Elk Hunting 101
Welcome to the elk hunting 101 guide! This guide was designed to help educate both novice and experienced hunters on the basic art of hunting elk. Our website contains a wealth of information related to elk hunting and this guide will link to other parts of our website for continued research. While we like to think of this as a definitive guide on elk hunting, it's more a primer that helps direct your research into elk hunting. If you would like to add something to this guide or report any inaccurate information please contact us.
If at any time a link takes you off this page to somewhere else on our website and you want to return you can use our site navigation menu on the near-top right of every web page. Just click on elk hunting 101 and you'll return right back to this guide. We hope after reading this you are able to go out and have a fun, successful elk hunt. If you'd like to see the success that other hunters had when hunting elk head on over to our elk hunting photo archive. However if you're ready to learn how to hunt elk then you should get started below!
Learn About Elk
One of the smartest things you could do before you go on an actual elk hunt is to learn more about elk. By knowing a few simple things about elk, like diet and habitat preferences, it can help give you an edge. Very few hunters actually spend the time to educate themselves on the species of animal they are hunting. Most professional and successful hunters spend hours upon hours of researching studying their prey. Head over to our article on elk and learn more about your future elk trophy today!
The Right Elk Hunting Rifle
One of the first things you'll need to do is choose the right elk hunting rifle for your elk hunt. If you're a bow hunter you'll want to read our archery elk hunting guide. If you're a rifle hunter you'll want to read our in depth elk hunting rifle guide. It's very important that you choose the right rifle or bow when you're hunting elk. Both our elk hunting rifle guide and archery elk hunting guide will give you the knowledge you need to make the best choice.
Be careful choosing the rifle or bow that is recommended by a friend or family member. Yes, that weapon choice might be perfect for them but the worst for you. However, you might be able to get the friend or family member making the recommendation to let you test theirs and see how it works for you. No matter what type of weapon you choose if you cannot take a proper elk kill shot you'll never have success on an elk hunt. By reading our elk shot placement article you'll learn how to properly and humanely shoot an elk.
Follow Hunting Regulations
Before you even think of going hunting you need to educate yourself on local hunting laws and regulations. Every single state in the United States of America has a department that manages and enforces hunting laws. These regulations are put into place to protect the population of animals that are hunted and to help managed the growth and culling of those populations. Without proper oversight and regulation hunters would destroy animal populations and leave nothing for future generations.
It's also important to know that if you are caught hunting illegally you would be considered a poacher and could face stiff fines and time in jail. You will always need a hunting license and special permit or tag to hunt elk. If you're unsure of local hunting laws you can head over to our hunting laws and regulations archive where you can access all the information you need to get current hunting laws.
Learn How to Hunt Elk
From here you'll want to ahead over to our article on how to hunt elk in order to learn how to harvest one of these amazing animals. We would like to point out that no matter how much you read it cannot replace the benefit of experience. If you're able to go out on your next elk hunt with a friend who has past elk hunting experience or hire an elk hunting outfitter then do it. You have much more fun with someone who knows what they are doing and that can also increase your chance of harvesting a trophy elk.
Elk Hunting Terminology
Below are some common terms used by elk hunters on and off the field.
- Bugle - A sound made by a male elk.
- Bull - A male elk.
- Calf - A young elk, male or female.
- Cow - A female elk.
- Dark Timber - Thick stands of coniferous trees that is good bedding cover for elk.
- Herd Bull - The dominate male of an elk herd.
- Ivories - The two teeth on the lower jaw of an elk.
- Rag Horn - A young male elk, 4x4 or small 5x5.
- Rut - Mating season for elk.
- Satellite Bull - A younger male elk who is not the dominate bull of an elk herd.