Elk Scenario: What could we have done differently?

GunsAreFun

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
1,311
I will try to paint the picture of the encounters we had and looking for opinions on what could have been done differently. This was a low point draw unit in Colorado last week:
- Elk weren’t talking much in the unit.
- We witnessed a herd bull round up his 30 cows and run them off a meadow the opposite direction of other bugles (what I believe were bulls, not hunters)
- Several other experienced hunters reported non responsiveness to bugles or bugles killing a setup that was otherwise working with cow calls.
- We located a herd and had patterned that they entered the same field every day right around 7:10pm. Bottom of a long valley so thermals we’re consistently going down by 6:30-6:45.
- The herd had one 5x4…maybe 5x5. We think we saw a spike with it, and a smaller 5x5 was in the area but never with the herd that we saw.
- Most of the time they came in silent or the bull would pipe off a couple bugles while still in the timber.
- Problem is they would enter this field from four different draws on four nights.
- We tried ambushing them silently because didn’t think calls would work, but they kept coming down where we weren’t. They never sensed our presence.
- An experienced local hunter also knew about this herd and had followed them up in the morning a few times, but could never get in bow range. He never bumped them either.
- On last night, the shooter accidentally got between some cows and the herd. The cows took off but didn’t alert the herd. I was still moving in position to see my shooter and didn’t see this. I only herd some elk moving but didn’t know why or where. The bull was pissed his cows left and started bugling and raking. He responded every time to regathering news and contact buzzes and got very frustrated we wouldn’t come to him but he didn’t come to us. I tried walking off the field behind a berm at last light to really work him up and get the shooter time to get in position. It was working but we ran out of light.

What could have been done differently?
1. Well on the last night, if I had known we split the herd, I would have started bull sounds. Probably called to his remaining cows to really kiss him off. I was avoiding bugles up to that point because they had been “killing the mood” up to that point.

2. On the earlier nights, the only thing I can think of is that we should have gone and tried to ambush closer to the timber. Maybe making some cow or calf sounds occasionally to get some type of response that would enable us to either get in position to intercept in a better location or go towards.

3. With no satellite bulls and the activity we’d seen up to then (bulls taking their herds away from other bulls and not committing to cow/calf sounds either), it didn’t seem likely that we had any chance of calling that bull away from his cows outside of an ambush scenario but looking for advice on that as well. It was also pretty dry and loud so stalking seemed unlikely as well.

Thoughts? Let me hear it.
 

isItFallYet

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
610
I had similar experiences while bugling. The ol hoochy mama had the bulls coming at a b line pissing all over themselves.
 

Matt83

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2022
Messages
18
Location
Maryland
Sounds to me like a pressured bull. For the most part the elk had lock jaw in the unit(s) we hunted in Colorado this year. We did have a single bull that we were able to get piping mad 3 days in a row. But after a missed shot by one of the hunters on the third morning, he too went silent. My opinion but Colorado’s muzzleloader season in mid September seems to educate the elk.


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OP
G

GunsAreFun

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
1,311
Sounds to me like a pressured bull. For the most part the elk had lock jaw in the unit(s) we hunted in Colorado this year. We did have a single bull that we were able to get piping mad 3 days in a row. But after a missed shot by one of the hunters on the third morning, he too went silent. My opinion but Colorado’s muzzleloader season in mid September seems to educate the elk.


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Could be. I don’t know what happened before we got there. We did camp down the road, and only ever saw us and the one other hunter there for 9 days. I’m virtually certain they never knew any of us were there. We didn’t call or interact with them until the last day. They were always eating calmly until pitch black when we slipped out and also had rain a couple times to wash our scent away.
 

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