Frustration...

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Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:34 pm

I know this isn't an Elk forum, but man I have to vent... :lol3:

I've put in close to 20 total miles hiking the past two days and I haven't seen as much as a elk track and the only deer I have seen were outside public land and not even eligible to shoot with my General Deer Tag.

I've only got a General Elk/Deer tag as I wasn't able to get resident hunting fees until after the drawing application time. So far all of my time has been spent on public ground.

Saturday I hiked north off Beaver Creek Road up into the southern portion of the Scapegoat Wilderness. Didn't see a darn thing, snowed for a good portion of the day and the only track I saw was a rabbit. After that 10 mi hike (5 out 5 back) I went down Dalton Mountain road and went off on a logging road and hiked about 6 total miles up and down and all around, not a track.

Today I went up Duck Creek Road here in the Big Belt Mountains East of Canyon Ferry Lake. I got up to around 7000+ feet, went back 6 miles to several open meadows and walked ALL over in the snow and didn't come across as much as a track...

Anyone have any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong? I just question if there isn't a Elk left on public forest after the opening weekend. I know someone who runs a ranch for outfitting near Avon and there are 500-1000 elk on that ranch which makes me wonder if all the elk don't just bolt to private ground and hang out there. Several of my co-workers told me to get up as high as I can but with that snow and cold temps with wind, why would any animal want to be up there?

I took Monday off from work and I'll be heading to Unit 290 and burning some more calories and coming home frustrated... I would be completely fine with just seeing Cows and no Browtine Bulls, then at least I'd know I was in the right areas...
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Re: Frustration...

Postby PTROOFER FTFOWLER » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:39 pm

Welcome to Montana elk hunting. My suggestion is to follow Phutch around as he is the only one able to get on public land elk :lol3:
I'm the type of guy who "cups" his hand over his butt, farts, and dishes it out like a soup kitchen.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:55 pm

He doesn't help my frustration!!! :yes:

Montana is almost worse than Iowa as far as getting on Private Land. There is a very small amount of public land in Iowa compared to the public land in Montana. If you took all the hunters I saw on public land today, took them over to Afganistan ect. and told them terrorist were "elk" there wouldn't be a terrorist left... Seems like every turn I took on a single lane, rutted out, drifted road today, there was someone either parked or sitting in a truck glassing the hills.

One disturbing thing I did come across yesterday was a SUV with two guys sitting out of open rear windows with guns, like some 3rd world militia, when I came around the corner they popped back into the vehicle and drove by me. Seriously? I'm incredibly frustrated but in no way am I that desperate or unethical.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby wingnutty » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:19 pm

I'm not a big game hunter, but I will say that the frustrations you express are quite similar to those that beginning waterfowlers often express. It takes time to learn your game. If you continue to put in hard work and sacrifice, you will be rewarded. My advice is to find an area as remote and roadless as possible and keep walking :thumbsup:

I love big game season though, keeps my duck spots much less crowded :hammer:
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Re: Frustration...

Postby PTROOFER FTFOWLER » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:25 pm

Also elk are where you find them. They are capable of covering a tremendous amount of distance in a short time. You could go back to the same area tomorrow and be covered up in elk from the moment you get out of your truck. Put in the time and you will find them. Try bowhunting for them, much easier to locate them when they are screaming half the day.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:35 pm

Yeah, I think I'm going to get into bowhunting this spring, seems like it's a lot more enjoyable and less pressure. More tactical than tromping around in the woods with a rifle with hundreds of other people around.

Plus I won't have the dilemma of duck hunting or elk hunting when the good duck weather hits like it has this past weekend...
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Re: Frustration...

Postby Will_Hunt_4_Food » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:18 am

MTDUCKS wrote:Yeah, I think I'm going to get into bowhunting this spring, seems like it's a lot more enjoyable and less pressure. More tactical than tromping around in the woods with a rifle with hundreds of other people around.

Plus I won't have the dilemma of duck hunting or elk hunting when the good duck weather hits like it has this past weekend...


