Summit Treestands
Getting ready for the shot
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
JG 03-Apr-21
Twinetickler 03-Apr-21
Mike Ukrainetz 03-Apr-21
ElkNut1 03-Apr-21
Jaquomo 03-Apr-21
Bowboy 03-Apr-21
GF 03-Apr-21
Jaquomo 03-Apr-21
Castle Oak 04-Apr-21
Grey Ghost 04-Apr-21
welka 04-Apr-21
Jaquomo 04-Apr-21
FORESTBOWS 04-Apr-21
orionsbrother 04-Apr-21
ElkNut1 04-Apr-21
GF 04-Apr-21
Bowfreak 05-Apr-21
Dale06 05-Apr-21
Chuckster 05-Apr-21
elkmtngear 05-Apr-21
altitude sick 05-Apr-21
Smtn10PT 05-Apr-21
ElkNut1 05-Apr-21
midwest 05-Apr-21
Scoot 05-Apr-21
GF 05-Apr-21
ElkNut1 06-Apr-21
JG 06-Apr-21
From: JG
03-Apr-21
One of the hardest things I think about elk hunting is how fast it happens calling in elk

I hunt with a guide

Before my guide starts calling I range some objects to use to try to guess the range. I struggle with open sage or grass

I’m curious on any best practices to get ready prior to the elk arrives. My guide will slap me if I touch the range finder once the elk is in front of us. He’s normally right behind me calling the range but I want to get better if we separate

From: Twinetickler
03-Apr-21
Get where you can shoot, don't hide, take the first best shot you get. Drill him!

03-Apr-21
I think a lot of when to draw your bow is dictated by how thick the cover is, how well you are hidden, how slowly you can draw without being detected and how nervous the elk in your area are and specifically how nervous the bull you are drawing on seems to be. That’s what great guides for a certain area are excellent at, listen to him. He can probably tell you what frustrates him the most about hunters screwing up opportunities. Every elk hunting place can be quite different even within the same state or province. We don’t hunt like Primos does but we can certainly tell you what works for us!

From: ElkNut1
03-Apr-21
Drawing on elk can be considered an "Art" when all is considered--It requires skill, nerves & timing! All 3 can come into play on nearly every drawing situation whether you're solo or tag teaming! Your best odds stem from having the elks head hidden through your draw cycle, this can mean his head is in the grass or he could be raking a tree/brush, his head is behind tree/rock, maybe he's walking in & he's went by you in range & you're waiting for his eyes to go by you giving you a quartering away shot, you can now draw or give a soft grunt & draw simultaneously, this works great with both trad bows or compounds!   The grunt will generally freeze him in his tracks allowing you the precious few seconds it will take to slip an arrow in him! In other instances the elk comes in & stops at the 5yd to 30yd range facing you & locked on to the area he heard the calling & sees nothing,this means you had a great setup! Don't blow it now, stay calm, cool &collected; wait for him to turn to leave, as soon as he turns his head& body; draw instantly & give him a voice grunt or do it with a mouth-reed that's already in your mouth. This single note is deadly, it freezes them in their tracks as they turn back to see this elk they must not have seen at first! This is our # 1 sound & situation that arises so frequently.   It's nice to also be able to draw on incoming elk, as you hear or see them do not draw too early, you could be holding way longer than expected & thus having to let down. It can ruin the whole encounter if this happens, let elk get closer as long as they still have to travel through cover on their way in or if you can tell they're rushing in fast then that too must be taken into consideration! The closer the elk the tougher to draw on them especially when solo, you look for that little crease by evaluating his movement &direction where your best odds are to draw! Experience here is a great teacher!

  We have been in these situations many times over the years! This has been done in heavy cover, in front of cover, next to cover & with myself caught right out in the open; as open as a Walmart parking lot! We've taken several bulls in that situation, we do not move a muscle until the Timing is right to draw, aim, and fire!!! When caught in the open, be patient, elk will look at you & try to figure out what you are but generally will tolerate you there as long as you do not move!!!! As soon as they let their guard down for that one instant it's time to ACT!!! I've drawn on bulls where I've had them alone as well as have their cows 10yd-15yd from me for several minutes with the wind in my favor just waiting for the bull to turn or anything where I could draw without him seeing the motion. The cows would look up quickly as soon as you draw but don't run off as quickly as you may think,by then the arrow is gone!! I've done this with both longbow & compound! 

