Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lessons learned from a season chasing elk in Western Montana

I thought that I would list of a few things that I learned this season while chasing elk with the bow. Bow hunting for elk is to say this least difficult and the learning curve is steep. I was fortunate this season to see and hear animals almost every time that I went out. And some day I hope to actually harvest an elk with my bow.

1. You can't be in too good of shape for elk hunting. This is 100 percent true. Glassing up animals and the sounds of the bugles will have you traipsing all over the country. And elk live for the most part in a steep rugged world. Expect to hear bugling elk on an opposite ridge, loose and gain large amounts of elevation getting to there, only to hear elk bugling the direction you just came from. Being able to keep pace all day long will greatly increase you enjoyment in the field.

2. Eat a good breakfast. This seems really common sense, but for some reason I can't always live by it. Whether it's the lack of appetite early in the morning or the need to get a move on, I don't always make time or enough time for breakfast. Once you get onto elk you may not be able to stop and eat for a while, so fueling up in the morning will help when you are on to animals, and will help you go strong all day long. Next season I plan on packing along some energy gels in the field. Something that I can access easily and not have to stop and eat. I found several times that after I got on elk it was for some time, and stopping to eat was not an option. However, after a while physical and mental fatigue set in. Once this season, I set my bow down and didn't realize it until a few vertical feet and minutes later. I spent some time and effort finding my bow, instead of hunting.

3. Try and get a good setup. I'm still learning about this one, and years in the field will only help this out. Still there is much to learn about this and there is more to it than just playing the wind, and be a good bugler and cow caller. For a good resource check out this podcast on Bowcast about this subject.

Remember these are just my thoughts and opinions. I have yet to harvest an elk with my bow and I am by know means and expert. Nonetheless, it is helpful to reflect on things that did or didn't help you out in the field, and these are things I will be changing in the future.

No comments: