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Old 09-23-2020, 12:38 PM   #6801
FlyGuyy
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I have a question about cattle and elk. I'm wondering if cattle being in an area will drive the elk out? I just got back from my first back country elk hunt in Colorado and got completely skunked. We didn't see nor hear an elk or mule deer. These are 2 of the areas I found last week in Colorado unit 75:



Area 1) Hiking around 11,000' - 11,400' This area was mostly timbered with some small amounts of grassy areas but almost no water to be found. Every creek was dry, accept for 1, so pretty much no water. We found a LOT of elk sign, although most of it appeared to be a week old or older, I did find a small amount of sign that was very fresh. I also found an area that looked to normally hold water and appeared to be a wallow from last year. No cattle, nor sign of cattle was found in this area.



Area 2) Hiking around 10,200' - 10,800' This area was timbered and broken up by large grassy areas throughout. There was lots of water as nearly every creek had some water flowing. We found zero elk sign but free grazing cattle were scattered throughout the area. The cattle appeared to frequent the area as the grassy meadows were difficult to walk in due to the extreme number of hoof prints in the ground creating a non-flat surface. Similar to what you might find around the bank of a pond in a cow pasture. I also noticed there were zero boot tracks and very few horse tracks in this area.



Considering both of these scenarios, I would of expected to find elk or mule deer in area 2 due to the large amount of grazing opportunities and availability of water. But with the consistent presence of cattle, would that be enough to keep the elk out of the area?


It’s been my experience that Elk will eventually leave an area with a lot of cattle in it as they are competing for resources. Not immediately, but as the cattle or sheep begin to work it over.

My bet is that you were just too high. We kept thinking the elk should be up there too but I think all that snow pushed them down prematurely (just a theory). No fresh sign above ~ 9600’ post snow storm. It’s weird b/c it certainly isn’t enough snow to push elk down, but yet they all seemed to have moved down low and were just gradually making their way higher as the days went on. All the elk sign we saw right after was down around 8k’, a week later the bull we killed was at 9800 but he was the highest of all sign we’d seen. The snow also seemed to completely shut down all bugling. The bull we killed was the 1st bugle we’d heard in 6 hard days of hunting (including night time spike camps). It was all very odd.
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Old 09-23-2020, 01:53 PM   #6802
MooseontheLoose
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Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
I have a question about cattle and elk. I'm wondering if cattle being in an area will drive the elk out? I just got back from my first back country elk hunt in Colorado and got completely skunked. We didn't see nor hear an elk or mule deer. These are 2 of the areas I found last week in Colorado unit 75:

Area 1) Hiking around 11,000' - 11,400' This area was mostly timbered with some small amounts of grassy areas but almost no water to be found. Every creek was dry, accept for 1, so pretty much no water. We found a LOT of elk sign, although most of it appeared to be a week old or older, I did find a small amount of sign that was very fresh. I also found an area that looked to normally hold water and appeared to be a wallow from last year. No cattle, nor sign of cattle was found in this area.

Area 2) Hiking around 10,200' - 10,800' This area was timbered and broken up by large grassy areas throughout. There was lots of water as nearly every creek had some water flowing. We found zero elk sign but free grazing cattle were scattered throughout the area. The cattle appeared to frequent the area as the grassy meadows were difficult to walk in due to the extreme number of hoof prints in the ground creating a non-flat surface. Similar to what you might find around the bank of a pond in a cow pasture. I also noticed there were zero boot tracks and very few horse tracks in this area.

Considering both of these scenarios, I would of expected to find elk or mule deer in area 2 due to the large amount of grazing opportunities and availability of water. But with the consistent presence of cattle, would that be enough to keep the elk out of the area?
My .02

Area 1) Elevation is similar to some of our areas in CO that hold elk consistently. See them from 10,5 to well over 12k. If you found that much fresh sign, you were around the right elevation. They could have been pushed out or just on their normal loop and you missed them by a few days. They wouldn’t have been in there if there wasn’t enough water, so even though the main creeks were dry, there could have been some springs or seeps where they got their water from. A caveat I’ll add is that we’ve found them there on normal years, and that crazy snow storm this year probably had as much an impact as anything on how they acted or where they were, especially up high.

