Elk

Elk

elk

While we now regard elk as a western species found primarily in the Rocky Mountains, at the time of European contact they were found across virtually all of the lower forty-eight, with particularly impressive herds on the Great Plains. Habitat loss and commercial hunting almost wiped the species from the map, though modern conservation practices have led to a dramatic rebound of the animals. Every year, elk make their way onto new lands where they’ve been absent for over a century, bringing with them renewed elk hunting opportunities. Today, we have limited elk seasons in a half dozen states lying east of the Mississippi River—up from zero states during much of the twentieth century. These expanding herds are certain to gradually shift our perception of elk country away from the rugged western landscapes, but for now it’s still fair to say that elk live in some of the wildest, wooliest terrain that this nation has to offer. Venturing into such landscapes in search of this toughest and most graceful member of the deer family should be re-garded as an essential pilgrimage in the life of any American hunter.

BARROOM BANTER: The two smooth and loose-fitting toothlike structures in an elk’s upper jaw are commonly known among hunters as ivories. Rather than being teeth, these are actually vestigial remnants of tusks that once adorned—and defended—the ancient genetic ancestors of the species.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Coat is copper brown in summer; light tan in fall, winter, and spring. Rump patch is light beige. Mane and legs are considerably darker than the body. Males sport antlers, which are shed in the late winter and then sprouted anew in the spring; the antlers of a mature bull can measure well over 4 feet in length, with six tines per antler and a tip-to-tip spread of over 3 feet. Bulls stand 5 feet at the shoulder and weigh around 700 pounds, with some specimens pushing well over 1,000 pounds. Females, or cows, typically weigh between 300 and 600 pounds.

HABITAT: Elk live in a variety of habitats, from coastal rain forests to Rocky Mountain alpine to the grassland and forest mosaics of the central and eastern United States. In mountainous regions, elk migrate into higher altitudes in the spring and in the opposite direction in the fall, retreating from the deepening snow.

DIET: Elk are primarily grazers, with a strong preference for native 177 bunch grasses. Will also consume forbs, woody browse such as willow and aspen, and a variety of common agricultural crops.

LIFE AND DEATH: It is common for elk to reach ten years of age, rarely fifteen. Predators include wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears, black bears, and coyotes. Habitat loss is the primary long-term threat to elk.

BREEDING AND REPRODUCTION: Elk breed from mid-August through mid-October; females drop one or two calves in late May and early June. Calves weight about 35 pounds.

EDIBILITY: Many hunters accept as fact that elk is the finest game meat in existence, and it is commonly regarded as being far superior to beef. Suitable for all red meat applications.

HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES: Residents of western states enjoy liberal tag allocations; in some states two elk can be killed annually. In most states, nonresident elk hunters have to apply for tags through a lottery system in the spring application period. Many of these lotteries offer nearly 100 percent success rates to applicants, particularly for archery hunters. Colorado and Idaho offer over-the-counter options for nonresi-dents; tags can be bought until the night before the season opens. As for the eastern elk herds, tags are very limited and tough to draw.

AN ELK’S YEAR

1. Vilinter range. Elk are commonly found on lower-elevation south-facing slopes as well as low-elevation sagebrush and pinyon or juniper habitat. At this time of year they consume a significant amount of woody browse. including sagebrush. aspen bark, and mountain mahogany.

2. Spring migration. Elk follow the receding snows up into the high country as they feed on emerging vegetation. Elk will make it to their calving grounds by mid-May and into the high subalpine basins by June. In years with high snowpack, it might take until late July.

3. Calving and summer range. The protein-rich grasses of the high country put fat on young calves and old bulls alike. The higher elevations offer cooler temperatures and fewer biting insects.

4. Rut. During the rut, elk will be the most spread out. Some will remain in the high country, while others will begin their gradual descent to lower country.

5. Fall/winter migration. With the onset of winter snow accumulation, all but the wiliest of bulls will bail off the mountain toward low-elevation winter range. Even-tually, even the toughest bulls will follow.

HUNTING METHODS: Elk are movers. Be it from hunting pressure or weather, great numbers of them will cover great distances with mind-boggling speed. But an elk’s toughness goes beyond its ability to climb 1,000-foot inclines in times measured in seconds rather than minutes. When hunters hear these massive animals coming through a forest of lodgepole pine, they often draw comparisons to the sound of trains. And there’s no other animal, save perhaps moose, that can withstand a poorly placed arrow or bullet as hardily as an elk. Even after absorbing a well-placed shot, elk have been known to just stand there as they try to determine the source of the loud booms.

