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Old 01-10-2017, 09:23 PM
4x4bowhunter 4x4bowhunter is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: calgary
Posts: 208
Default January Suffield Hunts

Anyone here how this week's hunt is going? I am guessing the cold weather and snow may be hampering things. 3 years ago on my first hunt there, on the 4th day of the last hunt, they closed the base due to extreme weather and bad road conditions on the block. Hope that is not the case this week. I will be there on the 23rd as a helper, looks like it will be starting to warm up next week so hopefully not too much as the roads there suck when it gets muddy.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:52 AM
Joe Black Joe Black is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 191

January, Year two(or three dependant how you look at it) of the official hunt( or whatever you want to call it)and not many comments. In three years(if they still have the hunt) it will be like any other elk zone. Looking forward to that.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:50 AM
chris1985 chris1985 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary
Posts: 17

I went to the Jan 9th hunt.hated it. My hunting partner left me hanging on the Saturday so I went myself. No big deal. When I got there was when I was told I can't go walking into the nwa myself. Was pretty hit out as that is what I had planned to do for weeks. The first morning you could tell who was there before because they all high tailed it to the far NE of the base. Some guys got lucky enough to run into 100 head before they ran back to the river. The rest of us just drove around aimlessly hoping elk would come back in from the nwa. Wasted day for most. I hate truck hunting. Day 2 was the same. Tried to find a hunting partner but nobody wants to hunt with a stranger. I understand.very few animals down in the morning as all the animals leave the base with any hunting pressure. Not sure how the nwa hunt went. Day 1 were lots of nice Bulls coming out of there. I got tired of driving pretending to hunt and I left for home early. Even lost my Helle knife with my handmade handle. Worst hunt ever for me. No more suffield for this guy.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:21 PM
Phshrmn Phshrmn is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lethbridge
Posts: 167

Bummer man. With the snow out there tracks would have been easy to find so truck hunting would have worked if there had been animals around.

I agree - it's not a fun way to hunt. I am surprised so many people return year after year and how popular it remains for so many.

The hunt managers have done a great job trying to help hunters succeed by opening up NWA access, spacing out the hunting weeks and eliminating the overlap of bull and cow hunters. It was also smart to give cow hunters two tags.

But it just has not been a great year for hunters inside the Base and I think we will find numbers of animals harvested far below targets.

I'd like to know how harvest rates were outside the base and where hunters found herds. I am planning on taking my cow tag outside the base in December next year. Not sure if that is going to be the best time, but I guess that's why it's called hunting.
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:58 PM
keepingthefreezerfull keepingthefreezerfull is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 10
Default lots of elk

I did the Jan 9-11th hunt this year,

I'm thinking of sitting down and writing a detailed account of what happened like a few other member's on here have helped me out in my research and I appreciated it.

My wife and I were both drawn for Bull (decided to use our 7-year priority), prior to the hunt, I did my homework, I read everything I could find that google could spit out... I read every forum, blog, newspaper article, government study or youtube video possible.... OK you get the idea....

We had 2 trucks, 2 hunters, and three helpers total. We hunted as a team... most of us are very experienced hunters that routinely fill their tags (commonly with trophy's). 2 of the five people spent their late teens and 20's guiding thru BC and the Yukon... I'm only throwing that info to give you an idea of our combined experience.

I was there on the Dec 5th hunt and harvested a nice bull with my friend (who came on this hunt as well). Prior to both hunts, I spent the entire previous day spotting elk from the perimeter (months ago got permission from landowners).

We ran into herds 150-350 three to 6 times a day as well.... every day (sometimes a a couple times a day) we ran into the big herd (800-1500 animals). I passed up on 15+ OK bulls on my three-day hunt and took a small 4x4 last hour of the last day as a herd of 600-800 elk stampeded around us in every direction.

We had chances on many small herds. We had one great opportunity on a bachelor herd of 7 bulls, my wife had a chance on a nice 290 6x6... she missed by 3" (we all have a few of those under our belt!) The rest of the herd was decent 5x5's and a couple 4x4's, amazing part of the hunt!

We were looking for a Suffield giant on day one or two, they are getting much more rare.... between all of us no one saw anything that we would consider to be over 330.... lots of 220-290 bulls, a couple dozen in the 300 range... and few "oh man... that's a big bull!!".... but nothing over 330... I'm sure there is a few left tho... there has to be! The big herds were mostly spikers with the odd little 5 or 4 running around. the big boys were all solo or in bachelor herds of 10 or less and off the beaten path. that being said there was a couple in the low 300's in the middle of a few herds....

We spent lots of time with the spotting scope out and time stalking the hills, we were not afraid to pack out... even in the cold.... I think I was wearing 7 layers on my upper body, lol wind chill on the last day was -45.... but warmed up great by mid afternoon.

It's pretty damn hard to make a play on a decent bull in the big herds, just way too many elk moving around to get a good shot, especially if you have your eye on a bull mixed in... if a guy was good with any sized bull it's easy to pick off a straggler in back. Cow's would be easy too.... take the lead cow then grab one from the back...

If your still out there hunting do not give up! Those buggers can hide anywhere, you can't believe the number of times we were on herds no one else saw or drove past other trucks only to immediately see a herd.... they're tricky... when there is one or two... there is more!

One tip I can give you is that if you are looking at a few sqr miles of scrubland in one vista.... of rolling hills.... look closer! I'd bet 20bucks there is a herd in there somewhere.... often with 5 sets of bino's and experienced eyes it took 10min to find a herd, they can appear and disappear in a moment... like watching for sheep in a basin.... 4 hours of glassing later he suddenly appears in the middle of your view....

I had a fantastic time, got to see thousands of elk, and had some great times with good friends. It's a lot of work, fairly expensive (hotels, meals, beers, gas, randomness that accompanies 3-day trips etc). The easy elk are smart/gone.... I'll put in every year but won't burn up a priority tag over it....

The base in itself is a neat experience, not to mention the huge views of undisturbed native land.

It will be interesting to see what happens to this hunt in 10 years. If managed properly could become a really great hunt for a trophy animal!

The military was awesome, great group of extremely hard working and fantastic people. I was happy to see the caliber of men in the uniforms and how accommodating, helpful and just so damn friendly they are!!. I can't say enough good things about how the hunt is handled and organized now. The first few years took some learning but it's done very well these days, Cudos to them!!!! And thanks!!!

Good luck everyone
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:36 PM
Phshrmn Phshrmn is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lethbridge
Posts: 167

Young friend of mine took two cows by 2 o'clock Thursday this week. He's obviously thrilled - first elk ever. I haven't heard anything else about this week's hunt.

keepingthefreezer echoes much of what I have been told by the successful hunters - the animals are hiding and it takes walking and glassing to find them.
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:15 AM
antler1's Avatar
antler1 antler1 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: East of the Rockies
Posts: 92

Just coming back from this weeks cow hunt. 68 cows taken on Thursday, 11 on Friday and 6 on Saturday by 4:30pm when we checked out. We missed the first day of the hunt when the big herds in the NWA area got smacked hard. The next two days were spent trying to find any elk. Even the army guys on skidoos and quads couldn't find them. The hunting pressure pushed them back into areas that would be unrealistic to pursue them on foot. We have two more tags to hang on the nail in the garage.
The staff running the hunt are really friendly and helpful. The wildlife viewing opportunities in this prairie zoo are excellent. We enjoyed the opportunity to see it again.
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