5 Archery Elk Hunting Tips + In-Depth Gear Dump

5 Archery Elk Hunting Tips + In-Depth Gear Dump - Muley Freak

5 Archery Elk Hunting Tips for Beginners

Article Contents:

  • Prepare physically
  • How to learn elk language
  • How to find elk
  • How to figure out elk behavior
  • Upgrade your gear
Archery Elk Bowhunting Killshot

Tip #1: Prepare yourself physically

Elk are HEAVY. You have already probably considered this, but we want to emphasize it. Elk are extremely heavy animals, which is one reason why we prefer hunting mule deer. The average bone-in hind quarter of an elk is 65 lbs, and there are two of those quarters that you must pack off the mountain. There are two front shoulders, antlers, and many pounds of loose meat as well. Our point is, you must be physically ready for a heavy pack out. Couple that with the fact that elk often times live in mean steep country and you have your work cut out for you.

With that being said, you can do it. Get a proper pack that has a 150 lbs rating, hop on the MTNTOUGH Fitness app prior to your hunt and get your legs, core, back and lungs strong, and you will have confidence going into your archery elk hunt.

Tip #2: How to learn elk language

Elk have their own language and it takes time to learn what they are saying and to know how to speak to them. For example, ripping off a challenge bugle to the wrong type of bull can send him running to the next state, heck, we've even seen a master caller like Jason Phelps send a few bulls running! Find a friend that would be willing to mentor you that knows how to speak their language and learn from him. There are also a countless number of guys on Youtube that are master callers. Read, watch, and learn.

After you read, watch, and learn - you must practice, practice, and practice some more! Practice your calls in the truck, sitting on the couch, and any spare moment you get. You can't be afraid to make mistakes. Yes, you might send a bull running a time or two and really screw up, but you can learn from that experience and change things up the next time.

Tip #3: How to find elk

Seems simple enough. But the more practice you get interacting with, and observing elk, the more you will understand their language. The fact is, you will get more practice by being in elk-dense areas. If you spend 4 days scouting or hunting and see 2 elk, your learning will be a slower growth than if you are in elk all day.

The best way to find elk-dense areas is by putting your boots to the ground and looking for them. Look for water, cover, feed, sign, and obviously the elk themselves. If you put enough time in scouting during the Summer and chasing elk  in September you will eventually find them. 

There are also countless resources for reading where large elk herds reside be it articles from wildlife state agencies, individuals that have put boots on the ground, or companies like Huntin' Fool that provide that information to you.

Erik Van Woerkom Out In the Wilderness with his Game Changer Bino Harness

Tip #4: How to figure out elk behavior

You found an elk-dense area, eh? Awesome. Now learn what your elk do in that area. Where do they feed, breed, bed, and drink? The best way again to learn these things are by having boots on the ground and observing them.

Once you learn what your elk do you can figure out how to hunt them. A few tactics would be: cutting them off as they feed to their bedding area, still hunt where they bed, and sitting a blind or tree stand where they drink or feed.

The options are many once you know what your elk do.

Game Changer Bino Harness Features

Tip #5: Upgrade your gear

As you progress in your archery elk hunting journey, upgrading gear can give you the upper hand on the elk and other hunters.

For example, if you don't have backpacking gear and have to go back to your truck every night, you may be wasting energy and not staying out hunting as long. Or, you may simply be afraid to hunt a great spot that is remote.

Another example would be bailing off the mountain back to your truck when a storm comes in because you don't carry a lightweight tarp or rain gear. Whereas if you had the gear, you could wait out the storm and get back to hunting once the storm passes (the best hunting is always right after a storm).

Dial in your gear and you will up your chances at tagging out. It's that simple!

Muley Freak's Archery Elk Hunting Gear Kit

Erik's Archery Gear List

Below is an exhaustive list of what Erik packs away on his archery elk hunt. 

