Worried About Hunting Pressure In OTC Units?

cnelk

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Mar 1, 2012
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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."

Yepper. And now with that fad the elk have adjusted to that kind pressure. [I have that T-shirt]

My process is to put in for Pref Points and burn them when I can, to enjoy a hunt in 'less pressured' areas.
Until then I hunt OTC, with pressure.

Im out to kill elk, if they are near the road, cool.
If not I'll go find them - regardless of pressure.

I keep moving to find elk, not to avoid pressure
 

svivian

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Mar 16, 2016
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Of all the hunters I know who are successful each year, I have never once heard them say to find areas where people aren't. They always say find the elk. If you are so worried about getting away from people you are not focusing on the main goal of elk hunting...
 

Coveyleader

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Of all the hunters I know who are successful each year, I have never once heard them say to find areas where people aren't. They always say find the elk. If you are so worried about getting away from people you are not focusing on the main goal of elk hunting...
Sorry, but that is just bad info. The flip side is, most elk will be where there are no people when dealing with public ground OTC units.

Hunt the way you want, setting up on a waterhole only to have guys walk in on me at prime time isn't what I call a good time.

Waiting at the mouth of a draw to move up at the golden hour only to have guys drop in from above is not what I call maximizing my time.

Hunting quiet elk due to pressure is not my idea of fun neither is setting up treestands overlooking trails etc.

I know what I want in an elk hunt, and I go out of my way to find it. The end goal is an elk or two in the freezer, not making excuses on why I didn't arrow an elk said year. Avoiding people in the field is a critical part of making that happen "For Me".
 

Bubblehide

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I´ve found and harvested elk in high pressure areas, but every single time it was either on opening morning, or in an overlooked spot (once on a thickly treed bench literally 30 yards off the main graded dirt road). But, keep in mind, that elk can typically cover miles of country in a day, when there is no pressure, throw pressure in the mix, and that number of miles often goes up exponentially. From my experience, once the pressure hits an area, the majority of elk move out, to much more isolated grounds. So in short, I´m with the others here, get away from the crowds. The few times I have hunted with the crowds, the elk that have stuck around have been primairly imature animals, and significantly fewer animals in the area.

I don´t see anything wrong with taking an imature animal. But those animals that do stick around are usually exceptionally skittish. Thus, much more difficult to hunt, except for the fact that they are imature, and make mistakes that mature animals do not. If your going to hunt with the crowds, and continue to do so, I suggest you try to figure out some paterns, escape routes... to hopefully be in the right place when they do come through, but don´t expect to have the advantage of time, because the odds are they will be doing just what I suggested, moving through, rather than sticking around.
 

Grundy53

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Washington State
Of all the hunters I know who are successful each year, I have never once heard them say to find areas where people aren't. They always say find the elk. If you are so worried about getting away from people you are not focusing on the main goal of elk hunting...
Well said.

Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
 

njdoxie

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Apr 1, 2014
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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.
What? Less pressure is always better...I thought....at least for me it is.
 
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BGLEMIN

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What? Less pressure is always better...I thought....at least for me it is.
I agree with you. I never said I thought pressure was better. Although I did say it puts game right where I want them. Which means I'm a pocket hunter, I hunt pockets that hold game because they're isolated from the pressure.
 

svivian

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Colorado
I'm not sure what I said can be bad info when it's the truth and an opinion like yours is. Maybe you disagree but it's not bad info, everyone hunts differently. On the flip side to your thoughts... If everyone had to move away from each other to kill an elk we're gunna run out of real estate quick... there are more hunters every year so the bottom line is your gunna have to learn to hunt with pressure wether you want to or not. Otherwise buck up the money and hunt private. You might disagree with my thought but every year I'm in elk because I look for elk and I hunt them not because I get away from people.
 
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njdoxie

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Of all the hunters I know who are successful each year, I have never once heard them say to find areas where people aren't. They always say find the elk. If you are so worried about getting away from people you are not focusing on the main goal of elk hunting...
Hmmm, very interesting take, I might learn something from this. I always thought getting away from people and finding elk were the same thing....maybe it's not.
 

njdoxie

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I'm not sure what I said can be bad info when it's the truth and an opinion like yours is. Maybe you disagree but it's not bad info, everyone hunts differently. On the flip side to your thoughts... If everyone had to move away from each other to kill an elk we're gunna run out of real estate quick... there are more hunters every year so the bottom line is your gunna have to learn to hunt with pressure wether you want to or not. Otherwise buck up the money and hunt private. You might disagree with my thought but every year I'm in elk because I look for elk and I hunt them not because I get away from people.
Good points...different strokes for diff folks. And I'm amazed at the different ways hunters are successful, the different techniques that folks specialize in. I pretty much try to get away from other hunters and then spot and stalk, I don't try to dig 'em out the timber.
 
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ElkNut1

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Lots of thoughts there guys, thank you for sharing your thoughts, very cool how folks look at different things in a different light! That's the beauty of archery elk hunting, being creative can be a big part of ones success! When I started the thread it was to share with hunters especially newer hunters not to focus where the populace hunts, I still stand by those words, why? Because it's solid info after near 40 years of hunting elk on OTC DIY Public land units! There's some here that say they do well with the populace, very nice! I too have taken plenty of elk within one mile of roads or trails. Many times there are those little areas that most hunters overlook that are close by. I have a 1/2 dozen or so where a couple dozen bulls have given up the ghost so yes they are around on OTC hunts.

