Elk Hunting Tips

For those of you who have ever hunted elk before, you will understand how smart and difficult elk can be to hunt. It took me 5 years of very hard hunting before I was able to put down my first elk. It was 5 years of frustration, anger, depression and one of the best learning experiences for elk hunting that I have ever had. I came to respect elk more than any other big game animal I have ever hunted. And because of that respect I learned to never underestimate them and learned what I needed to do if I wanted to harvest an elk each and every year.

1. Learn their patterns: I can’t emphasize this enough. Elk are like us in that they love certain places. They have their favorite watering holes, beds, feeding areas, scrapes and just areas to hang out at. I’ve watched the same herd of elk for 7 days straight come out onto the same exact hill every morning to feed and go back to the exact beds after they were finished feeding. And if they were not in that spot than I knew exactly where to look to find them.

2. Plan on hunting hard: When elk sniff any kind of pressure at all they head for the deepest, darkest, thickest, nastiest stuff on the mountain they can find. It still shocks me to find these types of places that they head to when there’s hunting pressure. If you want to harvest any kind of elk whether it’s a spike or a nice 370 bull plan on hiking your feet off or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Elk are famous for being elusive for a reason. The only time you’ll get lucky and they’ll be easier to hunt is during their rut.

3. Be in shape: If you live in the Rockies where most of the elk are then being in shape is a requirement.

If you’re not in decent to good shape hunting elk will not be fun. It will be more challenging than you can possibly imagine. I’ve hiked 6 miles in one day through some of the most rugged country you can think of just to have a shot at an elk and then spent all night getting them out. It still amazes how I did that…two different times as a matter of fact! It must have been the adrenaline rush helping me out. I’m not saying this to brag but to let you know how difficult elk hunting can be.

4. Know your equipment: Elk almost never give you an easy shot. You need to be able to take a quick 30 yard shot all the way up to a 500 plus yard shot sometimes. When you see elk it’s usually only a quick glimpse or they’re off in the distance. Either way you need to be prepared for both kinds of shots. Elk are not known to hang out in the open for very long. And elk almost never turn and look back to see what’s chasing them unlike their cousins the mule deer.

5. Know the area you’re hunting well: I can’t stress this enough. If you know the area well that you’re hunting not only will you already have an advantage but your success rate will be much higher than going to a new area you know nothing about. I’m speaking from experience. Anytime I try and hunt a new area for elk I always get skunked. However if I stick with the areas that I know I’m almost always successful whether it’s on the first day of the hunt or the last day of the hunt. Just be consistent in the areas you hunt. If you know there’s elk in the area than stick with that area and never give up.

I could write a whole book on elk hunting and it wouldn’t be long enough. I just wanted to touch base with some very important tips that will greatly help your success rate hunting elk.

Be safe and good hunting my friends.