Elk hunting is a slippery slope because it can become all-consuming for those who develop a passion for it. On this episode I talk about the basics of elk hunting and how to get started planning and preparing for your first hunt.

Beginners Checklist:

  • Determine where you want to or are able to hunt and what the seasons are in that area.
  • Figure out how much it costs to get a tag to hunt there and if you can readily purchase one or have to enter a drawing.
  • Create a strategy for scouting that area, be it through a guide, preliminary trip, or coming in early for the hunt.
  • Study the tactics that are most effective to hunt in that area, I share some in the episode.
  • Have an exit strategy to get you and the meat out of the woods. Elk are big animals; they can be upwards of 700 pounds.
  • Start a regimented and growing fitness routine to get you ready for the rigors of all day hikes, carrying gear, and hunting in high elevation as needed.
  • Prepare yourself physically, health wise, and mentally for the challenges you may face. I cannot overstate how hard it can be to hunt elk in high elevations no matter how good of shape you think you are in.
  • Decide if you will hunt DIY, with a guide, or using an outfitter. There are benefits to each. But it is very hard to hunt elk in an unfamiliar state without someone who knows the land and the heard.
  • Begin to assemble your gear based on the season you plan to hunt in.
  • Elk are masters of the wind, far beyond whitetail deer. They can smell you a mile away, literally, and disappear before you knew they were there. You must plan for the wind.
  • Do not waste your time, money, or energy on elk calls if you are new to the sport. You will likely cause yourself more problems than anything else. Leave calls to those who are experienced.
  • The average first or second elk hunt is usually planned a year or two in advance. That much time is needed to nail down everything on this list.
  • Do not expect to just show up with a gun and expect to take home a great elk. It doesn’t work like that unless you are hunting a farm.
  • The best guide and outfitter does not do the work for you, they simply make it possible for you to put in the hard work and have a chance at finding an elk.
  • Listen to the episode for all the information.