Elk Hunting Tips
Despite being one of the largest game animals around, elk are rarely clumsy or careless, sometimes making them the complete opposite of the hunters that go after them. The most successful elk hunters have careful, planned hunts, aiming to take advantage of an elk’s behaviors to take home an elk.
One of the most important aspects of any hunting expedition is scouting the area, and this applies as well when hunting elk. A hunter who comes to the hunting area without scouting the area first, or at least having some familiarity with the area, may as well resign himself to a sightseeing trip. Whenever possible, take some time before the hunting season starts to familiarize yourself with the area you will be hunting elk at, taking note of paths they take from their hiding spots to their grazing spots.
If scouting is not an option, and you can afford it, you may want to consider taking a guide to your elk hunt. Most guides are closely familiar with the territories of the elk you plan to hunt, and with the behaviors of elk as well, allowing you a chance at taking down an elk. A partner who does have the time to scout is another option; make sure you coordinate and plan with your partner before and throughout your hunt.
Another important aspect of the hunting trip involves scent management. If you have never heard that term before, it refers to taking care of how you smell during your hunt so that you do not spook the target animals. Elk have very sensitive olfactory organs, and will often flee once they catch even one whiff of a hunter on their trail. This means taking extensive steps to make sure that your scent is at least neutral, and also to take note of the wind at all times, specially when stalking an elk.
In regards to rifles and cartridges, you will want to take a heavier, more powerful tool to take down your elk. If you plan to hunt with a bow, this means a bow with a stronger pull. Elk are larger creatures with tougher hides, and you will need a lot of stopping power to take one down. In addition, simply getting the heavier weapon isn’t the end-all. Take as much time as you can to practice with it, making sure to practice at different targets, at different ranges and angles. Some veteran hunters even advise practicing on your off hand, just in case.
Lastly, if you want to bag just any elk, all you need do is the minimum to hunt an elk. However, truly amazing trophies will only go to the hunter that is willing to go earlier, and farther into the areas where elk reside. A carefully planned, well-guided and executed hunt, performed with a commitment to find and take down a trophy elk, has the best chance of success.