Elk hunting can be an exhilarating experience, but many have found it can also be exceptionally challenging. Elk are fast, strong and difficult to predict animals that can confound even the most experienced hunter.
There are specific elk hunting mistakes many make that diminish their chances of success. Let’s look at the most common errors and how to correct them.
Inappropriate Physical Fitness
Elk hunting can be a strenuous activity. Elk love to frequent rough and rocky terrain and can cover large tracts of land very quickly. Hunters often must cover plenty of ground themselves.
One of the leading mistakes people make when elk hunting is made well before they leave on a trip – they aren’t in the physical shape required to track these animals. For several weeks before an elk hunting trip, hunters are advised to take numerous 3- to 5-mile jogs and hikes, especially over varying terrain or levels. This can help build the stamina required for a successful hunt.
Not Using a High Quality Game Call
To attract the attention of elk, it’s important to use a distinct mouth call that has been developed and refined for using within wooded and mountaintop areas. Elk are suspicious by nature.
They startle easily and they might become fearful if the wrong kind of call is used by a hunter. Always use high quality calls made by companies with experience and success in game call manufacturing.
Making Too Much Noise
One of the most common elk hunting mistakes is when hunters bring rattling backpacks and other noisy gear with them. Not only can elk cover a large amount of ground in quick time, they also hear exceptionally well over great distances. Many hunters mistakenly think they are well out of an elk’s earshot when making noise. When communicating with other hunters on a trip, it’s important to whisper to avoid detection. Shouting is obviously not recommended, especially when excited by the hunt, as is using electronic equipment that makes noise or emits a high-pitched whine.
Failing to Track the Hunt
While most hunters understand the topography of their hunting landscapes, they don’t always use effective tracking to highlight previously used routes. Tracking is an essential element for success because it enables hunters to position themselves ideally according to both their movements and the elks’ movements. It allows hunters to see the routes that elk are taking and avoid alerting the animal to their position by going over previously tracked areas.
Trying to Cover Too Much Ground
While covering terrain is unavoidable for a successful hunt, it can become draining because elk tend to have large swaths of territory. Elk move in patterns and these can be discerned quickly by experienced hunters. By watching for the pathways used by elk over a day or two, hunters may find staying in one elevated spot provides that ideal shooting position.
By ironing out their elk hunting mistakes and further honing their craft, hunters can quickly improve their yields. It takes time and practice, but knowing and eliminating the mistakes you’re making is the most important element of the learning process.
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