Bowhunting Elk: The Basics

Posted by: Tracy Breen on Aug 21, 2012
Page 2 of 3
Because elk often live in open country and because they often hang up, the further you can shoot accurately, the better chance you have of bagging a bull. Elk hunting isn’t like hunting deer. Getting a bull inside twenty yards can be difficult where a 20-yard shot while deer hunting is typical. To prepare for further shots in the woods, take further shots in your back yard. John Schaffer from Schaffer Performance Archery in Minnesota often practices at 80 yards and beyond. “I would never take a shot at an elk at 80 yards but if I can keep a tight group at 80 yards while practicing, killing a bull at 50 yards is fairly doable,” Schaffer said. If you want to shoot accurately at 50 yards and beyond in the woods, practice at extreme ranges. Western hunters who shoot at 50 yards and beyond in the field often weigh every arrow, every broadhead, and spin test each arrow before putting it into their quiver.  Any inconsistency in an arrow can cause a complete miss at 50 yards or more.


Spin-Test all arrows for broadhead alignment before heading out west for tough game such as Elk.
Having top notch gear is very important while elk hunting. On my list of must have gear is a top notch shelter (when hunting in the backcountry), top notch boots, top notch binoculars and a good GPS. Many bowhunters buy top notch binoculars, a top notch shelter and a good GPS. Hunters often skimp on boots. Your feet take you in and out of the field each day.  Take care of them.  I have seen more hunters go home early because of sore feet or blistered feet than any other reason.  Bloody, blistered feet will ruin anyone’s day.  I usually wear high-end boots like Schnees or Danner.  I wear them several times a week before going on a hunt so I am not breaking the boots in on the hunt.  When I show up for an elk hunt, my boots look beaten up and worn out.  If your boots are shiny and new on the first day of your hunt, you might be in trouble!

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