Scouting for archery elk should be happening now. You need to locate the elk without spooking them into the next county, or off public land.
A 4-wheeler is a good way to cover a lot of territory and see tracks crossing the road. Every hunter has a different preference for scouting, and hunting elk. The first rule of elk hunting is to FIND THE ELK! The other rules don’t matter if you never locate the bulls. Early in the season, dominant bulls have secured the cows. Other immature cows and bulls are in loose herds. As the rut grows, the elk come together. This usually encourages them to migrate. At some point during this pattern, there will be 4 amazing days of crazy rut. Finding them is critical.
Most hunters stay close to the roads. Many never leave the seat of their wheeler or truck. Sure, the coffee is hot, a truck is cozy, but is this really hunting? They are simply relying on luck. Using a wheeler in more remote areas is a great tool. Once you know where the roads and access points are, you can plan a hunt and extract downed game more easily.
Wheelers are not allowed everywhere. Check the rules and follow them. Only stay on roads, or trails that are allowed. Stashing a wheeler downhill from a scout, or hunt, is a great way to avoid trekking back uphill. We often chain a wheeler to a tree and cover it with a camo tarp. Plan the hunt toward the parked ride. Having a small cooler filled with cold beverages is a wonderful surprise.
Elk become wise to the sound of motors. They will freeze when a wheeler cruises by. When hunting on public land, look for the vast areas where wheelers are not allowed. Get away from the roads and go where the elk are.
Just have your wheeler handy for the long ride home.
For more Montana Grant, find him cruising at www.montanagrantfishing.com.