Utah Wildlife Forum banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been buying elk points for 5 years now, so I'm not looking for a trophy quite yet. I got a cow last January and the wife agrees that it tastes better than the deer and ducks I've brought home the last 6 years. So she's sending me out for more. I've done hours of research on a few areas in the northern areas where I could start. I'm still trying to make some decisions as early as possible. I've debated on not asking questions, but I figure if someone wants to get after me for the noob questions, go for it.

1. Are the odds the same as seeing a spike elk on an LE unit as they are seeing any elk in a general unit? (Vague question, I know.)

2. I've been looking into North Slope for the general. Is it possible to get away from the crowd, or is it like Ogden Bay opening morning of the duck hunt?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
527 Posts
1) subjective to the amount of work you put forth. Those that work for it find spikes when looking or any bulls when looking.

2) Yes depending on the amount of work you put in with the caveat that one year a secluded remote location may be all yours while the next it will be crawling with dudes. Solitude on the Unitas is not just getting in deeper but getting in where no one else is during that week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,376 Posts
General season elk last year was exactly like Ogden bay
People driving atvs and utvs every where.
About the same as the guy driving his boat through your decoys 20 min before light.
Did see some funny stuff. 10 trucks parked on the highway glassing the same spot that they couldn't get to in their trucks. 5 days in a row. One tried to drive up the trail and ripped his steering linkage off the truck.
But if your willing to work and get far far away you can have a good hunt.
We were about 4 miles deep before we felt like we were starting to get away from the crowds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,148 Posts
Echo Hoopermat. Get away from the roads and atv trails and you'll get into elk regardless of unit or hunt type. Elk success on UT general season is measured in miles walked...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Echo Hoopermat. Get away from the roads and atv trails and you'll get into elk regardless of unit or hunt type. Elk success on UT general season is measured in miles walked...
That was my biggest concern. I had planned on hiking far, but I wanted to make sure there was a chance of getting away from the crowds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,645 Posts
That was my biggest concern. I had planned on hiking far, but I wanted to make sure there was a chance of getting away from the crowds.
Yes, if you want to walk it is possible. I hunted a VERY crowded area during the any bull season last year (there were about 20 vehicles at the trailhead when I arrived opening morning, about 1 1/2 hours before shooting started). By the time my buddy and I had hiked two miles, there was only one other party farther in than us. I was pretty surprised at how little competition we had for the first few hours of the morning.

The trick with many of the any bull units is all the private land. The animals get pushed onto it pretty quickly once the shooting starts. Ogden, East Canyon, Chalk Creek, Morgan-South Rich, and Nine Mile are all pretty difficult in that regard (based on the research I have done; I don't have experience with all of them). I know guys who are successful in some of those units on public land, but often it takes a change in the weather to help them out. The Uintas units will give you more opportunity, but they have challenges of their own.

I'd recommend looking through the big game annual reports to see herd counts and success rates on various units. Just don't forget that success rates include private land hunters - so the high success rates on units like East Canyon and Ogden probably don't mirror the experience of the average public hunter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,325 Posts
The spike unit I hunt has always produced spikes and/or cows for our group. I have seen some nice bulls as well, but typically I only see spikes and cows during the hunt. I guess this is why I haven't ventured to the any bull areas yet. I hunt either archery or rifle on this unit almost every year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
1) I've done both. Have no clue on the "odds" between the two, beyond what the harvest reports provide. One year it was easy to find spikes. Another, 10 hard days, lots of elk, and not a single spike. Same could happen on an any bull. The odds of seeing elk on an LE unit are definitely higher imo, which if you are trying to learn more about elk, is very valuable. It's not a bad idea to be hunting spike on the unit you hope to draw for a few years before you do draw.

2) I've done North Slope. Not a big fan. There are areas to get away, but you have to search for them. And lots of horses out that way, so if you are on foot, you won't be finding solitude very easily by going deep.

3) Apply for antlerless elk in May. Esp in the unit you hope to draw an LE tag in. May not get it this year, but can build preference points, and when you do draw an antlerless, you can get to know the elk in you preferred unit all the better.

4) There are antlerless control tag options out there as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,350 Posts
I've been buying elk points for 5 years now, so I'm not looking for a trophy quite yet. I got a cow last January and the wife agrees that it tastes better than the deer and ducks I've brought home the last 6 years. So she's sending me out for more. I've done hours of research on a few areas in the northern areas where I could start. I'm still trying to make some decisions as early as possible. I've debated on not asking questions, but I figure if someone wants to get after me for the noob questions, go for it.

1. Are the odds the same as seeing a spike elk on an LE unit as they are seeing any elk in a general unit? (Vague question, I know.)

2. I've been looking into North Slope for the general. Is it possible to get away from the crowd, or is it like Ogden Bay opening morning of the duck hunt?
It really is a nice feeling when you get the family buy in on elk steaks isn't it? It kinda makes me feel like I am grocery shopping but in the mountains - its awesome. I wish I could have the same feeling when it comes to deer hunting. My whole family loves elk but its just me and my youngest girl that will eat deer.

To answer your questions from my experience:

1. Not at all. Finding spikes is a crap shoot. If you know where to look (thick pines and such) you can up your odds but every time I have found a spike while hunting them on the LE units I have felt like I had won the lottery. If you have just a little bit of determination you shouldn't have nearly as big of a problem finding any elk on the any bull units.
2. It is very possible to get away from the crowds on the North Slope depending on how far you are willing to travel away from the main trails. Just don't get lost. My brother and I have been lost on the north slope a couple times when we were younger. Not fun... Very easy to get lost up there if you don't have your act together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,205 Posts
I hunted the North Slope one time and only saw a couple cows the whole trip. Likely not due to a lack of animals, but my lack of knowledge about the area, past experience, etc. Did not run into many hunters once I left the trail head though.

