Professional hunters are agile and have professional gear, such as a hunting flashlight, appropriate clothing, and a selection of rifles at their disposal. They scout the area and stalk their prey just like our ancestors did in prehistoric times. Hunting elk is one of those hobbies that can turn in profits or feed your family for weeks if you know what you’re doing.
Train your body
An elk hunter stays in shape no matter what. Hunting isn’t easy and you shouldn’t view it as a simple game. Expect to run out of breath if you’re going through mountains or dense forests. Jog as much as you can daily so you’ll get used to climbing up steep hills and running around searching for the perfect elk to slaughter.
In most cases, you’ll probably have to walk six miles to find an elk. And sometimes, finding a good elk to hunt can take even a few days. This is why being in shape is crucial if you want your efforts to pay off. Hunting isn’t easy and you shouldn’t think of it like that. Instead, think of it like the most challenging thing you’ll do and prepare to treat it as such.
Train your mind
Your body isn’t the only thing that’s going to be put through a rough test. Your mind is also one thing you should focus on training. Since you’ll be desperately searching for a good hunt, it’s a great idea to plan out ahead and try to keep calm and calculated. Losing focus is something that you don’t want to do in any hunting situation, let alone hunting something as big as an elk.
You’ve got to bring a good attitude with you if you want to succeed because when you’re doing something as hard as hunting elks, the attitude alone can sometimes make a world of difference.
Know the area that you’ll be hunting in and plan your every move
Do some scouting of the area before going hunting. If needed, you can even use apps like Google Maps to get a satellite view and plan out every route accordingly. But it’s far better to walk around on foot and listen to every surrounding sound. Being in the forest or up the mountain will give you a much better look at the land and possible elk gatherings.
If you’re planning to hunt in an area far away from your home, we recommend taking a guide with you. Search for other elk hunters who know the area well and convince them to show you the ropes. You’ll have a much easier time knowing what to look out for this way. Also, be careful to do your research and figure out what parts of that area have a ban on hunting.
Seek out and scope out
Optics play an important role in elk hunting because you need to be able to spot elks from a distance. If you get too close, the elk might see or hear you, and it will run away. Go to a sporting store and buy a pair of binoculars that fit your budget but that is also able to zoom miles and miles away.
We’re lucky we live in an era where technology is so advanced. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no bad pair of modern binoculars or rifle scopes. For spotting purposes alone, they should do just fine. And speaking of optics, don’t forget your flashlight. You don’t want to be stuck in the dark in a forest when night comes.
This should be common sense, but there are many people who try their hand at hunting without putting in the necessary effort to sharpen their shooting or bow skills. Elks run fast, so if you get spotted or if you’re at a long distance, your targeting needs to be pitch-perfect. Go to the range and practice for at least a few days before going hunting.
If you’ve had a long period where you haven’t shot any rifle at all, you will also want to do this since these skills can be lost easily without practice. The same goes for bow hunting. Go to an archery range where you can practice as long as you need to. You’ll increase your chances of getting the winning shot by a significant amount.
Dress properly for a hunt
Hunting is no easy task, as you have probably figured out by now. The base layer of your clothes is the most important when pursuing to hunt elks. We recommend getting a wool base layer to keep yourself warm throughout your journey. If it gets too hot, you can just take off your jacket, but the base layer is quintessential in case the weather gets really bad.
On top of the base layer, you should put a quality insulation layer to further enhance the base layer’s warmth. You might also want to consider wearing a light rain suit because the weather is unpredictable in the mountainside. And if you’re hunting in the late season, you’ll also need a jacket and some quality wool pants that will keep you warm without itching.
Don’t forget water
Rain can hinder your progress, but water is essential to life and to your hunting. Take some type of filtered water bottle with you so that you will be able to fill it with river water in case the situation calls for it. Remember, you won’t have the same comforts when hunting as you do at home.
Loading up water in containers and putting it in your backpack is far from ideal. Your backpack will already be heavy enough without the added weight from water. So do yourself a favor and get a portable filter or a filtered bottle or anything that has the ability to hydrate you without taking up much space and weighing you down further.
Bring camping gear
No matter how tough you are, you’re still human. And sleepiness will eventually hit you. Sleeping without any shelter isn’t a good idea, obviously, so you’ll need a tent and a sleeping bag at the very least. We recommend taking a one-man sleeping tent and gear that can be rolled up and placed in your backpack.
While hunting, you might get lost or you might go too far away from your camp, so having a portable camping solution is the way to go. Getting a restful sleep will also help you focus better on finding your prey and hunting it, so don’t act like you’re made of iron. Get enough sleep to have a clear mind the next day and gain excellent results.
Learn to blow an elk call
Elk don’t just walk around everywhere. Sometimes, you’ll have to go the extra mile to attract them yourself. For this, you’ll need an elk call. It’s like a dog whistle, except it’s for elks, as the name suggests. Use it to attract elks to your location or to at least get them to call out their location so you will have an easier time finding them.
Get a guide or outfitter who has experience hunting elk, as they’ll be able to teach you this skill while taking note of your progress. Learning how to blow an elk call isn’t necessarily hard, but it can be tedious, especially if you’re trying to learn on your own. Just like all animals, elks can recognize certain messages based on the frequency of the tone.
Take good care of your feet
Out of all the things you’ve read in this article so far, your feet are the most important when hunting elk. Don’t be a Scrooge when it comes to buying quality boots and good socks. If walking gets too painful, and it will eventually, you won’t be anywhere near hunting proficiency. Take a good look at pairs of wool socks and comfortable yet durable boots.
These will make a huge difference in your hunting prowess. Some people develop blisters the size of quarters on their feet when walking for long periods of time. So we can’t stress it enough how vital it is to have good walking gear.
Take note of everything you’ve read here today and put it to good use. Plan your budget accordingly and don’t chicken out on quality. It’s better to spend some extra bucks on things that will make you a more efficient hunter rather than losing your prey completely and coming home empty-handed after long days of stalking and shooting.