Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Last update: 2023-09-18

Challenging is a part of what makes elk hunting trips exciting. However, getting to know common elk hunting mistakes to avoid helps enhance your reward in the end. This post will iron out some so you can quickly improve your hunting skills. Read on!

Not Break In New Hunting Boots

There are two typical cases when it comes to this mistake:

1) Not break in the new hunting boots and wear them to hunt with the first time

2) Not break them in enough before hunting

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Purchasing and breaking in new hunting boots are something that any hunter should take seriously, no matter if it is from a high-end or low-end brand. Otherwise, it will end up with sore and blister feet.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid


Spend at least 2 months breaking in a new pair of hunting boots.

Wear them as much as possible daily until your feet start to have a hot spot, then switch to more comfortable shoes. Or, if you’re busy, try to wear them for at least a couple of hours/day.

Poor Physical Preparation

Hunting in the wildlife requires you to walk a lot while the terrain isn’t flat and easy all the time. Not to say that you’ll have to carry a heavy pack behind your back.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To AvoidAnother thing to remember, no matter your hunting target, they don’t get fooled forever.

The more they’re hunted, the more they learn how to hide for safety. A typical example is an elk. They don’t frequently live in an easy-to-navigate country these days.

Meanwhile, it’s bad that you move around too slowly in the woods or to let other hunters wait for you to catch up just because of your poor physical health conditions.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid


Prepare both physically and mentally before any hunting trip, which is an absolutely imperative thing for all hunters. During workouts, work out with your pack on to build up your shoulder strength.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Too Small Or Quiet Calling

Using cow calls or bugling to lure satellite bulls and herb bulls is a great idea to improve your hunting trip results. But many hunters don’t find it really helpful; no elk were attracted by their calling.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

The most common reason is that they are too quiet.


Remember that herb bulls are only attracted by a loud bull bugle combining with cow sounds. Once they decide to leave their herb to check around, satellite bulls will follow.

From that point, go for cow calls and bugling as loud as possible.

This also helps reduce the loss of volume when you’re in wide, timber, and brush open spaces.

Ignore The Wind

Elk Hunting Mistakes To AvoidYou might have heard that elk have superior noses than human beings, and paying attention to the wind is a must while hunting. Yeah, this is not an exciting topic, but there are lots of hunters who plain forget about the wind once they glass a distant bull or hear a bugle.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Not only owning great noses, but elk is also known as a crafty animal who will readily run hundreds of miles away from the spot where they smell human.

The obvious results are you lost a big reward that day.


When it comes to the wind, keep in mind two things:

  • The wind direction
  • The thermal

Pay attention to the wind EVERY TIME to know if it is in your favor. In the bad scenario, this helps you get extra time to get the right setup.

Now, why should I learn about thermal?

We all know that the wind is very random, and also something that you can’t control. However, they have some certain signs to lean on, which is thermal. As a basic rule of thumb, hot air goes up, cool air goes down.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Spend a few days on the field to learn about when the air starts to blow downhill and uphill to set up the right static for your official hunting days.

Another important thing is to always back out whenever the wind changes, no matter of hours that you’ve spent to get it done on a bull elk, how big the bull is, and how hard you’ve worked to get there.

You should understand that once the wind isn’t in your favor, you cannot beat the nose of elk.

Cover Too Much Ground

It’s undeniable that one of the elements making a hunting trip successful is covering the terrain. However, if you overdo this, it becomes exhausting because elk owns huge territory swaths.


Elk move in patterns and you should watch for their favorite pathways by spending several days tracking on the field.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

From then, find the most ideal spot up high (like on a tree), stay there, and get the right shooting position.

Make Too Much Noise

One of the most common mistakes making your hunting trip failed regretfully is either you or your gear makes too much noise.

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Control the volume you talk to other partners while you are in the woods. Shouting is obviously a no, especially when you get over excited because you find out a huge bull.

Make naïve hunters believe that elk will never hear their voice once they’re at a far distance. But the fact that elk can hear you from 100 yards away, depending on weather, atmospheric conditions, vegetation, and topography.


  • Check if your gear and backpack makes rattle noise while you’re moving
  • Replace if your electronic equipment emits a high-pitched whine or makes noise

Elk Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

  • Only whisper when you want to communicate with other partners


We’ve just listed out the 6 most common elk hunting mistakes to avoid. Besides, you might have to check if you’re tracking elk properly, whether your plan is realistic or not, and set all of your gears to readily use.

That’s all. Thanks for reading and happy hunting!

Bryan Listor
Bryan Listor

Related Articles