Finally! Wyoming Bound in 12hrs.

go_deep

Veteran member
Nov 30, 2014
1,827
306
Wyoming
Knowing the area you were in and after texting with you yesterday, I'm still a bit shocked at the lack of elk around there, especially with the fact that you didn't really have just hunters around putting the pressure on. I wish you the best of luck in the years to come and can't wait to see you post up a picture of your first elk someday!
 
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Timr245

Very Active Member
Jul 21, 2016
552
322
Northcentral PA
Knowing the area you were in and after texting with you yesterday, I'm still a bit shocked at the lack of elk around there, especially with the fact that you didn't really have just hunters around putting the pressure on. I wish you the best of luck in the years to come and can't wait to see you post up a picture of your first elk someday!
Thanks sir! I’ll be back for archery next year, they definitely spend alot of time in there, apparently rutting, lots of rubs and wallows.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
5,740
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www.eastmans.com
Actually have it already. You’re right, there’s a wealth of knowledge in there.
View attachment 28664
Yes, there is a TON of information there. Some of the best information that I have grown to use a lot is where to find the more mature bulls. It's very easy to get preoccupied with cows, but knowing where to find the mature bulls after they pull off the cows is a big deal.
 

tibbshooter

New Member
Oct 3, 2011
1
0
Thanks everyone! Been out of service all week but had this log going in my phone notes so here goes.

Wyoming Elk camp 2019

Day 1 Travel 22hrs & 1545 miles.
Drive uneventful however do not pass Iowa State Troopers if they are cruising relatively close to the speed limit...luckily got off with just a warning lol. Got camp all set up and settled in. Camp at 9810’.

Day 2 Scouting/Glassing
Beep beep beep...4am, outta bed, jet-boil rolling. Whip up some Powerful oatmeal and Mtn Ops Ignite cider & drive to the trailhead. Hiked 3.35 miles in the dark to prospective glassing vantage #1 only to find I could not see the area I intended to whatsoever, gotta love maps vs real life. All is not lost. In exploring other parts of this area we found decent sign of feeding, watering and bedding & that was where it is theoretically not supposed to be....south slope. After scouring this area well I have good confidence in the fresh sign. Back off the mountain we go. Short attempt a siesta in camp due to about 4hrs of sleep in 48hrs but it was a lost cause so after my buddy woke up we did firewood. Evening trip also yielded similar results as the mapped vantage point was useless. Sat on a secluded meadow til dark, seen nothing but grass & trees. Just over 15 miles for the day. Decent sign in places, no elk. Got back to camp around 7:30, dinner, heat rolling, and off to sleep, until the gale force winds kicked up around 2am and that was all the sleep for tonite.

Day 3 Scouting/Glassing
Up and after it again still on very little sleep. 2.6 mile hike in today to a high meadow I couldn’t glass yesterday, stayed downwind of the meadow with ease as the wind was around a steady 35mph this morning. After an hour of no activity and being pummeled by the wind we got up and went looking for fresh sign. The expansive meadow looks as though 500 head of elk reside here yearly but very little fresh sign. Down into the timber we go. Some elk & tons of moose sign everywhere in the same area that turned up elk in my August scouting trip. Oh hey theres a very large cow moose staring at me, and 2 more to go with it, cool, still not elk. 6.7 miles on before noon and back to camp to get more wood around and relax for the afternoon. Took a little ride to see where the potential pressure may be coming from for tomorrow, opening morning. Only 1 camp within 10 miles of us, good deal.

Day 4 Elk Opener
Finally got some sleep somehow. Shot out of bed brimming with anticipation at 4am. Breakfast & Mtn ops in me and off we go, hit the trailhead at 4:45 and according to my buddy we sprinted the first mile which surprised me as I weigh in about 12lbs heavier today with rifle and kill kit onboard. After a modest hike 2.1 miles and 700’ we are layered up nestled in well before first light set up to glass a meadow and adjacent hill side where we seen decent sign on Sunday. Morning glassing session yielded no movement whatsoever. Off to the high dark timber to still hunt. En route we encounter 3 more moose including a nice bull that never knew we were there, all crossed about 15 yards in front of us. Moving on...moving through the timber still hunting a north slope around 11am we cut a fresh solo elk track. It’s staying on the same elevation and heading straight into the pretty stiff wind, perfect. About an hour into this and maybe 250 yards later I felt the wind hit the back of neck hard. I turned to say to my buddy “oh sh!t the wind just swirled hard” & at the same time his eyes got wide and I heard the brush and twigs breaking, I spun back around with rifle already shouldered and barely got a glimpse of a decent bull in my scope high tailing it out of there....no shot. He was bedded about 75 yards from us and never knew we were coming. I feel we did everything right but mother nature took care of her creatures this day. Trailed him for about another 1/2 mile, to no avail. Right or wrong move I had to try. Later in the evening we moved back down towards the morning glassing location and ended up seeing several muley doe and a nice buck, my first. All in all the day was definitely an emotional roller coaster, awesome to see a bull elk, 3 moose, and muley buck and does but it definitely deflates ya to have he safety off, part of your 1st bull in the scope and not get a shot. Oh well that’s why it’s called hunting and not killing. Just over 9 miles in today.