Long walks are the norm with elk hunting, and your legs and lungs are almost guaranteed to suffer the effects of massive and constant elevation change. One well-regarded outfitter likes to describe elk hunt-ing as “up the hill, down the hill.” You should be in peak physical shape before undertaking a Rocky Mountain elk hunt, though your discipline will be rewarded with amazing vistas and, if you’re lucky, a freezer full of the finest game meat in the world.

If there’s an easy way out for the elk hunter, it’s private land. Whether you pay for access or are lucky enough to have friends or family with a western ranch, elk hunting on private ground generally requires a lot less perseverance on the part of the hunter. Vehicles can be used to access ranchland, and dead elk can be retrieved with a lot less hassle and sore muscles. Plus, limited access usually equates to limited pres-sure, meaning that the elk can be much more forgiving if you screw up during a stalk. By no means is this meant to discredit the private land elk hunter, for many of them work incredibly hard, but if there weren’t

significant advantages to hunting private land, then it wouldn’t cost so much money to do so. But one thing that can’t be bought is the immense sense of satisfaction that comes from bagging an elk on publicly owned ground.

Elk are highly vocal, which makes them the most exciting big game animal to hunt using calling strategies. Most first-time elk hunters are simply blown away by how vocal and loud a group of elk can be. While the animals will talk year-round, it’s the rut, or fall breeding season (typically early September to mid-October), that turns a herd of elk into a beehive-like mass of vocal energy as the cows try to maintain herd cohesion while the bulls engage in a game of bugling one-upmanship. Since the rut typically coincides with archery season in most western states, calling strategies are best suited for bowhunters. (By no means do they not work for rifle hunters in places with firearm rut seasons; it’s just that tags for such seasons are very limited.)

To become a competent elk caller, you must study the language of elk. It’s very helpful to get into the woods and listen to the elk themselves. But if you happen to live in an area that doesn’t have any elk within easy driving distance (which is true for most Americans), there are CDs and digital downloads on the market that feature audio recordings of every elk sound imaginable. Once you learn the language of elk and how it is used, you must commit to hours and hours of practice as you develop the necessary skills required to mimic them through the use of game calls.

Perhaps the most easily distinguished game call that you’ll hear in the mountains is the high-pitched bugle of a bull elk. Bulls will bugle for a variety of reasons. Early in the nit, they bugle to other bulls as they struggle to determine a hierarchy among themselves. This can save them from the trouble of serious fighting, which can lead to exhaustion and death. Later on, bulls will bugle directly at cows as they attempt to collect and maintain harems and then protect those harems against the incursions of other bulls (This leaves very little time for feeding, and a mature bull can lose 20 percent of his body weight during this period of constant action.) Bulls often follow their high-pitched bugles with a series of grunts known as “chuckling.” This sound is often heard on its own as well. Bulls will also emit a more guttural tending sound known as “glunking.” When you’re watching a glunking bull, you’ll actually see its belly bounce up and down in a very dramatic way as it emits a deep glunk, glunk, glunk. During sparring, bulls will make a whiny squeak that is easily mistaken for an excited cow call. Finally, bulls (as well as cows) will make an alarm bark when something is amiss and they can’t quite make sense of it. It sounds like a loud, wheezy, high-pitched bark-grunt without the b. It’s a raspy and piercing arkl Very rarely are multiple barks made in a row. It’s one note and then silence as the elk continues to assess the danger. If you hear this bark while hunting, you can be sure that you’ve been had or something else has buggered the elk. In any case, the elk you were hunting are now in an alert state and it’s best to back out.

A hunter sends a locating bugle across an alpine bowl in Colorado. 

