Put in for my first elk draw

Discussion in 'Hunting Lounge' started by Vikingknot, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. I put in for me first elk drawn tonight, hopefully I get lucky with the elk. Since I could not get my Deer last year. Any pointers would be nice, I put in for 5, 6, 4 I believe.
     
  2. keep the expectation for getting drawn very low the first couple of years, especially when selecting the more popular units to hunt, that being said everyone gets lucky at least once in life.... so if you get drawn in March plan a few scouting trips to different elevation points.. glass and look for any sign the elk had been around, research weather, migration and talk to a ranger familiar with area.. then locate a base camp that is central to your many scouted areas.. watch Randy Newbergs elk hunting Arizona on YouTube for specifics.. great education for the do it yourself Hunter

    Good luck
     

  3. Researching weather is a waste of time considering the last 10 years or more. Weather patterns used to be pretty standard. First snow to drive elk off of the peaks, around Thanksgiving. I think that has happened maybe twice in the last 10-15 years. Where they are in March will be nowhere close to where they are at hunt time. A few resident elk remain in an area all year around, but cows move to calving areas and bulls move in with the cows in September. After that weather dictates whether they stay or they move to winter grounds. So, then we go back to the first statement. Who knows where the weather will put them at your hunt time?

    One thing to consider with Arizona elk. We do not have elevations like Colorado and some of the other Rocky Mountain states so "migrations" are not like those states have with elk moving from 13-14K feet down to elevations where they can find grass. Snow here will drive them down off of the Peaks and some of the higher elevations in the White Mountains but they do not have to go far to find grass considering the mild winters we have had.

    Hunting pressure does more to move them than weather lately.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  4. truth
     
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  5. If you don't know the areas well I would just wait until you find out if you've drawn or not. Trying to scout three units is loco. Once you have your tag then it's on, boots on the ground! Camp sites A,B,C & D identified. Pre-season I would do some desktop scouting aka google earth and try to find those potential camps and high points (as far from a road as you can get) so that you have a plan the day after the draw. In an unknown unit I would plan a loop based on roads that connect the potential camp sites and hikes. I have been fooled more than once by google earth a spot looks great and you get there and its coated in rocks or a high point covered in cat claw...boots.
     
  6. Roger that, big time. I know my unit pretty well after hunting it for 15+ years so early scouting is a waste of my time. I go in about a week in advance, set up camp and get the scouting in just prior to the hunt. It also gives me a better shot at my favorite camp site, although sometimes someone comes in and drops a trailer off ahead of time and beats me to it. Now I know that being retired gives me some latitude that you poor working people do not have and when I was in your shoes I did my scouting the month or so before the hunt. Usually that was to see which roads were in bad shape, which tanks had water and whether the hunt pressure had changed patterns.

    I do use Google to mark spots for inspection and the MVUM for vehicle and camping access but you still have to go look at them because like you said, they can turn out to be a big bust when you try getting in to them to camp.

    An example: I Googled and ONXMaped several roads into an area that I am going to pig hunt and then found out from the game manager that every road in to the Coronado NF is blocked by a private property gate. I would have found that when I got there to scout but that saved me some time that would have been wasted trying to find a route in.
     
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  7. Ill Google map an area, BUT, nothing beats BOOTS ON THE GROUND. Google earth is not always up to date. You got to go look.
     
  8. I never understood Elk scouting unless you do it a year before. You see them and 2-3 months later you don’t. Like I’ve read someone else say...my problem is I have no idea how Elk even act here in AZ....hope I’ll find out sooner then later lol
     
  9. Little piece of advice.....you don't have to have a tag to learn areas and habits, and I wouldn't wait until I got my first tag to start figuring it out.
     
  10. When I am just camping, I am looking for elk and turkey sign. When I am turkey hunting I am also looking for elk sign. When I am elk hunting I am also looking for turkey sign. Usually I am looking for any other animal sign. I learn by observing them all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018