10 Colorado Elk Hunting Tips for Beginners

Sep 1, 2021


Are you ready for the thrill of your life? Think you've already had it?

We beg to differ. Most people look for the ultimate thrill in all the wrong places. In our humble opinion, that thrill you've been seeking is on the top of a ridge elk hunting in Colorado.

The beautiful Colorado scenery and the state's commitment to preserving it make for prime elk territory.

In fact, Estes Park Colorado celebrates its elk population with an elk fest every year. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Read on below for our top 10 tips for getting the most out of your elk hunt.

Check Out Our Top 10 Colorado Elk Hunting Tips for Beginners

Majestic Elk with 12 point antlers.

1. Look for Elk, Not Signs

When you're hunting elk, finding signs of their activity is good but spotting them is better. By the time you find their tracks, they could be miles away. Expert hunters like to start somewhere they glass to set a successful course for that hunt.

If you don't see any bulls, it's better to change locations than to hope for better luck the next day.

2. Hunt with a Partner

Depending on the type of hunting you're used to, bringing a partner along may seem strange. However, having another person with you can improve your chances of getting a kill. Some hunters suggest putting two people on an elk post, one to shoot and one to spot.

Partners should be close enough to hear each other's bugles, but far enough to have different perspectives. The downside of having a hunting partner is dealing with the wind. The more bodies there are to smell, the harder it will be to lure a bull.

3. Obey the Wind

Elk don't have a dog's sense of smell, but they aren't far off. Letting a bull smell you will stop a hunt in its tracks. The best way to keep that from happening? Always keep the wind in your favor. The most efficient way to tell which way the wind is going is a professional wind checker.

These are available on Amazon and from hunting retailers at a range of prices. They work by sending a puff of unscented powder in the air for up to the minute updates on wind direction.

Make sure to try it out before your trip so you feel comfortable using it on the hunt!

4. Break up Your Outline

When you're setting up in your watch location, look for a spot with bushes and trees. You want to break up your outline (even in camo) to better track a bull. Find a spot that conceals your shape, but make sure you have a clear shot range.

The last thing you want is to set up a shot just for it to bounce off an obstruction.

5. ARC Always Remember Concealment

Out of all the elk hunting tips, all of them mention good hunter concealment. Elks have three senses to a human's five. They use their sight, sound, and smell to avoid predators. Make sure you're wearing camouflage relevant to the environment you're in and stay upwind.

It never hurts to be more careful than not careful enough. Along with your wind detector, be sure to pack some scent disguises. They'll help you keep luck on your side where the wind changes in an instant.

The acronym ARC will help new hunters remember these elk hunting tips in the field. Every time you set up, ask yourself: "is this position arc-approved?"

Colorado Elk Hunting Tips

6. Buy a Quality Range Finder

Our sixth elk hunting tip is to find the highest quality range finder you can carry. There's nothing worse than having a bull in your sight and pulling the trigger just to hit him too low or not at all. Spooking one bull will make for a long hike until you see another.

Look for a rangefinder with Swarovski glass for maximum return on investment.

7. Get in Shape

Like we talked about our first elk hunting tips, the Colorado environment can take a toll. The low levels of oxygen in the atmosphere can cause low exercise tolerance and shortness of breath. The best way to combat this is to train long and hard beforehand.

You want to make sure you can chase a bull up a sharp ridge, if only for a matter of seconds. Do your best to train for short bursts of movement as well as endurance. Getting to an elk-hunting ground is never an easy trip.

8. Bring Some Jack

Jack Daniels is always in our pack during a hunt. It keeps our insides warm on a cold Colorado day and hits the spot when you can't seem to hit an elk. A few sips of a flask will make staking out those last few hours much more bearable.

For safety reasons, make sure you don't drink too much. Alcohol and rifles don't mix.

9. Change your Bugle

Learning (or buying) different elk bugles will help you stick out from the crowd. Your number one job out hunting is to make the bull think you're a ready-to-mate cow. Cows don't make the same calls over and over. Their calls change with their moods, so the more you learn the better.

That said, lay down a solid foundation first. Once you learn a basic call you can take the time to variate.

10. Do your Homework

When you're looking for your Colorado playground, spend some time on research. Use state-run agencies to compare stats at different hunting sites. Look for a high elk population and a good ratio of elk to cows.

When you decide on a hunting spot, look at the terrain on google maps. Try to get a lay of the land from the overview, to know what you're in for. If you plan enough in advance, you can use the topography to guide your physical training!

Elk Hunting Tips: Wrapping Up

Colorado is a natural adventure land. There's something to do in every season, for every type of person. Winters boast skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowmobiling while warmer seasons offer hiking, fishing, biking, and climbing. As long as the sun is up in Colorado, you'll never be bored.

Interested in acquiring a luxury ranch where you can have your own private hunting grounds?

Contact us today to discuss our current listings! You could be breathing fresh mountain air sooner than you think.


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