The primary reason to mimic the bugle of a bull elk is to locate distant animals. Hunters create bugles by using commercially produced reed-type calls fitted onto the end of a tube for amplification, and also by blowing diaphragm calls into a tube. A locator bugle is usually loud and long, and done from a high point where the sound will travel and, equally important, where you will be able to hear a response and pinpoint its direction. Once that’s accomplished, you can move toward the elk and then make your next move according to whatever situation you find when you get there. Once you get close to a bull, a bugle can be used to challenge the animal and potentially draw him closer, but this should be attempted only in dire situations when nothing else is working. Bugles have been grossly overused by hunters and now work better at repelling bulls than drawing them in. What’s more, even if your bugle dupes the bull, he may just gather up his cows and leave the area rather than risk losing them to a bigger, badder animal. But if a bull is keeping his distance and will not approach your cow calls, and there’s no way to get closer, a soft bugle might just give him the impression that another bull has joined the group. And if you’re lucky, his sense of jealousy might bring him in a precious few yards closer—and right into shooting range.

Top: Bugle or grunt tube. Bottom, left to right: Diaphragm pouch; diaphragms from Phelps and Bugling Bull; Primos internal reed call; external reed calls from Bugling Bull, Carlton’s, and Phelps. 

Besides the alarm bark mentioned above, cows use a wide array of sounds to communicate with herd members. These range from short chirps of contentment (a half-second-long ee-oh) to medium-length lo-cating mews (a one-second-long eeee-oh) and the elongated, excited whines (one to two seconds long, sometimes two separate notes chang-ing in pitch at the front of the call: eeeee-eeeee-oh) associated with estrus. It is the caller’s personal preference whether to end the cow sound with oh, ah, or eh. All three will work and will add variation to the caller’s elk dialect. All of these calls can be produced using external reed calls as well as diaphragm mouth calls. Whatever type of call you prefer using, it’s best to stick to the chirps and soft mews of the cows once you’ve worked into close range of elk, especially in the first few moments. Sometimes, these softer mews are just what a rutting bull wants to hear: he’s looking for cows, and there they are! Nearby elk might also be enticed to come your way for the simple reason that elk are gregarious and they want to engage with other elk that happen to be nearby.

Under the right circumstances, louder cow mews can be used to say more than just “I’m over here.” This call has a direct, succinct nature. A cow might mew because she’s gotten separated from her group and feels lonely, or a lead cow might mew to communicate that the herd should get moving or change direction. During the rut, cows that are nearing or in estrus (meaning breeding will happen soon) start to call very intently, almost pleading for attention. These mews are louder, drawn out, and very nasal-sounding; they could be called whiny. Some cows will sound raspy and have a sort of buzz to their mew when they make these calls. Such sounds can be very effective at bringing in bulls, but use them with restraint. You want to avoid making sounds that don’t correlate well with the real situation that’s happening on the ground. Remember, bomb is a frequently used word in the English language, but you don’t want to say it when you’re going through TSA security screen-ing at the airport.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to calling elk than just making the proper noises. Let’s take a moment to walk through a typical morning of elk calling and hunting in order to see the sorts of real-time decisions that need to be made. Say it’s early in the morning and you have reason to think that elk are in the area, but you don’t know exactly where they are. So you start with a locator call—either a bugle or a hefty cow call. If you don’t get an answer, you continue to cover country. Many elk hunters refer to this as “prospecting.” Basically, you’re walking and calling as you search for animals. Once you do get a response from a bull, or you hear a bull that just happens to be bugling independent of your calling, you need to determine how far away the elk is and in what direction—if any—it’s traveling. You can do this by listening to the elk’s subsequent bugles, and you can prompt him to make more noise by repeating the same type of locator call that got him talking in the first place. If he’s making noise, you want to take advantage of that by closing the distance as much as possible while you have a beacon of sorts to guide you. Elk will rarely come to a call 300 yards away, let alone a mile away, so closing the gap is your responsibility. Do it quickly but quietly.

In a strategy sometimes known as “T-boning,” a hunter can parallel a herd of elk in a downwind direction and wait for the perfect set of circumstances to get in close and call. Calling is not always necessary, as this tactic can result in a quick ambush as well.

