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Thread: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

  1. #1
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    Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    How much I would enjoy sharing pics and a success story from our recent EK Elk Hunt.
    But, that's not to be.
    This is by far the longest dry spell I have had now, but this year was in my opinion brutal and I am
    concerned for a bleak future still to come.
    I am not saying that the past few years, that I didn't have chance here or there, and even may have
    screwed up on those hunts at times, but after this season, something is going to have to change.

    I thought over the next little while, I would share some of my past experiences, how I succeeded, how
    I felt I screwed up, and all the stuff in between.

    I thought I would also share what I am seeing as far as the bad, the good and the odd, as it pertains
    to the wildlife in the area, in regards to years ago, the changes over the years and the now.

    All I can say is (and I don't say this lightly), but I suspect some major overhaul to the R4 elk hunting
    soon, at least in some MU's.
    Ans I am going to talk about all that, and my thoughts on what I see is "not working" and is going wrong, and some of the "odd" stuff that is being created due to all the changes in the area.

    So, give me some time to put my thoughts together here, to collect some photos to share as well.
    I will try to give some of you here "the ways I have hunted" that have created success", and what didn't,
    and what I look for and where etc.
    But there will be some real concerns contributed to the thread as well, and something we all have to think to "as why it is so bad" right now??!

    But, one thing I will not blame, is "over hunting"!, at least not in the past 15 years around there.
    Not like it was years ago, in the 70's and 80's and slowly trickling out in the late 90's/ early 2000's.

    Ironically, I spoke to a local as I was packing up, also going in on mountain bike for the day.
    He also understood the lack of game, especially elk, in the area.
    But at one point is said, well it's due to overhunting....???
    "That why the locals have nicknamed the it "Shot to Shit EK""!!!?????

    Sorry, I see no evidence of that.
    The road hunting is limited, the access restricted, antler size restriction and virtually no cow LEH to speak of!!, and depending on which one I just listed, have been in effect for atleast 15 years already and much longer for others

    This isn't a "Hunting/Hunter" issue we are facing, IMO.
    This is much bigger then that, nor is it just Preds.
    We have some serious thinking to do going forward.
    Really, if nothing happens soon, we may not have the opportunities to hunt elk in some of these areas
    that once had several elk in every scree slope you passed!

    Right now I am trying to get in contact with the GO of the area, as he and his outfit wasn't even in
    operation this year, from the best I can tell.
    (so, not sure if it was a personal issue that he wasn't around?).
    All I know is, even in the past 3 seasons, he only took 2 bulls from mu understanding.

    So, again, more to come, and more for me to share over the coming days and weeks.

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  3. #2
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    Aug 2005
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    I hear ya, oddly I’ve seen an increase in elk in my area.

  4. #3
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    so, lets start with a scenery picture from this season (since I have a few of those from this trip this season...)


  5. #4
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    I’m gunna take a wild guess that u were up the galbraith, if that was the case then over hunting is defiantly a issue. The previous outfitter killed way to many elk. Grizzly bears eat them like sunflower seeds up there and the few that are left have adapted and live high and free

  6. #5
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    Okay, here is 1 image, before the snow started to fall the next day.
    This photo is taken appr. 30 km "beyond the vehicle hunting restriction", which, has been in place for probably 40 years now,
    and probably longer.
    To "protect our wildlife sanctuaries"!
    To give them an area where they will not be disturbed!
    Well, that is, at least by most hunters, other then on horses or possibly a few locals, who could bring up their gear in the summer with vehicle, and then at the time of the start of hunting season, mountain bike in, hunt, and then later after the season, retrieve their gear.
    Rarely does that happen!, and if it has, the few times it did, it was someone who held a goat LEH.(not really for elk)
    So, has it helped??
    Well, it has I suppose in regards to protecting the habitat from damage due to ORV's etc, especially when you think that at the
    time these closures were put into place, atv's etc, didn't exist!.
    So, even though this was put in place to "preserve game", it actually had the unintended action of saving it from further human damage.
    That being said, all our new "eco tourists" can drive up there, hike around up there, build huts up there, and even fly around
    heli's for sight seeing trips.
    Not sure about snowmobilers?, but as you can see, why not!!??, its beautiful country side.

    I guess what I am saying is, "Road Closures DO NOT in themselves, GROW Game!"

    One other thing, if you look at the photo (below), you can see we are way up!, there are some Scree Slopes in the area, BUT,
    if you look hard enough, a ton of logging has happened up there as well.
    Due to low snow levels for years, snow slides just don't happen as commonly nor frequently enough anymore in the area to create "new growth" for the elk, which they love so much.
    So, you would think all this logging over the past 20 years, up in this high country (and I can assure you, its everywhere up there), has not given birth to "more game" in there.
    BUT, for those of concerned about MD in the EK, here is another thing I saw.
    Beyond the last MD sign we saw, just beyond where this photo was taken, low and behold, what did we see???
    A WT Doe!, not a MD!.
    Lets put it this way, just above where she was feeding, is a slight scree slope, and no, there is no subalpine here (like you would see with hunters of successful bighorn sheep photos, that grassy green landscape).
    Above that is shear "rock face", not even habitable for a mountain goat.
    So, if there is truth to WT's being more aggressive then MD in overtaking/claiming territory, then this is one example of it
    happening, and why some here say MD are declining in the EK!
    Now, is this WT here because they have "logged the shit" out of the area???
    They were never up there that high years ago, and clearcuts are the only thing that has changed this particular landscape in years!.
    That's my take on the issue.
    Good point is: Probably most likely due to the large overnight dump of snow, we noticed way more MD and sign, down lower,
    then we have seen in years!!!
    So maybe there is a chance for them yet??, but they will have to outcompete WT to make that happen, and WT's seem to take to all these high clearcuts.


