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Old 01-13-2023, 02:06 AM
STIHL STIHL is offline
 
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Smile Mountain Archery Elk

Hey I'm looking for some insight into a world I know nothing about.

I've shot my fair amount of 300 class bulls of prairie elk and now I'm looking for something harder and more of a adventure. I know I'm leaving good elk hunting for not many elk.

I'm not looking for someone's honey hole of elk but the mountains are so vast I'm having a tough time even narrowing my search where to start.

I plan to bring my truck and outfitter tent, dont have enough days off for a scouting trip, set up camp, stay for 7-10 days, 🚶*♂️ in a for a day or a night or two.

I guess my questions are
Are elk everywhere just need to find them?
What features are holding elk early Sept, Food ? Cover? Water?
Is E scouting of any value?

Any advice to point me in the right direction would be much appreciated
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:18 AM
buckman buckman is offline
 
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Check the harvest reports.Mountain Elk success is low even on rifle. Pick a zone as close to where you live as possible.You will be very fortunate if you find Elk to hunt without scouting.
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Old 01-13-2023, 09:03 AM
freeride freeride is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STIHL View Post

I'm not looking for someone's honey hole of elk but the mountains are so vast I'm having a tough time even narrowing my search where to start.
Elk101.com will help with your questions.

And check the success for the mountain units.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2023, 09:26 AM
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Default Suggest you talk to a bio

Unfortunately much of Alberta is not a great place to hunt the mountain elk. Forest management practices, fire suppression, predator populations have turned our mountain zones into red squirrel pasture. Looks nice but not a supportive habitat base for large, grass depending, ungulates. Not saying elk don't exist in these zones, just saying you will have to work for it. I'd recommend you have a conversation with the managing biologist to direct you. With your investment of time you are more likely than most to have success. For that kind of commitment you might want to broaden your search. I wish you all the best in your search and that you have the success you hope for.
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Old 01-13-2023, 10:30 AM
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The reason you are having a tough time is because it is by far the toughest hunt in Alberta.

”I don’t have time to scout” ….then you won’t kill anything. Take the time away from the rest of your life to do it right, or hunt grouse, or kill more “300 class bulls” wherever you are Wandering the mountains like a fart in the wind for a week wont net you an elk TRACK in most zones.
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Old 01-13-2023, 10:46 AM
STIHL STIHL is offline
 
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Thanks for the imput guys
Sounds like maybe sleeping in the truck and bouncing around would be a better strategy, at least gain some info for future years.
I understand I sound like a brat wanting to leave my alphalfa field that the elk often frequent, to go find elk that barely exist haha .
Along with talking to the Bio, any advice on some tips of E scouting that would help, with my job I have some nightshift hours to burn haha
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2023, 03:51 PM
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Meh there’s lots of spoiled azz farm kids that fancy themselves big hunters, when daddy is telling them where to sit. At least you’re willing to give something harder a shot. Just gotta adjust how hard you are willing to go.
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2023, 04:26 PM
dalewig dalewig is offline
 
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In the general hunting forum there is currently a good thread on 402 , some decent information within it
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2023, 05:52 PM
freeride freeride is offline
 
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Elk101 and rokslide have info on E-scouting.

I don't want to burn anyone's honey hole describing exactly what to look for.

My advice is to look at harvest records, pick a spot. All mountain zones contain elk, some are better then others. Go for a hunt this year and learn the area. The more you learn an area and what it contains during the season the better you will do.

I know some areas well that contain next to no elk during the season but after its booming with winter herds. Just looking at sign you would be mislead. But heading out during the season will tell you more. Plus if you find an elk you can make a play on them.
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeride View Post
Elk101 and rokslide have info on E-scouting.

I know some areas well that contain next to no elk during the season but after its booming with winter herds. Just looking at sign you would be mislead. But heading out during the season will tell you more. Plus if you find an elk you can make a play on them.
Understanding their needs cycle helps a bunch. The 101 is a good source for base info. I wish our aps in Canada had better tools to help narrow down hot spots. Upside of that is getting out and seeing it for yourself. The mobile and flexible
approach is the ticket till you get the formula.
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2023, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STIHL View Post
Hey I'm looking for some insight into a world I know nothing about.

