Elk season is approaching, how do you best prepare? Start scouting.
Preseason scouting is imperative, especially when hunting a new area. What you learn in preseason could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful season.
The best place to start is at your laptop. Google Earth should be your best friend as you identify the area(s) you wish to hunt during the upcoming season. The object is to understand the lay of the land. You will want to identify ridges with 360 degree views. These will be fantastic areas to glass.
Once you have done your homework and marked your vantage points head out into nature to start exploring. You will want to head straight to those vantage points to locate water holes and feed areas, and gain an understanding of where the elk may migrate when hunting pressures arise.
So you have studied the lay of the land, but what about the elk? While it is awesome to see large bulls preseason, you want to focus on locating large, undisturbed groups of cows. Remember, September 1, when archery season kicks off, elk go into a transition period. Those monster bulls you are looking for are now looking for large groups of cows as their urge to breed grows.
You have found the cows, now what? Determine where they are going to head to once hunting season starts. Chances are you will not be the only hunter out in your “secret spot”. Hunting pressure is going to cause the elk to relocate. Study the countryside and anticipate where they will head, it may become your new hot spot.
By now you know the lay of the land, you know where the elk are hanging out (right now), you have guessed where they may head, now it's time to cover some ground and look for sign. You are looking for places the elk might hang out during the rut. Check out places with plenty of water, wallows, and rubs and be sure to mark these areas on your maps.
Once you have located an area you think the elk may be during the rut bring in some mineral/salt, set up a trail camera and test your theory.
We wish you the best of luck this upcoming archery season and look forward to hearing your success stories.