     In most cases if I  tried to draw while the bull was staring in our direction our odds are low he would have stayed for the draw aim & shoot! I've also noticed if a bulls head is hidden as you draw & all of a sudden he looks up or moves his head that was once behind the tree to continue the smooth draw motion, you have little chance of drawing with him staring you down & you're already half cocked. If you stop, 30 seconds to a minute go by, you will be shaking like leaf from adrenaline & muscle exhaustion so maintain drawing to full draw! Food for thought!   ElkNut

From: Jaquomo
03-Apr-21
If I'm wearing my cow elk hat or behind another decoy of some sort when one comes in, and he's expecting to see an elk, I can get away with drawing with him looking right at me.

Otherwise every situation is different, but one thing never changes - I always stare at the spot, the angle, and plan where and when I'm going to draw long before the moment happens.

My last bull was coming right to me in the open, with only one dead tree which he would pass behind at 8 yards. I drew the instant his eyes were blocked by the tree and shot him straight on at 7. But I had been planning when to draw and where to aim for the last 50 yards, as soon as I knew he wasn't going to hang up.

From: Bowboy
03-Apr-21
I always draw when they have thier eyes behind some cover or look the other way. I would recommend practice holding your bow for at least a minute and executing a good shot after that long.

From: GF
03-Apr-21
“ I would recommend practice holding your bow for at least a minute and executing a good shot after that long.”

Irony: I prepare for shots like that by drawing through my anchor & releasing in one smooth motion. I’d be SCREWED if i had to think about range, picking the right pin, settling it.....

If their head is moving, they seem to have trouble picking out a small movement such as a few inches of lateral movement by an elbow. That’s an opportunity.

From: Jaquomo
03-Apr-21
Just know that many of the elk states don't allow electronic rangefinding sights. Your animal can't be entered in P&Y either.

From: Castle Oak
04-Apr-21
Making a great shot for me is all about how I train. Popping bullseyes on a target day after day is great for grooving your form but it's not the best training for me. As the season approaches I switch to life-size silhouette targets that I make out of cardboard (yes I'm too cheap to buy a $1200 life-size elk target). I use a 3-pin slider to reduce sight picture clutter but even with just 3 pins it's easy to pick the wrong one in the heat of the moment. I hit the range wearing what I would wear when hunting, setup at an unknown yardage, range the "animal" and objects around the it. As I draw and settle in I'm saying the yardage over and over in my head as well as what pin to use. I even pretend the animal starts at one yardage and moves to another yardage. After a few practice sessions it's nearly automatic. While hunting, I practice estimating yardage. This helps but whenever I setup I make sure to range the most prominent objects around me and make sure to put those yardages in the memory bank. If I have time, I'll range them again always in an arc around my position. I try to keep to just 3 or 4 known range objects. If a setup is a bust I will sometimes draw and aim to the objects I've ranged. I know this sounds somewhat elemental but it works for me. In the heat of the moment your brain will fall back to your training. I'm no expert on elk (I've only killed one with a bow) but I use this method on whitetails and turkeys. It is a foolproof method for me.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Apr-21
Competing in 3D competitions really honed my range estimating skills. If you do it enough, estimating yardage becomes almost second nature.

Matt

From: welka
04-Apr-21
Practice ranging everywhere. Know how many steps you take for 25/40/50 yards and then you can guess away and check your accuracy. Really helps get your eye accurate for the times you can't range. Good luck.

From: Jaquomo
04-Apr-21
^^^ I do this all the time, all year round.

04-Apr-21
With most bow these days you can miss judge a little and be ok. I practice shooting my 30 at 20 and 40.

04-Apr-21
Obviously, I’m not BigDan or Lou or Elknut.

My suggestion is to practice your ranging different distances, shooting different distances and angles, standing and kneeling and do that with an elevated heart rate.

Whether you do some jumping jacks or running around with your bow before the shot, develop muscle memory with your heart pumping.

