Finding Places to Hunt Elk: 
Do the Research

Researching places to hunt elk takes time, but will turn elk “hunting” trips into elk “finding” trips. Ultimately, “hunters” are successful “finders” because of three important things; pre-hunt research, experience on the ground and keeping the spot to themselves to limit other human interference. Finding your own good places to hunt elk takes good detective work. A good elk “hidey hole” is a treasure trove not quickly revealed.




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Glean Information From Others

People have the information you need to decide where and how to hunt. Be an elk detective to get that information together. Sometimes you have to be respectfully sneaky to get someone to share elk hunting secrets. Begin your preliminary research by talking to other elk hunters.

People ask for hunting area tips on the forums all the time. Sometimes they get very specific directions. Sometimes they exchange emails and discuss it privately. Especially if someone is not going to be able to go back to a hot spot, they don't mind sharing it.

Don't forget the other experts that have nothing to hide, and in some cases, everything to gain by pointing you toward great places to hunt! Contact local sporting goods stores and wildlife biologists and ask them for leads. Click here for tips about who and what to ask.

If you don't have time for all the work it takes to plan a great hunt, work with the experts at Huntin' Fool! Those guys are dedicated experts that will do the research for you and help you set up your dream hunt! They are offering a free 60 day trial, but the yearly membership is well worth the nominal cost.

What’s Your Goal?

Unless “any elk will do”, decide whether you really want a place to hunt big bull elk, any bull or even “any elk”. We have provided a brief, but thorough discussion on the topic of hunting cow elk or bulls here.

What Are Your Limitations?

Elk hunting is a strength and endurance sport. Lack of energy or an injury will diminish the abilty to focus required for successful elk hunting. How prepared you will be physically and mentally for the challenge should determine where and how deep into elk habitat you will hunt.

We have provided a set of specific, simple exercises that will helpprepare your body for hunting season (click here).

Archery or Rifle?

If you already are a bow elk hunter, you know the adventure and excitement of hunting elk with a bow and arrow. If not, we have provided a great discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of hunting elk with bow or rifle. When deciding where to hunt elk, your decision may be somewhat different depending on which season you will hunt.

Prefer a Bed, Cot or Ground?

Another decision about where to hunt involves sleeping circumstances. Depending on where you hunt, sleeping might be on the ground in the back country, on a nice cot in a comfortable tent, or even in a motel! Yes, it can be done! Check out our page on decisions about lodging circumstances on your elk hunting trip.

Get to Know Your Chosen Areas

After hunting a place for the first time, you might be tempted to hunt somewhere else “next year” if you don’t realize how long it takes to get to know your hunting spot. If you have done your research and elk shouldbe expected to be in the area, don’t give up so fast.

Boots on the Ground puts Meat in the Freezer

Until you get to know an area well, you really don’t know how good of a place to hunt it might be. Elk move around, but they always tend to come back to the same places on a rotational basis, though without precise predictability. One predictable thing about elk is that they change what they do. They are unpredictable in many ways. Once you think you have them patterned, they change their pattern. Consider our experiences ingetting to know places to hunt by clicking here.

Start a list of places to hunt based on your pre-hunt research and on the ground scouting. Then tailor it to your hunting style preferences. Keep copious notes each year about what you see and learn. While you will adjust where and how you hunt, the data will add up and make hunting more effective each year.

(What else have you done to find places to hunt?)



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Go to Forums


Forum Topic Discussions:


How often should I use my cow call?, I am new to the sport of bow hunting elk and my question is how often should I use my cow calls?

295 yard kill with a Kimber Montana 325 WSM, by Don from Dallas: My ELk did not even twitch once. He was dead when he hit the ground.

325 WSM is worth considering, Palmer Lake,CO: I believe that the .325 WSM is the ultimate elk caliber...

30-30 for Elk? : I have a 30 30 with 170 grain round nose bullet. Will this work to shoot an elk ?

(More comments about Best Elk Rifle below)

Submissions

2013 elk bow hunt around Pagosa Springs: by Bobby (Little Rock , Arkansas), looking for someone to join my DIY hunt!...

Unique Elk Talk by Idaho Steve (Hailey, Id ), In the middle of the night, a herd of elk came traveling through the drainage and right past my tent...

Smelly Elk Areas? by Jimmy (New Mexico), I've come across many areas that just stink of elk, literally. I have heard two somewhat contradictory stories...

DIY Gear List Must Have's! by Craig (Florida) "Here are some of the items I use on my DIY hunts in the CO backcountry..."

Elk and Deer Hunting and Mountain Bikes, by Skip Shepherd (Tucson, AZ)~ At 67 I am thinking a lot about investing in a mountain bike to get back into remote areas...


Solo archery hunting -- tips for calling/set up?, by Idaho Steve (Hailey, ID )~ I hunt by myself a lot...I'd love to hear your thoughts on strategic set-ups when solo hunting and calling.

Non- Lead Bullets for Elk?, by Dave, Elk Hunting Tips.Net (Garrison, MT)~ What do you ballistics guys think about the use of non-lead bullets for elk? According to this story...

