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.
Combine topo and aerial photo maps of your hunting areas to do some computer trip scouting. Here is an easy, cheap or even free way to view and print maps.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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