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5 Tips for Deciding If, When and How to Move When Elk Hunting

Posted by 
September 26, 2014
Published in News & Tips > Hunting > Elk
4164   Comment

As elk hunters across America head afield in search of bugling bulls, the one elk hunting dilemma every hunter faces is deciding whether or not to make a move to get closer or stay locked in place and try to call the bull in.

What to do, what do?

elk broadside bull 650 
Look ahead, into shadows and all around you. Elk can be anywhere as they move. Study and plan a route and keep good quality binoculars on a sholder harness.

These rules will help elk chasers everywhere make the moves that help them fill their tag:

1) Watch the winds.

While winds in America generally blow from the west to the east, winds also swirl often during the fall or at high elevations where elk are found. Vegetation, terrain, weather and other factors influence wind direction. To determine where the wind is blowing from, and to help make a moving decision, tie a segment of sewing thread or thin yarn to your rifle’s muzzle. If you cannot see the thread move with the wind, tie a small bird feather to the tip. Watching the yarn or feather is much easier and requires less movement than using a bottle of dust for wind checker that some hunters currently use. The yarn or thread can also be observed when you have your rifle shouldered and are ready to shoot.

Watching the wind can also help you decide which direction to move, if you decide yes.

2) Use the shadows.

Dark shadows are your new best friend. Stay within them when possible to avoid the eyes of elk. Remember also that your face and hands can significantly stand out when you are back in the shadows and reveal your presence to ever alert elk. Always wear a camo face mask or use camo swipe sticks so you blend in. Oils on your face can also increase your game spooking shine, so wipe your face often with a handkerchief.

3) Wear the right treads.

When possible, wear quality waterproof hunting boots to avoid morning dew or melting frosts and to help you safely cross mountain streams. The “squish squish, squish” of wet boots full of water can be heard at great distances. Some hunters prefer 8-inch or taller boots while others like hiking style boots that are much lighter. Always wear footwear that protects your ankles.

Remember also to look before you step or you could be the one who snaps a twig underfoot and sends wary elk fleeing.

4) Stay put and observe.

It’s a simple fact: you see more when you stand still. When you move, it’s easier for elk to spot you. If you think elk are near, move much less, move very s-l-o-w-l-y if you must, and observe more often. Another rule on moving: if you sweating, you are moving too fast, especially if you know elk are near.

5) Glass, glass and glass some more.

It pays to look ahead, into shadows and all around you. Elk can be anywhere as they move. Study and plan a route as you move ahead, but also tirelessly search for antler tips, a twitching ear, small flicking tail or other indications that elk are just ahead—or possibly headed your way. Good quality binoculars that are on a shoulder harness can be lifted without much noticeable movement. If you are not glassing, you are not effectively hunting elk. Seeing a hidden elk can also help you make key decisions about moving—or staying in place.

Want to learn more about hunting elk? Find more tips and videos at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.

Tagged under Read 4164 times Last modified on September 8, 2017
Michael Faw

As a professional outdoor writer, author, editor and award-winning photographer, Michael D. Faw’s written works and images have appeared in numerous hunting, archery, shooting and outdoors publications for nearly 30 decades. He has worked as an editor, columnist and blogger for many of the nation’s leading hunting publications and websites. His award winning articles and images have graced the pages of Sports Afield, American Hunter, North American Hunter, Predator Xtreme, Texas Trophy Hunters magazine and many other magazines. With experience hunting big and small game with rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns and bows, Faw is a former licensed hunting and fishing guide. His global travels have ranged from the lows of Death Valley to the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.

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