Silence is sometimes golden, and when the woods are full of loud bugling and constantly mewing elk hunters, pressured elk simply go silent—and hunker deep into thick cover. Maybe you should also go silent and move less. The less you do, the greater your chances of filling an elk tag.
|Staying silent and moving less while scouring the area for antler tips, moving ears and shiny eyes can help elk hunters fill their tag.
1) Know the Turf:
Study all available topographical maps and carry a handheld GPS unit (with fresh batteries in your pocket), so you know what’s ahead and over the next ridge. Use the maps and info to pin point pinch points in the terrain that could funnel elk into a narrow area. Next, select a vantage point overlooking that area and settle in, then quietly wait and watch. The tales are many about hunters who were sitting quietly when a herd of elk came loping by—with a bull bringing up the rear
2) Be Alert and Stay Put:
Bring a seat cushion or small lightweight packable stool and take a comfortable seat where you can observe a large amount of elk turf. Use a binocular or tripod-mounted spotting scope to study the surrounding terrain and forest shadows to spot hidden elk. Look for antler tips, moving ears and shiny eyes. Settle in instead of aimlessly wandering about and possibly bumping a hidden elk herd and pushing them on to other hunters.
3) Conquer the Call Shy:
During the bugling period in the fall, bulls think about two things: cow elk and other bulls. Their thoughts about other bulls are focused on whether to give chase—or take the herd of cows and run. While an elk call can help you locate a bull, keep calling and you could turn that bull and his herd into runners. Hunters everywhere find this situation when they call too much and too often—the elk move away. Make contact, go silent and move ahead slowly. Pause often to look for elk.
4) If Your Go:
If you are just beginning your elk hunt or are hunting a new area, you need to quickly find clues such as wallows, feeding areas, trails, river crossings and other clues that point to where the elk have been, where they are going, and what they are doing in the region. Move quietly through the hunting area, study the clues from afar with a binocular when possible, and stay ready and alert. When you see tracks, determine which direction the elk that made them went—and possibly where it came from. Then study the region and determine the best area you have to make contact with an elk. You have greatly increased your odds of success by studying the many clues.
5) Go Back There:
It’s a fact that most hunters will stay near roads and trailheads, and if they move, they often take the path of least resistance, such as following a meandering logging road. This activity can push elk. To find success, move as far as you can beyond where most hunters dare to venture—generally a mile away from the parking lot trailhead. Let other hunters aimlessly wander about, and push elk back to you. Take a predawn hike and begin your hunt back there beyond other hunters. If you will become sweaty on the hike, stash dry clothing layers in your daypack and change out of sweaty clothes before you seriously begin hunting. Find a vantage point and settle in.
Not sure when you should move on elk? Check out these tips 5 Tips for Deciding If, When and How to Move When Elk Hunting at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.