Summer elk

Pony Soldier

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Dec 31, 2021
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528
Location
Montana
Elk hunting starts with knowing the differance between summer range and winter range. Winter range can be miles away from the summer range.

I live on the summer range. The elk show up in mid to late May about the same time we see the emergence of the new vegetation. It doesn't have much in the way of much nutrients initially but it is green and tender.

The elk herds are composed of cows, yearlings and occasionaly a young bull that is too stupid to survive without mom's help.

Near the end of May, all the yearlings get kicked out of the herd and start wandering around like a bunch of confused teenagers. The cows stay grouped for a while but one by one start to go off by themselves.

About mid June, we start get glimpses of calves near the cows that feed in our hay fields. Once the calves can keep up with mom then the herds start to reform with the yearlings and the newborns and their mothers.

Around the 4th you start to see a few bull groups near the cows but never with them. The cows are pretty tough on the bulls while they are in velvet.

We have enjoyed the elk orchestra a couple times. That is where the cows change fields but the calves don't know to get through the fences. So mom barks at them and they answer with mews and squeeks. All this echos off the mountains and occasionally a bull bugles in confusion. Sometimes it lasts for up to 40 minutes before everyone gets to the next field.

The wife and I have had some delightful evenings sitting on our balcony watching and listening to the elk performances.

By August they start to move towards the winter range leaving me to cut hay in silence.

Always interesting to watch the hunters show up on the summer range wondering where those summer elk went.
 
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Pony Soldier

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Dec 31, 2021
Messages
528
Location
Montana
I just went out to find out why my dog was barking and wouldn't stop. He is in a kennel and was very irritated. My question why was answered when cow elk barked at us from the adjacent field about 30 yds away.
 

Marble

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May 29, 2019
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2,386
That's got to be quite the singer for you.

IME, the elk I go after stay in the same basic area until weather (cold, snowy with prolonged low temps) comes in.

So the Elk in August are still there in October. They move up and down the slope as weather and foliage fluctuate. But stay in the same general area.

I guess the difference is agriculture vs pure woodlands.

I've only really big moves with the rut and pressure.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 
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Pony Soldier

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Dec 31, 2021
Messages
528
Location
Montana
Tonight was delightful. I was working on the kitchen remodel in a hail storm. I was under cover. Suddenly I can hear cows barking then calves. I go back into the house and the entire front field is covered with elk. A tremendous calf crop even if it is a little late. This morning there were a bunch of yearlings playing tag on dirt piles at the end of the field.

When I got home tonight I had a new herd of well past 70 in my north field. This time if I expect a hay crop I had to walk them out of the field and share them with the neighbors.

On the way to the house there were 8 nice bulls below the road up the hill. They will be gone in a month but they sure are pretty now.
 

CoStick

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May 18, 2021
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1,375
We have seen way more calves than normal this year as well.
 
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