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Understanding Elk Terrain

September. The very word should make you elk hunters nearly jump out of your skin. There is no better time of year if you’re an elk hunter!

Big public land bulls have a knack for humbling even the savviest hunters out there. They seem to always be a step ahead of us, barely slipping between our fingers but if you want to consistently harvest big bulls, you need to be the one that is a step ahead. You need to know and understand what the elk are doing and where they are headed. You need to know how the elk are using the terrain to be able put yourself in front of that big six.

Yellow is ridge lines, green is feeding, orange is bedding, used water is blue, red is vantage points, used trails are lines.

There is more to hunting elk than wandering around chasing distant bugles. There is a rhyme and reason to what the elk are doing in the country they live in. Keying into elk feeding, bedding, watering and travel corridors is tapping into the bigger chess game in the elk hills. Knowing how to read elk country starts to tip the odds into your favor. It allows the elk hunter to make smarter, more calculated plays on these wily old bulls. No matter what your preferred method of hunting elk is, from calling to setting an ambush to spot and stalk hunting, knowing the terrain is the difference-maker.


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