Plus they are ruttin!!!!
God...Family...the outdoors...the rest is just details.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:41 pm

I think elk hunting is easy. There’s 2 ways to do it. Hunt hard with your legs or hunt smart. I’ve done it both ways and been successful. It’s much easier to hunt smart when you get old and decrepit like I am now.

Here’s my tip.
Don’t leave the truck until you have found an elk you want to shoot.
To be clear, I’m not promoting road hunting. Specifically, Im talking about using optics to glass with during the first and last 30 min of light to find elk.

Elk are very much like a whitetail. As long as no one screws with them the can be very predictable. See them feeding in a meadow one morning and chances are unless spooked they will be back that afternoon. If I find a bull I want to pursue I watch him until the conditions i.e. wind etc is right for the hunt and then go in and get him first thing in the morning or late afternoon. I almost never go anywhere near where he might be bedding even if I have fresh snow. Ive watched them for up to a week before I had the right conditions. Also don’t overlook the obvious easy to see meadows that most would never think hold elk. When my buddy missed the bull the other day I could see the main road and my truck and yet since the day before opener, no one had been in this meadow to mess with the elk that were using it every single night.

Anyway laugh or regard with skepticism what I said, but it’s the way I do it. I can cover miles of country in the morning or evening with my binos and spotting scope. To do this effectively you need top end glass. Bushnell sportviews and $75 spotting scopes wont cut it at low light. I was watching 2 different groups and a big lone 6x6 last night at 515 pm until past shooting hours from well over 4 miles and could tell legal bulls from cows and spikes almost to dark. If my buddy wasn’t leaving in the am we would have gone after them. Problem was, I could get him to the big group with several legal bulls, but we couldn’t get one out in the time we have left. The lone bull we could have got out, but I don’t think I could get him to the elk. The last group was 10 cows and he wanted

Trust me, Theres plenty of frustration with bow hunting.
Last edited by phutch30 on Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:42 pm

When you bow hunt you will still be tromping around the woods with a bunch of idiots. I called in several idiots this year just for fun but passed on them due to legal issues
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:21 am

Thanks for the tips phutch, I think I will be focusing more on glassing from the truck. I put in a little over 30 miles the past 3 days searching for elk and didn't see as much as a track, and it wasn't easy walking at all. Sunday was through shin deep snow, low teens and 30-40mph sustained winds...
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Re: Frustration...

Postby Creek Bottom » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:21 pm

After three elk seasons this was the first year I finally had an elk within range. But as luck would have it, it was a spike I called in on the second day of bow season. 20 yards broadside, and just not enough browtine (sigh). Every season though I seem to get closer to bagging an elk (Never even saw an elk my first season). I could find them in Sept, but now the rifle season is in full swing, I'm kind of back to square one.

If you come elk hunting with me you'll hear me mutter repeatedly, "Even a blind sow finds an acorn once in a while."

Frustrating is synonymous with elk.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:00 pm

Haha, well I don't feel so bad now! I'll just keep after it and see what I can come up with! I'm going to focus more on deer now though, they seem to be a bit easier to locate...
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:07 pm

another hint
North facing security cover away from easy people access, with South/SE facing meadows up high
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:31 pm

Phutch, if I didn't know better, I'd think you watched me hike on Sunday because that just about perfectly describes the area I was in...
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:34 pm

Ya maybe, but the elk wernt. You may be in an area that the elk migrate out of early in the season. If you actually walked 30 miles of back country without seeing a track Id recommend moving to a different area.
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:05 pm

I tried 3 different areas through the weekend but it was all public ground, only one day was into a backcountry area. I am going to try some walk-in only BMA areas this weekend and see if that helps! I'm willing to walk my butt of to get to them!
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:52 pm

Before you get too crazy on walking dont forget you will still have to get one out. No first time elk hunter realizes what kind of a mess they got into until you walk up to a 5-600lb animal 3-6 miles from your rig and realize you have to cut it into little pieces to get it out. Packing sucks! course when I was in my 20's and 30's it didnt suck as much.