As you move in, you’re more or less employing a spot-and-stalk strategy, or rather a listen-and-stalk strategy. You want to get as close as possible without spooking the elk, because proximity is directly tied to a bull’s willingness to investigate the source of your calling. You might have to shadow the herd from a downwind position for hours until you finally have an opportunity to slip in close enough to make an actual attempt on the elk. A hundred yards or less is a great distance to call from, so long as the elk are unaware of your presence. At this distance, you’re in the bull’s comfort zone and you’ll be putting pressure on him to physically react to your call. Either he comes to herd you back into the harem, thinking you’re a loose cow, or he comes to open a can of whoop-ass, thinking you’re an accosting young bull. Before delivering your call, identify the most likely routes that the animal will use in getting to you, and make sure you’ve got shooting lanes. A range finder is helpful in determining distances to likely shooting lanes, and doing this now will save you from doing it under pressure when a bull comes charging in with all of his senses on high alert. When you start calling, try using short, sweet sounds before you progress to louder and more intense sounds. If you find something that the bull likes, stick to it. And if you’re hearing cows calling around you as well, listen to what they sound like and mimic their tone and length of call.

Although this hillside might seem too open for a calling setup, the rolling edge of the bench provides just enough screen. With a rising thermal, the elk has no choice but to look onto the bench to identify the source of the calls. At that point he will be in range of the shooter EasyCapture10, who will have to rely on the sparse vegetation for a concealing backdrop.

 

This bull might approach the caller EasyCapture11 by coming through the timber in order to stay within the cover or by coming through the meadow in an attempt to get downwind of the caller. The shooter EasyCapture10 is positioned so that he can move freely to either location. 

If a bull keeps pushing his cows away from your setups, try making a sweeping loop and get out in front of the moving herd. As with any calling, the animals being called to are more apt to come to the call if it is in the general direction of their travel. Remember, it’s easiest to call animals in a direction that they naturally want to go. Since the moving elk are making plenty of their own noises, don’t be afraid to hustle and neglect stealth for a minute as you make a move. Even after several failed attempts, do not get lax about your strategy. Treat each attempt the same way you treated the first. Stay ready, stay focused. When it all gels and that snorting, eye-bulging, 800-pound monster finally decides to come, it happens fast and often when you least expect it. Be prepared with your arrow nocked or your rifle ready—and your head clear!

A BUNCH OF THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN CALLING ELK

• By adding an elk decoy to a calling setup. your realism factor soars. If you can fool the elk’s eyes as well as its ears. you’re going to be getting some action. But try to get out ahead of your decoy, so you’re between it and the approaching elk. The elk is likely to hang up at a safe distance even after it sees the decoy; if you’re out front, you might be in range when it does.

• Hunters often progress too quickly to cow calls that are too long and too ‘svhiny. Elk make chirps and mews more than other sounds. So should you.

• If the woods are quiet but you know elk are in the vicinity, try blind calling. This is often done at the edge of a patch of evergreens that might be a bedding area. Set up as if there are elk within 200 yards and start with a couple of chirps. Escalate your calling through a sequence of sounds as you try to kindle interest from the animals. On some occasions you’ll move on, but often you’ll receive a response of one kind or another and find yourself “in elk.” It’s good to remember that bulls are often trailing cows, so communicating with the lead cow and calling her in can result in the bull being in range as well.

• Calling works for more than just bringing elk to you. Loud cow calls can bring a whole herd to a stop, offering an opportunity for a shot. This works at close range for a bow shot and at long distances for rifles. And don’t stop calling after the shot. Even with loud, startling rifle shots, both wounded and healthy elk can be calmed down and stopped. Commanding cow calls can even bring the herd back to you. This tactic not only can afford second opportunities but also can shorten tracking on wounded animals.

• When hunting with a partner, the caller should usually stay around 50 to 100 yards behind the shooter. Think of it as calling the elk past the shooter as it approaches the call. The caller should stay mobile, as his position dictates where the oncoming elk goes. If a bugling bull gets hung up and absolutely refuses to come closer, the caller should try walking away from the action while calling. The thought of the cow leaving is often enough to entice a few more steps.

• Manufacturers are trying to sell calls. Instead of buying the latest and greatest “Sexy Seducer” elk calling gimmick, spend a few more hours on your diaphragm and external reed calls and learn to mew consistently like an elk. Most serious elk hunters will head into the mountains with just a diaphragm or two, an external reed call, and perhaps a grunt tube for making bugles.

• A bull elk who’s busy destroying a sapling with his antlers is often blind to his surroundings. If you’re fortunate enough to encounter one and have weapon in hand, abort previous plans and walk quickly toward the bull, approaching from downwind (and from his backside, if possible). Often, you can get into range without being noticed.

