Archery Elk Hunting Tips
We have gotten a chance to hunt elk during the rut in some amazing places for some even more amazing animals. Out of all my experiences still the coolest hunt exists right out our back door…archery elk hunting. There are some close seconds, but bow hunting elk in the rut, is our stand alone favorite. If you’re a backcountry hunter, here are a few archery elk hunting tips for you.
When it all comes together and bulls are stomping in ready to fight, it’s the highest charge we’ve experienced in the woods.”
Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities.
Positioning, playing the wind, approach, not calling, calling aggressive, cow calling, bugling, and on and on…all these are critical when you are chasing love sick bull elk.
Tactics are constantly changing and archers must be very adaptive and experienced to be successful. There is no one strategy that will be your magic sword to success. There are a few things that will be in your control, that will make you more successful while elk hunting and it’s my intent to discuss those here.
Hunt areas with high bull density and lack of hunter pressure.
There are a few ways to achieve this:
- Draw an exclusive tag.
- Hire an outfitter who offers guaranteed tags in great units.
- Pay for access through a landowner or outfitter. I you don’t have bulls out your back door and the time to master it the nuances of hunting elk, an outfitter will greatly increase your success curve in quantity and quality.
- Purchase a Governor’s Tag.
- Do your research and get remote by burning some serious boot leather or by getting in a saddle. Drawing tags is about a multi-year strategy mixed with better luck than I have.
OUTDOORS INTERNATIONAL can help you get a great tag!
As far as land access and elk outfitters we at Outdoors International have access to over 7.5 million private acres across the west for elk hunting.
Our Best Archery Elk Hunts
One of our best is an archery elk hunt is in Wyoming on private ground with five-star lodging, and an incredible 60% success rate!
This is a REALLY good hunt folks, and you won’t go wrong with it. Over the years, our bowhunters have had a nearly 100% opportunity rate with this Wyoming outfitter. The average bull on this hunt will be around 260″ or so, but it’s possible to arrow a real monster.
If you’re wanting a more classic, run and gun style, backcountry elk hunt…well we’ve got you covered there too.
The elk hunting in Wyoming can be absolutely incredible, especially when you get off the roads into some of the backcountry units. The only problem with Wyoming is that you have to draw, but archery tags have good odds in most units.
We have tons of archery elk hunting options in Colorado!
Everything ranging from a beautiful Colorado hunting lodge to backcountry, horse supported hunts on private ground, and just about everything in between.
If you’re hunting with a large group of friends or a corporate trip, you can’t go wrong with the lodge. It’s near Steamboat Springs, so it’s easy to get to and best of all, it has LOTS of elk. You can expect multiple encounters with 5×5 and 6×6 bulls. This is a fun elk hunt and you’ll be in bulls every day. Every single hunter we placed on this hunt last season had shot opportunities, and raved about the lodge and the guides.
Our backcountry elk hunt is that classic, Rocky Mountain elk hunt most hunters dream of. You’ll be way back in with your guide. The key to success on this one is being in shape. If you’re willing to hunt hard, be ready for a great adventure at one hell of a great price!
Hunt with a buddy who can call elk!
Another huge key, is to hunt with someone who is calling for you.
Elk hunting alone is much more difficult, and very reliant on being experienced, sneaky and or lucky. when you call in a bull elk, it will almost always circle the caller downwind, outside of bow range because they would rather smell the source of the calling and move in, than to just run in on a straight line based on sound alone. The shooter should be positioned from 50-100 yards out front, on the downwind side to pick up that bull on the loop.
Also, many times, age class bulls will not come into calling and leave their cows so a hunter needs someone in back keeping him talking and distracted while the shooter sneaks in on the noise. If you don’t have a lot of experience your guide can be your partner and again increase your chance at success. He will also know how the elk move through the country which can help on those days when they just aren’t talking and an ambush or sitting water will be your only chance.
The season started slow compared to previous seasons, and the action really took place a few days later. On the third morning of their hunt, Russ Meyer and Cory Glauner pass on a few little raghorn bulls at a ridiculously close range (less than two yards) right off the bat.
Just minutes after the encounter with the two little bulls, a spike came in to 15 yards and they passed on him well. We were happy with our morning and figured that would be it when another bull bugled up the canyon. It was Russ’ turn to call, and a decent six point slowly moved in and started raking a tree just 30 yards above the hunter, but he had no shot. Eventually, after about a half hour of destroying a pine tree, the bull moved down towards Russ and past the hunter at eight yards. It was just one of those special days in the elk woods when things just went right. Worth watching for sure.
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Be in Shape!
Lastly, one of the things I see that limits many new elk hunters is their lack of physical condition.
Elk hunting in September are often at very high elevations in very steep terrain. Even if the terrain is mellow you still gotta be able to cover country quickly to cut off a moving herd. Elk are rarely lollygagging. They are a critter on the move, and you have to keep up or listen to that bull cross the next ridge to be gone for the day. Here’s a good workout program that we use.
Long story short… you can be successful on your own but being outfitted is a quicker way to get-r-done and you will learn more quickly. So, find a good hunting consultant (who’s an archer) to make sure you are with the right outfitter. Get in shape and shoot your bow a lot.