All About Elk
Learning about elk and how to hunt elk

About Hunting
About Me
The 10 Commandments
The Hunt
Rifles & Calibers
      The .270
      The .308
      The .30-06
      The 7mm Mag.
      The .300 Mag.
      The .338 Mag.
Sighting In
Dealing With High Altitude
Clothing & Gear
Learn About Elk
Elk Calls & Bugles
Shot Placement
The Rut
Your Friend The map
After It's Down
     Quartering Without Gutting
Camping Equipment
Self Guided Hunt
Guided Hunt
Elk Hunting In Jackson Hole
The National Elk Refuge
Predator Or Prey
The Grizzly Bear
The Black Bear
Bear Identification
Precautions In Bear Country
State & Federal Agencies
Dedication To My Wife
Scenery From Where I Hunt
Elk Meat & Nutrition
Helpful Links
Elk Hunting Message Board
Read my Dreambook!
Sign my Dreambook!
Find these missing children
Hunting Rings

In order to successfully hunt elk, one must first know a little about them. They are much more than big animals that live in the hills. Learning about these magnificent animals is not as easy as one may think, as there is a lot to learn about them. And once you think that you have learned all there is about them, think again. You will have to take what you have learned about elk and apply it to the different terrains and food sources available at the time. If you are going to hunt for record book bulls you will need to know what kind of bull it will take to make the record books, and to be able to judge them in the field as well. Along with that you will have to know where the big boys are holding. Not all elk country is the same, and they differ when it comes to holding elk. You will need to ask the right questions of the right people. You will need to know how to use a good map as well as know what type of country it is that you are looking for, and then you can make a decision on where it is that you plan on doing your hunting. Elk and elk hunting are like a huge jigsaw puzzle, and as we learn more and more about them, through books, videos, and experience, the pieces start to fit together.
Now everyone wanting to hunt elk knows what an elk looks like from pictures in the magazines, videos, and the mounts on many a wall. If this is in fact true, then why do hunters mistakenly shoot moose, deer, cattle, and even an occasional horse? When you are looking through a tangled mess of dead fall and thick timber, or in the early morning and early evening low light situations, this can be a bit difficult. The first place to start when identifying an elk is to remember there name, wapiti, which is the Indian name for white rump. Older elk, especially the older bulls will have a light buckskin color to them. Bulls that have a darker, shiny coat will be younger bulls. Deer will have more gray in their coats, moose will be dark brown to just about all black, and horses will vary greatly in color, but will generally have a saddle on them as well as a bridal and a lead rope, and perhaps even another hunter. The muzzle and head of a big and mature bull will be more massive than that of the younger bulls. A mature bull may weigh from 700 pounds to as much as 1000 pounds live weight, and that would be an exceptional animal. Bulls are bigger than cows as are cows bigger than calves. A cow elk may run from 500 - 800 pounds and calves will be anywhere from around the 100 pound range to several hundred pounds. The weight of the calf would vary depending on when they were born and the time of the year you are hunting. A hunter living in elk country has the advantage of first hand knowledge of the living library where the elk hunter that resides where there are no elk has to depend on pictures and books. All the tiny details of the puzzle fit together faster and easier for the hunter in elk country than the other hunter. The hunter in elk country is generally able to spend much more time among the elk than the short, brief visit of the other hunter also, so what he sees and learns will stick with him/her far easier. The hunter that does not reside in elk country needs to look at pictures, and lots of pictures to try and pick out the subtle differences amoung the elk.
Whether you are looking for just a bull, a good bull or that monster record book bull, you will have to be able to tell the difference when you see him. You also have to understand the odds in order to get him. You will know when you see a big bull as soon as you see him, whether it be a big 6x6 or 7x7 as there headgear will surely stick out. What you will have to quickly decide is the difference between just big and huge. When you are looking at a bull for trophy potential you have several things that you need to look at to help you decide, including the size and the number of points he has. First look for the fourth point or sword point and count back from there. It is the longest point and can be spotted very easily and quickly. Just count how many points he has beyond that. One behind that is a 5 point, two is a 6 point, and 3 is a 7 point. Once you learn to recognize this sword point , it will allow you to recognize a 5x5, 6x6, 7x7 and even 8x8 very easily. You count the points, take a look at how heavy the rack is, and how wide the spread is and you will then make the decision on whether or not you want to pull the trigger. You will need a big bull with a big spread and good symmetry to get a good score, and check the third tine to make sure that it isn't too small, as that will cost you dearly in your scoring. You just can't go anywhere to find a trophy bull, you have to go where the trophies are.
There are a lot of factors that go into producing these monster bulls. And if you want to run into one, they all have to be there. There must be a history of big bulls in a given area if you ever hope to bump into one, so the genetics must be there. They will also need a good water supply and a good food source high in mineral content. And most of all, a big bull needs to be able to grow old to grow big. And with todays high power magnums and hunting pressure, this poses a problem with elk being able to grow old and big. The main beam needs to be about 55" and a minimum inside spread of 45". The eyeguards second point, and third point all need to at least 18", and the fourth point at least 24" in length. The fifth and sixth need to be at least a foot long. There are record book trophies and there are what you want as you trophy. You must decide by yourself which one it is that you want, as it does not have to make the books for one to call it a trophy.

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