Like I said they may have moved out of the area.
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby Bulldog0156 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:27 pm

Ducks the areas you hunted get a lot of pressure. That's why you didn't see any tracks. Go somewhere else.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby Creek Bottom » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:52 pm

phutch30 wrote:Before you get too crazy on walking dont forget you will still have to get one out. No first time elk hunter realizes what kind of a mess they got into until you walk up to a 5-600lb animal 3-6 miles from your rig and realize you have to cut it into little pieces to get it out. Packing sucks! course when I was in my 20's and 30's it didnt suck as much.

Like I said they may have moved out of the area.



Agreed. I just packed out a mulie doe Monday by myself. While it was an easy pack of just about 1 mile and I got it all out in two trips, I'm still a little sore this evening. Of the three deer and one black bear I've taken out here all have come out on my back. When Elk hunting by myself I try not to get more than 3-4 miles from my rig because with 4 quarters plus a rack and cape to haul out you might be looking at 4-5 trips or 3 very heavy trips. Always beneficial to have a buddy help you pack out. Although it seems that whenever I kill something everybody's working or in class... :huh:
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Re: Frustration...

Postby TopWop » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:15 pm

A Mulie doe????!!!!! You couldn't have gotten me to pack it across the road.
You must be one hungry Mo Fo. I'll stick to Whitey's on the field. Can get one
every evening. Drive right up to it and done. My cousin Karina shot a nice
little buck this evening, about 145 yds. Her new Howa 7mm08. Great caliber
for kids. But I digress.....
Does the meat taste better the farther you haul it or the more trips it takes?
Just wondering because I hear these stories and just wonder why?

That's why I like bird hunting I guess.
Last edited by TopWop on Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby PTROOFER FTFOWLER » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 pm

Gotta agree with Top, there is no way I am shooting a doe somewhere I need two trips to get it out. Way to easy to pop one within a easy drag of a road. Course that being said if it was a hunt you enjoyed and was worth it to you then congrats. Not everyone is a overweight lazy guy like myself.
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Re: Frustration...

Postby Creek Bottom » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:33 am

Haha, as I packed her out I knew I was gonna get grief for it, but at the tender age of 22 being young, dumb, and absolutely dirt poor I figured it wasn't that bad of a haul. The worst part is that I could have dropped her at about 1/4 mile from the truck but for reasons I'm not entirely sure of I decided to keep hunting (I had seen a lot of bucks in this area early in the season). I guess it seemed too easy to shoot her 30mins into the hunt and thought it more challenging to take her at nearly a mile from the truck. I've killed a lot of whitetails in my life and told myself at the beginning of this season that I was going to kill either a mule deer or an elk. Next season though it's going to be either an antelope or a mulie buck

I guess it was a good thing that I was by myself becuase I think anybody else would have just walked away :biggrin:
You bet the meat taste better when it marinaded in sweat :biggrin:

Maybe next season I'll invest in a game cart
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Re: Frustration...

Postby phutch30 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:49 am

You can still shoot whitetail does. I have 5 tags for them in my pack. Probably wait till a nice cold weekend towards the end and go sit on a haystack and pretend Im an old time buffaloe hunter and lay em out like cordwood in the wheat stubble
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Frustration...

Postby PTROOFER FTFOWLER » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:33 am

phutch30 wrote:You can still shoot whitetail does. I have 5 tags for them in my pack. Probably wait till a nice cold weekend towards the end and go sit on a haystack and pretend Im an old time buffaloe hunter and lay em out like cordwood in the wheat stubble with just my arrow and a hickory bow


Fixed it for you
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Re: Frustration...

Postby MTDUCKS » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:18 am

Yeah, I've had that thought of packing out in the back of my mind while out there. I'm curious to see how much work it is to get an Elk out but I have to see them first!

I will be trying to get my deer as close to the road as I can though. I passed up on two smaller bucks while I was duck hunting the other day on the river because I thought it may be a hassle to get them into the boat, I'm kicking myself for that now. :crying:
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