Tree Stand Hunting Elk

Swede

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It's early June and we have nearly three months to go before we can hunt elk, so lets have a respectful and friendly discussion. I believe tree stand hunting in archery season is the single most effective means for most hunters to legally shoot elk on public land. With a good location, stand placement and a little patience you can harvest an elk more often from a tree than any other way. It takes me on average about 10 days to kill my elk, but on some years I pass on several before I ever draw on one. What do you think on this matter and why?
 

sk1

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never tried it and i grew up using climbing tree stands in the midwest hunting whitetails.....i have a few spots that probably warrant me using a treestand, but still don't plan on it.....in fact im trying to sell my lone wolf alpha hand climber even though i should probably keep it
 
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Swede

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Umpqua Hunter, not only am I from western Oregon where you are, but I grew up and graduated from Glide. I started my Forest Service career at Glide and Diamond Lake.
 

ohhiitznik

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I would use a treestand if I went to Idaho this year. Colorado I'll be covering ground so I'll be on foot. But if I was going back to Idaho this year or when I do go back I'll bring my treestand for sure. I've got a few places I would put a stand to sneak into and sit all day
 

belly-deep

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I don't know if I'd call it the "single most effective means" for most hunters. I know guys that use tree stands and ground blinds, but they use them in very select places. I don't think most of the elk in Montana are patternable enough to put up a stand.

Certain areas, yes, they work. But not the most effective by a long shot.
 
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Swede

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That elk are not patternable in Montana is an interesting statement. I have heard that too about the elk in Oregon, but as sure as there are bedding areas, trails, water holes, passages and feeding areas in Montana , they are patternable there just like they are here. I have killed 21 elk from a tree stand with a 95%+ success rate, and I have no "honey hole" to wait at. My son hunts about 250 miles from where I do and can get elk from a tree stand. My son-in-law hunts a different State and gets elk from a tree stand.

I did an online survey last year to compare calling success, spot & stalk success, and ground blind/tree stand success. Though not scienfically proof, it sure appeared that the tree stand hunters were getting more elk in a shorter time than any other group, by a long shot.
 
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In God We Trust

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I have always thought about it and wanted to give it a shot. Since I have a rifle bull tag and archery cow tag this year I am going to give it a shot this archery season.
 

noroads

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Feb 24, 2012
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N.Idaho
I'm interested. I've never hunted elk from a stand before but I'm open to the idea and trying new techniques. Can you expound on your methods please? Like areas you've found to be most successful, where do you usually place a stand, multiple stands, time of day and what part of the season etc. I think it's a great topic to discuss and I'd like to learn from others experience.

Adam
 

wapitibob

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While Elk in Eastern Oregon may be patternable, there has been a night and day difference in the pattern behavior of Elk in E. Oregon and central NM where I hunt. As in non existent in Oregon, yet I can tell you within 200 yards where a bull will be at 6:00 am on the 10th of Sept. and every morning after that even when being hunted.
 

Ryan Avery

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I have hunted elk in three states. Tree stand hunting is by far the most effective way to kill an elk with a bow!
 

flytrait

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I agree that tree stands are effective. BUT when it comes to elk hunting I will be on the ground running and gunning calling to the biggest badess bull in the county. At least I hope it goes that way. As far as the most effective way I don't know about that. I believe that if you are in an area that has elk and you know how to communicate to them odds are extremely high for encounters. We normally average a shot opportunity every 1.5-2 days afield on quality animals. Which is better then the average sit time that you posted. The pole that you spoke about is interesting in the results. If you break it down further the question I would have is how many people on that pole are accomplished elk communicaters "callers".

BTW great thread..
 

dotman

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I agree that a treestanf is more effective but part of the thrill I get from elk hunting is being on the ground with them. I get enough time in a treestand hunting whitetails :). Not going to lie though, it has crossed my mind in a few areas I hunt.
 

TJ

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I believe tree stand hunting for elk is very effective. I have a place in Central Oregon where I know if I put in my time I WILL have an opportunity.
I have chosen the last several years to hunt E. Oregon because of the wildereness areas without vehicles, etc. etc.
When hunting my tree stand location I have never not had an opportunity for a shot.
My second year hunting this location I passed on nine bulls waiting for a herd bull. Lots of fun watching elk play around in a wallow or water hole and have no idea you are there. Also very interesting how elk approach a wallow or water hole. My experience is they are generally very cautious.
 
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Swede

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I agree with what Flytrait and others have said. By no means would I suggest that a skilled caller or spot and stalk hunter will not be very effective. I have no way to really determain, from a survey, how the skill of the individual factors into success rates for any particular method. That is the unmeasureable quanity unless you are having consistant success. I can say that due to my poor eyesight, I am more effective in a tree. To be honest, that was a major reason I gravitated to a stand, and started working out that means of hunting elk for myself. Over the years I have learned to enjoy tree stand hunting and have learned how to make it very productive.

I know some skilled callers who have no reason to feel they have compromised their opportunity at success by staying on the ground. Chuck Adams gits-er-done by using the spot & stalk method if I understand correctly. Would anyone bet against him? If you are satisfied with the way you are hunting, don't change. I started this thread to get hunters, who want to increase their hunting success, to consider trying tree stand hunting.

I apologize for any self promotion in this, but for those who have questions on how to effectively prepare, set-up and score from a tree stand I wrote the book "Tree Stand Hunting Rocky Mountain Elk" which can be obtained through www.elknut.com. I have received excellent reviews on the book from numerous bow hunters including the Oregon Bowhunter Magazine. I wrote the book so any reader could start out tree stand hunting with confidence.

Another item I want to write a little on, is this matter on elk being patternable. Wapitibob brings out a good point. Patternable is not only different in varying areas, it differs between elk. I wrote about this some in the book. I have come across elk that I could go to, in a basin where they stayed, and kill them without any problem, but mostly what I do is set up in places where I know I have put the odds heavily in my favor. By doing your homework you can take a lot of the guess work out of deciding where you can kill an elk. Taking an elk from a tree stand is nothing like catching a city bus, where you check the schedule and go sit down and wait for a set amount of time. I set up and wait with confidence that it will pay off. Sometimes I wait longer that I would like to, and sometimes it is over before I have satisfied my need to hunt.
 

dotman

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I think it is great you posted up this thread, we are here to share in our knowledge and even if we do not all hunt the same there are many that will appreciate everyones style. Currently my eyes are good and sit enough here in KS in a treestand that when I head out to CO I just enjoy getting back the style of hunting I grew up with in MT. I see no problem with different styles and think it is great that you have found what works for you and for many others. Just because you see that many people still employ the good old spot and stalk does not mean we think less of a treestand, it is just part of our current hunting style :) I definetly see how a treestand can increase ones percentage.
 
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Ryan Avery

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People kill me when they say "its not as exciting as running and gunning". I have sat in a treestand and had a bull working his way down the hill bugling his [email protected]@ off!
I was shaking so hard I thought I might fall out of the tree. :) Here is a treestand kill.

 

In God We Trust

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Well put Ryan, I have only hunted deer from a stand. I have always hunted elk spot and stalk or run and gun but tree stand hunting is just as exciting as any other.
 
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