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  1. #51

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    I’ve been stalking Greenhorn and Lawnboy for ten years and you got a better response than I ever have. Consider yourself lucky. I’m going double reverse psychology on this one. I declare “The Bridgers are the 2018 MT General Tag Sleeper”.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned about Montana elk it’s that those beautiful huge national forests on the map look so promising and have no elk in probably 80% of the area. Find the 20% or less that holds elk. Also, don’t be a jack@&& from MN. Nobody likes MN license plates out there so you have to be twice as nice.

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    If there is one thing I’ve learned about Montana elk it’s that those beautiful huge national forests on the map look so promising and have no elk in probably 80% of the area. Find the 20% or less that holds elk. Also, don’t be a jack@&& from MN. Nobody likes MN license plates out there so you have to be twice as nice.
    The first part of this is certainly true. I wouldn't stress over the second part. Seeing out of state plates is par for the course of hunting and living in MT. The reality is that as a rule if you take the time to engage other hunters and locals in conversation you'll find most of them helpful. You'll also find that most of them are looking for the same thing you are and if they actually knew exactly where the elk is that you are asking about they would already be trying to get it instead of telling you.

    Like kmf said, the elk are in 20% (probably a lot less) of the forest at any given time. However, they do use 80% of the woods so where they are at any given moment is dependent upon a wide range of variables. Most specifically, their needs at any given time of the year. Big Fin does a great job explaining this in his elk hunting videos.

    I might ruffle some feathers with this statement, but elk are actually pretty easy to kill. Finding a legal bull and getting to where he is is what is hard.


    Most hunters don't have the mental capacity to embrace the day after day physicality that it requires to get to areas that bulls frequent. Most hunters don't give themselves enough hunting days to take some rest time and recharge when they get worn out. Most hunters take a mental shotgun approach as they anticipate their elk hunt. They want to kill a big bull, and sit around camp and drink and they want to sleep in and they want to kill a deer and they want a hot shower at night and they want a medium rare T-bone for dinner and they want to socialize with their friends and they don't want to be uncomfortable. After a couple of tough days on the mountain as the realization that monster 6x6's are not thick as fleas on the open meadows within a mile of the truck, they abandon their initial goal of shooting a big bull in favor of all the other things they "want". They have convinced themselves a bull is unattainable and will either consciously or subconsciously come up with some excuse to quit.

    To add to the individual mental challenge an elk hunter faces is the dynamic of your hunting partner(s) mentality. Every elk hunt I've been on has had times where it wasn't a lot of fun. Sometimes, I was the one who was thinking it wasn't worth getting out of bed and climb the ridge, sometimes it was a partner. The difference between a partner who is an asset and one who is a liability is whether they can be positive and goad each other into embracing the suck that morning and hit the mountain or whether they are the one who wants to wig out and cut the hunt short.

    As I think about the times I've been on hunts where we've killed bulls, it has usually happened in close proximity to a mental or physical limit where "This is fun/This is not much fun/Are we nuts?" was all present. That limit might have been number of days afield without success, navigating public/private boundaries/ hunting in proximity to grizzlies/ limited game sightings or how difficult it was to make it up the mountain each morning.

    I read a quote attributed to Jim Zumbo that said, "It's not elk hunting unless it hurts." I don't know whether he said it or not, but we've used it a time or two in our camps. Good luck with your hunt!

  3. #53

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    Forget all of the advice you have read so far. Apparently none of them know what they are talking about since they didn't tell you to go to the Breaks. There are no people and 360" bulls are the standard. Closer to MN too..

  4. #54

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    Custer Forest is the new Breaks.

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the basalt rocks
    Posts
    4,681

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    I hunted the Bridgers for elk, 20 years ago. I did a ton of homework, researched my ass off (pre-Google Earth), found my access points, and hunted.

    I haven't hunted it since. There are elk, and they can be accessible, but there are much better places to hunt IMO.

    Just because there's a lot of elk in a unit doesn't make it a good place to hunt if you're a public land guy.
    Fear the beard....

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNorthStar View Post
    I don't mind being the ass end of every joke in this thread, deserved or not, as long as there's something to be gained along with that.

    I've been killing whitetails out treestands on flat ground for 27 years. It's easy and that's the extent of my big game hunting knowledge and I realize the scope of unknown unknowns about elk and mule deer and all other mountain hunting is vast, but I'm determined to figure it out because the pull I feel to go hunt the mountains is great. I check my ego at the door, but I don't understand the snickering, "get a load of this jackass" tone.

    If you really want to help, help this jackass understand why Greenhorn's drainages are good spots and why my initial ideas are horseshit. And please don't be mistaken, Greenhorn, I certainly appreciate you steering me in the right direction, but I joined this board not hoping to be handed a fish and be fed for a day, but to learn how to fish for myself.

    Phill
    You need a thicker skin. If thats all it takes to get you rattled is a little internet banter...good luck getting an elk.

    From a guy who has elk hunted MT a few times, take the veteran advice. It'll save you a lot of anguish. Send em a bottle of something good at Christmas, call it good.

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    Ok mods y'all need to lock and delete this thread. I've got all the good Intel downloaded thanks.

  8. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmf View Post
    Custer Forest is the new Breaks.
    With all due respect, this is not true.

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlands Hunter View Post
    With all due respect, this is not true.
    That was sarcastic but also kind of true based on attention given lately.

  10. #60
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Somewhere in the Mountains
    Posts
    90

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    Hunt places year after year and get them figured out, then you will kill elk. If all you want to do is One trip to MT to hunt and experience it then there’s your goal, if you want to kill elk you’ve got to learn places well, just like hunting whitetails out of a tree stand.

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