The Dos and Don’ts of Elk hunting

Hunting an Elk, just like any other kind of animal can sometimes be a tricky affair. Preparation alone is just not enough. You need to have some skills which comes with great experience. If you are a beginner, no need to worry. You can learn from the mistakes of others who have tread the path before you. Based on the advice from various experts experienced in the field of elk hunting, here are the “dos and don’ts”. You can also checkout Hunting Better for more information


The Dos:

  • Prepare well
    Make sure you prepare adequately depending on the style of hunting you plan to engage in. Based on the terrain of the hunting ground you can choose to use a vehicle, horse or even walking as your basic means of getting around. If you decide to use a horse make sure it’s healthy, well fed and rested before setting out on your expedition. Likewise if you are using a vehicle ensure that it is well serviced to prevent it from breaking down in the middle of the hunt. If you are on foot you might want to travel light. Carry only what you need.
  • Do your homework
    Make sure that the land you intend to hunt on is free for hunting activities. Trespassing on private land will get you killed. You can check out permitted hunting lands on the internet just to be safe. Even if the land is listed for hunting activities, get to know the locals and interact with them. They know the land better and can guide you towards a successful hunt. Also carry your navigation tools such as map and compass. Do not rely solely on Google maps for you never know when the internet connection might be down. Carry out enough reconnaissance before you start hunting.
  • Be flexible
    Most hunters are not flexible while hunting. They hunt in a routine manner every year. The fact that you had a successful hunt at a specific place the previous year doesn’t quite guarantee that it will be so this time again. Elks migrate too. You might want to consider changing your hunting zone after some time. Dare to venture into the unexplored lands away from other hunters. You never know what your reward might be. This is another reason why you should travel light.
  • Be an elk
    The hunter and the hunted are in a game, each trying to outwit the other. To win you have to know your opponent well and be able to think like them. Luckily, the only thing you need to know is that the bull elk has an ego and you need to prey on this. The bull’s job is to breed a lot of cows and to keep other bulls away from the herd. Bugling will make the bull bugle back in response to the “challenge” you just issued. This will enable you to pinpoint its location and make a move in that direction instead of wandering around aimlessly.
  • Shoot your shot
    Whichever weapon you choose to use confidence is the key to getting the job done. Aim for the area between the neck and the shoulders. This is where the heart and the lungs are located. The target is small but the reward is great. Be focused and relaxed but do not hesitate to take that shot. If you miss, well, there’s always next time.

The Don’ts:

  • Do not bulge when you are near the elk
    Bulging while near the elk is a common rookie mistake. This will drive the elk away since the primary instinct of survival is fight or flight. A bull won’t risk losing its herd when it can flee and live to breed more cows. Once you spot it or can pinpoint its location be as quiet as possible and stay downwind so that it doesn’t catch your scent.
  • Do not forget to carry the essentials
    Most people carry only the things that they will need for the hunt neglecting the things that they might need. It is advisable to carry a mobile phone with you for communication purposes. Also carry a first aid kit as hunting in the wild is a risky affair. You never know when you might really need it. Don’t forget to carry packing bags for the meat and a water bottle. See this link to know some of the gears you need to have with you when hunting
  • Do not have a negative mindset
    The hunt begins in your mind. You have to be optimistic that you will return back home with a catch otherwise it is almost certain that you will go back empty handed. If you are hunting as a group do not allow yourself to be demoralized by negative talk which is very common when people get tired. Always stay positive and focused. Be careful though not to be cocky and move far away from the camp or truck when you are tired. It is of no use to make a kill and then leave it there because you are too tired to carry it back.
  • Do not break the rules
    Different states have different laws on hunting. Make sure you fully comply to avoid any altercations that may ensue. If you must get a permit before hunting please do so. Do your part to preserve the ecosystem by properly disposing trash and avoid killing the young ones. Also don’t over-hunt.
  • Do not do what you see in the movies
    If you don’t know what you are doing please do tag along an experienced friend or professional.


To summarize, being a great hunter is a combination of both experience and skill. None of these comes easy so you have to be patient and also practice consistently. Pay attention to details and be disciplined. You also should be passionate about hunting to be able to bear the shortcomings associated with it. Hunt with passion or not at all. Do take into account the things stated in this article before you embark on your next hunting trip and you just might experience the greatest hunt of your life.

Cindy Herrera

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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