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Bowhunting Elk: What To Do First

Step One

The first step to elk-hunting success is finding where they live, but that’s not easy. Elk need food, water and shelter, so study maps or aerial photos or look at Online Maps. Locate where you plan to hunt elk and closely search for hillsides, especially north-facing slopes that will be shaded.

Elk will live near busy roads, paved or unpaved. Find restricted access areas and go over them. Then  you have to move in a few miles to find potentially good Elk areas. Most bowhunters backpack in, but horses, llamas and mountain bikes can also help bowhunters escape competition.

Elk have huge ranges, and can bed several miles from where they feed. They also travel to different areas because of changes in the seasons.

Always look for fresh elk sign while bowhunting. You know Elk are around when you find recent rubs, tracks and droppings. One sign, however, is the most important. If it smells like elk, they are close! You may have busted them out of their bedding area or else they are close to where you are.

Are You Over Bugling?

Every time you hear a bull elk bugle, you understand why chasing Elk with a bow is so exhilarating and addicting. Elk bowhunting season occurs during the rut, which is when bull elk are most vocal and active because they are searching for rutting cow elk.

Bowhunters know there is nothing better than hearing big bulls bugling their approach while responding to the bowhunter’s cow calls and bugled challenges. But calling isn’t always the most effective hunting method. Many elk hunters bugle too much. If you’re Elk hunting on public land, bulls that have been around have made the difference between real Cow Elk calls and the ones hunters make.

Bugling works best on bulls that rarely or never hear hunters’ bugling, which is what happens on private lands or on deep backcountry public lands.



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