There is a rising tide of new archery elk hunters. Once someone gets a taste of bugling bulls at close range, that pull to return year after year is so hard to resist. With this trend in mind, here are a few tips for the beginning archery elk hunter.
Get in Shape
If you are out of shape, your hunt ended before it even began. Chasing elk is is a physically challenging sport. Quite frankly, it can be exhausting; the ultimate test of endurance. Being out of shape can cause you to become unmotivated and unprepared for the hunt. In order to persevere, you need to prepare for what the battle is going to bring. Prepare well before hunting season begins and set realistic goals for what steps you need to take to get in hunting shape. Good activities include spending time on the mountain, hiking and scouting, going to the gym to exercise your legs and core, and doing some cardio, whether HIIT or endurance. For additional guidance, check out the Hunt Warrior Training program on our Partners page for hunt-specific workouts and nutrition guides.
Have Confidence in Your Gear
First, your bow. Shoot it often. This will help you become comfortable and confident with the weapon you will use to harvest your elk. When pulling the trigger, you should have full confidence in the equipment you are using. Next most important in my mind is good boots. Remember that elk hunting is done on your feet in rugged terrain, day after day, so good boots will become your best friend when walking the backcountry. Blisters can make a fun hunt miserable instantly. Make sure to break your boots in before the hunting season begins or those expensive boots you bought will seem cheap. I have seen a lot of talented hunters that don’t have the nicest packs or camo, but they purchase good boots because they understand the importance.
Don't Do Your Scouting During the Season
I’m sure this one seems simple but this happens more often than you think. Walking in the woods isn’t always what it takes to shoot an elk. A lot of hunters waste a lot of valuable hunting time scouting when they should have done that months earlier. Scouting is something that should be taken seriously. There are many steps to making sure you are successful and you are hunting where the elk are. First, it is important to understand what type of country elk like to spend their time in. This will require you to take time to study and find the best areas suitable for elk. After this it’s time to hit the hills and see if you can find the bull you are going to shoot. Trail cameras can help, but there is nothing that can compensate for a lack of time spent in the area you're hunting in advance of the season.
Learn the Elk Calling Basics
When I started archery hunting a couple of years ago I wasn’t having much success. I had grown up hunting elk with a gun and I approached archery hunting the same way as I did rifle hunting. The thing I learned quickly: archery hunting and rifle hunting are not the same. Archery hunting requires you to get very close to the animal so you can make an effective and ethical shot. Learning how to use a mouth reed to call in elk will help you to get the close up shot you need. Using a reed isn’t always easy and it can take some time to get to know all the calls you can use while hunting. That’s why we partnered with Paul Medel, the ElkNut, to bring you the cutting edge in elk calling instruction, all on your mobile phone or smart device. Using the ElkNut app will teach you to “Talk the Talk” this hunting season, so you're able to "Walk the Walk," meaning end the season with a pack full of elk meat on your hike out.
There is a lot to take in as a new archery elk hunter, but there's no reason not to get started now, as it's one of the most rewarding endeavors you'll ever pursue.
This article was written by Ryan Smith, an avid archery elk hunter and co-founder of Got Game Technologies, LLC.