hear bugles, which I never did. Even though I failed at my goal I am already trying to think of things I could have done differently that can help me next year . Any advice on how to better prepare next time or any stories of how your previous failures let to future success?


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I was in the same boat three years ago in Colorado with a buddy and hiking in with 55 pounds on my back made me realize how out of shape I really was. I ruck hiked several days a week after work for a couple months but when you get out of the truck at the trailhead you realize how steep it really is and that altitude having its effect I knew I was in for a world of hurt. Didn't go home early but as soon as we came home empty handed it really was an awakening to how out of shape I've become since my college baseball days. It really motivated me to get back after it and now I am down to almost my high school weight which has really helped my knees and overall health. Whenever I think about skipping a workout or a ruck hike I think about my trip to Colorado and how I never want to feel like that again. That preparation has to be year round. So even though I didn't see any elk and only heard one bugle all week I look at it as a positive experience in that respect. Plus the views, waking up on a mountain every morning sipping my coffee, and gaining valuable experience (mostly where not to find elk) is worth the trip itself.
 

Coveyleader

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Please expand. Clueless how? Hateful how? Because I called you out for your pompous attitude? Whether is bowsite or Rokslide you prove over and over that you think you’re an elk hunting god. It old and I’m tired of reading it. So please let me know how helping others is clueless and hateful Lord Elk Killer. I’m all ears…

Clueless= how many people I've helped take their first elk

Hate = Can't stand other's success

Called me out? Dude, I don't even think elk hunting is that fun. I've had a good run on it. I like to eat them, that's it. They are way down on the fun scale for me. I've just been lucky. Again, don't hate a guy because he kills and elk our two which at this rate, you're about to blow a gasket.

Speaking of BS, been a long time since I've been on there as the Northern Colorado "elk killers", (yourself included) have made that place a joke. Ps...... I've contributed more over there in the past than you ever will! It's a shame what it's become.

I'm out.

@ OP, didn't want this to get derailed the way it did. I'll end with listen to who you want, get back in the saddle we've all been there.
 
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GPool1842

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OK
Elk hunting is hard, man. That’s the biggest thing I have learned in my last 4 seasons. And you can’t convey that to your friends and family back home, they just won’t get it. And everyone has a different experience. People on social media could be living around elk, hunting the same spots year to year, getting some exclusive tags, hunting low country, or not know shit, or have a few years experience, list goes on. Don’t be ashamed of where you are in the elk hunting journey. Keep at it and you will get there. I grew up hunting whitetail in Oklahoma, so I didn’t know shit about elk. I researched for two years before my first trip. First year, drew a CO tag with my brother and he was not able to go. Ended up packing in 6 miles solo for 9 days. I didn’t even talk to another person for that whole time, didn’t even have an inreach then. I learned some mental toughness on that trip. Hit a few different spots OTC on years 2 and 3. Both of those times I ended up going opener for a long trip and then running back for a long weekend toward the end of season. So by the end of year 3, I had been out 5 different times in different areas. Also, each summer I would spend a week backpacking with my wife in different western states too (never backpacking where I was actually going to hunt unfortunately). Every day in the woods is a learning opportunity and that’s how I looked at it. We were around elk, calling elk in, chasing them, etc on a lot of the trips. We learned what elk scat looks like, fresh and old, same with rubs, beds, trails, wallows, etc. We learned about prevailing winds and thermals, when elk bed and feed, etc. we learned that a group of 6 is too much and a group of 4 is too much. We learned who actually wanted to get some and who didn’t. This year, year 4, we got it done for the first time. I called a cow in for my brother and he shot her at 3 yards with a recurve. Pack out and all that comes with that was brutal of course. I never wanted to hunt elk again after we got back to the truck that night (but I’m going back next week to try to fill my tag). But we learned that all the years of grinding, and I mean fuggin really grinding, paid off.

We often hear that only a small percentage of hunters are successful, and it could be 10 years before we make it happen by going just a few days a year, so we just got comfortable with that early on. Of course we had high hopes each trip, but we accepted reality early on. I think that’s big for keeping a strong positive mindset.

Something you could focus on in the off-season could be consuming content and doing things that make you mentally tough. Do some hard shit. For me, that is Jiu Jitsu, unconventional working out, waking up early, anything I DONT want to do. Seek out some suffering. You’re going to get smashed again next year, but if you are mentally tough enough to stay and stick it out when you want to go home, you have improved. Leaving on day 5 instead of 3 next year, that would be a win. All the elk hunting information is out there if you spend the time to consume it. Podcasts, e-courses, etc. you can learn everything you want to know. Check out ‘hunting, butchering, and cooking wild game volume 1: big game’ by Steven Rinella and check out the elk section specifically. It really covers most of the basic information a new elk hunter needs to know, and it has pictures and diagrams. I am ate up with elk hunting, it’s all I listen to and consume throughout the year. I spend a whole year knowing I am going to get my ass kicked in every day I spend hunting in September, but I can’t wait for it.