• While listening to elk vocalizations, take notice of the nonvocal noises that elk produce. Elk are big animals, and as they go about their daily business they snap sticks, run through brush or bushes, pull leaves off trees, clunk hooves on logs and rocks. splash water, and thrash trees, grass and mud with their antlers. Elk hear these sounds daily, and if you can learn to mimic them effectively and integrate them with your bugles and mews, your calling will gain authenticity.

• In general, calling in open spaces has poor success on elk. You need to make sure that your calling setup is realistic—and that refers both to what is there and to what isn’t. When choosing your location, be sure that there is vegetation around you or behind you that could be hiding the elk that you are supposed to be. When an elk is coming to a call, it knows exactly where the source of the call is. When it does not see the supposed elk, it gets suspicious. Give oncoming elk plenty of places to expect the supposed elk to be.

• Always pay absolute attention to the wind. Elk will often circle downwind of the caller to confirm the presence of a real elk. The hunter should be set up to cut off such an attempt by the elk. 

The elk’s long legs and outsized lungs seem to compel it to travel almost constantly, and a hunter’s desire for elk meat seems to compel him to follow. No matter where or how an elk hunter is hunting, he or she is almost surely going to end up using some aspect of the spot-and-stalk strategy.

Thanks to their size and two-tone appearance (tan body, chocolate mane), elk can be much easier to spot at long distances than other mountain game. When glassing for the animals, a hunter can move fairly quickly with his optics, especially in the morning and evening hours when the elk are most likely to be up on their feet feeding. When hunting in the snow, you can glass for elk sign as readily as you can glass for the animals themselves. Feeding areas, where elk have pawed through the snow to reach the grass below, show up at great distances through binoculars and spotting scopes. So do elk beds. And if you’re lucky to be hunting in snow that’s less than twenty-four hours old, you can get especially excited about the discovery of elk feeding areas. Make sure to be watching that area again at dusk and again at dawn—there’s a good chance that the elk will be back.

When glassing for elk, you sometimes need to ask yourself whether you want to spook an elk now or kill an elk later. The importance of patience is something that all experienced spot-and-stalk elk hunters will agree on. Quite simply, it’s not always best to just start chasing after a herd of elk as soon as you see them. Sure, if it seems like the elk are calmly feeding and you’ve got plenty of daylight left, or that a bull has a group of cows balled up and he’s rutting them enthusiastically, then it might be advisable to check the wind and start after them. But if the elk are in single file and moving, it might be best to sit back and see what the herd is up to and where it’s headed. Often, elk that are unapproach-able due to their location and general attitude will move into a location that’s much more conducive to a stalk. Or you might even decide to wait until the next day, when you can use What you learn from your observa- tions in order to plan the perfect approach.

But when you do decide to go, go quickly. If you lose sight of your herd and then dillydally for several hours in the bottom of a canyon, you might not ever find them again. For this reason, hunting elk requires peak
physical condition. Most hunters who fail physically on an elk hunt do so after they’ve already spotted the animals. They can see the prize, but they just can’t reach it.

While patience is important to spot-and-stalk elk hunting, it’s essential to ambush elk hunting. Elk hunters with detailed knowledge of their hunting grounds can be very successful utilizing an ambush strategy if they keep in mind the wide-ranging and seemingly willy-nilly habits of the animals. Elk do in fact have patterns and preferences, but those occur over large landscapes. An elk’s feeding grounds might cover many square miles within multiple drainages, and it might travel for hours just to get a drink of water. If someone tells you that elk frequent a certain south-facing hillside, this might mean that elk show up there three or four times a month rather than three or four times a week. Thus, am-bushing elk can turn into a waiting game that favors the patient hunter.

Typically, an ambush hunter will set up on one of two types of locations for elk. Travel route ambush sites are positioned along well-used trails, pinch points such as ridgeline saddles. major migration corridors, and
historically used escape routes. The last is where experience in a certain area pays off especially well. Let’s say you know that a herd of elk gets spooked off Green Mountain every year on the opening day of the season.

And you know that when they are, they spill off the east side of the mountain and then wrap around the neighboring hill on the lowest game trail before crossing Sentinel Creek near the main fork well, you get the point. You can put that kind of information to use when elk hunting, because elk are that kind of animal. You can trust them to behave in the same general ways, year in and year out.

