How to Spot and Stalk Elk
Spot and Stalk ElkThis is a method of hunting elk that calls for high quality optics -- binoculars capable of seeing vast distances and in fine detail. When you've spotted an elk you'll check the wind direction to ensure that you're downwind and then begin the slow, careful and patient task of stalking the elk until you're close enough for a shot... the quieter you can move, the more patient and careful you are with every step, the better chances you have of getting into range without spooking the animal. Your camouflage needs to be proven in the field -- consider the area you're hunting in and then camouflage yourself so you blend in with how and where you'll be hunting.
Camouflage for Hunting Elk* One source shared that a preferred method of camouflage by "old timers" in his area was to break off a tree branch and hold it in front of them -- it seems to say that if an elk a hundred yards or so distant looks back in your direction, all he's going to see is a tree branch.
* Use camouflage colors to paint your face and hands -- the solid color of skin can be easily spotted by elk as it stands out in the forest. Painting your face and hands with dark, natural colors helps avoid being spotted.
* When no paint is available consider using mud and dirt, as well as tying (to a headband or hat) small branches and brush around your head and even hands and weapon (be sure to have plenty of string in your pack). The more you look like a small bush or tree the more you are going to blend into the environment with the ultimate goal of being invisible to elk.
* Elk are most active at dawn and dusk ... prepare to stakeout an area well before dawn (some hunters start as early as 3am and no later) and also well before dusk so that you are already in place and ready when / if elk appear.
* If you're going to hunt, get the best binoculars -- you're going to see more detail, further distances, have less eye strain, less eye fatigue and avoid headaches; finally, you'll also see better even when there isn't much light. Cheap binoculars can ruin the hunt before it's even started, making it next to impossible to pick out elk from the terrain and a lot easier to shoot something that isn't an elk -- like another hunter (make sure your fellow hunting companions are carrying good binoculars as well -- no sense in one of them taking aim at you because a tree branch you were crouched under looked like an antler).
* Don't take a shot unless you know for sure that what you see in front of you is an elk -- and don't shoot the elk unless you have a good aim on an area of the elk's body that is going to result in a kill. If you simply injure an elk rather than mortality wound it this is one likely to get away -- and have to suffer many days and possibly weeks. See: Elk Anatomy and Shot Placement. Make every shot count. Be patient and think things out.
Hunting from TreestandsTreestands are another popular way to hunt elk. A treestand can be nailed together with wood (but that's a lot of work and makes a lot of noise and may not actually hold the weight of a hunter) or a manufactured treestand can be used, which is what most hunters go with nowadays. It's easier (and safer) to buy a manufactured treestand and carry it in to the forest than the other way.
* Expert hunters advise to set treestands well in advance of any hunting (several weeks or months) in areas that elk are known to eat and then to wait until conditions are just right before journeying to your teestand and getting set up to stakeout the area.
* Conditions are right for hunting elk from a treestand when you know that elk should be in that area based on the season, as well as when the wind is in your favor, and finally following a storm. Elk will typically bed down during heavy rain but as soon as the rain lets up or is just a drizzle many hunters say that's some of the best hunting they've seen as elk come out to feed.
* Heavy rainfall can provide a good noise cover to get you to a distant treestand without being heard by elk -- as again during heavy rain many are likely to bed down and there's a good chance they won't be near your treestand when they do. Heavy rainfall is a great opportunity to trek into the forest and get into your treestand without alerting elk that you're in the area.
Hunt Smarter* Experts advise to place treestands many weeks or months before you actually plan on hunting in a specific area. That way treestands are already in place when you show up and settle in for a long day's stakeout from the treestand.
* Wait until conditions are just right -- which means weather (more on that below) and wind direction are in your favor.
* Wait until the setting is just right also -- that means the area you plan to hunt in has had minimal or no human activity in quite some time.
* Finally, if there is going to be any human activity in the months and weeks leading up to you hunting from one of these treestands you've placed well in advance, it should only be to place food that elk eat around the area. Let elk become accustomed to eating in the area you want to hunt -- of course this may not work for migratory elk as many may not be in the area at certain times of the year, but for some elk in some areas of wilderness this may work very well.
It can work very well with deer.
Elk Feed / Elk PelletsModern day sports hunters as well as ranches that sell access to professional hunting guides often use elk feed / elk pellets to make their land popular with elk; they'll place this feed throughout the property (in view of a treestand for example) and get elk accustomed to eating safely on their land, well before hunting season starts. As hunting season nears this practice becomes illegal because at this point you're using bait -- in a time of collapse when survival may hinge on whether or not you bring home enough meat to feed your group through the long winter ahead, baiting elk should be considered as something you can resort to. The current laws of the land simply won't apply (again, because the government has collapsed).
Game ManagementIf you and other hunters in the land practice intelligent game management, you'll limit your hunting to a set number of bulls per herd and also a limited number of females; if you start killing females and too many bulls in each herd, the population is going to start to die off, unable to replenish it's numbers through mating.
Hunting Elk at NightIf area elk feel any pressure from you or other people in the area, they're likely to either leave the area completely or simply start eating at night, rather than their typical dawn and dusk feeding times. If your hunts for elk are unsuccessful, it may be time to either move out of the area in the direction they're likely to migrate (in late spring and summer they're likely to head to higher elevations if you're in an area of mountains) or they may simply head further inland toward more remote areas along a drainage basin. You can either follow after them, or you can try hunting at night -- just in case there are still elk in the area and they are eating at night.
Major outfitters sell night vision goggles -- but the prices for these can be into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars; they can serve more than one purpose, even being used for self-defense and keeping watch over your camp in the evening hours. How would you like to be able to spot dangerous wildlife or simply intruders before they could sneak into camp and take one or more lives? Night vision goggles are tools of U.S. Special Forces such as the Navy Seals and Army Delta Force (who are reported to be equally or even more top secret than Navy Seals).
If you've got the dollars for night vision goggles be aware that most may run on battery power; so for these to be a tool in a time of collapse you have to have a power supply for keeping those batteries charged. Though you may be able to trade these to someone with a power supply -- a lot of people are purchasing solar panels and wind mills to generate electricity "off the grid"; one of them may be interested in your night vision goggles or simply enable you to keep your battery charged off their power supply; so not all may be lost during a time of collapse.
Research night vision goggles at major outfitters like Cabelas then check Amazon to see where you can get the best price for the model you decide on. There are cheap versions of night vision goggles as well, such as EYECLOPS, but these cheaper models may not be that effective for hunting at a range greater than 50 yards, from what I've read, though they were recommended by one hunter. If you get the EYECLOPS it's advised to use it with a good infrared spotlight that you can attach to your weapon. You won't be able to see the infrared light but the goggles will. That entire set up may cost you less than $200 -- a lot cheaper than the higher prices seen for night vision goggles that are $2,000 and up.
* You just finished Section 3. Article continues below in Section 4 ...
1. Elk Hunting - Ultimate Big Game Hunting
2. What You Need to Know About Hunting Elk
3. How to Spot and Stalk Elk, Hunting from Treestands, Hunting at Night
4. How to Hunt Elk in the High Country
5. Big Game Hunting: Final Points About Hunting Elk
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