When things happen, let it flow and don’t overthink it.

From: ElkNut1
04-Apr-21

ElkNut1 's Link
JG, you will find that being in the situation 'When To Draw' will be best Learned & Understood through repeated experience! There really isn't much to prepare you if your SETUP & knowing WHEN TO DRAW isn't finely tuned. No book or DVD can prepare your mental state as a newer hunter to the game especially in the dark timber where you rarely see the bull & still have plenty of time to range & draw.

We've all at one time or another have been fooled as When To Draw; with experience we now have been in the situation enough times that things actually go into auto pilot so to speak!

Watch this clip here, here's a seasoned hunter on Deer but little experience with elk, notice what would have happened if Nick (camera guy) hadn't coached the shooter (Jerry) in when to draw. If Nick hadn't helped out there's little chance the shooter would have ever had a shot opportunity. This is a good learning video & hope it helps you out just a little bit in what a fine line it can be. The encounter is around the 8:30 time frame!

ElkNut

From: GF
04-Apr-21
“ more stupid laws, just ban the range finder all together and be done with it. ”

I’m good with that!

From: Bowfreak
05-Apr-21
I think that knowing when to draw on elk comes from experience from shooting animals. Learning to read body language is the key. If you know when to draw on whitetails, turkeys or whatever you'll have a good idea as to when to draw on elk.

From: Dale06
05-Apr-21
Great idea, ban the rangefinder, and increase wounding a lot.

From: Chuckster
05-Apr-21
Great video ElkNut. That guy at the end was very moving.

From: elkmtngear
05-Apr-21
Best outcomes for me, are when I'm not really thinking...I'm just "reacting". Situation can change in a heartbeat, and I'm always watching the bull, waiting for a draw opportunity. The "plan" sort of seems to unfold itself, as the situation develops.

No rangefinder here...(or sights)...my brain just works it all out.

05-Apr-21
That video definitely shows that he would have been late to draw. Then most likely busted while drawing. Or would not have gotten to full draw at the spin

From: Smtn10PT
05-Apr-21
Great video elknut, kudos to you. I don't know whats more impressive, the lesson on when to draw, or the ability to have an elk encounter like that with 7 guys together in the woods!

From: ElkNut1
05-Apr-21
Thanks guys! Yes, it was a great hunt with some great guys! That video shows exactly what can & does happen to guys who haven't been in that situation. It's just not the same as Deer hunting!

Smtn10pt, There was a shooter & cameraman with me when the bull was called in. The other 4 were with my Son two miles away or so. Once the bull was hit we texted the other group to come on over, we awaited them & took up the blood trail together so all 3 Vets could share in the recovery experience! Thanks!

ElkNut

From: midwest
05-Apr-21
I thought this was another Covid thread. ;-)

From: Scoot
05-Apr-21
How many of you watch a hunting video and think to yourself as a critter is coming in, "Draw now"... "OK, draw now"... "DRAW!" I sort of mentally practice when I would draw my bow virtually every time I watch a hunting video-- can't help myself.

From: GF
05-Apr-21
“ Great idea, ban the rangefinder, and increase wounding a lot.”

Only if people become less responsible about the shots they take.

The average killing shot here appears to be under 35 yards. It would be REALLY interesting to get an honest report on the range of shots gone bad and % failure to recover as range is extended.

But nobody wants to talk about those...

Hey, who knows? Maybe the only people taking shots over 40 yards are people who are genuinely skilled enough to make it work out according to plan just as often as those who limit themselves to shorter range.

It’s a simple question easily answered by good, honest data. If you can get it. Guess I’m not holding my breath.

From: ElkNut1
06-Apr-21
Scoot, that's a great teaching idea. Thanks!

ElkNut

From: JG
06-Apr-21
One of the hardest things I think about elk hunting is how fast it happens calling in elk

I hunt with a guide

Before my guide starts calling I range some objects to use to try to guess the range. I struggle with open sage or grass

I’m curious on any best practices to get ready prior to the elk arrives. My guide will slap me if I touch the range finder once the elk is in front of us. He’s normally right behind me calling the range but I want to get better if we separate

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