Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


elk are so hard

Messages posted to thread:
Jarhead 14-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 14-Sep-23
YH2268 14-Sep-23
Mortis Sagittas 14-Sep-23
Nemophilist 14-Sep-23
raghorn 14-Sep-23
Jarhead 14-Sep-23
Orion 14-Sep-23
Zbone 14-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 14-Sep-23
Mortis Sagittas 14-Sep-23
Zbone 14-Sep-23
Supernaut 14-Sep-23
Nemophilist 14-Sep-23
Nemophilist 14-Sep-23
Nemophilist 14-Sep-23
Maclean 14-Sep-23
Nemophilist 14-Sep-23
Yeller 14-Sep-23
brush ape 14-Sep-23
two4hooking 14-Sep-23
RD 14-Sep-23
lamb 14-Sep-23
jdbbowhunter 14-Sep-23
Briar 14-Sep-23
simple man 14-Sep-23
B arthur 14-Sep-23
jdbbowhunter 14-Sep-23
smrobertson 14-Sep-23
Pauljr 14-Sep-23
Stix 14-Sep-23
smrobertson 14-Sep-23
Wudstix 14-Sep-23
Heat 14-Sep-23
Gary Savaloja 14-Sep-23
Bigdog 21 14-Sep-23
tradpoint 15-Sep-23
Maclean 15-Sep-23
Mortis Sagittas 15-Sep-23
shandorweiss 15-Sep-23
RonP 15-Sep-23
Paul@thefort 15-Sep-23
Wapiti - - M. S. 15-Sep-23
Heat 15-Sep-23
Maclean 15-Sep-23
Live2Hunt 15-Sep-23
Nemophilist 15-Sep-23
Elkpacker 15-Sep-23
Nemah 15-Sep-23
Nemah 15-Sep-23
Gaur 15-Sep-23
Glunt@work 15-Sep-23
Mortis Sagittas 16-Sep-23
Jimmyjumpup 16-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
David McLendon 17-Sep-23
Monte 17-Sep-23
Maclean 17-Sep-23
Pdiddly2 17-Sep-23
Old3Toe 18-Sep-23
Old3Toe 18-Sep-23
Old3Toe 18-Sep-23
Old3Toe 18-Sep-23
4FINGER 18-Sep-23
Live2Hunt 18-Sep-23
Live2Hunt 18-Sep-23
From: Jarhead
Date: 14-Sep-23




Hats off to all of you who have killed an elk with a trad bow. I just wrapped up a very physical week in Colorado... no elk killed. They weren't talking and it was really wet. As always... I've got excuses for days.

That 16 hour drive home I had time to really refine my respect for those of you that somehow found a way to arrow an elk. That animal remains very elusive to me.

What makes matters worse is there's a magnificent 8x7 (337") Montana public land bull over my fireplace that my wife killed (compound). I'm not sure I'll ever beat that mark... but right now I feel like even a cow would ease some of the pain I feel when I look at that thing.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 14-Sep-23




I think the biggest thing is that they are where they are and they ain’t where they ain’t!

They’re not homebodies like whitetail, and if they get bumped hard, they’ll run a couple miles….

But one bull that size is all a home could ask for ;)

From: YH2268 Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Sep-23




I will agree, Allan. An elk hunt is a tuff hunt. My brother, John, had short story in the Oct / Nov 2020 issue of Traditional Bowhunter Mag, "Just a Legal Bull". It finally happened, but it took awhile. Three years later we drew tags again for the unit we like to hunt in Colorado and he was able to kill a really good 6x6 from the exact same location. Another story pending !!

From: Mortis Sagittas
Date: 14-Sep-23




Jarhead I know your pain!! I got back yesterday from 18 miles of hiking with 85lbs on my back, fighting 15 hunters who had pushed all the elk everywhere over the mountain. They were quiet and hiding. The only opportunity I had was 45 min into my walk up the hill and as I sat calling and moving the cow out of the trees to my ambush spot, 2 guys on dirtbikes came through on the road and she was gone.

Its a rough game sometimes but it will happen!

From: Nemophilist
Date: 14-Sep-23

Nemophilist's embedded Photo



It is a very demanding bow hunt. Seven trips I made from Pennsylvania to Colorado. If I remember correctly it was 24 hours drive one way from where I live. The 6X6 bull pictured was my best elk.

From: raghorn
Date: 14-Sep-23




Took close to 30 years to take my first and last elk

From: Jarhead
Date: 14-Sep-23




Funny thing is - I saw a ton of other hunters... every darn one of them was friendly and I thought initially I'd be frustrated to see other people after the same scarce animal. Not at all... they were all guys that I'd happily enjoy a burger with.

