Scouting a new area... what to look for?

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
Ok this is my first year bow hunting and I am doing it for Elk and deer. I live in Oregon and am going east this year with my dad and father in-law. We are potentially going to the Eagle Cap wilderness but that could change because we have a guy who lives over there who is out in the back country a lot and is going to help us updated on what he is seeing and some good spots etc...

My question is for someone like me who is going to be driving 6+ hours to hunt for a week for Elk what are the best ways to do scouting without actually going over there. We are planning a 2 night trip in June to scout, but it is more for us to test our gear, find water, and get used to bivy/ backpacking part of it as this is new to us as well. Any way when you guys are studying maps, google earth etc... what are things you look for? Because of my work schedule and my second son coming in July we are going the last week in September. (Hunting weekends locally before that) You experienced guys what do you do? What have you learned over the years. My Father in-law has been in elk the last 2 years he has gone over there but never been able to seal the deal. I am planning on getting Elk Nut dvd's and some calls here soon and studying that like crazy.

Any tips or tricks is greatly appreciated.
 

sreekers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
1,254
Location
Wyoming
David's book has a ton of information on making the most of your scouting.

When I go scouting, I find the best points I possibly can to see as much country as I can with my eyes. If I find something worth looking at harder, change my position. I usually glass ALL day long.

Hope this helps.
 

Backpack Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
3,144
Location
Some wilderness area, somewhere
I look for likely bedding, feeding, and glassing areas via satellite images, and plat maps. I also look for possible travel corridors, camp locations, entry, exit points, and nearby roads and trails. I will talk with the local game biologist, and try to get as much local info as possible.
 

TJ

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
637
Location
N.E Oregon
If your going to scout the EC in June you may want to check the snow levels first. Some locations may have A LOT of snow still.

Good luck on your hunt.
 
B

bearguide

Guest
in june the elk may not be in the same areas as in sept. as it gets hotter elk will go up higher as long as there is water . look for water and wallows
 

trophyhill

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
1,321
Location
Tijeras NM
If your going to scout the EC in June you may want to check the snow levels first. Some locations may have A LOT of snow still.

Good luck on your hunt.
if this is the case i would follow the snow line. i hear from a reliable elk killer that elk tend to follow the snow line for a few different reasons.
 
OP
cmeier117

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
in june the elk may not be in the same areas as in sept. as it gets hotter elk will go up higher as long as there is water . look for water and wallows
I assume I will not see elk in the same place come September But water and wallows is good and I will be looking for those. I will be marking my gps and Topo maps with water, wallows and any other signs we see.
 
OP
cmeier117

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
If your going to scout the EC in June you may want to check the snow levels first. Some locations may have A LOT of snow still.

Good luck on your hunt.
That is a fear of mine. I will have to make some calls before we leave. I think elevation can get up to 8000 feet or so right?
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
3,004
Location
N Colorado
When I look in new areas to bow hunt elk, the first thing I look for is rubs.
They last a long time and I know they were made during the archery season.
After studying an aerial map, I can quickly dissect a large area and put travels corridors, bedding areas, feeding areas in perspective.
 

Swede

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
363
Location
Warren Oregon
What are you really looking for and how do you plan to hunt? If any elk will do, and you are spot and stock hunting or calling, then look for places that elk will be. Call local ODF&W biologists. Talk to a wilderness ranger or two. Talk to people who have hunted the area. If you are looking for a big bull be sure to find out if there are some around. Most areas in eastern Oregon have very few trully big bulls. If you are into tree stand hunting then find water holes near bedding areas in drier areas. In the more arid places the game trails will often lead you to the water. As someone mentioned, look for rub trees in bedding areas and along game trails. Wallows in early season are fine, but water holes that are totally muddy from frequent use and stink from elk are exciting.
 

wapitibob

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
2,862
Location
Bend Oregon
The Caps will be more like Colorado, high alpine hunting. Lots of glassing and many uphill miles on the boots.
And expect to see people.
 
