hunters carrying dead turkeys on their backs

Big Green Blog

Elk Hunting 101

08.21.2023 | By Remington Contributor

The Calls

The type of calling you’ll do varies on the type of bull you’re hunting. If you bugle at a bull that has cows, he’ll take his cows and leave. Take a more silent approach. Bugle at him to get him to talk and find his location and then proceed to move in on him as if it were a deer. Hunting in an area with more elk or satellite bulls, often times you can bugle and cow call to get them fired up and get them to come to your calling set up.

Watch @ShedCrazy’s Elk Calling Tips here:

cartidges on the ground
(Pictured: Ben Dettamani using an elk call)

The Ammo

For younger hunters, 270 Win is a great option. More specifically, 130gr Core-Lokt. If you’re looking to level up and move up to bigger caliber with more long-range capability, aim for 300 Win Mag. 300WM provides ideal bullet weights and sufficient speed for long distance shooting in rough and rocky country.

There’s no one perfect caliber for elk hunting but with the right bullet and most importantly, shot placement, other calibers like 7mm Remington Magnum, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win Short Mag, and 300 PRC all make the list for great elk hunting calibers.

Watch @ShedCrazy’s Caliber Selection Recommendations for Elk Hunting:

Remington Premier Scirocco
(Pictured: Remington Premier Scirocco)

The Gear

1. Clothing System. This is one of the most important pieces of gear. Use a layering system that will allow you to thermal regulate. You’ll need to have the ability to take off outer layers as it heats up and maintain the warmth you need through the cool part of the day, morning, and evening. Merino wool is an excellent choice with the added bonus of scent elimination. Don’t skimp on a quality layer system and definitely don’t skip on the insulation.

2. Pack. A dual-purpose day pack and hunting pack is key. Ensure it also has the capability to hold meat with an internal frame that can handle a significant amount of weight. Often times you’ll be hauling upwards of 75-80 pounds when packing out a bull so, be prepared. Your back will thank you.

3. Quality Boots. You’ll spend a lot of time in rugged country, often on the move, chasing bugles and you’ll want something that’s good on your feet. Support and cushion are essential.

4. Optics. You’re going to be observing very long distances in elk country. Shoot for an optic with HD glass. You’ll need to be able to tell what type of bull you’re looking at in order to plan your approach. Eye fatigue and eye strain are very real and can be the difference between a successful harvest and going home with an unused elk tag.

5. Ammo. Ensure the ammo you select hits hard and is accurate at long ranges. When hunting elk, longer-distance shots are much more likely. Look for ammunition that is designed for those big game hunts. Our suggestion? Premier Long Range 190 Grain in 300 Win Mag. Buy it here.

6. Tent. A good night of sleep when on the mountain is essential in order to maximize your hunting abilities. If you’re hiking out of camp and staying out overnight, get yourself a high-quality down sleeping bag. If you’re staying in camp and don’t have to worry about weight, you may opt for a sleeping bag that may be bulkier and heavier.

Check Out @ShedCrazy’s Suggestions for Elk Hunting Gear:

 Elk Hunting Gear
(Pictured: Elk Hunting Gear)

The Tag

1. OTC. Many states offer “OTC” options. In these states, you can simply walk into a state agency or a sporting goods store and purchase a hunting license and tag over-the-counter. These are typically higher opportunity and lower success rate areas so plan for them to be a bit more difficult. BUT, if you put in the time and work, you can absolutely be successful and pull elk out of those areas.

2. Lottery System. Other states may offer better tags and licenses on a lottery draw system. These tags require that you apply several months in advance –– before hunting season. Check with state agencies to see what their deadlines are for applying. Often times, you’ll need to purchase a hunting license before the draw period in order to be eligible.

3. Archery tags are easier to draw in a lottery system. No matter where you want to start, you can find a tag that will work for you.

Opportunities and regulations vary from state to state. Make sure you know your local regulations and laws.

Elk Standing

Watch as @ShedCrazy’s Explains How to Get an Elk Tag:

The Hunt

1. Online Mapping. One of the most important tools for scouting elk is online mapping. Google Earth and other various mapping apps (onX and HuntWise) will show you where you can expect to run into elk. Look for 3 things: elevation, the availability of food, and water. Elk like to wallow and are incredibly concentrated on water in the summer.

2. State Agencies. Another great resource is state agencies. Biologists can offer insight as to where you can find the animals at a specific time of year.

3. Mentor. The best all-around method is to find a mentor who has experience in hunting elk and is willing to share a few of their spots with you. Just make sure to be a good steward and keep those spots under the radar.

Opportunities and regulations vary from state to state. Make sure you know your local regulations and laws.

7mm Rem Mag cartridges standing in front of ammo box
(Pictured: Ben Dettamanti tracking elk in Utah)

Check out @ShedCrazy’s Tips for Finding Elk Hunting Spots:

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