  7. #6
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    so, about that WT Doe?
    She was just below this rock face, just so you all get the idea how "far and how high up" she was.
    At this point, on this road, we are only a few km's from the end of the line.
    See here, surprised the hell out of me!
    I know I have said I have seen WT's in cutblocks, just below the subalpine, but its in the low valley where you do see WT's anyways, so, what a n hour hike up for them there, but nit here!


  8. #7
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    Same area, so all can see what I mean, and yes that is my overweight hunting partner, and my dear old dad.
    This was also before the snow fall, and you can see the cutblocks, whats left of the scree slopes, yet no elk to be spotted anywhere, or even replying after hours of glassing, just the frickin WT, and actually, it was beyond this part of the drive, higher up.

  9. #8
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kootenaykid85 View Post
    I’m gunna take a wild guess that u were up the galbraith, if that was the case then over hunting is defiantly a issue. The previous outfitter killed way to many elk. Grizzly bears eat them like sunflower seeds up there and the few that are left have adapted and live high and free
    I know, some folks are going to try and figure out where I hunt, and some may even get it right, but I hope all of you here can respect that I didn't start this thread to "guess that tune", but to rather hear/share in my concerns.
    The pictures are for visual stimulation (some hate reading without pics!), but also to prove I am not bs'ing.

    But I knew from the onset, I might be giving away my area to a degree, but, honestly, there isn't much to give away up there any longer.

  10. #9
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    So another thing, all these Scree Slopes you see, and there are tons of them up there, and my photos wont do it justice,
    were at one time ( I have to go back to the 60's and 70's, mostly from my x-father in law and my dad on this), full of elk
    in each slope.
    From 5 to 20+ in each one.
    One time, just before the Road Closures came into effect, my dad counted 40 + cows, all in single file, crossing a trail thru a scree slope.
    For some reason, he never saw a bull with them, although he knew better then to think there wasn't one around.
    Possible that right at dark, maybe the last few cows came out, and as we all know, the big bull comes last.
    If you didn't, know you know.
    That's all for now, as I got stuff the wife wants done (back later, if you care)

  11. #10
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    Re: Another EK Elk Hunt Down the Tubes

    So, I just got off the phone with the GO in the area.
    Yup, he is not happy with the current situation as well.
    And yes, has had several years of putting up "blanks" in the elk department.
    And, also agrees, somewhere after 2008, things went from so-so (could have been better by a long shot) to crap!
    I know over the years, talking to him, he has changed his tune as to "the issues".
    At 1st, it was, not enough snowfall to create slides, thus new "feed" for the elk.
    But now he begs anyone, due to all that logging up there, to tell him that there "is no feed"!....hmmm?
    Definetly a change in tune on his part.
    Then, he blamed Preds, like wolf.
    Fact is, wolf have been around for as long as I can remember, and my dad thinks he recall seeing the 1st signs of them in the late 70's.
    Now Cougar and GBear sightings and sign have been way up over the years, and the wolves have been doing their loop a
    little more often over the past 10 years.
    So yes, I was getting concerned.
    Lets face it, both dog and kitty only eat meat!, so maybe that is the main issue...but wait, maybe not.
    This time around, we saw 0 wolf sign, we saw 0 Cougar sign, saw 0 Gbear, saw 0 coyote sign, and only I BBear sign.
    So, either they ran out of food, and have moved on?, or maybe #'s for them are starting to drop, in there anyways.
    So, the GO now makes ends meet he says, by offering Eco Tourismn in the Spring (Cant blame him!).
    If it wasn't for his goat hunt, and the odd client wanting to take a crack at Bighorn (even though he feels those #'s are down),
    he wouldn't be in business.
    So, I asked him his take on this situation, and he is confused as well.
    Now for the part that might get Jelly riled up (but that's not my intention), is he is hearing from many "local sources" that many of these elk are being taken by FN and their white friends, in late December as elk are wintering down low.
    I know of another member here who not too long ago, was really concerned about what he and some friends were seeing
    around Findlay.
    Whole groups of 15 to 20 elk being cut down.
    To add to that, the CO that I know, spoke to me about those rumors, and that it was possible that there was truth in it, as
    some of local band chiefs, wanted to have members "curb" that issue and stop.
    But, it only takes a few bad apples to not listen, and just go ahead anyways.
    Like I said, this isn't a "1 big thing" issue or fix, but most likely a bunch of issues happening.

    On a side note, he agreed about WT, and that he has seen them in areas they had no business being, and also figures it's the
    logging that is allowing them to migrate higher and further back then ever before, and into traditional MD country.

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