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Old June 22, 2007, 03:03 PM   #1
azredhawk44
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Cow Elk Hunting in Arizona

I just went to a hunt seminar last night put on by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation... if I were hunting bull elk, I might have been more impressed, but I got drawn for cow.

I'm a novice hunter, and I was hoping for better information than what I got there... I was hoping some folks could help me out with a couple of questions regarding hunting Arizona elk in late August.

1) The rut will not have begun. Correct?
2) Herds are all dispersed, and many cows at this point are nursing new calves. Correct?
3) Bull elk will not have any cows in entourage, correct?
4) At what altitudes will I find cow elk in summertime?
5) The folks who put on the seminar talked at exhaustive length about how to glass for bull, where to look when glassing, what terrain they prefer, and how to call (and how to not call) them in. They didn't say squat about cow, other than a brief "they're all over the place" in regards to glassing, and they said nothing about calling whatsoever. Am I to assume that cow elk cannot be called at all?

I got the impression from the seminar that just about nobody even hunts cow elk, that they are dumb, require no tactics whatsoever, are found 50 yards off the side of whatever road you are on, and when shot they timidly walk up into your pickup truck bed to bleed out, thanking you for the ride to the meat processor.

I'm looking for any calling techniques that work on cow elk if any exist at all, and favored terrain/altitude for cow elk in August.
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Old June 24, 2007, 01:59 PM   #2
2400
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I got a Cow tag for 6B and I'm looking forward to using it. Where did you get drawn?
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Old June 25, 2007, 04:40 PM   #3
azredhawk44
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27 south. Right back behind the Apache reservation, up against the New Mexico border, between Alpine and Clifton.

Do your cows climb up into the back of your pickup for you in 6B?
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Old June 25, 2007, 10:02 PM   #4
taralon
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1) Yes
2) Yes, though there may be some smallish all female herds numbering up into the low teens. You'll probably want to find a yearling or second year cow without a calf. Yearling elk heifers are some of the best elk eating out there.
3) Mostly true. Not always.
4) Depends on the Temp IMHO. If it is hot, and dry, they're going to be low in the canyons near a water source, and shade. Stalk and spot along rivers or near water in aspen and lodgepole is a good strategy. Early in the morning they may be higher on the sunlight side of the hills to get a little morning warmth.
5) Pretty much. Younger elk though are curious, and making general cow calls and bull grunts might bring in a yearling looking for company. Bugling isn't going to do much for you.

My advice? Look over an aerial map of the area you drew in (google earth works great if they've got high resolution footage of your area). Find likely watering holes, with good shade nearby and grass not far away. If there is a river try to find sandy banks with shallow slopes leading to them. Scope these out, especially the watering holes during the pre-season. Try to find places that the elk tend to like to drink. During the early morning hunt the grassy areas, and in the heat of the day, move into the shade and spot/stalk in the lodgepoles and aspens. The elk are likely to be bedded down taking a siesta (much as you'd like to be doing as well). Mid-late afternoon move into an area near the watering hole, and like deer try to get them on the way/away from water. Sometimes a tree stand works good for this, but personally I just try to find a rock outcrop.
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Old June 26, 2007, 02:39 PM   #5
azredhawk44
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Thank you taralon...

My area has a nice little creek running down through it and some hilltop mesa grazing up above the creek.

My whole hunting group is new at hunting elk, and one of my buddies is a bit ornery...last year we had an argument about bugling for cow... he felt it was productive and I felt it didn't do anything for cow at all. I was really hoping to put that argument to bed for this year's hunt, especially since we came home empty-handed last year.

I've got two separate hunt areas I want to focus on... one to the northeast of this creek and valley up high on a mesa, and another further to the north/northwest up against the face of the mogillon rim with a wide open clearing and watering tank surrounded by trees and hills that slope down into the tank.

Thanks for the advice... hopefully I can rein in the folks who can't just sit nice and still this year.
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Old June 26, 2007, 05:25 PM   #6
taralon
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Just from your description I'd say the mesa near the Creek might be the best area to scout around.


I'd leave the tank area to later in the trip if you didn't have any luck, and concentrate on it in the late evening/very early morning.
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Old June 27, 2007, 08:35 PM   #7
Arizona Fusilier
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I'm going out for "bad elk" (elk that have stayed past their normal winter range time) out in 4B north. It's also a cow hunt, limited opportunity. Very familiar with the territory, but no luck in the past.

I've been on this hunt in August several years ago; never heard a peep out of them. They cows still seemed to be in decent herds (a dozen or more). There was an occasional separation caused by a cow with a calf that did not keep up so well, though.

I'd do a good pre-season scouting and pick your spot well. I don't see (or hear) anybody calling them during this time period.
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Old June 28, 2007, 12:07 PM   #8
davlandrum
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Quote:
I got the impression from the seminar that just about nobody even hunts cow elk, that they are dumb, require no tactics whatsoever, are found 50 yards off the side of whatever road you are on, and when shot they timidly walk up into your pickup truck bed to bleed out, thanking you for the ride to the meat processor.
You have to consider where you were when you got that impression. A Lead cow is tough and smart, at least where we hunt. They are responsible for getting the other cows through predators, hunters, winter, etc.

We usually bow hunt elk in a unit that is cow/or a 3 pt + bull. The loose group I hunt with seems to take as many bulls as cows (just from recollection), and anyone would gladly take either one. Last I checked, you can't eat antlers. Would I love to hang a big rack on the wall? You bet! But I am not going to waste a hunting season waiting for a bull.

You can always transfer your tag to me, and I would gladly try to kill a stupid cow
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Old June 28, 2007, 01:46 PM   #9
azredhawk44
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davlandrum:

I forgot to use some smilies to show how cynical I was being with that statement. Elk ain't turkeys. The couple cows that we saw last year were extremely alert and skittish... we didn't get a single shot opportunity on them last year.

I'll hang onto the tag, thanks for the kind offer though.
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Old June 28, 2007, 02:12 PM   #10
2400
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Quote:
Do your cows climb up into the back of your pickup for you in 6B?
I plan on leaving the tailgate down, shooting them on the run and letting momentum load them in the truck.
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Old June 28, 2007, 03:31 PM   #11
davlandrum
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Azredhawk,

For some reason, I don't get subtle humor when I check the boards while at work (probably the guilt....).

Where we hunt there are logging roads everywhere. My mom's husband killed a nice bull one year that we literally rolled off the bank into the truck. He was going to "his spot" with his brother driving to drop him off and this bull crossed the road. He bailed out and told his brother to go ahead, he would get back to camp on foot. Seems this bull had just gotten run off his herd and was in a fighting mood. One bugle and the bull came right back, tearing branches and blowing snot. Didn't even react when he got doubled lunged. Kept looking for that "other bull" to beat up.

So sometimes they do jump in the truck (almost).
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Old June 30, 2007, 08:35 AM   #12
Jack O'Conner
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This cow elk was taken near a river bank at about 85 yards. Its common for elk to form mud wallows and to use them often.

Jack
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