Elk Quest 2018
Featured Guests: Mitch Petrie and Steve West
(Photo courtesy of "The Revolution with Jim & Trav")
This week on The Revolution with Jim and Trav we’re talking public land elk hunting, calling tips, locating the secret spots bulls love, calibers that fill the freezer, ammunition that flat performs and more. Joining us will be Mitch Petrie, Vice President of Programming for Outdoor Sportsman Group and Steve West of Steve's Outdoor Adventures! Jim and Trav’s Elk Quest 2018 is presented by Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network and MyOutdoorTV.
If anyone knows the ins and outs of North American big game hunting, it’s Steve West. In addition to being an accomplished hunter, Steve’s also a professional hunting consultant, working with clients to help them book their dream hunts with reputable outfitters. In addition, he’s a television host and showcases his adventures on Steve’s Outdoor Adventures on Outdoor Channel, Sundays at 6:00 pm ET.
This week Steve joins us to talk elk hunting. In many areas, right now the rut is in full swing and winding down. Rut timing is different every year and varies by location, but in general by mid-October it’s over. However, Steve says that he has seen an exception to this rule. He notes that as elk populations grow, rutting behavior is prolonged in areas with higher densities of elk. Northwest Colorado, Northern Utah, and Chama, New Mexico, are elite locales with high densities of elk where Steve says this extended rut is evident and can run well into November. The rut is a highly sought-after time frame for hunters, they want to take advantage of the increased activity in the woods and hopefully they can turn the rut frenzy into success. However, Steve says that there is a misconception about hunting the rut, one that leaves some people thinking all you have to do is go out, bugle, and a bull will charge in. In truth, hunting during the rut can be difficult and Steve notes it’s probably the most physically demanding time of the season. The elk are in small groups, they cover a lot of ground, the bulls are experiencing pressure from satellite bulls, they are trying to keep their cows together and they are constantly on the move. If a hunter isn’t in decent physical shape, it can be difficult to keep up with the elk, let alone get in front of them to shoot.
Knowing where to focus your search is important if you want to punch that tag. Steve says it doesn’t matter what part of the season you are hunting – before, during or after the rut – hunters need to have a basic understanding of where food, water and bedding areas are located and also be able to read the behavior of the elk. Utilizing “smart scouting” Steve says that today’s modern trail cameras have allowed him to pattern animals and understand their behavior better, without stepping foot into those areas. Trail cameras that can remotely upload photos to an online platform or app make it possible to monitor water holes, trails, meadows and more. Analyzing this information can give hunters a good advantage when they finally set out to hunt. Early in the season, Steve says he seeks out bedding areas and food sources and tries to locate them on the bugle and waits for the elk to talk and reveal their location in order to better decipher where they are going and then try to get in front of them. Steve notes that water sources are a great place to watch but says this can be tricky because large open pools of water aren’t necessary for a good drink. Discrete areas you may not realize are holding small quantities of water might be just enough for elk and more ideal than other water sources where they feel more vulnerable and exposed. Focusing on bedding can be a solid strategy rather than trying to watch every water hole. Identifying a good Northern facing slope with dark timber, grass and bedding areas and then getting between that location and their food source could be the recipe for success.
If you are firearm hunting, then you need to put some time and consideration into the caliber you’ll be using. Steve says that his favored choice is the 300 Winchester Magnum as it’s a proven effective all-around caliber. However, he has hunted elk with a variety of different calibers, the smallest being 6.5 Creedmoor that he used to down an elk last year, up to a 338 Winchester Magnum. Steve says it really doesn’t matter what caliber you are hunting with, if you can’t shoot it. He says that he would rather guide a hunter that can hit their mark every time with accuracy using a 270, 30-06 or 308, in combination with good a bullet, rather than a hunter that shows up with a hefty choice like a 300 Ultra Magnum but lacks the ability to control it and shoot it accurately. It doesn’t do any good to have a big caliber if you can’t put the bullet where it needs to be, says Steve.
