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Randy Newberg & Corey Jacobsen | 9.10.2018

5 Elk Hunting Mistakes

  • Pursuit: Big Game
  • Environment: Subalpine

Randy Newberg and Corey Jacobsen are two of the most well-known elk hunters in the industry today. This summer they teamed up to create the Elk Talk Podcast to answer some burning questions among elk hunters and share their knowledge and experience. Below are Randy and Corey’s top five elk hunting mistakes.

1) A Lack of Understanding of Elk, Their Needs, and Their Behaviors

A herd of elk through the trees.

Why do elk do what they do? You can’t kill what you can’t find.

Learn the five calendar periods of elk hunting and the four primary needs of elk. Understand what the elk need, when they need it, and how they are going to answer that need to find elk no matter the time of year. Invest the time to learn about elk before hunting season starts.

2) Wind

Hunter checks the wind direction.

Live or die by the diurnal thermals.

Thermals are a daily occurence in the mountains. Many hunters either don’t understand how they work or have never given them much thought. Learn to play the wind correctly, and use the thermals to your advantage.

3) When to be Aggressive and When to be Passive

Trying an aggressive elk hunting tactic.

Many hunters are too timid while hunting and calling and can benefit from a more aggressive hunting style. Get out of your comfort zone to create opportunities on elk. Learn the difference between being aggressive and being reckless, and know when it’s ok to hunt in a more passive manner.

4) Lack of a Plan

Formulating a hunting strategy before setting off into the woods.

If you’re in a new spot, you better have a plan.

Having a solid plan leading into a hunting trip, especially in a new area, makes the time afield more productive. Spend more time checking areas you know are likely to meet the needs of elk and be willing to adjust the plan if conditions change. It’s easy to get stuck in an unproductive rut based on past experience. Have a backup plan and be ready to act on it if you need to.

5) The Number One Mistake Most Elk Hunters Make

A bull elk in the distance.

The most common mistake most elk hunters make is hearing a bugle, instantly dropping down and trying to call that bull in without any additional work. There is a lot that needs to happen between hearing the first bugle and making the final play. That bull could be half a mile away across the drainage. Do more than just set up and hope.

Watch the Full Podcasts

Episode 2

Episode 3