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Old October 11, 2018, 02:58 PM   #1
Brian Pfleuger
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Elk and Rain?

Hey all,

So, I'm heading out on my 2nd elk hunt. I'm in Western CO and, normally, it never rains here.

It's been raining for 10 days straight. Literally, more rain in 10 days than we've seen in 2 years since I moved here.

Any guesses how this might effect the elk?

I'll be (starting) with a base camp around 7500 feet and the mountain we climb goes up to about 10k. There's currently a little snow above ~8k, the rain/snow is supposed to stop today and it should be warm enough the next couple days to melt it off.
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Old October 11, 2018, 03:06 PM   #2
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Any guesses how this might effect the elk?
They'll be wet. Makes them group up to keep warm. You'll be able to smell them if you get close.
They'll be in heavy cover to try to keep dry. Look in aspens if the leaves are still on, otherwise dark timber.
They'll be looking for food that's easy to get a lot of fast. That typically means meadows, clear cuts, or agricultural areas.
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Old October 11, 2018, 03:24 PM   #3
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^^^^
That.

They'll also take advantage of breaks in the weather, in order to rush to food and water.
When they can do so, they'll hunker back down in the thick (and usually drier) stuff, and may be able to wait for several more days before they seek food and water again.


So, if the rain/snow is supposed to stop today, you want to be there when it stops. The elk will roll out, en masse, a couple hours later.
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Old October 11, 2018, 03:40 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Season doesn’t start until Saturday.

The mountain has a several hundred acre patch of Oak Brush, surrounded by Aspens.

There’s a small, maybe 50 foot, pond 1/2 mile from the road at the base (7,750ft) and a couple acre reservoir right at the road. By “road”, I mean dirt trail normally not driven hardly at all except during the season and even then pretty hidden, but our camper will be right there by the reservoir.
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Old October 12, 2018, 06:42 AM   #5
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. I see deer out feeding in the rain often. As long as the precipitation doesn't interfere with their sensory functions (hearing, seeing, smelling) game animals just go on with their business.
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Old October 12, 2018, 07:34 AM   #6
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I don't pretend to know where your elk are.

Sometimes they go where you are not looking.

Oak brush offers them really good cover.They have a water source nearby.

Oak brush can be really tough for people to deal with,but the elk don't mind that.

I'm not saying focus on the oak,just don't overlook it.
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Old October 12, 2018, 10:12 AM   #7
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It’s not so much “rain” that makes me wonder.... it’s 10 straight days of rain in a place where it almost literally never rains.

I’m curious if that effects the animals. Being from upstate NY, I’ve hunted rain *a lot*, but it’s completely normal there. I’ve never been curious how it effects the animals, since it’s just another day.

Here, I wouldn’t be surprised if entire herds have no memory of 1/10 this much rain.
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Old October 12, 2018, 10:24 AM   #8
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I have found that rain hardly affects Elk in terms of their overall patterns. They will eat at the normal times in the normal places. When they bed down, they will tend to stay in the trees as opposed to in the open, but during hunting season, that is normal anyway.
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Old October 15, 2018, 04:56 PM   #9
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Well... it's a rough year... everybody I talk to says the elk are abnormal, but it's more because of high-altitude snow than the rain. Apparently it hasn't chased them down the mountains but it's made it hard for hunters to get in where they are.... that's what I'm told anyway.
In any case, we had fresh snow on our mountain, I walked over 2 miles opening day and cut one fresh track. Second day, different path, still about 2 miles, nada.
We left the area and have been gps map and driving around looking for promising spots.
Saw a muley fork horn that I could have shot 100 times over, but they're not in season....

The only good thing I can say is that I took my new (last year) Tikka T3x in 7mm-08 (of course), topped with the Zeiss Terra 3x someone here turned me on to, out to verify sight-in.... first shot 3/4" high at 100... second shot... what the hell? I can't see where it hit.... walk down there, hole is about 1/8" larger than a single bullet. Close enough. I really do like this gun.... now if I could just find a critter to shoot with it.
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Old October 15, 2018, 05:42 PM   #10
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You might check for fresh sign in that oak brush area.
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Old October 16, 2018, 10:25 PM   #11
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I had one of my best archery seasons when it was raining non stop in 2013 (the flood year). It's fun to be super quiet.
You won't have to worry about hunting over water, but you might want to wear a hat with a brim to help shoot in the rain.

Rain usually means cooler and the elk are more active. Good luck.
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Old October 17, 2018, 10:08 PM   #12
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I think elk like cool wet feed over dry hot feed . they enjoy cooling wet .
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Old October 20, 2018, 09:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
They'll also take advantage of breaks in the weather, in order to rush to food and water.
When they can do so, they'll hunker back down in the thick (and usually drier) stuff, and may be able to wait for several more days before they seek food and water again.

So, if the rain/snow is supposed to stop today, you want to be there when it stops. The elk will roll out, en masse, a couple hours later.
Sounds more like domestic chickens!



Elk are big-bodied creatures and as long as they
have the food to metabolize, can easily handle
the wet & cold.

Some of my best elk hunts have been in the rain & snow.
It's heavy wind that make elk spooky & hard to hunt.

Brian, elk are just out of the heavy rut,
inactivity is the norm.

Last edited by 6.5swedeforelk; October 20, 2018 at 10:01 AM.
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Old October 20, 2018, 12:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Elk are big-bodied creatures and as long as they
have the food to metabolize, can easily handle
the wet & cold.
Just because they CAN doesn't mean they want to.
Where I hunt elk, they hunker down for storms and don't move until they must.
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Old October 20, 2018, 12:50 PM   #15
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I hunted in the Selway of Idaho for a long time and "wet" was a standard every day event.
I don't think elk even notice rain unless you get wind with it, or until it stops raining and gets cold. That does get them moving and eating a lot.

If you have wet weather with winds over about 25 MPH the elk will shelter up in heavy cover for much of the day. They move around in it when feeding, but don't bed in it. They will try to bed in a sheltered place.
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