Tune in as Steve talks elk hunting, calling, scent control, scouting, locating, calibers and much more. Be sure to catch Steve’s Outdoor Adventures on Outdoor Channel, Sundays 6:00 PM ET.
New Mexico is hallowed ground for elk hunters. Monsters are alive and well in New Mexico and the lucky hunters that get to put their boots to the ground have the opportunity to walk away with an incredible bull if odds stack in their favor. Mitch Petrie is the VP of Programming for Outdoor Sportsman Group – Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network. This week he joins The Revolution, fresh off of an archery elk hunt in New Mexico.
While the phrase “hunt of a lifetime” may be thrown around rather loosely, Mitch admits that this truly was a hunt of a lifetime kind of experience. Not only was he hunting elk in New Mexico, but he was also hunting with legendary outdoorsmen, the crew from Primos Hunting. Primos Truth About Hunting on Outdoor Channel Tuesdays at 7:00 pm ET and Sundays 9:30 pm ET. With temperatures in the high 80’s, the weather wasn’t ideal, but Mitch says there was plenty of rutting and bugling action as well as great encounters. Mitch says he is a big turkey and whitetail hunter but had never hunted elk before. While he had seen elk and had encounters in the field, it was never with a bow and license in hand, so he wasn’t sure how he would react. He recounts the first morning of the hunt where after a failed attempt to call in a bull, they headed for a water hole and along the way they spotted a big 330-inch bull. Mitch says he dropped down behind the only tree around and knocked up an arrow as the team assembled around him and Will Primos acted as a spotter behind him, calling out the yardage as the bull moved in. At about 40 yards the bull jumped out and stood broadside where Mitch says he hadn’t drawn back yet and wasn’t able to do so without blowing his cover. As the bull moved Mitch says he was able to draw back, but ultimately didn’t end up with a shot opportunity because the bull caught their wind or sensed something amiss. Even without punching the tag, he says it was a fantastic experience. He’ll also highlight a cool encounter they had with a large herd of 200 plus elk that were moving thru to their evening food source as Mitch and the team were hiking back to their vehicles.
Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG) has a lot of things happening right now. They have been diligently working behind the scenes to create a way for people to better access the immense amount of content they have available. Mitch says OSG’s websites and digital assets are being rolled out right now on new platforms making it easier for those who are seeking information to search topics and find all relevant videos and articles from the extensive library of content they have across all brands. For the consumer, Mitch says that means OSG is a global leader in content for the outdoor space – hunting, shooting and fishing. These new platforms will help them deliver content to where ever viewers, listeners and readers are, and in whatever format they want. New offerings from OSG include the new MOTV web site, Android app, iOS app, Apple TV app, Amazon Fire TV app, and Roku channel. Plus, MOTV will soon be available on Amazon Prime Video, as well. Mitch says there has been about a week delay in the Amazon launch because of the volume of amazing content they are delivering, which is a huge win for viewers who want to see it. However, from a bigger picture this is also advantageous for educating and bringing new people to the sport. The outdoor industry isn’t exclusive but rather inclusive and eager to bring in new comers. For those who might live in urban areas or haven’t ever experienced outdoor hunting, fishing and shooting sports, the availability of content makes it easier for them to learn. There is something for everyone. Whether you are a turkey hunter, deer hunter or want to see hunting adventures from the opposite side of the globe, they have it all. Mitch talks about the popular series Wild Boar Fever and how it continues to outperform expectations and draw in viewers who are intrigued by the educational aspect, the hunting style and the marksmanship required for these driven boar hunts. With great content pouring in all the time and new series that will be launching after the first of the year, there are a lot of exciting things happening at OSG. In addition, they are gearing up for awards season where fans will be able to go online and vote for their favorite hosts, hunts, shows and more, in the annual Outdoor Sportsman Awards.
Tune in as we talk incredible New Mexico elk hunting and great outdoor content with Mitch Petrie, VP of Programming at Outdoor Sportsman Group.