I've shot my fair amount of 300 class bulls of prairie elk and now I'm looking for something harder and more of a adventure. I know I'm leaving good elk hunting for not many elk.

I'm not looking for someone's honey hole of elk but the mountains are so vast I'm having a tough time even narrowing my search where to start.

I plan to bring my truck and outfitter tent, dont have enough days off for a scouting trip, set up camp, stay for 7-10 days, 🚶*♂️ in a for a day or a night or two.

I guess my questions are
Are elk everywhere just need to find them?
What features are holding elk early Sept, Food ? Cover? Water?
Is E scouting of any value?

Any advice to point me in the right direction would be much appreciated
Sweet! I love seeing pics of prairie elk. Have some pics to share? The mountain huntng can be alot of fun. Still trying to figure them out myself.
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2023, 02:41 AM
STIHL STIHL is offline
 
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Here are the last couple years, all archery.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2023, 02:51 AM
STIHL STIHL is offline
 
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Last 5 years of archery all together.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2023, 07:29 AM
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Wow STIHL, thats a pretty good resume. Looks like ya know what you are doing. Its a matter of time and you will have them figured out in the mountains. Those are nice bulls.
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:37 AM
STIHL STIHL is offline
 
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Thanks haha, that's why I'm now leaning into "the hunt " rather then the score, I guess my last question how scared of grizzlies do I need to be haha I have plenty experience hunting black bear but never seen a grizzle in my life
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Old 01-15-2023, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by STIHL View Post
Thanks haha, that's why I'm now leaning into "the hunt " rather then the score, I guess my last question how scared of grizzlies do I need to be haha I have plenty experience hunting black bear but never seen a grizzle in my life
How "aware" do you need to be of grizzlies? VERY. They are everywhere now in the foothills and mountains of Alberta.
- Just search this forum for some great (and terrifying) accounts from some forum members.

How "scared" you are is up to you. Personally, I don't like the damn things one bit. Bear spray and a high power rifle whenever I leave the truck.
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Old 01-31-2023, 07:51 AM
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Thanks haha, that's why I'm now leaning into "the hunt " rather then the score, I guess my last question how scared of grizzlies do I need to be haha I have plenty experience hunting black bear but never seen a grizzle in my life
The big problem with our grizzly bears is they have lost their fear of humans, because Ralph cancelled the hunt. So we have several generations of bears that have been not been pursued, but have been allowed to chase, harass, maul and kill people with no consequences, and even worse they know hunters mean free food.

The old ideas of look big, yell, shoot the dirt etc etc don’t hold up anymore. Some will run away, some will try to eat you. If one comes toward you he’s not kidding, so you shoot him.

I would NOT return to a carcass in the dark. When I was hunting k country I quit every day at noon, because I did not want to be blood soaked and looking down a flashlight beam in the evening. I have gotten a mulie out in one load. For elk, you need to have enough buddies, horses, etc to get the meat out in one trip.
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Old 01-31-2023, 09:21 AM
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The big problem with our grizzly bears is they have lost their fear of humans, because Ralph cancelled the hunt. So we have several generations of bears that have been not been pursued, but have been allowed to chase, harass, maul and kill people with no consequences, and even worse they know hunters mean free food.

The old ideas of look big, yell, shoot the dirt etc etc don’t hold up anymore. Some will run away, some will try to eat you. If one comes toward you he’s not kidding, so you shoot him.

I would NOT return to a carcass in the dark. When I was hunting k country I quit every day at noon, because I did not want to be blood soaked and looking down a flashlight beam in the evening. I have gotten a mulie out in one load. For elk, you need to have enough buddies, horses, etc to get the meat out in one trip.
Exactly,I killed a bull with my bow two seasons ago.It was 1 hour before dark,did the gutless method and got 90% of the meat out.Went in the next morning to trim off any remaining and the grizz was on the carcass.
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Old 01-31-2023, 10:27 AM
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It's been a lot of years now but we used to hunt way back with quads and a wall tent in 429. Way past all the other camps to the furthest valley. Elk sign everywhere you went but they were ghosts in the early season.

One year we could not go early so went first week in Nov. All other camps were long gone, early snow and the elk came out of the hills and were feeding in all the cut blocks. Amazed at seeing all these elk now when they were holed up in the hills early on due to pressure. If your seeing sign in the early season and can hunt it in Nov, might be worth going back after some snow.