From: Orion Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Sep-23




It's definitely getting harder, mostly due to greater hunting pressure. I haven't killed a lot of elk, but I have killed several, all rag horn 4s and 5s. Used to pass on cows in my early hunts, and ate my tag on more than one occasion. That was probably a mistake. I love the taste of elk. One thing I learned early on was that a two week hunt was much better than a one week hunt, particularly with a long drive on either end.

Gives one time to recover a bit and get to cover and learn more ground, as well as change locations, tactics, etc. if things are slow. Sometimes just a change in weather or hunting pressure during that time can make a difference. Makes for a more enjoyable, relaxed hunt even if one doesn't kill a critter. A week goes awfully fast. I'd take an entire month if I could.

From: Zbone
Date: 14-Sep-23




Yeah raghorn, it took me about 10 years to take my first and last elk...

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 14-Sep-23




My brother is a school-teacher and can only hunt weekends, and not all of them at that… But he’s been at this for 25 years. The first few years I got after them, I was able to log a solid 20 days/season in the same drainage. Got to where I was finding them on virtually a daily basis, but knowing where they are and getting into bow range are two different animals.

So we’ve put in a LOT of miles & hours, and we’ve yet to fill an Elk tag except a few cows with the muzzleloaders. And in a way the MLs have been an obstacle in their own right; hunt a ML bull tag, you’ll see cows & Raghorns; hunt a cow tag, you’ll see bulls — and we’ve seen some public-land OTC By God MONSTERS in easy bow range, just never with the right tag in our pockets. This year we’ve got either-sex Archery tags and can’t even find fresh sign.

‘Cuz they ain’t where they ain’t.

From: Mortis Sagittas
Date: 14-Sep-23




Thankfully all of the other guys I met on the mountain were awesome and I would hunt with any of them, but it still makes it tough when you have to account for where they are pushing them instead of where they would normally be.

I learned a lot about my area for next year and just exactly what the herd is doing when everybody gets up on them in their normal area. Next time up, I know exactly where I'm going to be looking for them!

Nemo, one day I hope to be half the hunter you are!!

From: Zbone
Date: 14-Sep-23




One thing I learned about elk, after they spook they don't stop to look back once they're out of sight like many whitetails...

One year had a real nice 6x6 bull (especially for an Colorado OTC unit at the time) just at timberline at about 25 - 30 paces away and shaking like a leaf blew the shot striking a big rock behind him... He was unaware I was there, and after the crack of the rock jumped a few yards and was looking back at the rock... Ironically he was then about 40 or so paces broadside... Somehow I was able to nock another arrow and sent that one mere inches under his chest... That was it, he'd had enough and he busted out of there into a dead run across the open mountainside above timber for I know at least a half mile maybe even close to a mile before disappearing into timber and never stopped... Still burned in my mind that huge bull with a huge rack running across that open mountainside for what seemed like 5 minutes...8^) Never seen him again...

From: Supernaut
Date: 14-Sep-23




Great pics and beautiful bull Nemo!

From: Nemophilist
Date: 14-Sep-23

Nemophilist's embedded Photo



Calling for elk.

From: Nemophilist
Date: 14-Sep-23

Nemophilist's embedded Photo



Glassing for hours.

From: Nemophilist
Date: 14-Sep-23

Nemophilist's embedded Photo



Nice view.

From: Maclean
Date: 14-Sep-23




It's not easy even if you live in elk country. This year so far I've been into really fresh sign every day I've hunted, but have yet to hear or see any elk. They're elusive, sneaky, and can move great distances quickly when pressured. It can be a humbling experience. Yet addicting at the same time.

From: Nemophilist
Date: 14-Sep-23

Nemophilist's embedded Photo



Climbing to the top of the mountain.

From: Yeller Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Sep-23




Well I chin in. I’ve been trying for 25 years and haven’t got it done yet. I’ve missed two. My shoulders are really shot so I had to drop in pounds three years ago had nice bull at 22 shot and didn’t get enough Penetration I had to do some serious sole searching either quit hunting with recurve or come up with another alternative. I’m using a onidea for elk shooting off the shelf instinctively. Have to keep my shots 25 or less last year passed up a beautiful 6 x 6 at 35 on last evening of our hunt going to try again the last week of this month leaving September 23. My 25th year trying to get it done

From: brush ape Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Sep-23




I've been privileged to go every year since 2006 and a couple of times before. I was lucky to take a raghorn with my bighorn some time ago, and many close calls since. I go with my son and grandson,I have to say that makes it beyond words. 90% of the hunt is the prep and planning. We leave again on the 22nd. Met some fantastic people while hunting,precious memories.I always tell people that want to go,just go while you can. at 74 yrs, I don't have many "goes" left. A shot in the knee and one in the hip and lookout elk.