OP
cmeier117

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
What are you really looking for and how do you plan to hunt? If any elk will do, and you are spot and stock hunting or calling, then look for places that elk will be. Call local ODF&W biologists. Talk to a wilderness ranger or two. Talk to people who have hunted the area. If you are looking for a big bull be sure to find out if there are some around. Most areas in eastern Oregon have very few trully big bulls. If you are into tree stand hunting then find water holes near bedding areas in drier areas. In the more arid places the game trails will often lead you to the water. As someone mentioned, look for rub trees in bedding areas and along game trails. Wallows in early season are fine, but water holes that are totally muddy from frequent use and stink from elk are exciting.
I will kill the first bull I see. I have never shot an Elk so I am hunting for meat. We will be doing some calling and spot and stalk. We are doing a bivy hunt for 5-6 days. I will be calling local ODFW later in the year.
 

Swede

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
363
Location
Warren Oregon
Let me suggest that you do not postpone calling or better yet visiting with a biologist familiar with the area you plan to hunt. During field season many of the most knowledgable outdoor people are hard to make contact with. Since any elk will do, let him or her know that. State when you will be hunting and how flexible you are about where you will hunt. If you backpack into the wilderness you are much less flexible than if you are camped near a road and can drive around. A face to face visit in a Forest Service office could be very productive, but be aware; some employees don't hunt and don't like hunting. Other employees do hunt and are pretty tight lipped about where to go. I would ask for an employee that likes to talk to visitors about hunting. If I was meeting with you, as I did when I worked for the Forest Service, I would ask how you planned to do most of your hunting. Where I would recommend you go for spot and stalk would be different that for calling or even tree stand hunting.
 

TJ

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
637
Location
N.E Oregon
Let me suggest that you do not postpone calling or better yet visiting with a biologist familiar with the area you plan to hunt. During field season many of the most knowledgable outdoor people are hard to make contact with. Since any elk will do, let him or her know that. State when you will be hunting and how flexible you are about where you will hunt. If you backpack into the wilderness you are much less flexible than if you are camped near a road and can drive around. A face to face visit in a Forest Service office could be very productive, but be aware; some employees don't hunt and don't like hunting. Other employees do hunt and are pretty tight lipped about where to go. I would ask for an employee that likes to talk to visitors about hunting. If I was meeting with you, as I did when I worked for the Forest Service, I would ask how you planned to do most of your hunting. Where I would recommend you go for spot and stalk would be different that for calling or even tree stand hunting.
Good advice Swede. I've found the FS to be more accessible than ODFW. These guys can be very hard to get ahold of.
 

Ross

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,537
Location
Liberty Lake, WA
I would be using google earth a tremendous amount, along with topo maps. Look for trail systems and then find the area between the trail systems that are farthest from any trail. Once you have nailed down these areas look at the north slopes that are 1/2 down the mt along where benches and seeps are. As noted once your in the area rubs are a tell tale sign that rutting activity occurs in this area.
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
3,004
Location
N Colorado
I like to toggle between FlashEarth and GoogleEarth.
FlashEarth is better quality but doesnt pan/tilt like GE does
 

AlpineAthlete

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
44
Scour Google Earth for areas that are quite a bit greener than others as that will help locate seeps/small ponds for potential water and wallows. I've also found topo maps to be very useful for this. Locate the head waters of creeks and also scout the areas above this for small seeps and it will also show ponds that may not be visible on Google Earth. Also look for saddles and deep timber that the elk will frequent. Personally, the way I would scout it would be to glass early and late in the day, and burn some boot leather checking out these potential seeps/ponds, past activity on saddles, and rubs in the timber. Remember, if you hunt the end of August/very early September, the elk could still be for the most part in summer mode. Of course Elknut would be the best to address this question :)

Best of luck
Tyler
 
OP
cmeier117

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
Because of my second kid getting here early july I am going the last week in September no matter what. ;) Making it as easy on my wife as possible. 5-6 nights is the plan. I will be hunting weekends for Roosevelt's before I leave so I may punch my tag on one of the 800+ lb monsters I see every year during deer rifle season. ;)
 

AlpineAthlete

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
44
They'll probably have moved lower from where you will see them this summer, but you never know, elk can be found rutting above timberline in most every western state. I'm guessing you have read Cameron Hane's book. He likes to spot and stalk that country and his bulls have looked to be killed in the timber.

Tyler
 
Top