Cow elk hunt question

DidIDraw

Active Member
Messages
646
I am curious how everyone thinks about cow elk hunts. I've had cow tags a couple of times and did my best to find a cow without a dependent calf under the assumption that the calf would struggle to make it through the winter without its mother. Is this a valid assumption?

BTW, not trying to pass judgement on anyone or open pandora's box here, just curious about your thoughts.
 

Soj51hopefull

Active Member
Messages
970
Depends on the time of year. August archery hunts the calfs are small still. October hunts they are a lot bigger. I'm no expert but I think by October they are fine, they will get hooked up with a heard and aren't dependent on mothers milk.
 

johnnycake

Active Member
Messages
127
It is simple, really. If you/your party have 2 tags shoot mama first, then drop the baby. If you only have 1 antlerless tag, drop the veal.
 

BIGJOHNT

Long Time Member
Messages
4,940
The last few cow hunts we have taken cows on the late hunts.Which is just about every year for someone in the family. Have all been dry cows or to young to have milk. Or maybe just not nursing any longer. Anyway when we cut them open no milk. So I think they may have stopped nursing by the late hunts. Ether way like said above. The calf's are old enough to be on there own with the herd.So I think just try not to get a old tough cow. But maybe a few years old young tender one ;-) Good Luck ! What area is your tag?
 

elkassassin

Long Time Member
Messages
25,402
>I'm sure Horsecorn will enlighten us
>all soon.

And Only Because Horsecorn has seen the Damage that's been done First Hand!










[font color="blue"]She put a Big F.U. in My Future,Ya She's got a
way with Words[/font]
 

Shadow

Active Member
Messages
931
>>I'm sure Horsecorn will enlighten us
>>all soon.
>
>And Only Because Horsecorn has seen
>the Damage that's been done
>First Hand!
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>[font color="blue"]She put a Big F.U.
>in My Future,Ya She's got
>a
>way with Words[/
>
>

And sometimes I even agree with Horsecorn.
 

chipc

Very Active Member
Messages
1,023
Calf Elk generally nurse for about 3 1/2 months. So, by mid August they can survive without their mother.
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,322
We hunt late season every year in Colorado. We almost always shoot a dry cow or a 2 year old.

In the December season they will be old enough to live as long as they team up with a group and avoid the preds.
 

hank4elk

Very Active Member
Messages
1,825
>We hunt late season every year
>in Colorado. We almost always
>shoot a dry cow or
>a 2 year old.
>
>In the December season they will
>be old enough to live
>as long as they team
>up with a group and
>avoid the preds.

Even in Oct. I can spot which cow has what calve with her and where the dry cows & 2 yr old cows are in the group.
And by then the calf had better be able to feed and keep up on their own or they are gonners....
I don't shoot a less than 2 yr old elk if it's a cow tag.
That's just me.
 

mntman

Long Time Member
Messages
3,799
They can survive on their own, I would not and didn't look for a "dry" cow on my cow hunts. I shot the first one that gave me a shot. Looking for a dry cow is impossible while hunting. If multiple elk are running together, would love to know how you determine if a calf/calves belong to which cow...

When I was a kid, we had a whitetail doe hit in front of our house. She had a fawn with her and it was the middle of June. The fawn was only 2 weeks old. It survived all summer, we would see it in the yard/field on a regular basis. We finally lost track of it in the fall when it lost its spots and hooked up with some other does/fawns.

A species around today is alive due to its ability to survive. Killing a cow after the calf is 4-5 months old (basically a teenager) is not going to make a difference. Especially with a species that herds up like elk.

Mntman

"Hunting is where you prove yourself"
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
25,839
I've never had an elk tag, not because I don't want one, but because I don't live where there are many. It seems to me if you shoot a cow late, her calf will survive better, but by then she's pregnant again.

If you have a herd that can maintain the numbers in relation to the carrying capacity, I'm all for a cow hunt.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,016
+1 everything Mtnman said but it's not impossible to tell a dry cow while hunting. Given the difficulties in an elk hunt, anyone who says they only kill dry cows leaves a lot of tags unfilled or they are in denial.

On our late hunts, when we can sneak in on a herd that's in the open and have time to look them over good, we can pick out a dry cow. Not easy but it can be done. Usually they are the cows that didn't calf at all or lost their calf. They are much fuller through the body and have thicker hair which may make them appear darker than the rest.

Picking out a yearling cow works too, but again you need the time to find one in the herd. It's still possible to confuse a bull calf for a yearling cow, so we avoid trying to do that.
 

DBLung

Active Member
Messages
234
Anyone who's ever shot a cow on a late hunt knows almost every cow has a dependent calf. Very Dependent!
I Shot a cow last year. Asked a DWR officer friend of mine to help me pack it out. As I was cleaning it, there was a calf fetus inside her. Jokingly asked if I needed another permit. He said no but I had more meat to take out! Easy cooking as well, just toss it in a pot! We had a good laugh about it, but honestly its hard to see.

On a side note. Doesn't a cow need to be dried up in order to get pregnant? That happens in sept-early oct so calves may still need support and guidance but as far as nutrition they can make it.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,016
Most cows are pregnant by the first or second week of October.

And no they do not have to be dry to go into heat.
 

Wantabee

Active Member
Messages
161
Elk are known to cross nurse. Meaning a calf will nurse multiple cows and cows will allow other calve suck. No need to worry about survival rates based on cave needed its mother for milk and a herd will care for its survival.
 

PleaseDear

Long Time Member
Messages
9,076
LAST EDITED ON Dec-10-16 AT 02:41PM (MST)[p]It is 'Tourist Hunters' like these two clowns----

'I helped my buddy trying to get his first elk most of the time and on the last day stalked into a herd of 500 in the wide open from a mile away (took 2 hours) and took the lead cow with a perfect shot with my muzzleloader at 100 yards. It was awesome."

That is a dead embryo calf.....with a mature cow----

Shoot a Yearling cow and you will be fine.

Enjoy your hunt and get some meat for your freezer/family

Robb

PS--Don't over think it buddy----
 

hank4elk

Very Active Member
Messages
1,825
LAST EDITED ON Dec-13-16 AT 06:45AM (MST)[p]What I meant was obvious cow/calf pair or a cow that the calves seem to hang with more. Obviously not a Dr....lol
I avoid shooting calves,lead cows,solo cows with calves/yearlings with them.
Favor 2nd yr cows if possible.
That's just me. Then again,I think way less of people than I do critters.....
 

wytex

Active Member
Messages
671
If you're worried about calves you'll never shoot a cow. We've taken probably over 30 cows over the last 20 years and never seen an orphaned calf after.We hunt private for cows and are on the property year round, Calves will make it fine. Bigger the cow the more meat you get. Any aged cow tastes great! Many areas in Wyoming are above population objectives so take whichever cow gives you a good shot.
 

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