From: two4hooking
Date: 14-Sep-23




I’ve been going over 15 years now with the exception to f this year without a kill. Still wish i was there.

From: RD
Date: 14-Sep-23




29 times, 2 cows for me.

From: lamb
Date: 14-Sep-23




i think elk hunting and being successful,is where you hunt and how you hunt

From: jdbbowhunter
Date: 14-Sep-23




Have archery elk hunted 6 times. Have not been successful, but hope to go again if my body holds up.

From: Briar
Date: 14-Sep-23




Elk hunting is something I like to read about and watch videos about, but that type of financial and physical investment is just not for me. I'm certainly not enough of a hunting optimist to keep going and i have a really hard time finding value in the experience....I sure like reading everyone's posts though.

From: simple man
Date: 14-Sep-23




If ya ever want to feel that you R one DUMB. Bowhunter! Go try and hunt them Buggers, Will make ya feel like a beginner fer sure!

From: B arthur
Date: 14-Sep-23




I've been archery elk hunting every year since 2000 with the exception of a few years. Every trip to Idaho, but the licence are next to impossible to get for an out of state do it yourself guy now. Making my first trip to Montana tomorrow. Excited to see some new country.

From: jdbbowhunter
Date: 14-Sep-23




Good luck Brad.

From: smrobertson
Date: 14-Sep-23

smrobertson's embedded Photo



Jarhead, Know what your saying! In 1999 I spent 12 days in Gunninson National Forest, in southwest Colorado. The first 6 days it rained, hard off and on, with no letup. A few days the fog set in and you couldn't see a 100 feet. We were camped at 10,500ft. From where we parked our truck it was a grueling 8 mile hike to where we set up camp. I lived on MRE's, oatmeal and protein bars. The closet elk we seen were in the next drainage, may as well been the next county! It was the most physical thing I have ever done! Nighttime Temps dropped to 29 deg. Daytime 40's and low 50's. Going out I scaled 205lb, when I returned to Pennsylvania I was 185, but I was rock hard.

From: Pauljr Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Sep-23




I killed a bull my first year trying in 2017, now I’m an addict and haven’t even seen an elk yet this year. I’ve been out here for 2 weeks acclimating and will start hitting it hard tomorrow. It’s definitely a low odds game. Thankfully my job allows me to work remotely, other wise I’d be dreaming instead of doing like I used to to. Good luck everyone!

From: Stix
Date: 14-Sep-23




I killed a few. 2 with trad bow, 3 with rifle. A physically demanding hunt, especially when you get one down. I hunt from my house. I drive 30 mins to my hunting area. Hike in 2 miles. I got it easy.

From: smrobertson
Date: 14-Sep-23

smrobertson's embedded Photo



There was a large flat rock that had multi colored stones imbedded into its surface, possibly from a iceberg, it made a great place to take photos. That's me in the middle, with my longbow.

From: Wudstix Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Sep-23




It's even harder to get one in Texas!

From: Heat Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Sep-23




I've killed 2 bulls with compounds and a cow with a rifle. All about stikbows from here out, so we'll see. Probably hold out for one more bull tag, then concentrate on opportunity and cows.

From: Gary Savaloja
Date: 14-Sep-23

Gary Savaloja's embedded Photo



They are. For bowhunting , I am 0 and four. I have taken one cow with something other than trad gear.

I have been blessed to hunt with my son four times in Colorado. On trip #3, we camped about 4.5 miles back in. Matt used a Mtn bike pulling a two wheeled cart behind it. He made two trips. In, back out, back in =13.5 miles. I was fortunate to make one trip in. We hunted for five days. On the way out I hurt my knee. Matt made a trip out, and then pedaled back halfway and and met me on the trail.

He took my pack and went back to the trailhead, while I limped in. Thank God I was using trek poles, and have the son I have! It was torture, but worth it. One of the best hunts of my life. BTW, I had an encounter with a nice bull, but didn’t get a shot off.

We made one more back pack hunt the following year, but then I had some mini- strokes and triple bypass that ended my backpack hunting.

Thank goodness I can still bow hunt now!

From: Bigdog 21
Date: 14-Sep-23




Yes they can be, 1 cow in 5 years, and then I decided to just hunt mule deer, Ha had the hole heard of elk in my lap. Go figure.

