If you’re planning your first elk hunt, you need to take several steps well in advance to make sure you get to enjoy the exhilarating and successful hunt you’re hoping for. For many first timers, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and being prepared will no doubt help you to bring home the trophy elk you seek. Here are some elk hunting tips to get you started in the right direction.
Educate Yourself About Elks
No matter what stage you are in your preparations, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself about elks. Elks are brilliant, adaptable creatures, and this is what makes hunting them so challenging. Before hitting the woods to search for a trophy elk, you’ll need to learn more about the animal’s diet, habitat preferences, calls, breeding seasons, and characteristics.
In order to increase your chances of success, you should also plan in advance the right time of the day to hunt. This would be some time during the mid-afternoon (2pm to 4pm). Additionally, when elk hunting, you should be prepared to hike on after dark. This is because these big bulls don’t just disappear as soon as the sun sets.
Decide Whether You’re Hunting Solo or With An Outfitter
Many newbie elk hunters opt to shoot this animal for the first time with an outfitter, and this isn’t a bad idea. By using an outfitter, you’re increasing your chances of bagging an elk. Outfitters live and breathe hunting, which means they know where all the honey spots are. An outfitter can also make sure you’re following proper regulations in the area and state you’re hunting in.
Before spending cash on an outfitter, though, you must check their credentials thoroughly. Make sure the outfitter you have chosen is licensed and has a good reputation. If you want to hunt for elks without an outfitter, understand that you’ll need to figure out licensing, carcass transportation, butchering, as well as possible locations to track.
Have a Plan In Mind
You can’t just decide to make your way to Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Montana, for example, and start wandering aimlessly hoping an elk will stroll by and beg for you to shoot it. When you go to elk habitats, the first thing you need to do is map out the areas where you’ll be stalking your prey. This should be areas that are flat and located at the top of drainages like creeks and rivers. Besides, if you’re not well-prepared, you might get chased around by a grizzly bear of wolf. (There are plenty of grizzly bears and wolves at Lee Metcalf Wilderness!)
Choose An Appropriate Elk Hunting Rifle
Just like a good pair of shoes or your favorite jeans, selecting a hunting rifle is a very personal experience. The truth is, not all guns will feel comfortable for all hunters. So, when shopping for a firearm, make sure to consider the manufacturer, caliber, stock, and power scope optics. The most popular rifle for elk hunts includes a 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and a 30-06 Springfield.
Be Prepared For The Rut
Try to schedule your first elk hunt from late September to mid-October since these are the months when calling is at its best. If needed, it’s important to make sure you apply for out-of-state elk lotteries well in advance.
With the tips mentioned above, you should be ready to plan your first hunt with confidence.