How western elk hunting ruined my whitetail deer hunting

Happy holidays to all the readers out there.  My traffic has been growing steady over the last few months and I have a better handle on my blogging plans for 2016 so stay tuned.  Recently I've been doing some light reading and catching a few hunting podcasts which got me thinking about the last few months of hunting.  With an elk trip and lots of tree stand hours under my belt for 2015, I came to a few conclusions one of which I'll quickly talk about below.  Merry Christmas!

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A typical view of high country elk habitat.  These views can be found by the hundreds each day afield.   

A typical view of high country elk habitat.  These views can be found by the hundreds each day afield.   

As a whitetail Hunter at the core, I cut my teeth in the high pressure Pennsylvania deer woods.  As many deer hunters do, I always dreamed of western elk trips and chasing giant tan hides through the steep, rugged mountains.  Those trips seemed far out of reach until about 10 years ago when our group of friends started making the trek to Colorado for DIY adventures.    

Hunting elk in the west is an entirely different endeavor than hunting deer in the east.  The fact is that you'll end up covering vast country in hopes of finding a pocket of elk habitat worth a closer inspection.  This lengthy, tiring search of elk pockets in big country is what burns inside me to keep going back for more.  The experience of elk hunting is unlike anything I've encountered yet and even after several trips I still have the desire.    

This leads me to my main point: elk trips have ruined my whitetail deer hunting.  Now obviously I make this statement with a fair amount of sarcasm, but truth be told there is a slight bit of truth behind the statement.     

A ridge-top stand location in Ohio produced this nice November buck: I still deeply enjoy deer hunting.   

A ridge-top stand location in Ohio produced this nice November buck: I still deeply enjoy deer hunting.   

I grew up deer hunting mostly by tree stand hunting and using ambush tactics to close the gap on whitetails so sitting for hours on end in a tree for me is routine.  Since I started at a young age, this way of hunting is part of who I am as a hunter and I’ll continue to enjoy deer hunting, but I can't stop thinking about the wide open spaces that the elk woods has to offer.  Simply put, I like western elk hunting so much that I can't stop thinking about/planning future trips and eventually exposing others to the sport of chasing high country elk.   

If any of the readers out there haven’t been on a western elk trip, I suggest doing so while you have the gumption, ability, and drive to do so.  Elk country can be demanding and it takes a certain amount of focus to put in a honest effort in a week-long trip in the mountains chasing elk.  It is an adventure that you won’t regret taking.  Happy hunt planning for 2016, the lottery draws start next month.  Enjoy!