By Warren Holder, Raised Hunting
Last month we talked about the importance of preparing for your archery elk hunt. This month we will talk about the best ways to set up on elk. Being the best caller or the best shooter won’t accomplish anything if your set up is wrong.
The Set Up:
The first rule is to put yourself where the elk want to be. Scouting will identify places where elk like to hang out, as opposed to the places where they may only be watering or feeding during the night.
The second rule is wind. No matter when or where you hunt, keeping the wind in your favor is a must. Any mistakes made with the wind and the elk wins.
The third rule is get close, and when I say close I mean one hundred yards or less – this is ideal for the shooter. The caller in this situation should go with the shooter to his location or as close as he can and then back off to call. This will make sure the caller knows exactly where the shooter is located.
So now, you have gotten in to the right area, the wind is in your favor and you have moved into close range. The next thing to consider is terrain. When it comes to terrain, blind corners, cliffs, large bodies of water and even fences can help to keep bulls from circling your location, but if one of these structures ends up between you and the bull, they can act as a brick wall. If possible, keep these areas at your back.
When you hunt with a partner, you have to trust one another. Rule one for our caller: stay back far enough to call the elk past your shooter. If the caller is close enough that he can see the shooter when he shoots, the caller is too close. Being back this far allows for several things to happen: first, the elks attention will be on the caller and not on the shooter; and second, the caller is able to add realism such as breaking limbs and rolling rocks without being seen by approaching elk.
Rule number two for the caller: be ready to move calling locations quickly, while remaining undetected. When I am the caller, I always draw an imaginary straight line from me to the elk, my shooter should be on the line, so that as the bull heads toward me, he must pass right by my shooter. If the bull begins to drift one way or another, I move my calling location to keep the bull heading for my shooter.
The third and final rule for the caller: don’t walk up to the shooter until the shooter calls for you. Nothing ruins an elk hunt quicker than calling a big bull in, only to get impatient and run it off just before your partner gets a shot.
The first rule for the shooter: once in place, you are not allowed to move locations. The shooter must trust the caller, which means resist the temptation to move even if it is only a few yards.
Rule number two for the shooter: no calling. The only time the shooter should be calling is to stop an elk for a shot. I used to suggest that the shooter could also signal the caller, with one or two cow calls to let him know “I am ready.” but after studying this method, we have found that no sound should come from the shooter’s location until they are at full draw. The shooter must remain silent to keep the elks full attention on the caller, allowing the caller to pull the bull past the shooter, thus reducing the chances of the bull hanging up.
Now I don’t consider these as rules, but rather tips for shooters: don’t take yourself out of the game by backing into cover to tightly, and never set up where objects may hinder drawing your bow, or freely swinging your bow left or right.
I promise that with or without the rules, bow hunting for elk will be one of the most exciting and humbling experiences you can ever imagine. You will do everything right in your set up most of the time, but if you are like me, you will occasionally try and bend the rules, and when you do, the elk will make you pay.
1. Always hunt where the elk are going to be.
2. Keep the wind in your face.
3. Use the terrain to your advantage.
If you are going to bow hunt for elk, try and hunt with a partner as you will greatly improve your odds.
Just remember when you are calling:
1. If you can see the action you are too close.
2. Moving around as you call will add realism and keep elk coming straight to you.
3. Never go to the shooter; let the shooter come to you.
If you are the shooter, all you have to remember is that famous statement from our parents:“Sit down and shut up”
1. No moving locations.
2. No calling
Bonus tip: Never hide so well that you can’t shoot.
Oh! I almost forgot the most important rule of all: when your set up is perfect, and you have done everything right –
For more information on how the “Raised Hunting” team gets it done, visit www.raisedhunting.com