Why?

Swede

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Why do some hunters kill elk almost every year, while others rarely do? When I was a kid I killed far more deer than my dad and brother. It actually became embarrsing. My skill and equipment was no better than theirs. Mom thought I had a lucky gun. I hunt with guys that kill elk every year out of my stands, while some never do. We move around trading stand locations, so it is not that one stand is getting all of the action. There is some great reading material on how to hunt, but that does not change things for some. I know some people who read the book I wrote, who had success right away, while others saw no difference. I will post again here later, but I would like your thoughts.
 

dotman

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My guess, if all factors are equal is body odor, some people have more of a funk that may scare animals sooner, heck i don't know :)
 

sreekers

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I don't hunt out of stands, but where I hunt there are several factors in my mind:

-Most guys don't get a mile from the road when they walk in because they don't want to go to the rough areas where the elk live.
-Many who do go far enough aren't there at the right times to find them, and then get there with time enough to put a real stalk on them.
-A lot of guys won't hunt after the opening week. Hunting gets a lot better after that first week, the elk quit being so spooky because there isn't nearly the pressure.
-
 

Rick Seymour

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Many.....leave before its dark and try to "stalk" their way back to their sleeping bag. I try to spend more time in the woods, days that is. I have been asked " How come I always see your pickup and never see you? "
 

sreekers

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Many.....leave before its dark and try to "stalk" their way back to their sleeping bag. I try to spend more time in the woods, days that is. I have been asked " How come I always see your pickup and never see you? "
I was a kid when I read an article from Jim Zumbo and he said something to the effect of, show me an elk hunter who kills an elk 3 out of 7 years and I will show you a hunter who never sees his camp in daylight.
 

Ross

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You are are nailing it on the head! 20% of the elk hunters kill 80% of the elk year in and year out. Elk hunting is about effort, dedication, desire, work and knowledge of the country...if you routinely want to kill elk and especially bulls, you burn up a lot of batteries in your headlamp..many just don't get far enough from roads, nor are they in the prime locations at daybreak. You can't be afraid of the boogie man, you need to leave early and stay late and do what most don't want too, incuding training for us older dudes in the off season. That is one reason I enjoy it so much, because I seldom see much competition during the best times of the day. 154 days and counting, but who is counting:)
 

ElkNut1

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Ross, you took the words right off my fingertips bud! when you wrote this. ----- "Elk hunting is about effort, dedication, desire, work and knowledge of the country" ---- Everything else will happen when an individual is passionate about these very things! The key word was DESIRE!!!!! Huge difference in thinking you hope you get lucky instead of you know something is going to hit the dirt because you won't have it any other way! Guys who are in the 80% find ways to get it done, no excuses!

ElkNut1
 

trophyhill

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when did 10% of the hunters killing 90% of the elk year in year out go to 20%/80%? is that with cows added in? i'm good at killin cows :) i would agree with desire. i'm no great elk killer "yet" but i've had elk in the freezer 3 out of 4 years and deremination and desire have alot to do with that.
 
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david long

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"Elk hunting is about effort, dedication, desire, work and knowledge of the country"

I would agree with this comment, whether it be deer, elk or any species for that matter, but I would add one thing that is as important as any of these, if not more important - Behavioral knowledge of the critters you are hunting...........if all things are equal, the guy who knows the most about his quarry will have the most success!
 

trophyhill

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"Elk hunting is about effort, dedication, desire, work and knowledge of the country"

I would agree with this comment, whether it be deer, elk or any species for that matter, but I would add one thing that is as important as any of these, if not more important - Behavioral knowledge of the critters you are hunting...........if all things are equal, the guy who knows the most about his quarry will have the most success!
do you have the book "North American Elk, Ecology and Management"? alot of guys really don't care "why" an elk does what it does thru out the year. if they can call them in and kill them that's all alot of guys are interested in. not caring so much that big bulls are above timberline or "more" open areas in July/August because their antlers are sensative or knowing when bulls put on most of their antler growth. most just aren't interested in that stuff because to them its all about talking and interacting with the animals during the rut. nothing wrong with that imho. i like to know the who why what when and where though along with the other stuff. and this book tells you all of this stuff from such esteemed authors as Geist amongst others.
 

les welch

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It comes down to one thing, and only one thing. WANT. How bad do you want it? If you have the want you will do what it takes to a) hunt where animals are b) understand the animal and its habits c) be in shape to do what it take physically AND mentally to get it done. If you really have the WANT you WILL figure it out. I don't go into any hunt half-a$$ed or thinking I may not punch a tag. When I get out of the truck it's game on, and I know it will only be a matter of time before I make an opportunity for myself. Year around I'm working on what happens Sept-Jan.
 