From: tradpoint
Date: 15-Sep-23




I’m out in Oregon, heading into the Ochocos as much as I can and they are just gone! It’s going to be a busy last few weeks but happy to live close and be able to go up all week! Hoping to find them so we can work to call them in! They are just ghosts! I haven’t had the chance to kill one yet but I’m in love!

From: Maclean
Date: 15-Sep-23




Like Stix, I hunt close to home. As the crow flies, my hunting grounds are 5 miles from my house. It's 20 miles by forest service road that takes me an hour and a half to drive to the end of the road. From there, I bushwhack in 2 to 3 miles. It's about 1200 to 1500 feet of elevation gain once on foot and I'm hunting at 7500 to 8000 feet in central Idaho. So yeah, I've got it good, but hunting elk is hard, and I don't mean just physically. Like I stated earlier, every day I've hunted so far this year I've been into really fresh sign - tracks,scat,rub trees,watering holes,beds,wallows, all only days old, yet I've not seen or heard any elk. I know they're there, but they're like ghosts. It can drive you crazy if you're not careful, you have to trust the sign and figure it out. At 65 I feel fortunate that I can still hunt these mountains for elk, and I'm so addicted to the process that I'll continue to do it until I physically can't anymore. Elk hunting is by far my favorite type of bowhunting.

From: Mortis Sagittas
Date: 15-Sep-23

Mortis Sagittas's embedded Photo



I envy you guys that have hunted them in open forest with meadows. This is the impenetrable wood ours hide in here on the western Cascade slopes in Washington!

That is halfway up the mountain looking into a washout of the road/trail. The grade is worse than the picture makes it out to be and there are no clearings in that forest other than this. 20yds of clear shootable sight path is a miracle in that wood and that is where they hide. No quiet entry of any kind on the floor of these forests. The elk just disappear into the black and are gone like wraiths, and bugles are far and few between.

Hard, Hard, Hard...sure is addicting though!

From: shandorweiss
Date: 15-Sep-23




First of all, I'll say I used to hunt but I don't anymore.

I live in a small valley in the mountainous wilderness of southwestern Oregon in or next to an elk migration route zone. Hunting them in the migration zone is not allowed. I've been here over 40 years, and most years I see elk in the spring and/or fall as they pass through. There are some pastures and meadows and sometimes a herd of 20-30 cows grazing in them, with a big bull standing guard. I can't get closer than 200 yards or so if they are in the open. They just spook and take off. I can practically walk right up to the blacktail deer, though.

The closest I've gotten is when they run/jump across the road as I'm driving.

Sometimes they come near our house also. There's a hill to the south with scrub oak and some larger oaks and grassy areas. They lie in the oak groves with their butts pointing north, downhill. The light colored butts look like clumps dried grass in the fall. The rest of their bodies look like oak trunks or shadows. They can be 50 yards away and if I'm just looking casually, I don't see them. I almost have to be looking for them to make them out, even at that close range. When they don't want to be seen they are masters at hiding in plain sight, even in relatively open woods. When they are out in the open, they won't let you get anywhere near them. Even if I tried to hunt them I don't think I'd be successful.

From: RonP
Date: 15-Sep-23




mike lapinski has written some articles and books on elk hunting. early in his career he really took the time to study them.

one of his books that has helped me kill elk is 'radical elk hunting strategies'.

also, any how-to written or video by larry d. jones and dwight schuh has also helped.

as some have posted above, it is often as much mental persistence as it physical. no doubt, a very tough go.

as i used to tell myself (as i was questioning my sanity), it is as important to know where they aren't as it is to know where they are. i have perfected the first part, knowing where they aren't! :)

From: Paul@thefort
Date: 15-Sep-23

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo



I honed my elk hunting skills with the compound bow, 13 elk, and then decided it was time to take one with the stick. Ambushed over a wallow, shot 19 yards, recovery 70 yards, pack out 2 two miles at age 79, four year ago. Still going stronger but not a fast which makes me a better and more successful elk hunter. PS, no chasing or calling of elk. My best, Paul

From: Wapiti - - M. S. Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 15-Sep-23




Nice pictures that's awesome hunting elk beautiful hunting area's.

From: Heat Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 15-Sep-23




It doesn't get much better Paul!

From: Maclean
Date: 15-Sep-23




Nice work Paul! An ambush setup over a wallow or watering hole is my preferred method of hunting elk as well. And that's exactly where I'm headed when my work week is done tomorrow.

