I drew a cow elk tag for unit 39-1. Any tips on where I should focus my efforts. And what's the best way to identify a " dry " cow.
There are no shortages of general areas where you might find a cow elk in the Unit 39-1 area. It really depends on what scenary you want to see while hunting and how far you want to travel. The further you travel away from highway 21 the fewer people you are likely to see. We don't have any elk tied up to trees for folks, fortunately because that would not be hunting, but based on what we have observed you can find elk at this time of the year around Mt. Heinen or south of the river around Lava Mtn or noth in the Crooked River, Granit Mtn. or Steel Mtn; just to name a few places. Most elk will be higher up but there is always the exception. If you drop by the Regional office or call up the office a staff memeber can help you look over these areas on a map and talk about roads and acccess.
Visually from a distance there is no sure way to identify a dry cow 100% of the time. One thing you can do is - if you watch the herd long enough and have the patience you should be able to start to pick out which cows repeatedly have a calf approach them or sidle up to them, and which cows do not. In addition if you are able to watch the cows follow a trail you can start to identify which cows have a calf at heel. Generally, a cow with a calf is going to be a littl more worn down because of the energetics going into feeding the calf, so sometimes it is the fatter cow without a calf but that is not a sure fire way.