One Week to Kill: How to Hunt Efficiently for Elk

Most hunters only get a week away from work during the season. They need to make every outing count. Efficiency is key. This blog will focus on how to get the most out of each hunt and avoid missteps that waste time.

Don’t Be a Cab Driver

I read an article on cab drivers once that claimed most cabbies have a certain amount they want to make each day, and they quit working only after reaching that goal. If a driver wants to make $200 per day, on slow days they may have to keep working until 5 pm. On busy days they may finish work by noon. However, they would make far more money by quitting at noon on slow days and working until 5 on busy days, while working the same number of hours as before.

The same problem happens to elk hunters. No bulls bugling? Then you should stay out all day long and cold call through the heat of the day. Hunters mistakenly double down on this strategy when hunting quiet elk. I’d argue to hunt harder and longer when hearing bugles. During slow times avoid running yourself into the ground. Max likes to say, “If you hunt in the rain, you’ll rest in the sun.” While it’s true nobody ever shot an elk on the couch, don’t waste energy on trash hunts that you should conserve for better days.

Stay on the Move

When Cory Jacobsen doesn’t hear a bugle for two hunts in a row he moves to a new location. Bulls might not bugle in one spot, but that doesn’t mean that they’re quiet everywhere. If a you haven’t seen an elk by noon you can easily move to a new spot by four and hike out for an evening hunt. The evening hunt might only amount to a scouting trip, but it will set up well for the following morning. Return a few days later to the original camp. There’s a chance a cow will have come into heat and bulls will respond more eagerly. In the mean time try new country.

Split Up

When hunting vocal elk stay together, but with silent bulls it’s best to split up. One hunter is much quieter than two and hunting separately allows you scout twice the amount of terrain. Hunting quiet elk amounts to searching for good habitat. If one guy finds a good meadow, both can return the next morning. Lastly, hunting quiet bulls leads to frustration. By splitting up you’ll avoid some inevitable bickering.


Essentially hunt smarter not harder. I learned this lesson two years ago when I stuck with a spot for three weeks, moved to a new unit, and shot a bull three days later. The rut can be fickle. One day bulls bugle dawn to dusk, the next they won’t make a peep. Don’t take anything for granted, and don’t ever count yourself out.

Good luck this year,


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