From: Live2Hunt
Date: 15-Sep-23




I have 7 hunts under my belt with a compound, 1 bull killed in Col. Hunts in Idaho were my favorite because we were able to call them in. Had a few red zone encounters there, but no connections for me anyway. Elk were taken each hunt, so I have packed a few!!! I would love to go hunt them again with my recurve. But, funny how they talk of decline in hunters, but all I hear about is too many hunters around and I may be disappointed after not being there for 20 years. If I do again, I would probably do a draw hunt so there are limited people hunting. It is a tough hunt for sure, then you put an elk down and the work begins.

From: Nemophilist
Date: 15-Sep-23




Lets see some more success pictures.

From: Elkpacker
Date: 15-Sep-23




yeah, elk live in tough country

From: Nemah
Date: 15-Sep-23




Tough country? We have a herd of 50 or so that keep raiding my in- laws apple trees and breaking down the cattle fences. Several 4-5 point bulls and lots of spikes. They are only 10 minutes away from my house and 6 miles from all the Walmarts and Home Depots near Olympia, WA. RKK

From: Nemah
Date: 15-Sep-23

Nemah's embedded Photo



They like coffee, too.

From: Gaur Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 15-Sep-23

Gaur's embedded Photo



I’m 1 for 1. Considered myself fortunate. Sw colorado. Sept 9. They were talking snd came ti my challenge bugle. Satellite bull. Herd bull was talking to me

From: Glunt@work
Date: 15-Sep-23

Glunt@work's embedded Photo



Colorado success rate for bow is 12%. Luckily, elk hunting is awesome even without filling a tag.

From: Mortis Sagittas
Date: 16-Sep-23




Nemaha, I'll come take one if they want crowd control!! All the elk in my area are on private at this point or in that hillside nastiness I posted.

From: Jimmyjumpup Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 16-Sep-23




Nice pics guys

From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23

Pdiddly2's embedded Photo



As most of you know I've been on two elk hunts in the San Juan range in 2017 and 2021, with crookedstix...knifeguy was also there in 2017.

It's VERY physically demanding and requires a pile of planning and proper conditioning...but there is nothing like it when you spot or hear an elk close by and try and put the sneak on it...we came close on the first day on 2017...and also in 2021 in almost the same place!

We were in a good location and there were lots of elk around but they are cagey devils...as someone said, once you spook one they'll go on quite the jaunt!

Thankfully, the best part of elk hunting is the places you do it in and the people you do it with! Indelible memories with great companions!

I am committed to going again with Kerry...elk are fascinating animals but with what I have learned o the first two trips I believe our chances of success are very good.

From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23

Pdiddly2's embedded Photo



From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23

Pdiddly2's embedded Photo



From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23

Pdiddly2's embedded Photo



From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23




Kerry did get an elk on his own one year and it was far from luck...he had patterned the elk and put in a lot of effort and time to learn their movements, and where the right place and right time would be!

From: David McLendon
Date: 17-Sep-23




And then you have to get past all those cow eyes and noses, they are like 500-pound hen turkeys.

From: Monte
Date: 17-Sep-23




David, that is soooo true. And all those times when I was out after them living in Montana and then going to Colorado... I passed up all those great eating cows while trying to get in on a herd bull and every year had only my tag to eat. Great memories though.

From: Maclean
Date: 17-Sep-23




David, and once you get past all those eyes, ears, and noses, you have to get past the adrenalin that comes with being in striking distance of an adult elk. Well, I do anyway. It still hits me like a freight train, and it's all I can do to suppress that rush.

From: Pdiddly2
Date: 17-Sep-23




Yep...that is the problem...a dozen jumpy gals hyper tuned to danger!

From: Old3Toe
Date: 18-Sep-23

Old3Toe's embedded Photo



Jarhead is not kidding about how wet and challenging it was this past week. Just completed 7 days, 7 nights looking for a back country bear myself. Only two clear days the whole time. Rain, freezing rain, mist, fog, wind, and a touch of snow was not for the faint of heart. Plenty of elk talk, just not my year.

From: Old3Toe
Date: 18-Sep-23




From: Old3Toe
Date: 18-Sep-23

Old3Toe's embedded Photo



From: Old3Toe
Date: 18-Sep-23

Old3Toe's embedded Photo



From: 4FINGER
Date: 18-Sep-23

4FINGER's embedded Photo



Im just glad My sons let me tag along now haha...4finger

From: Live2Hunt
Date: 18-Sep-23




LOL, gota like that bluesman.

From: Live2Hunt
Date: 18-Sep-23




Stunning area.My knees hurt just looking at it though!!!





If you have already registered, please

sign in now

For new registrations

Click Here




Visit Bowsite.com A Traditional Archery Community Become a Sponsor
Stickbow.com © 2003. By using this site you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy