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I know the easy answer is "all the time" but for those of us trying to balance hunting, family, work, etc. when do you think is the best time to hit the mountains for archery elk during the 4 week season? If I only have 3-4 vacation days to spend out bow hunting when would you suggest I go?

My experience tells me that I ought to wait until September when it's a little cooler and the elk are approaching the rut.

Devils advocate says early in the season before they start getting chased by razors all over the place might best; plus I'm newer to archery so I'm not just trying to tie into a big bull, a spike or cow would actually satisfy me this year.
 

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My .02 early will be better than later as this year is the earliest ending date possible.
Archery is all about chances to set up on elk. The more days you can spend the more chances you may have to get setups. Week days will be less crowded than weekends and holidays. Use your vacation days accordingly.
Good Luck.
 

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Billy, get your extended archery permit done and you can hunt them till December in the extended areas after the first month(or just hunt them in the extended area the entire time)...Then you can go when you don't have obligations.
 

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I think it is situational. are you just looking for cows and spikes on a LE unit, Big bulls on an any bull unit or a LE bull tag. I also think it is one of those things that you have to be ready at anytime. I myself have killed a few elk but never any pattern other than spend time in the hills to get the opportunities. My preferred time though is from mid-late October till the end of the hunt on the front and the front is an animal all its own. If I was only a cow/spike killer on a LE unit I would be for sure finding a water hole to sit.
 

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Hunt around the moon phases. The darker the moon, the better. If you want time to hunt, hunt labor day weekend to get the most bang for your buck. Leaver Friday after work, hunt 3 days over the weekend, hunt the next 4 days (Tues thru Fri) and the following weekend. Total days hunting is 9 days and you only loose 4 days of work. I did this for several years. Biggest factor we found in hunting elk was the moon. In all cases, you have to go find them and if you put in the miles... you will find the elk. Finding them has never been an issue, getting a good shot has been the challenge.
 
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