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A Veteran Elk Hunter’s Tips on Success

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EAMT#784 Sound Advice for Archery Elk Hunters

By Brian Dam

arvhery elk hunter

Caption: As a successful Montana archer he has out witted this 362 point Montana Momnster and thought the hard part was over until… he realized a 900 pound animal and 75 degree days will be his next challenge. The first rule for success that very few hunters think about is to put yourself in the elks shoes then you will know where they go on hot September days. From there is is just locate brown. (North Slope, heavy spruce timber and if possible wet ground works like a swamp cooler.

 

Every elk hunter that ventures forth carrying a bow soon realizes that when you omit checking every single detail, an elk will notice your error and slip away. To reduce those pesky detail errors, first match your bow and arrow combination so they shoot straight, always adhere to your maximum distance limit, spend hours of practice pre-season, and reduce the size of the country you’ll hunt by scouting.

Luckily, Mother Nature provides the biggest advantage to the archer after big bulls; the timing of the rut allows you to call a bull so close you can hear him breathe. Without this edge it would be purely a stalking game or in sparse cover, a waiting game at a water source.

When that big bull finally steps into range, poor equipment is usually the reason behind major losses to an archer’s success rate. Looking to decrease the loss we spoke with an expert, Jay Sherley, who works in the Capitol Sports bow shop in Helena, Montana. As an archery equipment technician, Jay has the added advantage of having hunted elk and has tallied enough bow kills to provide experience and knowledge you can tap into in your quest to become a successful archery elk hunter.

Jay explains that late summer, when all the new archery products show up in stores, can provide archers with new equipment that will improve their success rate. His favorite broadheads come from Muzzy in both conventional fixed blade and the mechanical Grip Reaper. Mechanical head designs have come a long way in the last ten years and their dependability is now superb. He cautions however that hunters using blinds with a shoot-through window need to be aware that the new mechanicals will deploy as they pass through the window material. The window must be open for correct arrow flight – finding that out as you see the bull of a lifetime walk away will ruin your whole year!

Jay also recommends re-tuning your bow each year; the sight, arrow rest, peep and brace height can be off kilter just enough to allow your trophy bull to remain unscathed at the moment of truth. Re-tuning also allows you to quickly upgrade with any new technology and not have the expense of buying a new bow.

He also explained that most archers are switching over from carrying the basic back pack to newer packs specialized for bow hunters which allows them to carry their bow while leaving their hands free. Companies like Kenetrek, Eberlestock, and Badlands each have a line of packs developed specifically for the archer and his gear.

When asked what is the best way to locate an area with good bulls, or one good bull, in September, he answered, “Water is more of a key element to success in September than any other month.” Elk heat up while chasing cows and prefer to have a strong rut smell, so it is not unusual for them visit a wallow twice a day. Their visit can occur at any time, not just daybreak and sunset. When slipping up on a bull, whether at a wallow or feeding, if you do not pay attention to wind direction you will fail. An elk’s nose is his strongest defense. A good rule of thumb is an elk will see you three times before walking away, hear you two times, then leave, but if it smells you once – the whole herd will all be gone!

Properly prepared equipment, pre-season scouting and strict attention to the wind are the three main ingredients of a successful elk hunt.

 

Providing the best hunt in the United States of America including,Alabama, Alaska,Arizona.

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Greg Merriam

Senior Hunt Locator & Hunt Planner

Master Hunt Broker

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