Elk hunting question

Yell Co AR Hunter

Very Active Member
Dec 10, 2015
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Yell County Arkansas
Looking for some advice. I am a first time elk hunter. My question is mainly about scouting. When you draw a tag in late spring. When can you start scouting the area. I will likely only get one chance to scout the area due to distance of travel. When can you expect elk to be in the area they will be during the season. I expect most elk move to winter rage in the areas I plan to enter the draw. Also I want to kill the biggest elk to ever walk North America, but would not pass any legal bull. So I am not talking about scouting for that one special bull.
 

JimP

Administrator
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
If it is a rifle tag I would consider the end of August or first of September. At that time you will have archery hunters in the area that you can even talk to about what they are seeing which can be a big help for a first time elk hunter.

Where are you looking to put in for and what state? There are a lot of OTC tags for Colorado and the units where you need to draw usually take a number of points to draw a tag. Utah has a limit (right now) for spike areas and a few any bull units. I haven't even looked at other states such as Idaho and or Wyoming.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

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Jun 8, 2011
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What Jim said. Scouting early in the summer, the elk will be in their summer range and they will usually move as fall approaches. Also archery hunters can push them into private and deeper timber, harder accessibility areas. The areas you found them earlier, could be vacated by the elk.
 
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Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
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Eastern Nebraska
Wyoming for 2024, and New Mexico 2023. I have 4 points currently in Wyoming but partner only has 3 points. NM is a random low chance draw.
FYI - 4.5 may not draw the Wyoming general in 2024 unless you do the special higher priced draw.

As to scouting, it really depends. The areas I hunt see a massive change in elk location between late August and mid October on most years. The herds we hunt have seemed to start migrating earlier and earlier over the last 20 years. This year we found 1000+ head already down on sage brush at under 7,000' in elevation (private) by the 3rd week in October and there was virtually no snow. Most of those same elk were at 10,000' in elevation at the beginning of September. My best advice is to scout with your computer as much as you can prior to the hunt and save the extra vacation time for hunting. I would much rather hunt 14 days than scout 7 and hunt 7. Be very flexible and think outside the box until you find elk to hunt. Good luck!
 

BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
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FYI - 4.5 may not draw the Wyoming general in 2024 unless you do the special higher priced draw.

As to scouting, it really depends. The areas I hunt see a massive change in elk location between late August and mid October on most years. The herds we hunt have seemed to start migrating earlier and earlier over the last 20 years. This year we found 1000+ head already down on sage brush at under 7,000' in elevation (private) by the 3rd week in October and there was virtually no snow. Most of those same elk were at 10,000' in elevation at the beginning of September. My best advice is to scout with your computer as much as you can prior to the hunt and save the extra vacation time for hunting. I would much rather hunt 14 days than scout 7 and hunt 7. Be very flexible and think outside the box until you find elk to hunt. Good luck!
If not this, then spend your scouting days immediately before your hunt.

If archery hunting, you may find benefit in summer scouting. Rifle season, I'd rather either just show up and hunt, or scout a few days prior to the opener.

Either way, if you aren't seeing elk, keep moving and looking...don't hunt where they were, hunt where they are.

Some savvy that, some hunt on memories.