Hunting Finger Ridges

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
One of my most favorites terrain spots to hunt are fingers ridges.


Typically, the elk are moving up from the bottom and coming up to bed.


I have made a few aerial diagrams of how I approach hunting finger ridges


Here is a classic location of an area I would look for.


Dark timber are on the north slopes and sage opening on the south facing
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
These yellow lines represent major thermals that will be going down the valleys
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
Lets say my camp is in the upper left of the aerial.


The red line represents my circuit for a morning hunt and the X's are where I would set up to call. they are 200-300 yds apart


Notice the yellow lines that show minor slope thermals that integrate to the bottom thermals
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
In this aerial, the white dashes are elk travel corridors and the intent is to intercept them to bedding and call them into range
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
Once I reach the furthest point, I will jump over and work my way back to camp, doing the same thing. Searching for any elk that may have come up the other side, or one that didnt respond on the first half.


This loop is approx 3-4+ miles in length and would be a good morning hunt, getting back to camp about noon.




I hope this is helpful!
 

BrentLaBere

New member
Jan 7, 2013
358
A few questions come to mind when Im going through this. Are you stopping and calling  even if you dont see or smell elk sign? Maybe a quick calling set up?
Are you adjusting your calls if you're looking for cows or bulls?


Looks like you might be hunting a transition area. Are your trying to avoid "bedding" areas when it gets later in the day. Most of the time I can only hunt to 10 am, depending on the weather. Wind gets way to funky.
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
Are you stopping and calling  even if you dont see or smell elk sign?
Maybe a quick calling set up?

Yes. I have many of these 'circuits'. I am gambling on the elk being there, or within earshot.
I have places that I stand next to the same tree time after time




Are you adjusting your calls if you're looking for cows or bulls?
My calling sequence is combined cow calls and bugles, some raking. Since I mostly target 'any elk', this works best. Many times they come in silentLooks like you might be hunting a transition area. Are your trying to avoid "bedding" areas when it gets later in the day?. Most of the time I can only hunt to 10 am, depending on the weather. Wind gets way to funky.


Absolutely! Most places Im done by 1030ish and the thermals have switched and the winds get squirrely.
I dont 'avoid' bedding areas, I get close [200yds] and hunt
 

cohunter14

Administrator
Jul 10, 2017
5,244
Brad, am I missing something in your diagram or are you letting the thermals blow your scent to the elk? They are coming up the hill from the right, correct?

Also, are you assuming those are elk travel corridors or, if this is an actual area you hunt or have hunted, how did you figure out the corridors? Sign, game trails, trail cams, or just from seeing it happen?
 

trophyhill

New member
Aug 20, 2013
46
I love hunting finger ridges. Particularly lower elevation like we see in the southern part of NM. They grant quick access if you need to drop off 1 side or the other in a hurry. You can also work the saddles calling off into both sides. And it doesn't take long to hit the next ridge over if you're not seeing or hearing anything. And it doesn't take long to bring an elk over from a next ridge over.

In CO high elevation, same strategy only the ridges are much steeper and longer and it could take half a day to get to that next ridge.

I like narrow ridges in higher elevation. Allows me to call off into both drainages. Lower elevation, I like the wider ridges working back and forth calling knowing elk could be on top as well.
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
cohunter14 said:
Brad, am I missing something in your diagram or are you letting the thermals blow your scent to the elk? They are coming up the hill from the right, correct?

Also, are you assuming those are elk travel corridors or, if this is an actual area you hunt or have hunted, how did you figure out the corridors? Sign, game trails, trail cams, or just from seeing it happen?


Derek
When calling from the top of a finger ridge, the thermal doesnt know which way to go. Sometimes its just flat calm. So yes, the elk coming uphill to bed. And right at me.


This pic is one of my actual hunting areas.


How did I figure it out?
Making plenty of mistakes and keeping a log of every elk encounter.
Time of day, weather, etc.







 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
Here is another view of that area. Looking up in elevation and another direction
 

Okieelk

New member
May 13, 2018
29
CNELK,

Do you use this same strategy, pre, peak, and post rut?

Also, are you cow calling or bugling? If so what types are Elk sounds are you trying to emulate?

You said you use this strategy to try and catch them between feed and bed. Do you also use this in the evenings between bed and feed?

Your strategy makes a lot of sense. Seems very deliberate/methodical. I?m interested in the nuances as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

cnelk

New member
Mar 23, 2017
5,542
Okieelk said:
CNELK,

Do you use this same strategy, pre, peak, and post rut?

Also, are you cow calling or bugling? If so what types are Elk sounds are you trying to emulate?

You said you use this strategy to try and catch them between feed and bed. Do you also use this in the evenings between bed and feed?

Your strategy makes a lot of sense. Seems very deliberate/methodical. I?m interested in the nuances as well.


I use different tactics for different times of season and terrain. There are places where elk go DOWN to bed.


Post rut is a whole different ball game


Seldom do I hunt the finger ridges in the evenings, the thermals are too fickle and dont switch until near dark. Ill leave those places along so I can them in mornings specifically


I use several different cow mews, raking trees and very light bugles. Its heavily hunted OTC areas and I dont want every Tom, Dick and Harry thats watched elk hunting YouTube videos or listened Podcasts come messing up my setup
 

mwt333

New member
Mar 4, 2018
10
Great post! Thanks for the ideas. I also hunt finger ridges, but take a bottom up approach. Granted, I'm hunting post-rut in November, so maybe things are different that time of year.
 
May 19, 2020
2
cnelk said:
One of my most favorites terrain spots to hunt are fingers ridges.


Typically, the elk are moving up from the bottom and coming up to bed.


I have made a few aerial diagrams of how I approach hunting finger ridges


Here is a classic location of an area I would look for.


Dark timber are on the north slopes and sage opening on the south facing
 

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