Elk Hunting Information

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Most elk hunters will share elk hunting information. But they will not tell you exactly where they hunt. They will share elk hunting secrets, but notthat secret! Start by asking lots of questions of hunters who see elk, not just those who kill elk. (After all, those still alive are what you’re looking for.)

Listen to Other Elk Hunters

Less experienced elk hunters tend to want to tell you everything they’ve seen. Take note when someone shares elk hunting stories about the areas you want to hunt. They don’t have to be successful at killing an elk to steer you to great places to hunt.

From the tighter lipped hunters try to get a general idea of places where those who see elk hunt and what their elk hunting strategy is. Glean as much elk hunting information as you can about the area. Then, study and mark topo maps or aerial photos with any clues you get. Some hunters may steer you to a reasonably good place to hunt elk, but not theirs. That’s OK. You just might end up making that spot “yours”.

When talking to successful elk hunters, memorize clues that you hear about elk hunting strategy and where to hunt. Then write them down as soon as possible. I still have notes from years ago from little location hints people have given while passing on elk hunting information.

Think about joining the elk hunting forum here. Read the posts that sound helpful. Ask more personal questions about their elk hunting strategy and even where to hunt.

Participants often share hot spots for an area, particularly if they do not plan to be able to go back to it. Sometimes forum participants exchange email addresses and discuss it in private. Obtain elk hunting information and wisdom anywhere you can get it!

Elk Hunting Videos, Books and Magazines

Read books and magazines (and this site) devoted to elk hunting. Reading and researching helps bridge the long gap between hunting seasons.(Click here for our elk hunting book page.) Petersen’s Hunting orPetersen’s Bow Hunting magazines are great choices. A good elk hunting video or two will add realism to your research.

Hone the Search Down

Once you get a general idea of where you want to hunt elk, talk to some local ranchers and hunters about the best places to hunt. Consider spending a few bucks in a local bar or cafe near where you might hunt, where ranch or hunting rigs are parked outside.

(You’ll recognize the bumper stickers, gun racks, hay, saddles, etc.)

Try to get some elk hunting information from the locals. Ranchers are often glad to tell you how to remove some of those unwelcome hay eaters from their area. But, they might not be so quick to give you a permission slip until they feel like they can trust you.

Actually, most seasoned elk hunters like to help inexperienced hunters or those who are looking for a new place to hunt. They just don’t want to hand someone their favorite spots. Be bold, but polite, “Can you steer me to some good places to hunt, to help me get started on elk hunting around here? I really need some local elk hunting information.”

Don't Forget these Experts

When looking for elk hunting information, local wildlife biologists are important resident experts. They learn about elk habitat and movement of elk for a living! Most are glad to take time to share what they know. Most are public servants paid for by tax revenue. Take advantage of their knowledge. The same goes for game wardens. Although their focus is law enforcement, some will be willing to help. Start looking for these experts at the state fish and game offices.

Another neglected source of good elk hunting information is the local taxidermists and game meat processors. Think about it. If you go in and ask for local information about elk hunting, are they going to refuse to help you bag an elk? Not if they are savvy businessmen! They want you to come back to them after a successful hunt.

Compiled Data Sources

Study the area statisitcs on hunter success and odds of a successful draw for a permit. The State wildlife offices will be able to provide these. Many list draw stats in the back of their hunting regulations.

Study maps of the area to be able to talk to locals and experts with an informed starting point.

Become an Elk Detective

Once you are “on site”, sometimes it helps to be respectfully sneaky to find out where successful elk hunters go to hunt. I killed my third elk when I camped near where I knew my neighbor, who was a hunting guide, took his clients. I asked advice of a guy who was camping in the same area as I was. I had heard he was a successful hunter while quizzing other campers. (It helps to carry an extra beer or two in your pocket.)

He told me of a place to hunt for cows for my either sex permit. The next morning I noticed he went some other direction, presumably to his favorite place to hunt for big bulls. The second morning I followed his boot tracks until I lost them, and killed another nice cow that year (my 3rd in four seasons of hunting). The following year I found myself right in the middle of the huge bulls that same guy had steered me away from.

(How do you gather information about elk hunting areas?)

Elk Hunting Success Snowballs With Experience

While gaining experience and storing up local elk hunting information, I was harvesting cow elk and thrilled to be doing it! I did hunt archery seasons right from the start, but with equipment that I knew was sub-par. I used archery season mainly for scouting, gaining experience on the ground and getting to know elk. During my fourth season of hunting elk, I explored the area that my adviser's (mentioned above) boot tracks led me to. That year I called a nice bull in for the first time. I was completely ill-prepared for the opportunity, but it was a success to add to my experience none-the-less. I was standing out in the open when he came crashing toward me. I never even got my bow up. I immediately decided I better get more serious about archery hunting!

At this point, success was under way because I was learning from other elk hunters how to find and document good places to hunt elk. Well researched elk habitat, experience and determination are needed to get the snowball rolling. Elk hunting success builds on itself as you gain more and more useful local elk hunting information. 

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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)


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.


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...