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  1. #1
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    Rut or wintering area for elk, which would you choose?

    I'm interested to see what you guys would choose.

    I have two states where I have points and can draw quality rut firearm tags for bulls in the 300-330 class…but I also have enough points to draw a better quality area for bulls in the 320-350 in their wintering area. Which would you choose?

    In all cases the hunter success is very high on all of the hunts, up around 70%, so getting a bull does not seem to be the issue. The late hunts do not appear to be dependent on snow or bad weather and are traditional wintering areas the bulls move into after the rut.

    September hunts: Lots of rutting action, shirt sleeve weather, good camping weather.

    November hunts: Higher chance for a bigger bull. Lots of glassing, primarily hunting mornings and evenings as the bulls are up to feed. Lots of bulls with broken antlers that have to be sorted through. Colder weather.

    Which would you choose?

    I'd have to say there is nothing better than hunting the rut with a firearm….except for maybe a big bull….lol.
    Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 12-04-2013 at 12:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umpqua Hunter View Post
    I'm interested to see what you guys would choose.

    I have two states where I have points and can draw quality rut firearm tags for bulls in the 300-330 class…but I also have enough points to draw a better quality area for bulls in the 320-350 in their wintering area. Which would you choose?

    In all cases the hunter success is very high on all of the hunts, up around 70%, so getting a bull does not seem to be the issue. The late hunts do not appear to be dependent on snow or bad weather and are traditional wintering areas the bulls move into after the rut.

    September hunts: Lots of rutting action, shirt sleeve weather, good camping weather.

    November hunts: Higher chance for a bigger bull. Lots of glassing, primarily hunting mornings and evenings as the bulls are up to feed. Lots of bulls with broken antlers that have to be sorted through. Colder weather.

    Which would you choose?
    This is a tough decision. You've mentioned a lot of the benefits and drawbacks of each hunt.

    Bulls in september are less predictable, but there's nothing like screaming bulls. Biggers bulls can be hard hunt in the rut. Once they establish a harem it's hard to get close. The warm weather is a bonus. There are few travel or camping concerns. Getting the meat out unspoiled can be a work-around.

    I'm not sure what states you plan to hunt, but the weather in Wyoming in November can be warm or it can be so terrible as to ruin your hunt (closed roads, deep snow, fridged temps). Deep snow can seriously limit access and camping can be uncomfortable. On the flipside, I believe bulls in the winter phase are easier to hunt if you can locate them. They're predictable. They'll typically pull back up to a bit higher elevation where they have good feed and cover. If they are not bothered, they'll hang out in the same relatively small area. They'll also travel together, so you typically get to see a few bulls together. The November coat on a big bull is beautiful. Sometimes finding these rut-scarred beasts can be a challenge. Once you find em you're chances of seeing them again are relatively good. Meat spoilage is not an issue.

    That probably didn't help matters. I've been in on both kinds of hunts and both are fun!

  3. #3
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    Rut hunt without any question, even If I have to "settle" for a 330" bull, LOL!!! There is nothing better than hunting the rut when the bulls are screaming and chasing.

  4. #4
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    Definitely rut hunt for me, bugling bulls and warmer weather. And if you research enough and hunt hard enough, who's to say you don't come across a 350+ bull?

  5. #5
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    I would choose the winter range bulls. But I like cold weather and hunting in cold weather. Ya chances are the bulls can be broke up but the bigger ones are usually less broke up then the smaller bulls. The good thing is the bulls we be bunched again and you will have more opertunity to pick out the perfect bull you want. IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdub24 View Post
    Definitely rut hunt for me, bugling bulls and warmer weather. And if you research enough and hunt hard enough, who's to say you don't come across a 350+ bull?
    This. I hate hunting cold weather. I can do it, but I hate it. That's why I love when most archery hunts are August and September! Lol
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  7. #7
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    I like the cold weather too. Wintering for me. But the rut sounds fun too
    Last edited by Muleys 24/7; 12-04-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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    which hunt fits into your schedule better? which one allows other hunts to occour that year? You can hunt archery rut every year in many states. Which one fits into your adventure window more?

  9. #9
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    I see the vote is about split…lol.

    I go in these circles over and over and over when it comes time to burn a bunch of points.

    I was thinking about this today and I realized my final choice 9 times out of 10 comes down to relationships. When my kids were younger, I picked units I could hunt from a truck or short hikes so they could be involved, glass with me and be a part of the kill. We'd rent a cabin and hang out in the evenings. Today I asked my wife. Her eyes lit up when I talked about a hunt chasing bugling elk. Even though it would be my tag, she said that would be a blast chasing elk in the rut. I know she likes warmer weather too.
    Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 12-04-2013 at 06:14 PM.

  10. #10
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    If it was me, right now, I would take the rut hunt. That's just because I am really new to western hunting and haven't had the opportunity to hunt elk in the rut yet. I'm sure you've been there and done that several times. If trophy quality is what your after most then the later hunt sounds like you have the chance to get a better bull. But like most of us know, it's not always about inches or a filled tag so if your wife wants to go with you on a rut hunt and you know y'all would have a great experience then that sounds like the one. Wish I was in your shoes!

 

 
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