Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by MnMoose, Apr 22, 2019.
That dude is a tank! How many other guys drew the tag that you drew this year?
North Dakota is an interesting beast when it comes to elk hunting.
First of all, the Badlands of ND rival any of the elk states. It can hang with Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and the Prime Colorado units. The only reason it doesn't get the fame it deserves is because non-residents cannot apply for elk, and the herd is smaller so there are less bulls killed - just every other bull that is killed is a giant! 350" is the norm for guys that put in the effort. It just doesn't get the press from the rest of the states for these two reasons.
North Dakota also has a extensive Landowner Gratis Tag program, so ranchers in the badlands get WAY better odds, and can draw more than once. Non-Landowners can only draw the elk tag once. I'd say 30% of the tags go to Landowners.
In the center of the badlands, there is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). I'd say 10x20 miles as the crow flies of prime habitat that is protected from hunting, with river bottoms and Ag Fields (Corn, irrigated alfalfa, etc.). We also don't have Bears or Wolves, and only a few Mountain Lions. Literally most of the elk in ND die of old age.
My unit is E3, which is roughly 40 miles x 70 miles, centered on TRNP. Within my unit, there is E4, which is much smaller and borders the West, NW, and North sides of TRNP. Here is the break down on tags. E3 has 80 bull (any elk) tags and 80 Cow only tags. E4 has 10 Bull tags. After the first weekend, E3 and E4 tag holders can hunt either unit. This bull is in E4, so I can't hunt him until Monday (Day 4).
Since non-residents can't apply in North Dakota, and the tag is once-in-a-lifetime, most of the people that draw are on their first elk hunt. Also, most people don't use their vacation for it, or scout a ton. It is also incredibly hard to draw the tag, less than 1% odds, so most of the people that draw the bull tag don't have the energy or freedoms of a 20 year old. Finally, most people can't call elk or understand what the elk are saying when the elk sound off.
Here in lies my position:
I got lucky and drew at 24
I am in amazing physical shape (down 51 pounds since my las elk hunt, and then up 10 pounds of muscle to a net total of -40 fat and atleast +10 muscle)
I have already been on 3 archery elk hunts
I can call quite well and have called in bulls to my hunting buddies
I have already scouted 8 days and have 7 more dedicated
I have 13 days of vacation set aside for this hunt alone
Other than having the E3 tag instead of the E4 tag, and not being able to hunt this bull until day 4, I have a lot of other variables in my favor for killing this bull, and I am hopeful I can pull them all together when the time comes and seal the deal!
Sounds like you'll be ready then. I've been putting in for Oklahoma's Elk draw for 13 years now. Hopefully one of these days I'll pull a tag. Until then I'll keep going to Colorado to chase them around.
I am headed back out there tomorrow to scout some new areas. Most of the elk I have found so far are not in my opening weekend unit, so I have some work to do I would like to get a hold of the big game biologist before the weekend, but every time I call him his line is busy. Go figure.
Found roughly 60 more elk, one bull that was in the neighborhood of 325", but none of them were huntable in their current locations.
Now that we have seen pics of the other one, we'll settle for nothing less.
I'm sending every good luck hunting vibe I can muster on you getting an opportunity at that huge bull.
Big Bull Down - Pics and story coming
Awesome! Did you get the one you were after?
I did not - but I covered that situation in my write up!
Congrats Mnmoose. Amazing story about your hunt. YOU DONE GOOD!!!
Thank you! It was quite the experience
Excellent story and a awesome bull! (I had to read that one part in Newberg's voice lol)
Great bull! And great write up too!
Congrats, that's something you'll never forget and a story you'll never tire of telling.
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