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Sponge 4 bowhunting info
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Hunting elk with a partner is obviously easier, both in setting up a shot opportunity and in field dressing/packing out meat. So what advice can you guys who hunt solo offer us? No doubt you have adapted and improvised to offset the disadvantages. Please share em.
 

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I have found that if you can make them look for you, odds go up that you will get them into bow range. Might not always have a shot, but sometimes you get lucky. I won't call at all if I know they're looking and coming accept to stop them.

Packing solo? Have fun with that. My worst favorite chore on the mountain lol
 

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I have found that if you can make them look for you, odds go up that you will get them into bow range. Might not always have a shot, but sometimes you get lucky. I won't call at all if I know they're looking and coming accept to stop them.

Packing solo? Have fun with that. My worst favorite chore on the mountain lol
And piggy backing off Bruce's post on his calling thread, when a bull is stubborn and won't come, but he's bugling? I'm not good enough to call his cow's away from him, so I go to him, either silently, or cow calling, I will try to get to 50 yards and challenge or rake if I feel I cannot get closer
 

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There is pros and cons to solo elk hunting. I actually prefer it most of the time. If I’m hunting with my buddies/brother we rarely stay together for the day usually a “I’ll go this way if you wanna go that way” type of deal.

Running and gunning and moving on bugling bulls I think solo is a huge advantage. Calling with a partner is certainly an advantage but none of us really do the typical calling setups that much although we will if we decide to hunt together or if I’m with my wife.

One thing when your solo is to really be careful calling to much and letting the bull pin down your exact location.


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THE ORIGINAL
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Hunting elk with a partner is obviously easier, both in setting up a shot opportunity and in field dressing/packing out meat. So what advice can you guys who hunt solo offer us? No doubt you have adapted and improvised to offset the disadvantages. Please share em.
Don't use calls outside of locating, and monitoring herd movement. Worst thing a solo hunter can do is give up their location.
 

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Ethics come into play when you are hunting solo or with only one other person, especially for elk sized game. I'm speaking to care of the meat once you get it on the ground. There is a balancing act of getting away from pressure, but also making sure you can pack out.

As far as tactics, call less, move more.

Either way, there is nothing quite like being miles in the back country all alone. Good luck
 

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Don't use calls outside of locating, and monitoring herd movement. Worst thing a solo hunter can do is give up their location.
that is pretty much spot on from my perspective, I will get close to elk, and wait for an opportunity to make a move, either the cows feeding off, while the bull stays back raking trees, and just being a bull, or watching for an opportunity to set up an ambush.

finding a lone bull is even better. a bull by himself is a vulnerable animal, if a person is patient, it can turn into packing meat more times than not.

I do some calling solo, around here it's thick enough that I can get away with it and still find success, but I pretty much call to locate.... or only when it makes sense. if I assess a situation and think calling is my best chance, I will call, but the majority of time I don't think it's my best chance, and I think staying quiet is the best idea.

I think hunting solo is an asset unless you have some really good hunting partners. I hunt solo 95% of the time when hunting my tag. if I get an elk killed, processed, and in the freezer, then I go with buddies. i'm more effective making my own choices and hunting at my own pace.
 

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Don't use calls outside of locating, and monitoring herd movement. Worst thing a solo hunter can do is give up their location.
I have found the opposite to be true. I want them to know where I'm at. Although one must know when to quit and how much is too much. I want them in my lap and looking for me. Thus knowing when or when not to call. A fine line for sure ;)
 

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Before kids used to hunt solo alot, mostly early season. Did very little calling but i did bugle in the morning before light to locate. Most morning where spent stalking

Most evening where spent on water of some sort. I still believe your best bet to kill a elk (any elk) is first 2 weeks over a water hole in the evening

I've packed out only 2 by myself. A midsize 5x that I deboned and got out in 3 trips. Only 1.5 maybe 2 miles from car, didnt have a GPS or map. Want to get some looks. Drive your 98 Chevy caviler from Colorado to missouri with a rack sticking out of back window a bit cause it won't all fit
I was mid 20's. In very good shape.
2nd was a large cow, bone in. 3 trips. Hind quater scrap meat. For 2 trips. Both front and backstrap 3rd. This was a few years ago 2 milles in. In excellant shape running 20 miles a week keeping 7:30 average mile

I would suggest bone out and sit water
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Solo- my secret weapon

decoy setup red.jpg
The vast majority on the elk I've killed solo are with my decoy. Yeah, its a learning curve...some guys just don't do well with them. I killed this bull off of that setup solo. From where I was sitting right next to the decoy, the bull came from the left on that opposite slope and I shot him right down in the bottom when moving across in front of me. He didn't really know what happened but the cows went everywhere spooking him about 60,70 yds before he tipped over....the one pic of him laying there is taken from right near the deke
laying there 1 red.jpg bull front red1.jpg

I don't always use them hunting as a team....but here we did.

My buddy Tim was pretty happy....

decoy re.jpg

We worked hard for this one....backpacked in 7 miles.....though Tim Bro in law helped us pack it out.

