Elk gurus, teach me......

hunttrap

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Jan 22, 2016
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Eastern Nebraska
So my question is about elk above tree line. When elk are inhabiting the areas above treeline where are they bedding. Do they bed above treeline, are they coming up from the pines below, or do they bed in the transition areas of sparse pines. Do you find elk bedding up at 13000 ft? Seems high, but if they have food and water I see no reason why not. So what have you all experienced with this topic. PM welcome.
 

JimP

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You will find elk bedding in areas that are either dark or quite shady.

I personally have never seen them as high as 13,000 except for when they are heading over the hill. Most of the elk around me with our hills reaching 13,000-14,000 will be found between 8,000 and 10,000 feet.
 

kidoggy

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depends. when HOT, I would agree with JIMP on the shady statement.

when cold ….. they will bed where they will bed . no telling what a dumb herd animal might do.

our mtns range around 9-10 thousand feet and generally they are at 9 and lower .


that said , yes , I have seen elk up that high in the rockies. some crazy bulls will winter above tree line . many won't make it through but some do.
like I said ,elk will do whatever they decide they want to do.
 
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hunttrap

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Jan 22, 2016
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Eastern Nebraska
I really enjoyed that read, thanks. This will be my 2nd year, learned a bunch last year and trying to apply to this season. It seems like we found elk sign where there was the best feed last year near seaps and such. I might have to check out some of the seaps that's are above treeline this year. Thanks
 
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go_deep

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Nov 30, 2014
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I've seen elk several times above timber line just bedded out in the wide open, but it's always been July into the first week or so of September. Guessing there just beating the heat up that high in the summer, i'm sure they'll feed up still in September and October if the feed is still good.
I wish I could remember the name of the book, but there's stories in it of a guided in NW Wyoming in what was more considered sheep country putting his clients on huge bull elk during the first weeks of October.
 

Hilltop

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Feb 25, 2014
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Here is a large herd bedded in the wide open on a cool day. As others have said, they are not a predictable animal. Elk will be where you find them and those locations don't always make sense.
 

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ScottR

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Elk are wanderers and understanding travel routes inside any area and matching it with where elk will be when is the biggest learning curve to hunting them. Once that curve is gone elk start dieing regularly.
 
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wy-tex

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May 2, 2016
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I've seen plenty of elk lounging about above 10,000 ft. Warm days they may head down into the timber, with a nice cool breeze they may stay out in the open to keep the bugs at bay.
 

mallardsx2

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Not really an elk guru but I have been involved in a bunch of elk murders...

My friends and I find and have killed 95% of the elk in the steepest and nastiest places on the mountain. Almost always where nobody else wants to go. When I mutter to myself " This place is Slightly Miserable...." I figure am getting close to the right spot. When I tell my hunting partner "I am miserable", we are typically in the elks bedroom and VERY RARELY see other people...lol Steep slides with dark timber tends to keep most wood-bee's away.
 

JimP

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Not really an elk guru but I have been involved in a bunch of elk murders...

My friends and I find and have killed 95% of the elk in the steepest and nastiest places on the mountain. Almost always where nobody else wants to go. When I mutter to myself " This place is Slightly Miserable...." I figure am getting close to the right spot. When I tell my hunting partner "I am miserable", we are typically in the elks bedroom and VERY RARELY see other people...lol Steep slides with dark timber tends to keep most wood-bee's away.
Also as soon as you hike into a area that you have no business being in or you start to second guess why you are there you will start to see elk.

Then it is up to your better discretion if you pull the trigger or not. Me on the other hand would see a legal elk and pull the trigger. Then I would sit down and ask myself why in the $#() did I shoot it.
 
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ScottR

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Also as soon as you hike into a area that you have no business being in or you start to second guess why you are there you will start to see elk.

Then it is up to your better discretion if you pull the trigger or not. Me on the other hand would see a legal elk and pull the trigger. Then I would sit down and ask myself why in the $#() did I shoot it.
Brandon has been a part of a few of those crazy moments with me! Maybe even a few of them after we had done stupid together before too.
 

kidoggy

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done my fair share of stupid kills . looking back those are generally the hunts I cherish the most now
 
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JimP

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You sure remember them a lot more than a lot of the others.

I had one where we spent 2 days packing a elk out and we said that we were never going back into that area. 3 or 4 years later we were packing 2 elk out of that same area.

But then that is why a lot of hunters are successful and other are not. The successful ones will go where it is needed to go and deal with the consequences after the shot. The others will just sit on the outskirts and never wander into those areas.
 
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