Day 5
Glassing sessions have not yielded a single animal so different approach today. Hiked in 1.5 miles to a location I planned to still hunt through the timber beginning at first light. Not 1 hint of fresh elk sign anywhere but had an awesome encounter with yet another bull moose. Had to toy with it, buddy got about 15 yards from it before it decided it wasn’t into our comedy show. Covered 6.2 miles today in a slow methodical still hunting approach, zero fresh elk tracks anywhere, not sure where they went. 2 days, only evidence of 1 elk in the area and who knows where he ended up, hitting another unit in the morning. 37 miles on in 3.5 days, gotta find em eventually.

Day 6
“If you’re not seeing elk, move” is what everything tells me. So today we did just that. Head to a different unit 45 miles away, get up on the mountain at 5:30 and it looks like a RV / ATV dealership. Oh boy.....set up just before first light to glass a hillside about a mile away and start seeing orange basically the entire 2 miles of exposed hillside. Maybe this wasn’t the right move either. 7.5 miles in today, seen 3 muley does & tons of hunters. 44.5 miles total now, 1 elk sighting.

Day 7
Last day to hunt. Lack of sign and exhausting every area i had scouted has me wondering where to go & how to go about it. In traveling to the other unit yesterday we got into cell service and see the forecast calling for fresh snow in the morning. Going to get back in the area we bumped the bull and look for fresh tracks. Covered that entire bedding area along with other food/water sources, not a track anywhere. Finally about 6 miles into the day a fresh track, followed it about a mile until it disappears in a snow-less area. About a mile back to the truck from there any never another hint of fresh sign, 8 miles today. Got back to camp broke it all down and headed east.

Covered 52.5 miles on foot this week along with several hours of glassing multiple locations, just could not find elk. Guess that’s elk hunting.

All in all it was a good trip, gained solid intel of the area which appears to be covered up with elk earlier in the year so the switch to archery next year should be a step in the right direction. Obviously deflating to eat my tag after the months of prep, traveling there to get boots down ahead of the hunt etc but that’s all part of it.
I'm curious what you would do differently from what you learned on that trip. We had almost the exact same experience you had except we got lucky and got that bull the first day and did not see another elk the rest of the trip. The general unit we were hunting wasn't over run with hunters and we were seeing plenty of older sign and some fresh sign from time to time. The amount of old sign we were seeing tells us there are plenty of elk that were there... but where did they go? I do not think it was pressure that moved the elk unless there were a lot of deer hunters in there before. We hunted between 10,800 and 9,000. I walk away from my first elk hunt not knowing what I would change to find more encounters... If possible I will hunt for 10 days and not 6 next time.
 

Timr245

Very Active Member
Jul 21, 2016
552
322
Northcentral PA
I'm curious what you would do differently from what you learned on that trip. We had almost the exact same experience you had except we got lucky and got that bull the first day and did not see another elk the rest of the trip. The general unit we were hunting wasn't over run with hunters and we were seeing plenty of older sign and some fresh sign from time to time. The amount of old sign we were seeing tells us there are plenty of elk that were there... but where did they go? I do not think it was pressure that moved the elk unless there were a lot of deer hunters in there before. We hunted between 10,800 and 9,000. I walk away from my first elk hunt not knowing what I would change to find more encounters... If possible I will hunt for 10 days and not 6 next time.
Well for starters I’m going to invent a wind controlling device hahahaha. All joking aside, looking back I probably should have covered another 2 areas I had picked out from OnX scouting. They covered different elevation and terrain and maybe that would have been the difference. Pressure definitely was not an issue while we were there, that said we did find a few other human tracks from deer hunters that may have spooked some elk from the area. Other than that, I chalk it up to elk being elk and I understand it’s not an easy feat so once my disappointment wore off I just think of it as a great week in the mountains and begin prepping for next year’s archery hunt. I have come to realize though that I would much rather spend a week pursuing vocal, active elk and never fling and arrow than spend time “hiking” just trying to find sign. I know that’s part of it, just don’t want it to be the only part.

Glad to hear you had success. Post up some pics!
 
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mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
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Your story pretty much falls in line with what I tell people. "Sometime I get them, most of the time I dont.."

Glad you enjoyed your time afield!
 
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