Home / Elk / Best Dates for Bowhunting Trophy Elk

Best Dates for Bowhunting Trophy Elk

Is there a best time to be in the field with a stick and string pursuing a trophy bull elk? There definitely is for deer. What about elk?  

Pope and Young Records for Elk

To find out, I went to Pope and Young Club’s record book online. I wanted to look at monster bulls taken with a bow and I consider 350 and better a huge bull. So, I asked for all bulls over 350 gross in the 11 western states taken since 2000. 

Here’s the breakdown by state. 

I don’t know about you, but the number of entries from Oregon and Washington surprised me by being larger than expected and Idaho came in with fewer than I would have thought, only third from last. California is the sliver of blue in the corner and like the other coastal states, only looks at Rocky Mountain typical elk. 

Colorado also surprised me a bit. It has the nation’s largest elk herd but most people don’t see it so much as a trophy elk state as say Nevada, Utah and Arizona

Day of Harvest

Next, I plotted out the day of harvest for all the entries since 2000 that grossed at least 350 and put a LOESS trendline on it to smooth the results.

First thing, the chart is remarkably symmetrical. It looks nothing like a chart would for deer. 

Second, there is a definite peak time and across the West that turns out to be Sept 11 to Sept 20 with 28 entries on both dates. 

Prior to that range, the first week of September only comes in with 10 to 20 entries a day and just a day or so after the peak, it drops sharply into the end of September.

So, the next question is why? The three candidates are the timing of the rut, moon phases and how many hunters are in the field. 

About Dave Hoshour

Check Also

Calling Mature Bulls in September

  Calling elk on public land can be the most difficult task for any bowhunter. …

Closing the Distance – Elk Stalking Tactics

When it comes to hunting elk, the classic scenario you see on TV is calling …

4 comments

  1. Thanks for this wonderful post. It is definitely one of the most holistic posts regarding hunting. Hope to find more of them.

  2. Dear Eastman’s, I love what you guys do and I have for over a decade now, but the nickel and diming is starting to get old. Costs are rising for the products we receive and I get that, but the additional subscription requirements for data that used to be included is frustrating, to the point of exploring other light reading material options. Guy better have 10 lifetimes worth supply of those leather gloves for all these extra subscription costs.

  3. Is it that Eastmans’ is charging more for the same stuff or that it is providing additional content and charging for some of it? The amount of content Eastmans’ puts out has grown tremendously over the last few years and much of it is free like the YouTube Channel, the blog, the Eastmans’ Elevated podcasts. TagHub takes the print MRS and multiplies it many times over and as part of the charge for that you are starting to get even more content thrown in to sweeten it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.