I am not a true elk hunter but like all game, if the sigh shows they are there, start looking in the hard to get places. No sign, keep looking. One time in 429, we cleared an old line over a cut block and dropped into a beauty hidden valley up there. You would expect herds of elk that far back. Nope, only wild horses. We never went back to that area and concentrated where the sign was.


We were charged by a grizz that was protecting its calf moose kill in 429 one time. Interesting story but it was our only encounter after a few years of hunting there. Keep your wits about you when walking and watching and do the proper safety concerns in camp and you should be ok.

Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2023, 02:48 PM
buckman buckman is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sooner View Post
It's been a lot of years now but we used to hunt way back with quads and a wall tent in 429. Way past all the other camps to the furthest valley. Elk sign everywhere you went but they were ghosts in the early season.

One year we could not go early so went first week in Nov. All other camps were long gone, early snow and the elk came out of the hills and were feeding in all the cut blocks. Amazed at seeing all these elk now when they were holed up in the hills early on due to pressure. If your seeing sign in the early season and can hunt it in Nov, might be worth going back after some snow.

I am not a true elk hunter but like all game, if the sigh shows they are there, start looking in the hard to get places. No sign, keep looking. One time in 429, we cleared an old line over a cut block and dropped into a beauty hidden valley up there. You would expect herds of elk that far back. Nope, only wild horses. We never went back to that area and concentrated where the sign was.


We were charged by a grizz that was protecting its calf moose kill in 429 one time. Interesting story but it was our only encounter after a few years of hunting there. Keep your wits about you when walking and watching and do the proper safety concerns in camp and you should be ok.

Good luck.
429 is not what it was,Elk are very wary now.Wolves seem to be the biggest issue,Grizz not far behind.
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Old 02-03-2023, 06:58 AM
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but never seen a grizzle in my life
as a comparison, last year I was seeing 3 to 5 griz per day
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Old 02-03-2023, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Fwee6 View Post
How "aware" do you need to be of grizzlies? VERY. They are everywhere now in the foothills and mountains of Alberta.
- Just search this forum for some great (and terrifying) accounts from some forum members.

How "scared" you are is up to you. Personally, I don't like the damn things one bit. Bear spray and a high power rifle whenever I leave the truck.
Grizzlies are in Leduc county now.
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Old 05-12-2023, 07:37 AM
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After seeing your bulls from years past, my first thought was- wow you're going to be so disappointed!

I too share the dream of a true mountain archery elk hunt. But like others are saying, the grizzlies seem to be around every corner. I've been very lucky to not have had any bad encounters with them, but once you see one and you're a 1km or 2 from your truck, it has a way of ruining your day. You go from a predator to prey mentality.

This time last year, I saw three grizzlies on one very elky looking slope in 402.

If you find elk, you also found grizzlies.
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Old 05-12-2023, 07:04 PM
buckman buckman is offline
 
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After seeing your bulls from years past, my first thought was- wow you're going to be so disappointed!

I too share the dream of a true mountain archery elk hunt. But like others are saying, the grizzlies seem to be around every corner. I've been very lucky to not have had any bad encounters with them, but once you see one and you're a 1km or 2 from your truck, it has a way of ruining your day. You go from a predator to prey mentality.

This time last year, I saw three grizzlies on one very elky looking slope in 402.

