Are you an elk hunter? Do you want to become one?
My dream, for many years, was to hunt elk in the Rocky Mountains. I decided to stop simply dreaming, and start planning for that dream — and in 2013 I went on my first elk hunts in Colorado and Kentucky. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an elk on either of those hunts. I went back to Colorado in 2014 and was able to call in a bull that my partner, Jerud, shot at just 8 yards. In 2015 Jerud and I hunted a new area and, after a lot of close calls, came home empty-handed. Then, in 2016, Jerud and I returned to that same area and I shot my first bull with my bow at just 12 yards. I will be sharing the story of that 2016 hunt soon, but in the meantime please scroll down below to check out the trip reports from previous years, as well as dozens of helpful articles that I wrote along my journey of becoming an elk hunter.
My 2016 5×5 Bull
Jerud’s 2014 Bull
I am just a regular guy that has many of the same limitations that you probably do — I have limited money, limited time, and since I live in the Midwest, I have extremely limited access to elk country. But, I can hunt elk, and you can too!
If you are going on your first elk hunt this year, just dreaming about hunting elk in 10 years, or you are already an elk hunter, I hope that you will join me in this adventure to learn how to effectively hunt elk on your own. The articles below document my journey of planning, preparing, and becoming an elk hunter. I hope they help you chase your dreams, too..
UPDATE: I am super excited to introduce you to a new elk hunting resources that is above-and-beyond anything I’ve done here and is a great continuation of the articles I have published below. Here is more information and an exclusive special offer (to save 40%!) on the University of Elk Hunting.
If you are looking for my gear list, you can find that here:
My Elk Hunting Gear List for Extended Backpack Hunts
- Stop Dreaming, Start Hunting – 4 Ways To Make Your Dream Hunt A Reality
- Expectations & Elk Hunting
- The Collision of Comfort and Conquering (And Somehow Something To Do With Elk Hunting)
- The Harsh Realities of Hunting, and the Hope of Chance
- Elk Hunt #2 – I’m Headed to Kentucky!
- You’ve Read About It, Now Watch Me Do It!
Planning Your Trip
- Should You Go Guided, Semi-Guided, or DIY?
- How should you camp? – Base Camp, Spike Camp, or Bivy?
- What Does an Elk Hunt Cost? – The “3 R’s” of Outfitting Your Hunt
- Where to go? – Selecting a State
- Where to go? – Selecting a Game Management Unit
- When is the best time to bowhunt elk?
- Avoid the Warden – 5 Hunting Regulations That Are Too Easily Broken
- So You Think You’re Ready to Elk Hunt? Is Your Partner Ready, Too?
- Going Alone – Advice For A Solo Elk Hunt
Understanding & Locating Elk
- Ask an Expert – 5 Steps to Get Great Hunting Advice from Game Wardens
- Scouting from Afar – How to Read and Interpret Topographic Maps
- Scouting from Afar – Using Maps to Scout for Your Elk Hunt – What Should You Look For?
Hunting Tactics & Technique
- Lessons from Experienced Elk Hunters – 5 Things Rookie Hunters Need to Know
- 3 Steps to the Shot – Basic Strategies to Create Shot Opportunities in Elk Hunting
- Calling Elk – It Isn’t About How You Sound, It Is About What You Say
- Bowhunting Elk – Shot Placement, Accuracy, and the Size of an Elk’s Vitals
- Want To Kill An Elk? Then Don’t Let Him Smell You! – 3 Ways To Control Your Scent
- Elk Decoys: Tips and Tactics with Fred Eichler and Montana Decoy
- Mental Matters – 6 Ways to Keep Your Head in the Hunt
- So You Shot An Elk – Now The Work Begins
- Introductory Thoughts on Fitness and Physical Training
- Elk Training for Idiots
- Physical Training for Elk Hunting – F.O.C.U.S. Your Effort
- Food for Backpack Hunting – Tips, Ideas, and a Lightweight Menu
- Hunting at Elevation – Understanding and Preventing Altitude Sickness
- Satellite Communication for Backcountry Hunting – Why I’m Using the SPOT Connect
Backpacking & Camping Gear
- My Gear List for a 7-Day Backpack Elk Hunt
- Jerud’s Post-Hunt Gear Debrief: What Worked, What Didn’t
- Dollars and Sense: Thoughts on Elk Hunting Backpacks
- Backpack Review – The Exo Mountain Gear 3500 (Using for 2014 and beyond)
- Backpack Review – The Tenzing CF13 Carbon Fiber Hunting Pack (Used in 2013)
- Tent Review – Sierra Designs Lightning 2 UL
- Tent Review – The Mountainsmith Mountain Shelter LT
- Gear Review: The LOWA Tibet GTX – Are They the Ultimate Elk Hunting Boot?
- Test Everything! – Weekend Backpacking Trip for Gear Testing and Trail Training
- How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking and Hunting – Part I
- How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking and Hunting – Part II
Bowhunting Gear & Tactics
- Clothing Systems for Backcountry Hunting – It’s All About Layering
- The Best Arrows for Elk Hunting – 3 Things to Look For
- 4 Requirements for Incredibly Accurate Broadhead Flight
- Optics for Elk Hunting – Selecting Binoculars and a Spotting Scope
- Arrow Rest – Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro
- Bow Stabilizers – Do They Really Work? And Are They Necessary for Hunting?
- 2 Shooting Drills to Increase Bowhunting Effectiveness
- Should You Take the Shot? – What Every Bowhunter Should Consider Before Firing An Arrow
Guests Posts & Interviews
- Talking Elk – An Interview with Steven Rinella
- Elk Hunting Strategies, Tactics, and Gear with Steve Speck of S&S Archery
- Elk & Bowhunting: Like Jeans & Boots (RMEF Guest Post)
- “Learning From My Mistakes” – by Jordan Seitz
- My First Elk Hunt – What I Did Wrong, What I Did Right – by Al Quackenbush