Late Season Cow Elk Hunt (Input is appreciated!) - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Late Season Cow Elk Hunt (Input is appreciated!)

I am very lucky to be one of the few hunters with the priviledge to pursue elk in the PA Wilds this year! I drew a tag for the late season cow elk hunt. I will be hunting in Unit 11.

I'm currently brainstorming my approach to the upcoming hunt. I have the experience of hunting elk in the rugged backcountry of Colorado and have all the bells and whistles in regards to gear. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but I just want to state the facts so I can get the most helpful insight! With that being said I have not harvested an elk.

I'm going to break down everything into a few categories:

Type of hunt:

I am weighing out a DIY or guided hunt.

DIY Plan (May include a friend) **I really like the challenge of this**
1. Drive out a few weekends and scout.
2. Introduce myself to locals/landowners and ask for permission to access their property.
3. Head out 2-3 days before, set up basecamp in a state forest (I have a really good winter gear), scout, get after it!
*option stay in a local hotel/air bnb*

Guided Plan
1. I'll book this in advance and keep in close contact with the guide.
2. Head out to scout closer to the season.

Questions I have (I'm sure I'll have more as the weeks go on1)

1. Since this is the late season, do the elk move to "wintering grounds" like they do in the west? My experience in Colorado ranged from 7,000- 11,500' so there was a big difference between the summer and winter grounds. Does anyone have an approximate area where the wintering grounds are in this particular area?

2. I have already been studying maps of the area and there is a large state forest in the northern section of Zone 11. Also there are gamelands (34 in the north and 94 in the south) as well. Does anyone have experience with these particular areas? It appears to be heavily wooded with glaciated high plateaus

3. If I did go with guided route what are your suggestions for an outfitter?

All input is appreciated!

Thanks again,

Brandon

Go where others refuse, but do not lose your common sense along.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 11:49 AM
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Brandon,

The PGC used to provide mapping that showed the location of elk harvests over the years. This was good information to start. I would make this a priority to track down.

Find out where the open food plots/fields area that you can hunt. Elk are grazers, feed in open grassy fields.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 11:50 AM
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Found the maps for you.
https://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/Hunt...s/default.aspx
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC3128 View Post
I am very lucky to be one of the few hunters with the priviledge to pursue elk in the PA Wilds this year! I drew a tag for the late season cow elk hunt. I will be hunting in Unit 11.

I'm currently brainstorming my approach to the upcoming hunt. I have the experience of hunting elk in the rugged backcountry of Colorado and have all the bells and whistles in regards to gear. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but I just want to state the facts so I can get the most helpful insight! With that being said I have not harvested an elk.

I'm going to break down everything into a few categories:

Type of hunt:

I am weighing out a DIY or guided hunt.

DIY Plan (May include a friend) **I really like the challenge of this**
1. Drive out a few weekends and scout.
2. Introduce myself to locals/landowners and ask for permission to access their property.
3. Head out 2-3 days before, set up basecamp in a state forest (I have a really good winter gear), scout, get after it!
*option stay in a local hotel/air bnb*

Guided Plan
1. I'll book this in advance and keep in close contact with the guide.
2. Head out to scout closer to the season.

Questions I have (I'm sure I'll have more as the weeks go on1)

1. Since this is the late season, do the elk move to "wintering grounds" like they do in the west? My experience in Colorado ranged from 7,000- 11,500' so there was a big difference between the summer and winter grounds. Does anyone have an approximate area where the wintering grounds are in this particular area?

2. I have already been studying maps of the area and there is a large state forest in the northern section of Zone 11. Also there are gamelands (34 in the north and 94 in the south) as well. Does anyone have experience with these particular areas? It appears to be heavily wooded with glaciated high plateaus

3. If I did go with guided route what are your suggestions for an outfitter?

All input is appreciated!