The second type of site is where elk go for feed and water. These are places such as meadows, hayfields, watering holes, and wallows. When contemplating an ambush setup near food or water, check for plenty of
fresh sign, and not just elk tracks but also fresh scat and beds. Elk leave tracks everywhere, but scat and beds are found mostly where they are spending a considerable amount of time. Beds are usually associated
with thick cover, but elk actually bed down during the night to chew their cud in the meadow they are feeding in. Fresh scat will have a moist appearance, and fresh beds will look crisp, with the grass matted down flat. Don’t be afraid to use your nose; the more pungent the bed, the less time has elapsed since the animal left it. These signs point to recent activity, making for a good ambush location.

Wallows can be trickier to set up on, because it might only be a single animal that’s using it—and he may visit only periodically. But still, wallows are great places to sit during the middle of hot days, when there might not be anything else going on. Quite often a bull will sneak away from his midday bed to have a splash in his favorite mud hole, which might be located at a small seep or along a stream or even at a cattle stock tank. Bulls will literally crawl into the mud and cover themselves with it—it could do any number of things for them, from repelling biting insects to distributing his glandular odor to cooling him off to making him look mean and scary in the presence of other bulls. In the Southwest, some hunters will even pour jugs of water into dried-up and abandoned wallows in hopes of drawing the bull back to his preferred cooling-off spot. While pop-up blinds and blinds built from natural materials are commonly used at wallows, tree stands are another great option because they keep your scent up off the ground.

Speaking of scent, mountain thermals are yet another consideration for the ambush hunter. In steep terrain, the swirling afternoon winds will usually give way to a constant downhill thermal in the evening. Sometimes this happens two hours before dark, and sometimes it hap-pens just twenty rninutes before dark.

Regardless, an ultracautious hunter might use these thermals as protection when sneaking into an evening ambush location—particularly when hunting elk that are ap-proaching an evening feeding area from an uphill direction.

Thermals are also useful to the still-hunter, whose goal is to spot an elk before he’s detected by the animal. The eyes of an elk might let you get away with a fast movement, and its ears will forgive the thud of your boot on a log, but let your scent enter the elk’s nostrils and you can hid it farewell. For this reason, a still-hunter has to constantly monitor the wind and do everything in his power to keep it in his face. Despite the challenges, still-hunting works well enough under most circumstances and remains a tmsted elk-hunting strategy for many rifle hunters. (Gen-erally, still-hunting does not produce close enough shots for archery hunting. An archer’s still-hunt will often morph into a stalking situation when he locates an elk and then moves in for a shot.)

Most hunters who are good at still-hunting insist on going alone, in order to minimize disturbance. If you have the luxury of time, it’s best to save your still-hunting efforts until immediately before or after a storm.
Elk tend to be on their feet and feeding in preparation for coming weather and again on its heels, and it’s typically easier to creep within range of feeding elk than bedded elk. Another benefit of waiting for bad weather is that it leaves fresh snow on the ground, which is a great aid for muffling your footsteps and also for revealing the whereabouts of elk through the presence of fresh tracks. Around these weather events,
expansive groves of aspens provide a near perfect medium for the still-hunting elk hunter. These groves hold elk by providing security as well as an abundance of bunch grass (a favorite elk food) whose long blades
poke up through the snow. The vertical lines of the aspen forest work well at breaking up your outline, and the aspen‘s lack of lower limbs (elk eat those, too) allows for clear shooting from a kneeling position.

Still-hunting through bedding areas and along well-used trails through thick timber can be a productive way to hunt. though you should refrain from doing it during the early season because you’re likely to spook elk
clear of your hunting area. But if the clock is winding down and you’re mnning out of options, it’s worth considering. Keeping quiet is not the challenge here, as these trails often look and feel as if someone has
recently run a tiller through the soil. But in the dark evergreen timber, it can be very difficult to spot elk—especially bedded elk—before they’re jumping out of their beds and storming up the mountainside in retreat.
Not only do you need to use your binoculars to pry apart the timber and examine every shadow. but you need to be ready for quick shots as well. And those shots will need to be accurate. Elk are undoubtedly the
toughest critters in North America. They can take a punishing bullet or arrow and still run up mountains that you could hardly climb at a slow crawl. But if you do your job right and put your shot where it needs to
go, an elk will tip right over or drop within a few steps. At that point, you’re free to start planning a year’s worth of the finest eating that you‘ll ever enjoy.