Archery Keys To Success For New Elk Hunters: Tip 1
Imagine… the bull of a lifetime is walking in your direction. With every step, his antlers sway from side to side through the aspens, drool and snot is running from his face, and he lifts his head every so often giving out a screaming bugle that sends chills down your spine.
You cant move, he is heading in your direction on a line to pass by you at 20 yds. Hes completely focused in on the calls coming from 80 yds behind you, the sweet estrus sounds made by your guide. You watch him coming in through the tree you are standing behind.
This is all new to you, and you quickly realize that you are completely unprepared for the next 30 seconds. The great opportunity on a giant bull will disappear along with him into the timber in a matter of seconds.
Well without experience and blowing situations multiple times you may not know some of the small tactics that could make this situation a success and lead to you punching a tag.
Setup is key in getting the opportunity for a shot. One of the biggest mistakes a new elk hunter makes is wanting to hide from the bull coming in. “I didn’t want him to see me so I stood behind the pine tree”. This approach has now decreased your success rate to less than 50%. The shot window will be minimized to only if the bull passes by you on the way to the call. Any of the out front opportunities will be lost. As the bull gets closer and starts to pass by, the chances of him blowing out exponentially increase.
The proper position for the shooter should be in front of a bush or tree, anything to break up your silhouette. If you dont move, the bull will likely pass you off as just another piece of natural debris of the forest. In addition to the location your shot will come from, shooting position is also important to determine before the elk gets into shot range. Shooting position will be relative to the situation. If there is taller brush and grass you’ll probably want to stand so you can shoot over. If its barren with trees which have branches at eye level and you can kneel, that may be the best position to shoot from under. Personally I like to stand tall against a tree so that if I have to swing around or take a step sideways, I can be mobile.
As a guide and watching clients placed properly, their experience of having bulls walk right by them has been magical. It is not uncommon for a hunter to feel he is too exposed, but if it means being still, waiting for the right time to draw and getting a shot, it will definitely increase your success.
Hunting with an outfitter who knows the country, spent time in the field, and understands what the bulls are doing increases your opportunity and ultimately your success. Then, when you go with a guide, you’ll know the best way to set up before that bull gets to your position. To find an outfitter that will work for you, give us a call to discuss future opportunities