If you are a newer elk hunter you do not have the luxury of having such areas so you burn boot leather trying to be one of the successful ones. The thread was about FINDING ELK, not killing elk! (grin) Those are two different worlds! First things first though, learn how to find elk then worry about how to kill them. If you can kill a bull one out of three or four years then you can put yourself into position in killing elk every year! It's a process guys, one step at a time! Once we learn how to find elk consistently then we can take the next step in having multiple close encounters. Sometimes we get flat out lucky & other times we make our own luck! Hunt hard, hunt smart, good things happen!

ElkNut1
 

Johnboy

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Dec 12, 2014
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... That's the beauty of archery elk hunting...
Just curious if most of you guys posting here are indeed archery hunters. In my observation, pursuing elk that are fleeing from hunting pressure tends to be more of a rifle hunting tactic. Pressured elk generally respond less to calling, and being in position to make a kill shot means simply being in their path of travel rather than drawing them to you with calls. For these reasons, I can see how pressure could be favorable for rifle hunting, but far less favorable in archery season. So I can see both sides of the argument.
 

timekiller13

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Dec 28, 2015
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I think it's important to understand where the pressure is at. I see posts on here all the time, especially from new, eager elk hunters, who want to hike "5-8 miles deep" to get away from crowds. In the OTC area that I hunted, if I would have hiked 5-8 miles in, I would have actually ran into more pressure. All the outfitter camps and guys with horses were hunting 5-8 miles deep. I day hunted 1-3 miles in and saw no one in the woods and only passed the occasional hunter or two on main trails while hiking in. Also, as someone mentioned, I think the most important thing is to find the elk. It's all good and well if you have a 10,000 acre block of woods to yourself, but if there are no elk there, you ain't going to kill one. I am by no means an expert on this. I have one elk hunt under my belt and zero kills, but I'm just offering up a little of what I saw in my first elk hunt and what I know from 20 years of hunting whitetails on public land. I know whitetails are somewhat different than elk, but I've used heavy hunting pressure to my advantage on public land with whitetails. I've had great success on public land for whitetails by understanding where most hunters are going to be and then positioning myself to intercept deer that are moving away from that pressure. I did the same thing on my first elk hunt. The largest bull I encountered I found by looking at a map finding an area that was being heavily used as an access point by a lot of hunters. No less than 10 trucks would be parked at this access point every day, but upon examining the map and the trails, I found that everyone was walking south down the main trail and bypassing an area that was just 1/2 mile north from the main entry point. This area had everything that I thought an elk would want. There was some water, a couple small openings, some dark timber and thick blow down. I hiked into the area one afternoon and stumbled on 8 cows and a 6x6 bull. My own stupidity kept me from killing the bull. My dad actually went back into the area the next day and encountered several cows and a small bull but was unable to get a shot.
 

rokclmb

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Jul 27, 2016
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42
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WV
I've seen and read a lot of guys mention that magical area 1-3 miles from trail head/parking/road etc. I wish this was the case for where I've been hunting but it just doesn't hold true. The 1-3 mile mark seems to have as many camps as the trail head and roads leading to our area. But the interesting thing is, as soon as the trail starts up hill and gets "hard" (around the 3.5 mile mark) no camps to be found and elk 50 yards from the main trail! We've talked to guys as were walking in that have been there a week and haven't seen or heard a thing and we hike a half mile up hill and run into elk.

I think everyone here has a strategy that works for them in their areas. If you take bits and pieces from everyone and build it into your personal strategy I think you'll see/hear/smell/kill some elk. For us, the magic number is 4 miles. For you it might be 2 miles or 1/2 mile up a rock cliff. I think its best not to get stuck thinking one idea is better than another and just go do you.
 
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ElkNut1

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Idaho
Good posts guys! There's some realistic views here. What needs to be understood though is that those who are taking elk every year on OTC DIY hunts go through the same issues as you guys are. I feel some think that those who enjoy their yearly success have some special spots that only they know about. In most cases this isn't so, it's their attitude & knowledge of their quarry that makes the difference. I hear hunters all the time complaining about hunting pressure, wolves, too hot, too cold, elk aren't talking, etc. Those that are successful don't use those things as excuses, instead they look at them as challenges & it can motivate them to hunt even harder & smarter. These guys just don't give in!

Many of us hunt the same country as you do, don't think we do not, our approach & outlook though is a positive one. Speaking for myself I truly expect to kill a bull on every single outing & I'm prepared for it physically & mentally. I don't hunt special spots but I hunt to kill not to have a leisurely hike or worried about getting tired. I'm prepared to give it my all & try not to leave anything on the table.

In my opinion the # 1 reason hunters fail to find elk & kill elk is they do not call enough or glass enough. They read way too much stuff on the Internet about over calling & so most shy away from it, big mistake! It is our # 1 way we find & kill elk on OTC DIY public land hunts.

ElkNut1
 
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