Elk are a highly sought after big game species. It is the dream of every hunter to go elk hunting and shoot a bull elk and fill their freezer before the hunting season is over.
Just like all big game hunting, you need to stay in good shape and be mentally healthy. This is especially so if you have traveled from the East or the South to go hunt in the mountains. In the mountains, you will be oxygen deprived, and as such, you have to be in good shape to survive. Being mentally tough ensures that you have the right attitude to wait and to go one extra mile when you feel like giving up.
Below are simple tips and tricks to apply in the mountains.
Know the Area
Before you start hunting, you need to do some scouting to understand the terrain of the area you will be hunting. Study the maps of the area to locate where you will set camp and the terrain you will have to deal with. If you are not from that area, you need to have a guide or an outfitter who will help you navigate the area.
While studying the area, learn how the elk migrate in that area and where they are likely to be concentrated. Today, most apps are in app form. Most natural resource agencies will provide you with a map upon filling your hunting application form.
Get High Quality Optics
You need to see the elk, so you will be hunting from far. This way, you need high quality binoculars and rifle scopes. A quality pair of scopes should bring the target at least 10x closer, making it easy for you to plan your hunt. Again, because you need to see your target, get a good scope. If your scope does not offer you a good view, get an upgrade.
A good scope should allow you to hunt anytime, at dusk or dawn. Even when you are scouting, go out with your scope and rifle and see how different animals look under different lights.
Practice with Your Rifle or Bow
Your rifle or bow is your most crucial gear during a hunt. If you cannot use it proficiently, you will only end up with missed targets and a hungry stomach. If you will be using a bow, for instance, you need to spend at least a month practicing with that bow to ensure you can shoot from different distances.
If you will be using a rifle, visit the gun range before the hunting expedition and ensure you can shoot comfortably from short and long distances. Those using bows and arrows should be able to shoot comfortably between 40 and 60 yards away. When using a rifle, you should shoot comfortably and accurately at 200 to 300 yards away.
Learn To Make a Cow Elk Call
If you have never hunted an elk, you might not know how to make a cow elk call. However, your guide or your outfitter should teach you how to make a cow elk call. When you go out hunting, you will be able to make a cow elk call which gets the bull elk where you are. If you are separated from your outfitted and you see a bull elk, you can make the call and get them closer to you for an accurate shot.
Dressing in layers when you are hunting not only keeps you warm but also keeps your odors masked to ensure the elks do not smell you from miles away. A merino sheep as a base layer comes in handy in wicking away your sweat and keeping your doors locked.
You also need to add an insulation layer on top of the base layer to keep you warm and dry. You can then put a light raincoat on top. A light raincoat is easy to fold into your pack. Your pants and jacket should be water and windproof to help you survive in the mountains as you wait for the elk.
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Keep Yourself Hydrated and Bring Comfortable Shelter
Hunting is fun; you will quench your hiking needs and go home with game meat. When doing so, ensure that you are well hydrated and you are well nourished to stay active during the hunting period.
It will likely take you a few seasons to get a good bull elk. As such, ensure that you have comfortable shelter. Sometimes, you might walk far from your camp to walk back within the day. During such days, you will need to carry your sleeping shelter. Again, you need to get a comfortable night’s sleep to get ready for the next day.
Lastly, Take Care of Yourself
For starters, take care of your feet. Start by choosing warm socks and sturdy boots to tackle tough terrain in the mountains. Merino wool socks should be warm enough to keep you comfortable in the mountains. If you happen to go to hunting camp with ill-fitted shoes, you will go home with blisters, and you might not enjoy the hunting expeditions.
Because it is not fun to go hunting alone, you need to look for a hunting camp where people hunt elks. Even a camp of two people will be more interesting than you hunting alone. When hunting as a group, you will cover a wider area.