Been hunting spikes for 5 years since and have yet to see one in the wild (except on trail cameras). We have managed to draw cow permits though and have had some success pulling those off the mountain.

Problem with any of the units is that the elk are smart and instinctual. After opening morning, they tend to hole up deep. It then becomes less of a game of finding them as it is a game of finding them where you're willing to drag them out of. I could likely fill every cow tag in our camp every year....IF we were willing to work that hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,148 Posts
Where I find [cows] them at they are in places that the normal elk hunter is unwilling to pack one without horses. I've seen tracks left by deer hunters in Oct, but nothung but my own during archery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It sounds like you are in it for the meat, and since that is the case I think there is a lot more opportunity for you in the way of spikes than there is for any bull.
I thought about hunting an area for spikes and that could be my scouting for my LE elk points years down the road. But yes, I'd sure like to bag some elk meat.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,776 Posts
If you want meat get a cow tag for your future LE unit.

While we were hunting spikes last year others shot 5 or 6 cows out of the elk that we were watching.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you want meat get a cow tag for your future LE unit.

While we were hunting spikes last year others shot 5 or 6 cows out of the elk that we were watching.
That's a lot of beef! I have a late cow area that has done us well. I put in last year after years of not going, and noting changed. They were still all gathered in the same spot. I plan on going after them again. The wife is even going to put in now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,205 Posts
It sounds like you are in it for the meat, and since that is the case I think there is a lot more opportunity for you in the way of spikes than there is for any bull.
I thought about hunting an area for spikes and that could be my scouting for my LE elk points years down the road. But yes, I'd sure like to bag some elk meat.
This line of thinking is exactly how we ended up where we are now. We hope to hunt the area for years and get to know the animal patterns while we wait to draw an LE tag.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This line of thinking is exactly how we ended up where we are now. We hope to hunt the area for years and get to know the animal patterns while we wait to draw an LE tag.
I'm pretty sure I'll be going after spike now. I don't need to shoot a big bull quite yet. I'd prefer burger and steaks over antlers. But that will change when I get more points. I have 5 points, I think, so I can get on a decent unit here in the next few years. I was reading over a few other threads and everyone advised the same tactic, go after spikes and learn the LE area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I have been lucky the past 5-7 years in hunting Elk. I have taken either a spikes or bull every year with a cow as well. Maybe not so much lucky, since this has been about a 10-15 year prep to this point. I would say Spikes are easier to find overall, but more satisfying to harvest a Bull. I would highly recommend South Slope area for General Bull. Some areas to look into is around Moon Lake (Target Petty Creek and Mule Creek area). And catch the Elk in transition to crossing into Indian Land.

I highly recommend you utilize the boundaries to your advantage in all Units, what I mean (unit boundaries/private vs public boundaries). Buy ONX Maps and target Boundaries, you will increase your odds of harvesting an Elk, I guarantee it. If you want to hunt Spikes on or around the Manti Unit, I can hook you up with some tips as well. Long story short work smarter not harder for Elk and your odds will increase. Shoot me a PM if you need some more tips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,076 Posts
Problem with any of the units is that the elk are smart and instinctual. After opening morning, they tend to hole up deep. It then becomes less of a game of finding them as it is a game of finding them where you're willing to drag them out of. I could likely fill every cow tag in our camp every year....IF we were willing to work that hard.
Man, ain't that the truth!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I have been lucky the past 5-7 years in hunting Elk. I have taken either a spikes or bull every year with a cow as well. Maybe not so much lucky, since this has been about a 10-15 year prep to this point. I would say Spikes are easier to find overall, but more satisfying to harvest a Bull. I would highly recommend South Slope area for General Bull. Some areas to look into is around Moon Lake (Target Petty Creek and Mule Creek area). And catch the Elk in transition to crossing into Indian Land.

I highly recommend you utilize the boundaries to your advantage in all Units, what I mean (unit boundaries/private vs public boundaries). Buy ONX Maps and target Boundaries, you will increase your odds of harvesting an Elk, I guarantee it. If you want to hunt Spikes on or around the Manti Unit, I can hook you up with some tips as well. Long story short work smarter not harder for Elk and your odds will increase. Shoot me a PM if you need some more tips.
I have been lucky the past 5-7 years in hunting Elk. I have taken either a spikes or bull every year with a cow as well. Maybe not so much lucky, since this has been about a 10-15 year prep to this point. I would say Spikes are easier to find overall, but more satisfying to harvest a Bull. I would highly recommend South Slope area for General Bull. Some areas to look into is around Moon Lake (Target Petty Creek and Mule Creek area). And catch the Elk in transition to crossing into Indian Land.

I highly recommend you utilize the boundaries to your advantage in all Units, what I mean (unit boundaries/private vs public boundaries). Buy ONX Maps and target Boundaries, you will increase your odds of harvesting an Elk, I guarantee it. If you want to hunt Spikes on or around the Manti Unit, I can hook you up with some tips as well. Long story short work smarter not harder for Elk and your odds will increase. Shoot me a PM if you need some more tips.
Hi! I am a complete newbie to the beautiful state of Utah and saw your reply here about succesful spike only hunting. I am from Texas and me and my son will be taking a trip out there to try and harvest a Spike. I know most people are afraid to share but was wondering if you wouldnt mind sharing some good tips on my best chance in getting a spike bull (Area/Unit). I have yet to get an elk. Any tips or info will be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!!! God Bless!!

Cesar
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top