Area 2) Sounds very similar to an area in CO we hunted in the past, except the lots of water part (creeks were dry when we hunted). Lots of beef cows, no elk sign (or elk), and no other hunters around either. It was lower elevation than where we’ve found elk previously, but a buddy of mine killed a bull in another unit at lower elevation that same week, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Between the cattle and early season heat it would not be an area I would return to archery hunt in, even though I thought it looked really good. I think the cows played a factor there where they might not in other places/habitats. I’m assuming it gets better later in the rifle hunts as there were plenty of hunting signs around, but there just wasn’t any game and lots of beef cows when we were there for archery.

The slowest trip I’ve had elk hunting was 8 or 9 days split between 74/75/751 (before it went to draw). The Area 2 example above is from one of those (can’t remember which). We tried high, low, everywhere in between, burns, meadows, timber, high basins, etc. and never saw an elk. Found piles of muleys (and muley hunters), but elk-wise had nothing but one bugle for just under 60 miles of hiking and hunting. Most of the muley guys we talked to hadn’t seen elk either. We moved camp 4 different times trying different areas but just couldn’t find any elk, sign, or hear anything. Hunted or hiked around a couple of those areas you guys have mentioned. There's gotta be elk in there, but they dang sure weren't where we were hunting
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Old 09-24-2020, 06:23 AM   #6803
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Originally Posted by FlyGuyy View Post
It’s been my experience that Elk will eventually leave an area with a lot of cattle in it as they are competing for resources. Not immediately, but as the cattle or sheep begin to work it over.

My bet is that you were just too high. We kept thinking the elk should be up there too but I think all that snow pushed them down prematurely (just a theory). No fresh sign above ~ 9600’ post snow storm. It’s weird b/c it certainly isn’t enough snow to push elk down, but yet they all seemed to have moved down low and were just gradually making their way higher as the days went on. All the elk sign we saw right after was down around 8k’, a week later the bull we killed was at 9800 but he was the highest of all sign we’d seen. The snow also seemed to completely shut down all bugling. The bull we killed was the 1st bugle we’d heard in 6 hard days of hunting (including night time spike camps). It was all very odd.
Your comments about competing for the same resources makes a lot of sense. Even though we weren't seeing large herds of cattle, we were seeing spread out across a large area. Everyone we talked to on the mountain were saying the same thing about the Elk. No bugles and no fresh sign to be found. A lot of them were thinking the snow pushed them down lower as well but who knows. At least it kind of confirms that I didn't screw anything up and the e-scouting I did was laid out correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooseontheLoose View Post
My .02

Area 1) Elevation is similar to some of our areas in CO that hold elk consistently. See them from 10,5 to well over 12k. If you found that much fresh sign, you were around the right elevation. They could have been pushed out or just on their normal loop and you missed them by a few days. They wouldn’t have been in there if there wasn’t enough water, so even though the main creeks were dry, there could have been some springs or seeps where they got their water from. A caveat I’ll add is that we’ve found them there on normal years, and that crazy snow storm this year probably had as much an impact as anything on how they acted or where they were, especially up high.

Area 2) Sounds very similar to an area in CO we hunted in the past, except the lots of water part (creeks were dry when we hunted). Lots of beef cows, no elk sign (or elk), and no other hunters around either. It was lower elevation than where we’ve found elk previously, but a buddy of mine killed a bull in another unit at lower elevation that same week, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Between the cattle and early season heat it would not be an area I would return to archery hunt in, even though I thought it looked really good. I think the cows played a factor there where they might not in other places/habitats. I’m assuming it gets better later in the rifle hunts as there were plenty of hunting signs around, but there just wasn’t any game and lots of beef cows when we were there for archery.