Category Item Notes/Specs Where to find it
Clothing Venture Merino 1/2 Zip Hoodie 95% merino wool - 5% spandex | weighs 9 oz https://www.blackovis.com/blackovis-venture-150g-merino-hoodie
Muley Freak Face Shield 1 oz | UPF 50 https://muleyfreak.com/products/skull-face-shield
Muley Freak Proto Puffy specs coming soon..... coming soon to muleyfreak.com
Black Ovis Granite Peak Pants
San Jaun Fingerless gloves wool | 2.3 oz https://www.blackovis.com/blackovis-san-juan-fingerless-merino-glove
Lightweight Merino Socks 59% merino wool - 37% nylon - 4% lycra spandex | 2.4 oz https://www.blackovis.com/blackovis-lightweight-socks
Crispi Altitude Boots 1.4 lbs | 2.5 flex rating (on a 1-5 scale) | non-insulated https://www.blackovis.com/crispi-altitude-gtx-boots
Black Ovis Hellstorm Rain Gear
Muley Freak Peezy Cap lightweight, breathable, & stain resistent https://muleyfreak.com/products/peezy-cap
Optics Game Changer Bino Harness weighs 9.8 oz (pack itself), 17 oz (full bundle) | no magnets | one-handed operation https://muleyfreak.com/products/the-game-changer-bino-harness
Phoneskope fast and easy to use phoneskope.com
Aziak Equipment Backcountry Lite TriPod weighs 20.4 oz | has a max height of 45" https://www.blackovis.com/brands/aziak-equipment/aziak-equipment-backcountry-lite-tripod
Swaroski 10X42 EL Ranges https://www.swarovskioptik.com/us/en/hunting
Swaroski ATC 17 - 40X56
Archery Equipment Mathews Phase 4 33" axil-to-axil | 4.68 lbs | 70 lbs draw weight https://www.mathewsinc.com/
Dialed Archery Arxos Site https://dialedarchery.com/collections/arxos%C2%AE-series
Mathews Ultrarest MX https://www.mathewsinc.com/
Carter 1st Choice Release thumb release https://www.carterenterprises.com/releases/thumb-trigger/1st-choice
Easton Axis 4mm Long Range Arrows https://www.blackovis.com/arrow-id
Sevr 1.5 Mechanical Broadhead 1.5 cutting diameter https://www.sevrbroadheads.com/
Camping Gear MSR Hubba Hubba 1P 2 lbs 7 oz, 12 sq ft floor area https://www.blackovis.com/msr-hubba-bubba-1-person-backpacking-tent
Therma Rest Hyperion 20 Degree weighs 1 lbs 4 oz | 900-fill | 72" length for standard size and 78" for the long https://www.blackovis.com/brands/thermarest/thermarest-hyperion-20-degree-ul-down-sleeping-bag
Nemo Equipment Sleeping Pad 1 lbs 10 oz https://www.blackovis.com/brands/nemo
Jetboil Stash 7 oz | .8 liter https://www.blackovis.com/jetboil-stash-cooking-system
Platypus Weighs 1.3 oz and holds up to 2 liters https://www.blackovis.com/blackovis-hoser-hydration-bladder
Hydrapack Seeker Filter/Water Storage removes protozoa (99.99%) and bacteria (99.9999%) to EPA standards, 3L storage https://www.blackovis.com/hydrapak-seeker-3l-ultra-light-water-storage
Peax Equipment Headlamp 2.65 oz | 1000 max lumens https://www.blackovis.com/brands/peax/peax-backcountry-duo-headlamp
Sea to Summit Spork .45 oz | 7 inches long https://www.blackovis.com/sea-to-summit-delta-spork-knife
Muley Freak CF Trekking Poles 7.4 oz per pole, carbon fiber staff, cork handle eak.com/products/muley-freak-ul-trekking-poles
Muley Freak TriFold Glassing Pad 5.6 oz | dual density foam | 17"x9" https://muleyfreak.com/products/trifold-glassing-pad
Zoleo https://www.blackovis.com/brands/zoleo
Elk Freak Sasquatch Packhorse Nalgene holds up to 32, oz and nearly indestructible https://muleyfreak.com/products/pack-horse-sasquatch-nalgene
GoalZero Charging Bank 1.5 lbs, 7.69 x 3.81 x 1.02 in, https://www.blackovis.com/goal-zero-new-sherpa-100pd-power-bank
Stone Glacier X-Curve 5900 5 lbs 4 oz | 5,400 cubic inch main bag | 150 lbs load rating https://www.blackovis.com/stone-glacier-sky-5900-frame-pack
Sea to Summit Ultralight Pillow 2.1 oz with dimensions of 4.2in x 10.2in x 4.7in https://www.blackovis.com/brands/sea-to-summit/sea-to-summit-aeros-ultralight-pillow
Nutrition Peak Refuel https://www.blackovis.com/brands/peak-refuel
1st Phorm Meat Sticks 20g protein per stick | 12g fat | 1g of sugar https://1stphorm.com/muleyfreak
1st Phorm Level 1 Bars 20g protein per stick | 13g fat | 8g of sugar https://1stphorm.com/muleyfreak
1st Phorm Hydration Sticks the packets are small & lightweight https://1stphorm.com/muleyfreak
Kill Kit Goat Knives Chamois 2.8 oz and a 3.25" cutting edge uleyfreak.com/products/goat-knives-chamois
Knife Sharpener https://www.blackovis.com/nsearch/?q=sharpener
Ovis Sacks Game Bags reusable | deer bag measurements 14.5"x27" | full kit weighs 10 oz https://www.blackovis.com/ovis-sacks-ultralight-pro-game-bag-set
Paracord https://www.smithandedwards.com/
First Aid Israeli Bandage
MISC Klean Freak Wipes kleanfreak.com
Ibuprofen for swelling, pain, etc...
Tylenol PM for pain and to help you sleep
Slayer Bugle Tube & Diaphram Calls https://www.slayercalls.com/shop/big-game/elk-calls
Walther 9mm PDP https://waltherarms.com/pdp
Hornady Handgun Hunter 9mm Ammo https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/handgun/9mm-lugerp-115-gr-monoflex-handgun-hunter#!/
Lighter 300 lights on one charge https://pyroputty.com/lighters/
Pyro Putty Fire Starter burns for 8-10 minutes, can act as a waterproofing agent https://pyroputty.com/


In Conclusion

Work hard, find a mentor, find the elk, learn their behavior, and improve your gear as you are able to.

Remember, you will always be rewarded for your hard work. Always.

Erik Van Workom Holding up quartered elk meat after a recent hunt





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