There’s no doubt about it: elk hunting is more difficult than it used to be for even some of the most experienced hunters.
They are facing more population pressures in recent years for many reasons. The reintroduction of natural predators in some of their native ecosystems and habitat loss has posed some problems for the elk, which also makes things more challenging for us human hunters.
However, we have some solid elk scouting tips to share with you that will allow you to be at the top of your game regardless of the challenges you face along the way.
1. Lure Out the Herd
Skilled hunters often use herding behavior to their advantage. When a calf is lost, the cows of the herd will pursue it and the bull of the herd will accompany them. The herd will come out of hiding, often in plain sight of the hunter in this case. Elk hunters can mimic the sounds of wounded calves by using double-reed diaphragms. Hunters should have partners that will make the calls at the appropriate time during this part of the hunt. Using this partnership, people can more or less control the movements of the herd.
2. Beat Dawn
Lots of hunters adhere to this sort of hunting schedule, but a lot of bulls specifically are going to enter open areas at dawn. The hunters have to make sure that they have already located the entire herd by this point, or they are going to miss the bulls at the exact moment in which it would be ideal to hunt them. The hunters who have done elk scouting beforehand will be able to sneak up at them at this point, making it that much more likely that they will be able to claim their trophies.
3. Cameras are Difference Makers
Elk tend to cover a lot of ground just over the course of their daily activities, which can make it very difficult to track them. Setting up game cameras at the most strategic locations can give hunters all the information that they need when it comes to coming up with plan for tracking the elk and anticipating their movements. For the latest and greatest in game cameras have a look at this list. Most animals, including elk, are creatures of habit. Hunters can usually count on them sticking to a routine. They just need to be able to follow that routine. Since game cameras are rarely terribly expensive and the animals themselves are not going to notice them, there are few costs associated with using this strategy.
4. Security Box Camera Protection
Since game cams can be such assets to the modern hunter, it becomes that much more important to guard them from the animals and people who may be hunting the cameras themselves. While bears can damage them and elk can kick them, most of these incidents are going to involve the animals accidentally stumbling across the trail cameras in question. Thieves are going to be the primary threats facing trail cameras these days. The thieves are actively looking for them. Hunters are outside and trekking across large areas when they are in the field, so to speak, and there is only so much that they can monitor for themselves. Security boxes can help.
5. Target Bulls Post-Rut
Hunters need to time themselves properly in order to increase their chances of getting their trophy bulls, and the largest bulls are going to be easiest to claim during the post-rut part of the year. Trophy bulls are often heavily wounded during this part of their lives, and they are typically exhausted. To add insult to injury for them, in a way, this makes them better targets for both human and nonhuman predators. Crucially, these large, trophy bulls are often isolated from the rest of the herd, so they do not have the strength in numbers and they cannot use other members of the herd as shields. A good post rut elk call can be the difference maker at this time of year. These large bulls are often found completely alone in the sort of remote areas that are perfect for ambushes. Hunters should keep that in mind when scheduling their hunts.