Elk Hunting Tips

camping wildfire - elk hunting

Hunting is one of the West’s finest outdoor activity and for a good reason. There are a lot of animals to hunt from goose to ducks, doves, Elks and so on. Elk hunting is particularly interesting because Elks are big games and come with rewarding benefits for hunters.

You get a trophy sized game with full bragging right, and you also get plenty of meat to store away for a long time. Elk hunting can be done with either bows and arrows or rifles.

However, each state has its regulations and as such requires a careful study to avoid being persecuted.

We’ll be discussing some of the best tips for hunting elks with both bows/arrow and a fire arm (if your state allows you to do so).

Elk hunting tips – Bow hunting

If you are planning to hunt an elk with a bow, you had best learned a few important things before you take on those big games. Bows are not as fatal as rifles, and you’d have to be within range with the elk before you can take it down.

These tips should guide you accordingly.

Rule 1 – Make do with natural scents: Your first point of call when elk hunting is to get rid of any and every scent which isn’t natural. Any unnatural scent which would be offensive and alert or chase off the elk should be eliminated.

There are human scent eliminators you can make use of to get rid of the scents. If you can, find and use elk scent imitator.

Rule 2 – Study your terrain and choose the best location: Another important rule when bow hunting elk is to study your terrain. Its best if you take out time before your hunt to seek out location which you think is worth laying in wait at for your elk.

Always scout for locations before your hunt.

Once you’ve scouted out a good location, you are tasked with heading to the location on time. You should be way ahead of the elk and get to your location before the Elks start their daily trips.

You don’t want to arrive when they are on the move as you probably won’t be able to get a startled bull racing away with your bow.

One way to get in good view points while remaining undetected is to stay at leveled grounds. Don’t stay in high grounds as Elks would be scared off if they find you up above them.

Rule 3 – The closer the better for elk calls: When bow hunting elks, try to get as close as you can to the elk, maybe within 100 and 150 yards area if there are a good hiding spot and a leveled ground within the area.

Once you are within ear range for an elk call, try to make elk noise doesn’t matter if it’s a cow or a bull call. Just ensure you sound like an elk. A bull call would tell any bull elk within ear shot to come around the terrain for a challenge, whereas a cow call would signal any male elk within ear shot to come around for mating.

If you can’t handle the elk calls, have a partner with you hunting who would take care of that aspect of hunting. Feel free to kick rocks, break tree branches and sticks and make ‘natural noise’ because Elks don’t mind the noise as they are noisy themselves.

Rule 4 – Hunt with the quality bow: There are a lot of inferior bows in the market today, and there is also a wide assortment of well-made, sturdy bow with the good release mechanism and good eyesight. Don’t go elk hunting without decent gears.

Your gear should be worth it to ensure you don’t miss out on bagging your trophy elk. If you need to upgrade your old gear before your hunt, go ahead and give your bow a good upgrade.

Rule 5 – Landing a killing shot: The last part of taking out an elk with a bow is the shooting part. Don’t take on an elk with a frontal shot, as you would probably not hit any vital organs and would see the elk take off even though wounded. The key point to note is patience.

Be ready to shoot but ensure you have a broadside view before taking the killing decision.

Your bow as stated earlier would determine if your killing shot is effective or not. A good bow with a great release aid and excellent eye sight would effectively help you take down an elk within 100 to 150 yards; it should also be able to penetrate the animal’s hide.

Elk hunting tips – Firearm hunting

If the bow and arrow style of hunting doesn’t intrigue you or you prefer to have your rifle (firearm) handy when hunting for the big games, then these elk hunting tips should be somewhat useful to you when next you go out into the wild to bring home those big games.

Rule 1 – Hunt with hard hitting rifle: When going into the wild to hunt an elk, if you plan to bring home trophy game, then you should make sure your gear is ready to do the job. A rifle capable of hitting hard and flat should be among your hunting gear.

If however, you’d like a little-skilled hunt then a .270 rifle or .30/06 is are good alternatives.

Rule 2 – Immerse yourself in an elk’s world: One good way to hunt an elk is to immerse you into an elk’s natural habitat. If you are a naturalist, you would understand this as most if not all previous hunters were.

You’d do a better job at hunting the elk as you’d see and observe Elks as they do.

Rule 3 – Learn to shoot – Practice shooting: You just don’t rush to elk hunting if you are a terrible shooter. You should practice shooting. Probably hit a shooting range now and then and go out a few times and try to hunt any animal outdoor.

Learn the ropes about hunting like getting into shooting position, when you should have a quick rest etc.

Rule 4 – Your optics should be top-notch: Before going hunting, try to get a solid hunting glass. You might not need to break your bank, just watch out for the specs.

You should, however, note that some of those cheap glasses don’t last long.

Rule 5 – Hunt at night or in the dead of the morning: Elks don’t like light so hunting them during the day could be difficult. You can, however, hunt them while the light is just about coming up or about going down (i.e. during the night or early in the morning).

Your best bet is to leave your camp early and return to your camp later in the night. Smart hunting is the key to a good hunt. You might want to head out in the morning and start your trail. Once you find an elk or maybe hear a bugle, proceed to stalk it.

On a very good evening, you should be able to take your trophy elk back to camp and subsequently home to fill up your refrigerator.

Rule 6 – Bugle Calls Work: Although not all elk hunters are big fans of bugle calls, they do work. Bugle calls are likely to land you an elk if you are around earshot range of an estrous elk.

Rule 7 – its called hunt does not assassinate: Mind your get gears, especially if they are not permitted within your local area. Packing ultra-long-range shooting gears aren't recommended for elk hunting as it takes out the fun of hunting and gives you an easy way out – which of course isn’t cool if you’d like bragging rights.

Rule 8 – Hot and dry: Bull Elks after a long day tends to retreat to water holes to cool off. If you can find a near water hole when night begins to fall, you may just hit the jackpot.

Rule 9 – Know what season to hunt: Elks can be careful when they need to be. Seasons affect the abundance of Elks to hunt. You will have serious problems if you plan to hunt during open rifle season or a bad weather season as these beasts would hide in enclosures you wouldn’t think possible.

Rule 10 – Track wisely: Of course a good hunt requires a good track; however, don’t just snoop around till the elk gets sight of you. Know when to let it move its distance and when to close up the gap. Of course, you should be ready to spend late nights or even crash out in a nearby camp to continue your trail the next day.

Rule 11 – Never follow the elk to their sleep area: Public land elk hunting requires restraint. You don’t just track and follow the elk to its sleeping ground. Elks don’t like getting boxed in. If you track them to their sleeping areas, be ready never to lay eyes on them if you miss the shot.


Once you are determined to bring down an elk and follow these tips (bow hunting and rifle hunting), you are almost certain of going home with your prized elk. Happy elk hunting!

    Alison Lawrence

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