Summer Scouting for Elk

Niceandkozy8

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
60
Hey Guys,

I was out in Eastern Oregon this past weekend scouting a new spot in a unit I have hunted for the past 3 years. We bumped a herd of about 50 elk (mostly cows with 2 or 3 smaller bulls). My question is do you find in your past experience that elk seem to stay in the same general area in summer all the way into the fall? Or do you think that by the time September rolls around they have moved off into other areas? That was the biggest herd of elk I have seen in that unit up to this point. The other spot I hunt I have seen elk but never that many all herded up. I will be going back hopefully 2 more times before season starts to continue to scout and formulate a plan for the upcoming season. Just wondering if you locate elk this early in the summer, what are the chances they stick around the same area all the way up until season.
 

nphunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
861
Location
Oregon
If you are out opening weekend this year there is a good chance the bulls will still be near their summer range but once they get the itch they disappear.

I ran into this bull opening weekend with another bull last year, antlers were still white from rubbing the velvet off.

IMG_6745.jpg

This 5x6 was already cowed up by opening weekend and a few miles away from where i took that picture.

IMG_6465.jpg

I think that you are better off finding cows this time of year but especially with the late spring a lot of the elk will be in other places come fall. Typically all of my trial cameras go silent about mid August and I start seeing a lot of the elk i have been watching all summer on the mountain top 5-10 miles away in the valley with the big herds of cows. Last year got into the same bull two days in a row and 5 miles apart, i didn't even realize i was hunting the same elk until he stood there raking a tree 30 yards away.

If you are hunting isolated areas I think the odds of elk still being there are much higher, i have a couple spots where the elk are in specific drainage's and typically never leave almost year around and the same bulls are there year after year. I normally never see any big mature bulls in there though, I think the high country is a little different. Elk up high in Eastern OR seem to be nomadic and cover huge tracts of land making huge circles, they just move, eat, sleep and repeat with no real apparent patterns. Elk at lower elevations with higher human interactions seem to be on a mission every day to get from point A to point B. You can try to ambush but if you get behind them you are SOL, I sometimes will still hunt their bedding areas in these spots with decent success in opportunities. Up high unless you are a complete animal you need to have a fair amount of luck to catch the elk in the right drainage at the right time, otherwise you are covering a lot of elevation and miles to try to get back on them.

This is just my experience in EO, others probably have different experience. Elk like elk country and don't like to be bothered by people, that doesn't mean they wont hang out right next to a main road while hunters drive right past though. They just don't tend to be in areas where people roam around for long. Nasty creek bottoms, steep nasty north slopes, wind blown dead fall thick ridge tops all are good places to find elk in people country. Up higher i normally find just the opposite.

Good luck this year, hope you can find your elk come Sept.
 
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Niceandkozy8

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
60
nphunter those are awesome pics! Unfortunately where I saw those elk was near by a main road that I believe will be open during the season. About 1-2 miles away is a real nasty set of steep canyons that I was scouting before bumping those elk. I may have to try to spend some more time checking that area out because like you mentioned once the pressure from other hunters increases they will find a hole to get away from people. The unit I hunt seems to have a lot of opens roads during the season making isolated areas kind of difficult to find. Thanks for your input!
 

Bar

Banned
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
1,623
Location
Colorado
I'd check it out come hunting season, but i'd also have a few more spots you can go to.
 
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