Ross

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I'm with you Trophyhill! There is a lot more to Elk than just hunting them and that is one reason I am in the woods each spring pursuing their cast offs. I get to view them and learn their country to a greater extent than just during hunting season. Let me check my elk library....The elk of North America, The elk hunter, elkheart, radical elk hunting strategies, elk talk, among the elk, trophy elk hunters, calling all elk, bugling for elk, elk hunting witht the experts and season of the elk. All great reading and full of insights and perspectives on the life of an elk and how to pursue them!
 

dotman

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Well crap i read this wrong, though he was talking about treestands and guys that put the same effort/dedication into the hunt. I think 75% of the hunters are out there just to relax and have a good time. The successful one do all of the above. I also believe a ton really do not want to kill an elk because they don't want to pack one out, yeah they talk big but in the end they just don't want it to be more work then a vacation and hanging out telling lies is what they enjoy.
 

sreekers

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I love finding elk in the summer(allmost as much as mulies), and getting to know their habits. My favorite part of the season though is the rut when they are talking etc.
 

buglelk

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Ross pretty much nailed the factors that go into successful elk hunting on the head. The seminar series we are doing this year is "Elk Hunting with Confidence", and it follows those same lines of thinking - being confident in your knowledge of elk, in your scouting, in your physical conditioning, in your calling, etc. Confidence doesn't come by picking up a bow on August 29th, or by wandering aimlessly around in elk country. It comes from preparation, desire, and hard work.

With success rates in the single digit to low teens, that means an elk hunter (on average) kills an elk every 8-10 years. Realistically, with many hunters killing an elk every year (or multiple elk in a year), the odds for average hunters is probably closer to once every 12-15 years. If you take a look at the guys you know who are killing elk consistently, what is the one thing they possess that most other hunters don't? We can't lump it all into being a great caller, or being a great shot with a bow, or being a marathon runner. Consistent elk hunters come from every state and every walk of life. The one thing all the consistent elk hunters I know possess is confidence that they will be successful. Not arrogance, but an attitude that they will succeed when they step into the elk woods. And that confidence comes from preparation, desire, and hard work. The really cool part of this is that you don't have to be a great caller or shooter or runner to be successful. The more you commit to your goal, the higher the chances of being successful, but talent or natural abilities aren't exclusive to consistent elk hunters.

Confidence brings success, and preparation, desire, and hard work bring confidence. Why choose failure when success is an option?

Corey Jacobsen
Elk101.com - Extreme Elk Magazine
 
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Swede

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Thanks to all who posted on this thread. I hope it is a help to all who want to take their hunting to a higher level. If others know of key factors that hinder success (taking elk), or if those who have already posted think of something else, please feel free to add to the thread. When I wrore the "Tree Stand Hunting Rocky Mountain Elk" book I mentioned how important I believe confidence is for a hunter. Like Corey mentioned above, it is not arrogance. Confidence is built on a solid foundation. Arrogance is based on nothing. Confidence has considered all factors even the element of chance and says I can get er done. One item I have found that gets in many hunters way of sucess, is they seem programmed to failure. At the moment of truth they always manage to mess up or something happens so that they walk away empty handed. Prepare yourself for all the shot opportunities you will have. Learn all you can about hunting your quary. Have confidence and be assertive. Know, you can do it and hunt accordingly.
 

cnelk

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Many times I have been called 'Lucky' in my success regarding hunting.

My definition of 'Luck' is... Meeting opportunity with preparedness

Good 'Luck' :)
 

slim9300

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Recently a friend of mine (who happens to be a fellow elk-o-holic) asked this question...

in your "minds eye" what is the single most important factor for hunting and (in some cases :) ) killing elk? is it your calling ability? your stalking ability? your prowess? your knowledge of elk? your knowledge of a given area? how bout being in shape? or anything else? what works and what is that 1 thing most important to you?
This was my answer for what it's worth...

To kill your elk year in and year out, there is no way you are going to be successful on public land without dogged persistence or better termed as determination. This is by far the number one factor for being successful, however some of the most persistent or determined elk hunters are still not very successful. Figure that one out. =)

I guess the point is that even if you are a stud at the number one contributing factor of killing elk (in my opinion), it doesn't mean you will kill your elk every year. You have to be well rounded. I do believe that most hunters can learn what that means, but I don't think it always comes with experience alone.

Someday I hope to have all the "answers" of elk hunting with my bow, but somehow I don't think that will happen. =)
 

trophyhill

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Conlan, you are well on your way to killing your target goal of 50 elk. I know from talking to you that you have what it takes. When a guy is willing to hike over to the next ridge when most others have started back to camp, or hike in 10 miles like you guys do to sleep with the elk, that is desire and confidence and curiosity and drive and alot of other adjectives needed. I think they call that heart my friend and few have it. Thats why the number is split at 20/80 or 10/90 whatever that # actually is.
 
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