Early Season Scouting

Elk season is only a little more than 3 months away and I am headed to a unit I have not ever hunted.  With this hunt being in my home state I have no excuse for not scouting the unit.  So my early scouting started with a few friendly conversations with friends who have hunted this unit in the past to have some starting points for myself.  After a few conversations with a few different people I noticed one area that seem to pop up each time, so I knew that was a definite spot I would have to check out.

I headed down to our local sporting goods shop that prints custom maps, on waterproof tear resistant paper.  This map would help show me what roads would lead me into certain areas of the unit.  I would then compare the paper map to what google earth showed me in regards to “two track” roads that were not listed on the map.  Now just because a road is listed or can be seen from google earth does not mean that it is accessible.  With this being said that means that I will have to verify this information with a scouting trip.

So with a few places to go check out down in our hunting unit I set my alarm for 3:30am.  When my alarm went off it felt like my head barely touched the pillow before I needed to get up and get going.  I loaded up in my truck and headed over to pick up my hunting buddy to start our first scouting trip of the year.  It took us about 3 hours to reach our designated elk unit we will be hunting this year.

My thought process for this scouting trip was to focus on access, or lack of access more importantly for me, and potential areas to set up a base camp.  I wanted to find good terrain that was a little harder to get to, by either really rough roads, or no roads at all.  I wasn’t trying to locate the elk this trip because the season is still a little far away to be worried specifically about what quality bulls are in the area.  The reason for me wanting to find more remote areas is because the season opens on a Friday and it is Labor Day weekend.  That means more people will be in the woods more than likely and things should cool off some when some of the hunters who can’t get work off head home.

All in all the scouting trip allowed us to eliminate a few areas for weekends and to focus us in on some other areas the next scouting trip we make.  My plan is to make one scouting trip a month if possible.  Next trip we will head out on foot into the back country to look for some more remote terrain and some potential water holes the elk could use.  If we find some good water holes then I will put up some game cameras to see what is visiting the area.


2 thoughts on “Early Season Scouting

    • It was a good scouting trip for sure. Hopefully we can locate a few of those bulls the Gila is so well known for. We are slowly but surely scratching places off the list of where we need to stay away from due to easy access. Next trip we are going to check out a rugged area where a friend hunted last year who had several encounters with some very large bulls.


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