Bow hunting for Elk is at the top of the scale for a real hunting rush. There are definitely some things to consider in preparation for the hunt if you have drawn a tag or are lucky enough to get a Bull tag. From the very beginning of trip planning, consider your health and physical condition.
- Get a physical early in the year.
- Go on long walks or jogging and get your wind. You will most likely be hunting in a higher altitude than what you are accustomed to. Most good elk hunting is on slopes higher up where it is cooler around the higher pastures and breaks.
- Plan your clothing for hot and cold temperatures so you can layer.
- Have good footwear that is broke in. Go on long walks with your boots on to build up your legs and ankles. Wear you back pack while walking for extra stamina. Bow hunting requires a lot of moving around in the habitat, sometimes quickly!
- Take a good supply of high protein bars in your pack and at least two bottles of water.
- Have sufficient rainwear.
- Practice your shooting at an IBO elk target at longer distances than you are used to. 40 to 60 yards is my favorite distance. The size and distance of an Elk can be deceiving to a bow hunter.
- Your bow quiver should have at least 6 good arrows.
- Use 65 lb. draw or better if you are comfortable with that poundage.
- Check out the location where you are going. Get local information and use Google Earth or topo maps to get familiar with the area, even if you have a guide.
- Take a second bow as back up. Problems can and do arise that are unpreventable
- Learn to use a cow call if you can’t bugle. The cow mew is most effective when all else fails.
- Take a small pocket camera so you can record your results!
- Study up on scent prevention and wind direction. The two most effective elements of a successful hunt.
- Know how you will get your meat back to your home town. An old freezer box on a trailer works really well if your meat is quick frozen by a processor; make sure you have a plan.
- Educate yourself as much as possible by reading, watching videos, and asking questions that experienced hunters can shed some light on.
Bow hunting in the mountains and habitat of any state that has elk can be a rewarding experience with lots of planning early in the game. Don’t leave anything to chance.