The slowest trip I’ve had elk hunting was 8 or 9 days split between 74/75/751 (before it went to draw). The Area 2 example above is from one of those (can’t remember which). We tried high, low, everywhere in between, burns, meadows, timber, high basins, etc. and never saw an elk. Found piles of muleys (and muley hunters), but elk-wise had nothing but one bugle for just under 60 miles of hiking and hunting. Most of the muley guys we talked to hadn’t seen elk either. We moved camp 4 different times trying different areas but just couldn’t find any elk, sign, or hear anything. Hunted or hiked around a couple of those areas you guys have mentioned. There's gotta be elk in there, but they dang sure weren't where we were hunting
People on the mountain kept talking about how they thought the snow pushed them down early. I'm new to Elk hunting so I don't know one way or the other, but I would've thought they'd still stay higher until winter really starts to come on strong. Talked to a few folks that saw elk tracks in the remaining snow patches showing the elk headed down hill but they never saw the actual elk and I never put my own eyes on those tracks.
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:58 AM   #6804
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The cold with the snow probably was the main thing, we had very cold temps early this fall and may have froze the grass up higher. Elk may have moved down to find better grazing along with cattle pressure.
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Old 09-24-2020, 10:20 AM   #6805
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Your comments about competing for the same resources makes a lot of sense. Even though we weren't seeing large herds of cattle, we were seeing spread out across a large area. Everyone we talked to on the mountain were saying the same thing about the Elk. No bugles and no fresh sign to be found. A lot of them were thinking the snow pushed them down lower as well but who knows. At least it kind of confirms that I didn't screw anything up and the e-scouting I did was laid out correctly.







People on the mountain kept talking about how they thought the snow pushed them down early. I'm new to Elk hunting so I don't know one way or the other, but I would've thought they'd still stay higher until winter really starts to come on strong. Talked to a few folks that saw elk tracks in the remaining snow patches showing the elk headed down hill but they never saw the actual elk and I never put my own eyes on those tracks.
We were up there for a week. Got there the day after it snowed. I saw fresh tracks and sign daily. One trail I would pass on my way in and find new sign daily when I would cross back over it mid day. Probably could have taken a shot if I had sat on it. Never saw them in the open but tracks and trails all through the timber daily. Some of which were new tracks in my boot tracks the following day. I got a kick out of that seeing as they always say don't walk game trails because you will spook game... I guess we were all looking for that easier walk in the deep snow. We were up mid 10k to mid 11k ft.

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Old 10-05-2020, 11:15 AM   #6806
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Just snagged preference points in WY for Elk and Speedgoats. Looks like I just missed Montanas cut...

Any other states still open?
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:16 PM   #6807
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The last draw besides Wyoming PPs is Arizona Spring Bear/Bison/Javi/Turkey--October 30th Deadline.
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:21 PM   #6808
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Just snagged preference points in WY for Elk and Speedgoats. Looks like I just missed Montanas cut...

Any other states still open?
I could point you to a Region for mule deer that can be drawn with 0-1 PP and DIY buck is possible with work. Probably close to a pronghorn area that you can draw with lower PP total too.
Always a good idea to apply for that great area whether you have the PP or not, we have a random pool for licenses in the draw.
Reduced price cow/calf tags are a good way to learn an area before a bull hunt, they are a random draw as well and do not take or use any PP. Same for doe/fawn pronghorn and deer tags.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:53 PM   #6809
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So it is ok to freeze meat then take to processor to processed which will require it to be thawed and then refrozen???
You will have no issues, we do it all the time and never had an issue. You wouldn’t believe how many times meat is frozen and thawed before reaching your plate. Keep it cold as possible, and your good to go. Far better then soaking in ice water !
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:25 PM   #6810
Diamond07
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Anybody heading out for 2nd rifle CO? This will be my first ever western hunt. Hope it’s not too crazy!
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:12 PM   #6811
Bill
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What elevation are you hunting? If you’re living at sea level read up on diamox for altitude sickness. My buddy has a house bear Gunnison and recommends everybody coming from sea level take it. He had one friend get pretty sick and you have to start 2 days before you get to altitude.


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Old 10-18-2020, 10:29 AM   #6812
westtexducks
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Killed a 275 6x6 2 days ago on the 16. Teaser pic attached working on getting a buddy one next 3 days then headed home. Will do full write up and pic dump then. Sorry if pics are huge from my phone on a ridge top.

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Old 10-18-2020, 01:27 PM   #6813
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Nice bull congratulations
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