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How To/Pro-Tips

Binoculars for Bulls

It is possible to hunt elk without binoculars but I sure wouldn

Drop-Camp Elk Hunting

Many hunters have, over the years, developed the experience and acquired the gear necessary to hunt elk on their own on public land. The beginner, however, will find many advantages to the so-called drop camp offers some advantages. Compared to modern-day elk-hunting costs, it is relatively inexpensive.
What you are paying for is the rent of the outfitter's mainstay equipment - tents, stoves, and other camp gear - plus his time and horses to haul you deeper into the backcountry than most would go it alone. You supply your own personal gear and food, though many outfitters will allow you to send them a shopping list and have the requested food packed and ready to go when you arrive. While in camp, the outfitter will check by occasionally, hopefully to haul out meat.
It is strongly recommended that groups book together. There is considerable shared work in a drop camp and a mix of strangers often doesn't work out. Most outfitters won't piece drop-camps together for this very reason.

Selecting A Stand

After all your scouting, you must finally pick a spot to set up your stand for opening day. What to do? Set up on buck sign? Set up on feeding areas? Set up on trails?

I like the trails, particularly the ones that lead from bedding areas to feeding areas. In a way you are covering two key components of the deer's activity pattern without seriously disturbing either one.

Pick your exact location wisely. If you hunt in the mornings, you don't want to be facing the rising sun. Vice versa for evenings. Consider normal wind direction and thermals. Don't set up directly on the trail where you are likely to be spotted. Set up a bit to the side.

Pick a good solid tree that will support your stand and do a bit of trimming for easy climbing and to open shooting lanes. Now get out and stay out. You don't want to disturb this area again until you arrive ready to hunt.

Bowhunting for Elk - Get the Point

If you are a serious bowhunter for deer, you probably already have an elk-capable bow. Most bowhunters pull the most power they can comfortably handle to take advantage of a flatter arrow trajectory. Increasing your bow's draw weight or buying a new heavier bow is much like a gun hunter going up to a magnum caliber. You must practice with it to get in shape and back to your top shooting form.
Arrow and point selection is more critical. Of course your arrow should have the correct spine strength for your bow but going to a heavier arrow increases energy and penetration potential at the expense of a bit of trajectory flatness.
Your broadhead should be razor sharp and I prefer simple heads with three or four very strong blades for elk. Multi-bladed heads, very wide heads and the "trick" heads that pop open on impact cut a larger wound channel at the expense of penetration. With a big animal such as elk, penetration is the key to success.

Cold-Weather Hunting

Because I regularly hunt in northern states and Canada, I know a little something about cold-weather deer hunting. Mostly I know that it is difficult to stay still or even stay on stand when you are cold and miserable.

Staying warm starts with the right breakfast. High-fat foods, such as bacon, do not produce much immediate energy or warmth. A high carbohydrate breakfast of pancakes or oatmeal provides quicker fuel. Carry some high-carbohydrate snacks to the stand to keep internal fires burning.

Dress in appropriately warm clothes and put them on in layers. "Layering" allows you to put on or remove clothing should temperatures change. It also allows you to remove garments when involved in strenuous activity and replace them when you are still.

Sweat is your enemy. Make sure all your layers are quick-wicking and breathable to transport moisture away from your body. Anything that absorbs and holds moisture is going to make you clammy, cold and more miserable as the day goes on.

Camo Pattern by Realtree
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