Worried About Hunting Pressure In OTC Units?

ElkNut1

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Don't concern yourself with lots of hunters, hunt where they aren't! Most will start at access points, avoid busy ones & you will be alone in many cases. In time as season progresses elk will also avoid the pressured areas & seek areas most hunters are not at! Look for elk where they are during your hunt not where you want elk to be! Big difference there! Find steep rugged Timbered/Aspen or Brushy country, streams or small rivers to be crossed with seemingly no access, these are where most hunters would drive right by because of difficulty & consider starting your hunt in areas as that, plenty of elk can be found within hearing distance of dirt & paved roads! Be in Elk Shape!

Have a topo of the area so you can see if trails or old roads are on the other side of these mountains, there will be plenty of solitude areas where meadows, parks & basins can be found away from the hordes! Elk can be within calling distance for location purposes in these areas. A high note bugle from you can reach over a mile away, it's a great way to locate from vantage areas & save unneeded wear & tear on boot leather. Your optics can also save you additional wear & tear!

As a sidenote, you do not need to bivy hunt to find & kill elk!

ElkNut1
 

Flashmo

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Well put.

I have been hunting 33 seasons as of this year, primarily OTC for deer and elk on public land. I figured out around age 15 that I didn't want to hunt "with" the family any more...I headed out a couple hours early and went to where I saw the deer head when other hunters walked through the area.

Year round when hiking or scouting, my thoughts are not "oh, look, I see an animal right here...", I think " where is that animal going to head when it sees me, or that dog walker coming down that trail over there".

Try to use the increased pressure of more hikers, hunters, trucks, and ATVs to your advantage and figure out where the animals will head on "Labor Day" weekend, not where they were hanging out on August 5th.
 

Josh Wright

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I don't have the experience the previous posters have, but I would recommend hunting a unit regularly so you know their annual and seasonal patterns.

I've killed 3 bulls in the last 3 years hunting 8 days. All the same unit with one muzzleloader draw tag and 2 OTC 2nd rifle tags.

Knowing where the hunters push the elk is a must for later seasons.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

Crippledsledge64

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Sounds like good advice! I'm heading out on my first elk hunt this fall and hunting pressure is definitely one of the things i'm most concerned about. Do you ever get in the thick stuff where no one else seems to want to go only to find out others had the same idea?
 

Coveyleader

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One thing to note, when an area gets blown out, that area can be huge. I think sometimes people under estimate the size of an area that can get blown out. I just had a look at an area I hunt early in the year. It's very rugged, but has alot of roads in it. I just measured the area and its 8 miles long, by 5 miles deep. The place is crawling with elk all summer. You have about 3-4 days of elk hunting and that whole area is smoked.

From there, I go to where alot of those elk go until they get pushed out again. Rugged and steep will keep alot of guys out, but there are always some and depending on the size of an area and how it's hunted, it can get used up quick.

I'm always amazed what you think is a remote, steep and deep place, nasty, hell on earth, and you see tree-stands, and sign of others.
 

Flashmo

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Sounds like good advice! I'm heading out on my first elk hunt this fall and hunting pressure is definitely one of the things i'm most concerned about. Do you ever get in the thick stuff where no one else seems to want to go only to find out others had the same idea?
Yes. They are usually really good guys if you end up in a spot where you can talk for a moment.
 

Ross

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For 37 seasons all I have hunted is OTC units. Hunters have come and gone. I used to worry about other hunters but no longer I simply out work most and know the country very well. Some things we can't control, I worry about what I can control. Fitness, shooting ability, calling, staying positive and staying prepared and ready👍 5.5 months and counting.
 

Elkfitness

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For 37 seasons all I have hunted is OTC units. Hunters have come and gone. I used to worry about other hunters but no longer I simply out work most and know the country very well. Some things we can't control, I worry about what I can control. Fitness, shooting ability, calling, staying positive and staying prepared and ready 5.5 months and counting.
This!
 

Ross

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You find the country elknut noted and finding elk is typically not an issue, killing them maybe but you will be into elk👍 This is why most of my pack outs are downhill, peeps don't like to go uphill day after day if there is no road above it is sweaty, difficult and hardwork.
 
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BGLEMIN

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You find the country elknut noted and finding elk is typically not an issue, killing them maybe but you will be into elk This is why most of my pack outs are downhill, peeps don't like to go uphill day after day if there is no road above it is sweaty, difficult and hardwork.
So glad you posted this!! I posted this one liner on another forum and got chastised to no end, "Hunt up, pack down".

I've found so many great day hunts by climbing the crap out of slopes that can't be easily accessed from above, or are too treacherous to descend but awesome in the middle 1/3. Most of these spots are right off a highway, the downside is hearing traffic all day.
 

Ross

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Yep bglemin you find the sweet spot and elk can and will be found in that uphill elk zone👍 By the way my one plate on my fj is BUGLEMN👊
 

BGLEMIN

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There's a lot of good that come with hunting OTC. As much as I'd like to have the woods to myself; I've become grateful that there are road hunters, 1/2 mile hunters, and those that skirt the rim. In fact all those hunters drive the quarry right where I want them. Pressure is never negative, it positively magnifies the challenge.
 

BGLEMIN

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Sounds good on paper, but I call BS on that last post.
I like a good challenge...OTC sales at Wal-Mart for elk in the units I hunt in CO are the highest in the entire state. Stepping out on a limb, the San Juan National Forest is the hardest hunted stretch of public land in the intermountain west. I'm not throwing any BS out, the way others hunt puts game right where I hunt...you be the judge!
 

BGLEMIN

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Coveyleader, perhaps you weren't calling bs on my gratitude that others hunt the way they do. And if so, why would you find it to be bs when someone says "pressure is never negative "?? It's not, pressure will be positive for someone. I just didn't add the caveat that it will always work for you??
 

BGLEMIN

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Shout out for all OTC hunters in Washington, I've never seen pressure like I have here.
 

cnelk

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I agree about pressure being positive. And like posted above, you gotta know your area really really well for it to work for you and not against you.

This will be the 28th year Ive hunted popular OTC areas.
There is very little I havent covered. It seems each year the elk are in different places, but I still can find them.

In 2015, we killed 4 elk by using pressure related to the area.
If the hunters zigged, we zagged.
The hunters will come and go, some do this, some do that.
You just have to adjust

Hunt up /pack down is great advice.
Not only for packing but for morning thermals

Hunting popular OTC areas is about finding 'pockets' of elk.
There may not be many elk in those pockets, but it only takes one to be successful

If you're being successful on OTC public land, there is something to be said for that.
 

Coveyleader

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If pressure is a positive, why are there tons of aricles, how to's etc. on how to get into the back country? Nobody is packing in to join the gong show, they're looking to avoid it. When your looking to actually hunt animals that act normal, pressure is the first thing you need to avoid. Hunting animals on escape routes is not my idea of fun, to each their own elk on the ground or not.

Areas littered with people/pressure shut elk up big time. Go two ridges over, private land adjacent, bulls are tearing it up.

I get the know your unit, know what the elk do and go if pressured, but hunting pressure sucks, and I'll keep moving to avoid it.
 
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