If you find elk, you also found grizzlies.
Grizzly's are a fact in mountain hunting ,always were.However they are more numerous now than ever. My advice if you kill and Elk is get it out as fast as possible,or at least get the quarters away from the carcass. Also if you are truly scared of bears don't hunt in the country they live in,I have hunted with bear scared people before it was not fun. Respect them, and give them space if you see one.
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Old 05-13-2023, 11:12 AM
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Its not as bad as everyone thinks, for sure be absolutely prepared by doing your part to be bear safe when camping. When hunting be very aware of your near surroundings, more importantly as far as you can see so you can prevent a bad encounter. I have have seen a large amount of grizzlies working and hunting south of GP, in northern BC and one work trip in the Yukon. I have a healthy respect for grizzlies. I bow and rifle hunt. I bring a 375 h&h (cooler than a shotgun!) or bear spray depending on how I feel about bow hunting or fly fishing in a bear area. The only grizzlies that could have been trouble in my past, a small aggressive sow at 50 yards, she never got closer. Also a mother with cubs on our rigs lease site that kept hanging around. The rest of the time they smell you or hear you, they move on or let you move on. I don't even have a clue as to how many grizzlies have seen me hunting and I never knew about it, thats a statement alot of hunters can say in the known bear areas. A large number of the grizzlies you may see are only going to be slightly bigger than the black bears you've probably shot. Yes there are big bears in Alberta, I have mostly found only their tracks and **** piles, seems like the big ones are nocturnal and like to avoid being seen. I have seen elk areas where the gut piles get cleaned up each night while never seeing a single grizzly in a season of hunting that spot. It's not like those Alaska stories or the movies with giant 10 footers waiting to get you, even tho it feels that way sometimes lol. Enjoy the mountains when you're in them, not everybody gets to hunt like that, take pics for the memories. Keep your wits about you, if you feel threatened move on to the next spot.
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Old 05-15-2023, 09:25 AM
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Mountain Elk are doing FAR worse than anyone has expressed here so far.
Other than a few WMUs, the season "should" be closed.

It is absolutely disgusting that F&W and our hunting community has allowed Mountain Elk to be decimated by predators over the last 20 years.

Populations are down over 90%, many WMU's now typically have a harvest of 2, 1, and ZERO elk per year.
The ONLY Mountain WMU with a significant harvest, WMU 400, is showing a steady population decline as well.
Only Three out of Twenty Nine WMUs had a harvest of more than ten bulls last year.


There is lots of interest in figuring out how to kill one of the few remaining elk, but ZERO actioned interest in helping these Elk.
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Old 05-15-2023, 04:57 PM
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WB is correct.
I chase three different small herds in 402. Usually I can tangle close with one group.

But talking to bios…. I think it’s pretty much the Grizz factor.

It’s the same as the Yellowstone Elk when the wolves got reintroduced and then the grizz down there figured out the calving grounds.

Lots of preds in 402. Them damn wolves keep messing up my whitetail patch.
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Old 05-15-2023, 06:21 PM
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Probably drawing 404 this year and this thread isn’t particularly encouraging , thoigh still may do so as it’s maybe my favourite area of anywhere, be hunting it more for scenery than elk numbers.

Looking at harvest stats for 404 show that from 2012-2017 average bull harvest was decent at around 15 a year on average , but then from 2018 onwards on it fell hard to only 3-4 . Actually were more rams (4) then bull elk (3) harvested in 404 last year , which a sad stat for a zone that actually has some great elk habitat
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Old 05-15-2023, 08:35 PM
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WB is correct.
I chase three different small herds in 402. Usually I can tangle close with one group.

But talking to bios…. I think it’s pretty much the Grizz factor.

It’s the same as the Yellowstone Elk when the wolves got reintroduced and then the grizz down there figured out the calving grounds.

Lots of preds in 402. Them damn wolves keep messing up my whitetail patch.

The predator issue is not due to one or the other but the tag team of wolves and bears.

Wolves are the initial cause of population decline, bears keep the population from growing.
Wolves take out the weakest and unluckiest (), regardless of the prey's age or fitness.
Bears clean out the excess of young. To bears, one is too many.

Elk in Alberta are now a species completely dependent upon living in close proximity to humans for safety from predators.

The ultimate predator pit.
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Old 05-17-2023, 06:07 PM
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Mountain Elk are doing FAR worse than anyone has expressed here so far.
Other than a few WMUs, the season "should" be closed.

It is absolutely disgusting that F&W and our hunting community has allowed Mountain Elk to be decimated by predators over the last 20 years.

Populations are down over 90%, many WMU's now typically have a harvest of 2, 1, and ZERO elk per year.
The ONLY Mountain WMU with a significant harvest, WMU 400, is showing a steady population decline as well.
Only Three out of Twenty Nine WMUs had a harvest of more than ten bulls last year.


There is lots of interest in figuring out how to kill one of the few remaining elk, but ZERO actioned interest in helping these Elk.
I struggle with the posted success rate of what 400 is showing for antlered animals taken last year.
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