In the Florida Panhandle, there were a few places I may have been able to get a 100-125 yard shot. But, that involved swamp, primarily.
Most of the non-swampy areas I hunted provided a 25-30 yard shot, at best. The only real exception, was an area of new-growth pine, where a tree stand about 20 feet up one of the old-growth trees on the edge would have given a 75-100 yard view.
Out West, we've got it all.
Some people, like KraigWY, are lucky enough to be able to hunt areas where there are Elk in the open, or even in the sage brush, for much of the season.
Others, like myself, prefer to, or must
, hunt them in the trees.
When I go Elk hunting, I usually take a minimum of 3 rifles:
1. Close-range "brush gun" with iron sights for the thick stuff.
Used for thick stands of Quakies, scrub Oak, etc.
2. Long-range scoped rifle for open or thinner areas.
Thinner parts of the forest, linked meadows with a long shooting lane, or locations that provide a good vantage point over a valley can really make use of a good long-range rig.
3. Intermediate-range rifle for pushing through the "dark nasties", but also appropriate for the longer shots in between.
The deep, dark, nasty hovels are usually surrounded by areas a with trees a little more dispersed. I like to have something that will serve 'double duty'.
Opening day of the rifle season, you might see a few hunters get lucky with shots at Elk in the open. But, after that, they retreat and seek shelter in the thick stuff or "dark nasties."
From then on, you have two choices:
1) Sit and wait for other hunters to push them to you (might take a while, in some areas).
Or, 2) Find the Elk.
95% of the time, I choose option 2: Hike. Hike some more. Hike even more. And, keep hiking until I find the Elk.
We camp in a 5-mile wide bowl, at the end of a dead-end jeep trail where we're usually 6.25 miles from the nearest maintained (dirt) road, 8.3 miles from the nearest paved road, 4.5 miles from the nearest camp, and there's nearly no one
else hunting the area.
There's so much blow-down timber in the trees, that movement is measured in hundreds of yards per hour, rather than miles.
This year, I'm feeling ambitious. I'm planning to hike the bowl's rim to the tallest peak in the area (just a little guy at 9,400 ft), then push back to camp right through the nasty, thick bottom. Round trip: 7.2 miles.
The overall view makes it look so nice....
But, under the canopy, it looks like this:
You're walking on precariously-perched logs, more than you're walking on the ground.