Hunting bedded bulls?

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Buck_shooter
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Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby Buck_shooter » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:45 am

Just curious if anyone here has ever tried the bedding tactics on elk. It seems like most people I know picture elk hunting as glassing and stalking in open country or calling to them during the rut but I'm sure there have to be some elk bedded somewhere back in forested areas that can't be hunted by spot and stalking or calling. I've never hunted elk and know nothing about their habits but I think it would be awesome to take one by using the bedding techniques.


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stash59
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby stash59 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 am

I've talked to my elk hunting mentor about this. Since learning about Dan's hill country tactics. He said he's seen elk bedded in similar ways as hill bucks. I had a couple treestands overlooking some secluded wallows that I hunted "whitetail" style. I saw most of the bulls early season all by themselves. Usually the winds/thermals got me before I got a shot.

Knowing what I now know I should have setup next to the small creek near one. On the ground and closer to the suspected bedding. The cool creek would have pulled my scent downhill with it. I actually had a gut feeling I should have done this, but I was afraid of it not working. Failing. That's one of the biggest things I've learned on the Beast. It's often a bigger failure not to just try something.
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby JoeRE » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:34 pm

Yea I have wondered about this myself.

Not a lot of experience hunting elk myself but one thing I noticed is they tend to go uphill to their beds in the morning - falling thermals right in their nose the whole while. And they might be traveling a mile or more this way so not getting winded would be tough. On the plus side, seems like they usually bed well after daybreak, so that's not an issue.

I have seen huge worn out stinky elk beds that clearly get repeated use. They were worn 6-10" into the dirt and smelled like a fox den! Its definitely something to key in on, just hunting beds would be very challenging.

My inexperienced opinion is that its easier to stalk them in their beds, then you can come in with the right wind. Often have to deal with bedded cows near a bull but still elk are not nearly as wary as a whitetails. Not easy but can be done.

One thing I have wondered is if elk get up and move beds at the thermal switch in the mountains. They often bed part way up really long slopes so when the switch happens the air is moving from a completely different direction the rest of the day. I have not observed them bedding high up on military crests very much. They bed more on small benches and such but not a consistent elevation.
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stash59
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby stash59 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:18 am

JoeRE wrote:Yea I have wondered about this myself.

Not a lot of experience hunting elk myself but one thing I noticed is they tend to go uphill to their beds in the morning - falling thermals right in their nose the whole while. And they might be traveling a mile or more this way so not getting winded would be tough. On the plus side, seems like they usually bed well after daybreak, so that's not an issue.

I have seen huge worn out stinky elk beds that clearly get repeated use. They were worn 6-10" into the dirt and smelled like a fox den! Its definitely something to key in on, just hunting beds would be very challenging.

My inexperienced opinion is that its easier to stalk them in their beds, then you can come in with the right wind. Often have to deal with bedded cows near a bull but still elk are not nearly as wary as a whitetails. Not easy but can be done.

One thing I have wondered is if elk get up and move beds at the thermal switch in the mountains. They often bed part way up really long slopes so when the switch happens the air is moving from a completely different direction the rest of the day. I have not observed them bedding high up on military crests very much. They bed more on small benches and such but not a consistent elevation.


IMHO!! Because there are so many more obstacles, cuts, obstructions. Just a wider variety of terrain features and combinations thereof. In the big mountains. Those perfect bedding spots are less consistent. As far as exact elevations. But I'm betting all of the basics of Hill Country Bedding are there in the good spots. And get used by the older bulls most of the year.

Some places in the mountains you get more of a rolling hills effect. Like Dan explains in chapter 5. Other places vacuum effects are altering the winds and thermals. Plenty of times in the middle of the afternoon. I'd suddenly hit a spot where the thermals weren't following the script. I'd just cuss and head on. If I would have stopped and studied it out. I probably would have figured out what was going on.

Bulls with cows may bed in places without those basics, but with all of the extra eyes and noses it doesn't matter. Although I have in some cases jumped a bulls cows and sent them scattering away. Then called the bull in. In these situations it appeared that the bull was bedded else where in a more favorable spot with regard to the wind/thermals. I jumped the cows cause they saw or heard me. The bull didn't smell me because I still hadn't entered into the wind/thermal stream that would have carried my scent to him.

I've seen them move during midday. I always thought it had to do with keeping in the cooler shaded areas, but I bet thermals also have something to do with it.
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purebowhunting
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby purebowhunting » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:32 am

In my limited elk experience, Ive also seen the worn in elk beds in the classic spots we would key in on for whitetails but by the time hunting season rolls around the rut is kicking in and being a herd animal unlike the whitetail after this point the lead cow is taking the bull where she wants to go which changes everything. If the seasons started early enough I could see it being worth trying, at least a slow stalk through the areas.
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby EastCoast » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:56 am

Randy Newburg stalked a bedded elk in this episode. It's not a wooded area but it could probably be considered hill country bedding. https://youtu.be/ZbUW0Jfi5bA
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backcountrychronicle
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Re: Hunting bedded bulls?

Postby backcountrychronicle » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:28 am

Buck_shooter wrote:Just curious if anyone here has ever tried the bedding tactics on elk.


I've read where an elk guide said in 20 years of hunting/guiding he had never shot an elk out of the bed.

I have bumped many, but never shot one out of the bed either, but could have if it had been the right season. (Had elk stand up and look at me during deer hunt).

It is fairly common to find them bedded in "dark timber"... but to get in on them without getting winded is tough.
I can't tell you how many times I've stalked into a good areas only to have elk blow out the side or behind you after they catch your scent.

You always get closest to lone or small groups of bulls.

Some say it isn't smart to bump them, but sometimes you have to find them first.

If you can't see them from a vantage point, you have to walk until you do find them. The trade-off is covering lots of country or moving too fast.

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