Thanks again,

Brandon


Quehanna Outfitters, Bill May, he knows the area and has very good guides, I used him last year after I got drawn after 17 years of applying. I wanted to give my self the best chance possible of getting a Cow. If you would like his phone number pm me. After I killed my cow on the third day my guide gutted the animal, I held the legs apart, the outfitter hired a guy with a Percheron horse to remove the deer from the kill site to the guides truck, where it was taken to the check station to be process and then to the skinning shed and immediately skinned and hung until the next morning when it was quartered and put in my truck for the trio home, at 72 I appreciated not having to wrestle with a large animal. I would hire him again if I ever get drawn again.
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Last edited by Woods walker; 08-19-2019 at 01:46 PM.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 06:22 PM
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BLC3128, If you are willing to go out and set up a basecamp to hunt, then to me you sound like an able bodied type of person. I would not even consider hiring a guide. Scouting and finding them ahead of time is half the fun. Even if you didn't want to camp, there are places to stay nearby and you can even look on VRBO to find camps for rent. You could be lots more comfortable than just camping out in January and still not have a whole lot of money tied up in it. There is quite a bit of public land in the northern part of zone 11. They will be there.
I would look at those past harvest maps, but not totally put my entire faith in them. All of the harvests on them will be from the earlier regular seasons of the past. Where the elk will be in January will depend on how heavy the mast crop was during the coming fall and where the best grass and other crops will have been in the areas food plots. For my book, I would find the best grazing available, and you will find the elk in that late season.
If you have the ability to do some scouting and the ability to get the elk out of the field, I would definitely go DIY. With the cow that I got, I had three guys help me get it from the field, but I have always felt that just my buddy and I could have done it. If you drop your elk anywhere near to a forestry road and have a larger, magnum sized, game cart, then you will be able to get a cow from the field to your truck. If you're not able bodied or don't have the time to go and scout, then hire a guide. If you want the satisfaction of going it alone and succeeding, then go DIY. Don't be afraid of "what if I don't get one and waste my elk tag?" If you do your homework and hunt the whole season, it will happen.
If you have any questions at all on how I pursued my DIY cow, feel free to PM me. Heck, if we had a day where we could meet, I'd be glad to go with you for a look around on a scouting trip. Either way, I wish you the best of luck on your hunt.
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Last edited by kudu58; 08-19-2019 at 06:25 PM.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 07:21 PM
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I'm not familiar with the area, but the elk generally head down off the top in the winter. I'd check out the lower country and try and talk to some locals about where elk are in January. It looks like there is only 1 tag for that season so you'll have the entire area to yourself. I'd hunt on your own without a guide. Spend the early scouting time learning the unit and the elks behaviors, then try and find some elk right before the hunt. S
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 08:11 PM
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CONGRATS Brandon on drawing your Late Season Elk Cow Tag!! I also got selected for a Late Season Cow Tag. Mines's in Zone 2.

I even before being selected knew I was going with a guide. I'm going with Elk County Outfitters. I have done hundreds of DIY deer & turkey hunts spanning the past 50 plus years in PA, AL, MD & NY so have been able to fully appreciate those associated "jollies", scouting excitement/anticipation, hunt success gratification(& non success) and then some!! I'm pretty much involved full time in hunting PA in the fall plus do extensive saltwater fishing/crabbing out of a place I have in VA. I would have to sacrifice time away from those activities which I'm not willing to do. Plus I'm involved in keeping 3 grandkids in my spare time! Mebbie if I never experienced DIY hunts or few of them.......then it would be a viable option for me to explore. Sounds like you have the prerequisites pretty well covered to afford you a great time!! Very best of luck for a fun hunt!!
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kudu58 View Post
If you have any questions at all on how I pursued my DIY cow, feel free to PM me. Heck, if we had a day where we could meet, I'd be glad to go with you for a look around on a scouting trip. Either way, I wish you the best of luck on your hunt.



BLC3128 the only advice I have is take Kudu up on his kind offer, that's gold man. Good luck and write a post on how it all goes.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:17 PM
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If your willing and prepared to do the real hard work (after the kill) then by all means DIY. Also I can second WW recommendation of Bill May. I’ve worked construction and guided with him, a good man and he knows his stuff.
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