Perhaps the most difficult part of hunting is deciding on where to hunt. Here are some practical tips for determining the location you are going to hunt.
- Is it generally elk habitat? You can be in the middle of an incredible wilderness with amazing view, and far away from anyone else…..and also be nowhere near any elk. Also be aware of the season you are hunting and generally where elk may move to at different times of the year. A bull in one location in July will likely be somewhere else in November.
- Scout when possible. A words of caution with this though: hunting the same area year after year can produce a great knowledge of the area and give you a real advantage, but if you never expand your hunting area, you are limiting the success you can have. If you never check what is over that next hill, you may be missing out on that bull of a lifetime. I generally recommend that you have your main hunting area, but also each year also try to check out new areas.
- Talk to others. Friends and other hunters are a great resource. Be careful though when asking others where to hunt. Someone may have put a lot of work into finding that perfect spot and so now they may be reluctant to just tell anyone. Be respectful and courteous when asking others and never tell share information with others that was given to you in confidence. In the field feel free to talk to other hunters you may encounter, but also don’t push if they don’t want to tell you. Some just love to tell you where the elk are and other can be very private about their information.
- Use the power of the web. Check out what others are saying online. The internet has become an excellent source for really any question dealing with hunting. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s “Hunt Planner” is a good start if you are unfamiliar with areas or need some general direction. Most states that have big elk hunting will also provide information on the state and government websites to help direct you to where to hunt. Make sure to check these out!
- Be aware of other hunter pressure. Some places are well-known for good hunting and have become so over-hunted that they no longer are a good location. Also, it may be that when you scout earlier in the year, it seems like a great location but when hunting season comes, the place is crawling with hunters. Always have a couple different locations you can turn to if your favorite spot is experiencing too much pressure.
Location will always be one of the most difficult decisions to make when planning your hunt. With a little though and foresight however, you can greatly increase your odds of having a successful hunt!