Very True Oldhunter..........I will share my 2 elk experinces, both back in High School. We hunted for 5 days in the northern bighorns of WY, rifle. I hunted sunup to sundown for 5 straight days and never caught a wiff of an elk until the 6th morning. we were hunting till noon. Going up a canyon and had a cow and a calf come barreling down the trail, and I shot the cow at 10 yards before she ran me over. We got 2 cows and a calf that trip out of 6 guys.
Next hunt was on a rancher friend of my late grandfathers out in Thayne, WY......his name was Ralph Hatterly (may have spelled that wrong)......I should look him up. My grandfather hunted with him for decades, and he always allowed our family to hunt. anyways, it was a hot dry fall, and most of the elk were up in Idaho. We hunted 5 straight days with nobody even smelling an elk. Last night of the hunt, Ralph comes up and says he heard bugle and saw some elk out behind his house during the night when he went out to his shed for something. So we headed up that way before dawn. We were hunting 2 of the drainages that bordered that field. I got into he elk. Found fresh beds, steaming poo, a tree torn to sheds with sap dripping, and the smell of elk all over. I set off on the game trail but never caught up to them. My uncle who was up high on the ridge, while I was down low, saw the herd and the bull as they disappeared off Ralphs land and into Idaho. I even heard he elk moving ahead of me at one point....never even caught sight of a hide.
It was a fun hun though.....saw lots of moose. Had a 3' bull at 25 yards. Big for a shiras. Heard the wolves have them all but extinct now.......
But thats a total of almost 12 days of hunting, and I saw exactly 2 elk....the cow and he calf with her, and I shot the cow. 12 days and about 2 minutes of seeing elk.
THAT is elk hunting sometimes. The next year or 2 later though, I couldnt go, the fam went out to Ralphs and got 3 bulls and 3 cows with 6 guys. Go Figure! Elk were all over. THAT can be elk hunting too.
You just gotta go do it. I am very green and need more experience. So I am with you on that. So go get your feet wet and good luck!