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Old 08-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Elk Winter Migration

Will Elk begin to migrate to their winter quarters after one big snowstorm? Will one big storm immediately alter their daily patterns?
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbl1222
Will Elk begin to migrate to their winter quarters after one big snowstorm? Will one big storm immediately alter their daily patterns?
Nope and yep.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

I would say it depends on the amount of snow and if they can get to the food or not. It would have to be one big snow fall for them to move immediatly.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

Welcome to the forum gbl! It may be a bit of an anomaly due to the feeding program, but if I recall correctly the CO at Hardware Ranch told me that the elk just pour in there on about opening day with snow and most often without a trace of snow, presumably as no one shoots at them there??
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

Hardware Ranch aside (unusual circumstances)....
They generally follow the food. If one big storm dumps enough snow to cover their browse and keep it covered for a week, they may start moving. But, if that snow starts to melt after a couple days, they'll stay put until they have a reason to move.

Elk routinely "hunker down" for as much as 5-7 days with minimal food and little water, if conditions warrant it.

Example:
In 2008, on the South Slope (Vernal / Bonanza / Yellowstone), the Elk hunkered down the day before the general season opened. Rain, freezing rain, snow, and wind storms slammed the area until Tuesday morning. It was generally just a nightmare for hunters. Those of us that were still actively trying to fill our tags were jumping Elk from their beds. They were dug in, in some of the deepest, darkest, nastiest stuff around. By the time you were close enough to see them... they were headed for the next place to hole-up. They simply did NOT move, unless you forced them; but they were in locations that didn't allow them to be spotted from more than 30-50 yards away.

But, when the sky opened, the sun showed itself, and the temperature came up on Tuesday afternoon... 30 miles of mountains sounded like a war zone. Every Elk on the mountain was on a mission to get food, fill up on water, and stretch their legs. They weren't as cautious as they should have been, and walked right into many a hunter's line of sight. The Wildlife officer I talked to the next year said more tags were filled in 3 hours on Tuesday afternoon, than the rest of the hunt put together. But, they didn't move out of the area. They were just trying to 'refuel' after hunkering down for almost 6 days.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

last year on monroe... had a snow storm that put down about a foot of snow a day or two prior to the general opening. a huge amount of elk moved to near the valley floor (burrville, koosharem, greenwich) over night. they stayed there for about a week, then moved back up. have seen it the other way as well. tons of elk in a foot to 18 inches. so, yup and nope is correct. find them, then hunt them.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

Down where ive cow hunted, the elk will be in spots in January that have over 3 feet of snow. They hunker down alot, and move when they need to. They are still towards the tops of the mountains.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

Thanks for all the responses, it's nice to be a part of this forum.
Last year up on the South slope they got a good 18-24 inches in a day or two and it was hard to tell if the Elk had moved much lower or if the were just sitting and trying to wait the storm out. It's amazing how they can disappear into thin air.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

On the Zion unit (and south Panguitch Lake unit) both deer and elk usually move down at the first sign of winter, whether it be snow or a hard cold night. They're whimps!
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elk Winter Migration

As , has been pointed out here ,,
Greatly depends on unit, and different locations ...

Deer and elk herd migrations ( or movement in most cases) are extremely
different from one area to the next ....
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