by Ben Baggett
This year's Elk hunt for cows ended with more lessons learned and more learning confirmed from years' past. I was blessed enough to see Elk everyday and nearly closed the gap on a small herd of 14 but my plan to cut them off coming down a draw was short by 40 yards. They crossed the draw just above me, this Elk Hunting. The lesson there is that it never hurts to charge in after a herd once they start to move but just make sure you know where you will intersect to head them off or missing by a little can be the same as missing big, but don't be afraid to make noise and run to close the gap. That is lesson number one for 2017, lesson two is a lesson relearned year after year, more time hunting means seeing and getting closer to more Elk.
As for lesson two, I have come to notice that perhaps the biggest and most important tip that comes from this lesson and to successful Elk hunting I have found through the years, gets much less attention than it deserves. The big tip and lesson relearned each year, as boring as it may be, is that my success as a hunter to take Elk by getting closer and first seeing more Elk comes down to the amount of time I am in the field hunting and scouting Elk than anything else. It beats out wearing the proper camo, finding fresh elk sign, wearing scent/no scent, optics, and any other tips I have come across and tried.
A little story to get more to the point: When I started Elk hunting in 2011, we would do a morning hunt and come back to camp for a couple hour lunch then go on an evening hunt. We did that for two years and saw few or no Elk, but plenty of Elk sign. In 2013, we decided to stay out all day, pack our lunch with us and see what happens. It was that year, we began to see more Elk and have more opportunities to get close to Elk. Getting close to Elk and taking Elk is a different topic, but seeing Elk comes down to time spent hunting and scouting.
So why is it not in our conversations and practices about Elk hunting? Maybe it is because staying out in the field all day with uninterrupted focus on your quarry with all senses working overtime is hard for most hunters. It takes grit, focus, determination, warm clothing, a heavier pack with food and water, and more staying power to fend off such enemies as boredom, fatigue, cold, defeat, loneliness, and unfamiliar environments; all big challenges to overcome.
I juggle a full time job, family, two young kids so my time hunting is limited but when I do get out for the one week a year to hunt Elk, I now spend my days from sunup to sundown doing just what I set out to do – hunt Elk. In six years of hunting I have taken two Elk, one on public land the other private, but have seen hundreds, all of which came after our party made the bold decision to stay in the field all day…Good luck, happy Hunting, hope this helps you too to see a lot of Elk. I have found that through practice, it gets easier to stay out there with the Elk and will become second nature. Like the old line, you cannot take an Elk if you cannot see an Elk. This year I stayed in the field and saw Elk everyday and have seen Elk every year since we changed to hunting all day, it has worked again, lesson confirmed.
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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)
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...
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.
Any success in Unit 14?, by: Dave (MI), "I'm planning on doing a DIY in Unit 14 for 2012..."
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 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."
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...
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!"
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?
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 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...
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?"
Retired USMC MSgt Needs Advice, by Ken Wing USMCRET (Bealeton, Va)
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...