Give yourself credit for what you did.. you went and did it. And you did it alone which is awesome. You didn’t fail, you learned.
 
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Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
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First of all you can definitely delete the word failure! Let’s put things into perspective. It’ll make you feel better. Success rates in a unit are what they are. Success in bow season is lower across the board for obvious reasons. So what do you think the success rate is for first time diy public land bowhunters? Freakin low! The main factor in a kill on a hunt like that would be luck.

My first elk hunt was public land archery. Guided though. Heard a couple bugles. Only saw one cow and that was for a flash while we were riding horses. I couldn’t stand the unpunched tag so I booked another guided hunt that October also guided. Never saw an elk. But I learned some things about elk and the mountains as well as about myself. I’m sure you did too.

One thing that comes to mind that you didn’t learn is how once you beat yourself up for the first three days it gets easier. You pass over the hump so to speak. Day 1 sucks. Day 2 is worse because it’s the same as day one only you started out much worse. Day 3 doesn’t start out much better but it finishes a bit on the upside. Neutral we’ll say. But after that you’d be surprised what you’re capable of.

Another factor is doing your first hunt solo. Elk hunting is such a mental game and any new hunter will certainly be questioning themselves. So a partner to talk things over with and to maintain your sanity is definitely a big plus on such a test of endurance. And of course….. misery loves company. Solo I might cry myself to sleep but with a partner you can laugh at each other’s pain! Lol

The other thing that crosses my mind is how good was the hunting where you went? I’m sure it was beautiful country where you were but let me tell you brother there’s a lot of elkless elk country out there. And if there’s one thing that will kick your butt it’s going for days without seeing or hearing a damn thing. If there’s one thing that will get your ass in gear in the morning it’s seeing elk the day before. So if you’re going to stick with it you should do everything in your power to find the best area possible to hunt. That might mean switching units. It might mean trying another state. I know a guy who hunted one state for 5 years without ever releasing an arrow. He switched states and showed up mid day to set camp and was at full draw on a bull the same day. And I do know plenty of guys who have killed bulls on their first hunts. But they were with people who had experience in proven areas. The quality of the area was a huge factor. Do not be afraid to make that change. You have nothing to lose at this point. Don’t sweat all the license stuff. Having elk in your area and the ability to hunt them without pressure is a whole other ballgame!!! Buckle down and find a good area one way or another…. Like that 10% who kill elk every year. Good luck…. you have a great humble attitude and I think you have what it takes.
 
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Ucsdryder

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Clueless= how many people I've helped take their first elk

Hate = Can't stand other's success

Called me out? Dude, I don't even think elk hunting is that fun. I've had a good run on it. I like to eat them, that's it. They are way down on the fun scale for me. I've just been lucky. Again, don't hate a guy because he kills and elk our two which at this rate, you're about to blow a gasket.

Speaking of BS, been a long time since I've been on there as the Northern Colorado "elk killers", (yourself included) have made that place a joke. Ps...... I've contributed more over there in the past than you ever will! It's a shame what it's become.

I'm out.

@ OP, didn't want this to get derailed the way it did. I'll end with listen to who you want, get back in the saddle we've all been there.
Jesus, I feel like I’m reading the ramblings of Uncle Biden. Make sure you have someone to go with you in the woods so you don’t get lost.
 

BBob

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Southern AZ
Just remember Google earth is a lying bitch.

Randy
If you use Google Earth Pro on your desktop you can change the Terrain Elevation Exaggeration in the Options to give it a more realistic steepness. I use 1.5 on the setting, I believe 1 is the default.

Tools, Options, Terrain, Elevation Exaggeration
 

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Ucsdryder

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If you use Google Earth Pro on your desktop you can change the Terrain Elevation Exaggeration in the Options to give it a more realistic steepness. I use 1.5 on the setting, I believe 1 is the default.

Tools, Options, Terrain, Elevation Exaggeration
That’s a great idea! I scouted a spot a couple of weeks ago and decided I was going to climb up to the top of the ridge to look over the other side…3 miles later and 2400 feet in elevation climb my girlfriend was ready to murder me on the spot. We made it to the top but I’ll never trust Google earth again!
 
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