We were calling to a stubborn bull for probably 15 min.......just wouldn't come out of a small patch of timber. This satellite was wandering between us and the bull and as soon as he saw the deke he went right to Tim....like on a wire. We were spread out about 50 yds apart and he couldn't see the bull. I was signaling him to draw as the bull dipped down in a little cut. I had the bull at about 25 yds broadside for probably 3-4 seconds before Tim could see him.

I waited for Tim to shoot that frontal at about 18 yds......the rest is history.

The deke is only part of the strategy....the satellite was coming to investigate but that visual reinforcement helps. BTW, if you are going to use these, be sure to study anatomy as you will get a lot of those frontal shots at very close range.
 

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I have had some close calls a few times by calling and getting a response then running at an angle to the down wind side and setting up, after calling many bulls in that do not finish and simply end up down wind out of range I am going to use this tactic more often.

Worked like a charm several times on bulls I passed, one time I cold called after I smelled elk, I did not make that move and it cost me a shot at really nice 6 point!
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Decoy strategy

I should have taken a pic from where the bull was to give a better idea of what the herd saw....my bad. From back up on the slope...and in the rain...not a very good pic.

Heres another solo bull in Co OTC....I had 2 bulls together coming in....but I think I spooked his buddy that was following him when I drew. Bummer too...as his buddy was a nice 5x5 vs this dink.
Co.my bull 04 resized.jpg

One of the keys to a decoy is you have to assume there is an elk staring at you. I've had buddies screw it up as they were moving around...and while the elk can see the deke....they busted them moving at the same time. It sometimes takes me a day to go from everyday mode to hunt mode....just be aware [most of you have had this happen I'm sure] those elk are looking for movement and they can pick you off 80-100yds through the thick timber.

In one case I was back about 40 yds calling for a buddy of a buddy and he was figiting around. I signaled him to hold still....but he still didn't get it. I saw the bull coming in through my binos a ways out in the timber.... super skeptical, take a few steps and search. He got about 50 yds and I know he saw this guy moving.......he took off. It was kind of funny when this guy tells me these decoys don't work that well.....
 

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THE ORIGINAL
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I have found the opposite to be true. I want them to know where I'm at. Although one must know when to quit and how much is too much. I want them in my lap and looking for me. Thus knowing when or when not to call. A fine line for sure ;)
Giving up your location is an ABSOLUTE no no 99% of the time solo hunting, until you are at full draw and stopping them with a cow call to drain em... Calling to monitor herd movement is different at some distance, but once your inside those velvet ropes...:zip:
 

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Too many variables to think absolutes.If in a Panhandle jungle,I've called and killed when they are 50 or less.without calling I was screwed.A 'park' in New Mex?Likely not but wind,terrain,elk attitude prevents me from dealing with absolutes.
 

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Open country tactics differ from dark timber tactics. Calling when hunting dark timber is not only more productive but much funner! Calling them in close is an art, of course timing is essential as well as right sound right time. Most hunters rely on a couple of sounds for all elk encounters & they fail at most of them, because of this they start to shy away from calling thinking that all calling results in failure. Not so!

ElkNut/Paul
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Open country tactics differ from dark timber tactics. ....
^ I totally agree ....and Paul is dead on on the variety of calls.

Open country is totally different when it comes to my strategies. I've called bulls from 1/2 mile away with the decoys....and also had them look and disregard completely. The decoy is great for a bull thats out searching...and the decoy is best when it reinforces what the bull HEARS.

IME, in open country its harder to pull a big bull away from his cows. Since bowhunting is a distance thing....the closer you can get...like in thick country...the better. Its sometimes hard to get close to a herd once you have called as it alerts them to you location.

As like many of you, I've bumped into my share of hunters in the woods. I've even run into some really good buglers....a couple have had me fooled....one guy years ago in Oregon with an Abe and Sons in particular.

But then most guys give themselves away as did the guy above by overcalling...or repeating the same bugle or cow call repeatedly. Some guys are terrible about that. The Abe and Sons guy was funny as I had setup 3 decoys and called him in close. When "The Bull" wasn't coming in but kept bugling, I snuck in close....and when I popped up 10 yds from the guy I just about gave him a heart attack. Then he kept telling me there was a herd of elk in a loud whisper, "RIGHT THERE!...what are you doing.....they are right over that rise!" I tried to explain those were my dekes....but he was adamant that it was a herd of elk. Well at least I know it looks realistic.

I'm a big believer in understanding your quarry and Pauls stuff is right on the money in that regard. IME, elk have modified their behavior a little over the last 30 years since I've been hunting them....but the basic tenants still hold true.

The toughest situations for me while solo has been a herd bull that is working their way to bed...he sounds off but doesn't have satellites pestering...... is call shy and doesn't call enough for me to stay close.
 

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Giving up your location is an ABSOLUTE no no 99% of the time solo hunting, until you are at full draw and stopping them with a cow call to drain em... Calling to monitor herd movement is different at some distance, but once your inside those velvet ropes...:zip:
As I said, knowing where that fine line is, is critical. 5' could be the difference in getting a shot, or not ;)
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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I know some guys that are very successful in general units in Or and Co....they kill elk EVERY YEAR...in areas with single digit success rates. How?

They literally do it with hunting skills alone- zero calling. They know elk sign and how to read it ......then form a plan. They employ multiple strategies -which I won't get into- but they get it done. There truly is more than one way to skin a cat....
 
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