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Can’t Wait for the Rut? 5 Essential Elk Hunting Tips Will Help You Prepare Now [VIDEO]

Elk hunting season is quickly coming upon us and you know what that means.

We are all looking for ways to improve and become better hunters. There are five essential things I have learned along the way from others I believe will really help when you get the opportunity to hunt the bull elk during the rut.

1. Look for cows


Photo via Flickr

When you are hunting for bull elk during the rut, they are similar to us in some ways. They are looking to find a mate, and this is mainly happening during the rut. This is when the cows are in their estrous cycle and ready to be mated. If you find the cows, then you know the bulls aren’t too far behind.

2. Locator Bugle


Photo via Flickr

This is something I have read quite a bit about.  During the rut, the herd bulls, satellite bulls, and raghorns are all looking for cows. Before the rut they are in what is known as bachelor groups. Because of the rut, though, they are trying to show dominance. One technique for locating these bulls is the locator bugle. This is to be used just to determine location, so do not overuse it.

3. Closing the distance


Photo via Flickr

Now you have located the bull, it is time to get close so  you can get a shot. Whether you are hunting with a rifle or bow, you know how close you need to be for a shot. At this point it is critical to watch the wind. Grab some Windicator and keep this with you. Based on scouting, you should know how the winds are where you are. Sometimes they will swirl and change. You need to be ready for this. Winds often change during the peak times elk are moving, morning and night. If you play the shadows and watch the wind, you will be able to get just a little closer to the bull of your dreams.

4. Setting up the shot


Now you have found the bulls and have gotten closer, you need to prepare for the next step: setting up for a shot. This is again where we need to realize the emotions that come into play with bull elk. When they think another bull elk is coming to take away their harem of cows, they get agitated. You need to let them know you are there. This is when using a challenge bugle is great. It’s essentially a way for you to tell this bull you are there, and he is no match for you.

This is also the time where having a great hunting partner is key. You can have him set up behind you, challenging the bull. Setting up in front of your partner and above him will ensure that when the elk arrives you will be directly in his path.

Elk are smart.

They will approach from above, as higher ground gives them an advantage and wind is in their favor. If you set up correctly they should be headed right in your direction.

5. Cow calls

This is when you can use your cow call to tempt the bull to come into you:

He will think he is coming in to add one more girl to his harem. When he bugles, you challenge him. This tells him she is yours and he cannot have her. This will make him mad , and keep him from thinking as clearly. Again it is going to be key to play to their emotions. They are just like us and will not put up with being insulted in this way.

Check out more elk hunting posts

What are some tips that you have for hunting elk during the peak of the rut?  Are there some I missed that you have seen success with? Let us know in comments.

Feature image via Flickr

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Can’t Wait for the Rut? 5 Essential Elk Hunting Tips Will Help You Prepare Now [VIDEO]