Rage Broadheads by Chris, ...my buddy gave me a rage practice tip and when I shot it you could not pick out the broadhead from the field points. I was sold...

Recent Submissions:

Finally filled the freezer..., Colorado Rockies~ "I was bummed when I got to the property and no elk, nor any hoof prints in the snow. ...I pulled each of the elk into shade then started gutting..."


Wounded Veteran Elk hunts, by Joshua FL), I am a disabled veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and have always dreamed of hunting elk. I am posting this to see if anyone would know of any elk hunts free to disabled vets....

First Elk with a Bow, by Ryan H. (Colorado), ...Finally after many years of hunting with a bow "I got er did"!

First Elk!, by Tater (Sheridan, Arkansas) I took the advice I received from this website and was successful…I wanted to Thank You and Your Forum and the folks that share on here for the knowledge and information that helped me find an elk I was quite happy with.


Questions

Any success in Unit 14?, by: Dave (MI), "I'm planning on doing a DIY in Unit 14 for 2012..."


Share Elk Hunting Secrets


Bugle in Herd bulls, by Swiltbank (Az) The key to calling in a herd bull is to get into his bedding grounds and threaten his herd. Start off sounding like…


Best Big Game Rifle?

Best Rifle Caliber?, by Buglemup (Superior, MT), "I've been reading what people have been writing about rifle calibers and here is what 16 years of guiding elk has taught me."

7mm Remington Magnum, by Dean (Helena, MT. USA) I use my Liberty Ruger M77, 7mm Rem. Mag. for antelope, deer, elk... Comment: "What do you guys think about the idea of hunting elk with a 270? I also know a guy who kills elk with a 243."


338 Marlin Express, "Light, fast shooting, hard hitting, manageable recoil, and for a lever gun - very accurate."


Guns I like for Elk, by Mountain Walker (Kootenays east B.C. Canada),"I think the gun you shoot Elk with should be one you shoot a lot with... "


.35 Remington, by Bill Smith "...my .35 Rem appears to have dropped a medium deer flawlessly, but I now have serious doubts as to its capability to take an elk."


Arizona Elk Hunting

Where to hunt in Az unit 3B?, by Cliffjumper (Tucson, Az) ~ I got a late bull muzzle loader hunt in Arizona unit 3b. Does anyone know how to hunt bulls in the late season?...

First time elk hunter hunting Arizona unit 6A , by Rob Marchio (Omaha, Ne)~ I'm a first time elk hunter hunting Arizona's unit 6A. I'm planning on staying in the Pine Grove campground...


Elk Hunting Colorado

Help needed for 1st DIY Hunt w/Son, by Patrick (Parker, CO), "I was looking for some advice on my 1st DIY hunt for 2014 in CO with my 13 yr old son. I have countless hrs going over stats, topo maps & Google Earth"

Elk Hunting Colorado in 2013, By William (Midland, TX) "I am planning an elk hunt next year in Colorado and I wanted to know if hunting Gunnison National Forest..."

Unit 60 Elk 4th Rifle Season Nov 13-17 Either Sex 2013, By Chester "...Any general advice about the unit would be appreciated!"


Idaho Elk Hunting


Elk Hunting Idaho Unit 8 8A 11, This is my first year seriously trying to track down some elk. Is there anyone that has hunted in any of these units and can give me some friendly advice? Mitchell, Moscow Idaho

Elk Hunting Pocatello by Cameron (Pocatello) Where is the best place to elk hunt around Pocatello, Idaho? I'm a student at ISU and I'm looking for somewhere around here to hunt next season.

How is the elk hunting in unit 30A in Idaho?, by Terry (Richland Center, WI) Has anyone archery elk hunted in unit 30A in Idaho? What can you tell me about the area?


Elk Hunting In Montana

Hunting in Western Montana, by Mike A. (Alabama)

I did not draw a tag for Missouri breaks where I have hunted in the past. Having to start over and try western Montana.


New Mexico Elk Hunting

New Mexico Unit 49, by Silas (Los Alamos, NM)

If anyone has tips on areas to start scouting, I'd really appreciate it.

First Elk Hunt First Elk Hunt, by Big "R" (NM)

I finally got drawn for a late elk hunt in Unit 28, north of Road 506 and south of the boundary line of the Lincoln National Forest...


Elk Hunting Nevada

Cow elk in Nevada's unit 222:

"Any good places known in unit 222?"

Northeast Nevada Early Elk hunt, by John (Carson City,NV)

"Any suggestions on what areas I may see some signs of elk?"


Questions from Novice Hunters

Retired USMC MSgt Needs Advice, by Ken Wing USMCRET (Bealeton, Va)


Big Game Recipes

Popcorn VenisonPopcorn Venison with Maple Syrup?

Elk or Venison Steaks Grilled to Perfection Here's how to turn them into steakhouse steaks!

Spice-Crusted Grilled Venison Roast Recipe This Spice-Crusted, Grilled Venison Roast recipe works great for any red meat roasts, including elk, deer or beef roast...

Corned Elk Recipe You can easily make corned venison and elk, moose or corned beef from these instructions...


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