Elk hunting is a popular activity in much of the U.S. and Canada. These are large, trophy-quality game, which also offer an abundance of meat. This makes hunting elk rewarding both as a sport, and for the benefits it puts in your freezer. As hunting regulations and seasons vary from state to state, you must be careful to research all applicable laws before hunting. While rifles are sometimes used, bow hunting is more challenging. The following tips will help you have the best possible results when hunting elk with a bow.
Get the Right Scent
The first tip for successful elk hunting is to rid yourself of any scent that may scare the game off. Use unscented soap, shampoo, deodorant, and laundry detergent. Use a human scent eliminator, and an elk scent imitator.
Secure the Best Terrain
To successfully land a big bull, you need to position yourself in the right place at the right time. Scout out the terrain well in advance, even if you are already familiar with the area. New tree-falls and other changes occur regularly in the wilds of elk country.
Get to your stake-out spot early, while it is still dark. Be there before the elk are on the move, which is a few hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. Get there before they do or you may arrive only to watch a big bull run off into the distance after you startle him.
Hide yourself behind a bush or fallen tree, but do not enclose yourself completely. Otherwise, you will not be able to maneuver as well when taking aim if a bull comes your way. Look for level ground since a bull will be leery of you if you occupy the high ground.
Get as Close as Possible, and Make some Noise
Many make the mistake of sitting too far away when using an elk, cow, or bugle call. It is better to circle your way to within 100 or 150 yards if you can find cover that close.
From that close position, do your best to sound like an elk, whether male or female. A bull call will signal another bull to a terrain challenge; a cow call will signal a bull for other purposes.
Always try to stay downwind, but stand your ground if the wind changes. You should have doctored your scent, so hopefully the wind will not be an issue. Make sure your bow has a good sight and a good release mechanism, even if you have to buy an upgrade. After all, you don’t want that trophy bull to be missed because you are using inferior equipment.
It may double your chances encountering a bull if you bring a hunting buddy who can assist you with the noise making. You should also not be shy to break sticks and kick rocks with your feet since elk happen to be rather noisy animals.
Making a Successful Shot
Be patient enough to wait for a broadside shot. It is extremely difficult to penetrate vital organs with a frontal attack.
You will need a good bow and release aid to deliver your arrow with a force great enough to drive it through the animal’s tough hide and muscles. You will also need an excellent bow sight to increase your odds of proper shot placement.
If you make a poor shot, you may not find the bull until the next day which means you would lose all of the meat. A properly placed arrow should down the bull within 150 yards.