Over-the-counter tags are what most Western big game hunters must settle for when it comes to elk as those cherished limited-draw units only go to a lucky few each season, while landowner tags and high-dollar private-land hunts are out of reach for many as well. But quality elk hunting and successful harvests are not only for those select hunts.
Big elk still abound on open land. You may just have to work a little harder. Knowing an elk, knowing the area and knowing the elk in the area, while basic, is the key to a successful season. Experienced mountain hunter Remi Warren with Western Hunter shares tips from his experiences and successes so that 400-inch bull can become more than a dream for you as well.
Mastering the Art of Elk Hunting
Elk hunting is a thrilling and challenging pursuit that requires a combination of skill, patience, and knowledge of these magnificent animals’ behavior. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a beginner looking to embark on this exciting adventure, here are some essential tips to help you hunt elk like a pro.
- Scout Your Hunting Grounds: Before the hunting season begins, spend time scouting the area. Look for signs of elk activity, such as tracks, droppings, and wallows. Understanding their preferred habitats will increase your chances of success.
- Choose the Right Gear: Invest in quality hunting gear, including a reliable rifle, ammunition, and optics like binoculars or a spotting scope. Proper clothing and footwear are essential to stay comfortable and undetected in the wilderness.
- Master Your Calling: Elk are vocal animals, and mastering elk calls is crucial. Learn to imitate their bugles, cow calls, and other vocalizations to attract them or locate their presence.
- Stay Concealed: Elk have keen senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Use natural cover, like trees or rocks, and practice scent control techniques to remain undetected.
- Patience and Persistence: Elk hunting often requires days of waiting and stalking. Be prepared for long hours in the field, and don’t get discouraged easily. Elk are known to be elusive.
- Understand Elk Behavior: Elk have distinct behavior patterns, including feeding, bedding, and rutting. Study their behavior to anticipate their movements and increase your chances of a successful encounter.
- Safety First: Prioritize safety in the field. Let someone know your hunting plans, carry essential survival gear, and practice responsible firearm handling.
- Hunt Ethically: Respect hunting regulations and ethical hunting practices. Ensure a clean, humane shot when you decide to take one.
Remember that elk hunting is not just about the trophy; it’s about connecting with nature and challenging yourself. By following these tips and continuously honing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to hunting elk like a pro.
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Photo courtesy of Jim Paris.