Those big fuzzy radar ears of theirs work pretty well too. If the weather is dry I always put on a quality pair of moccasins, nothing beats them for quiet except stocking feet, which Iíve done my share of when on a close quarters elk sneak. And donít be afraid to do the ole hands and knees crawl, or even better a belly crawl. Now for us old guys, like me, you might enjoy a leisurely nap with one eye open either in short cover or leaning against a tree. With the right wind you have a 50/50 chance of an elk coming in from upwind. Or even more amazing is when you believe you have a great clear view of the terrain and all of a sudden there is an elk at 50 yards that has seemingly risen right up out of the ground. Whoa, where did he come from! I was looking that way too! Remember the old Bosco commercial: ďYou can chase all over but you canít beat BoscoĒ. Well it is the same for elk. If you find someone who can outrun an elk, be sure to invite him to elk camp. Any serious elk hunter should also get himself a walker game ear; it will triple your hearing distance. I recently misplaced mine during my last hunt and feel at a great disadvantage without it.
Now an elkís eyesight leaves something to be desired; it is not that good. They will see movement well enough, but stand perfectly still and they will hold for you while you check each other out. Cows usually will bolt sooner, but bulls are a bit more curious, especially young ones. I have often had standoffs lasting many minutes. Here is another story of one of my most memorable elk moments that illustrates the value of stillness. It was a gorgeous breezy day in the woods, great for moving around undetected. I happened upon a midday bedding of some 20 elk. I was scent free and camouflaged head to toe. I had my Mathews bow in one hand and my cow call to my lips under my head net in the other. I eased ever so slowly for nearly an hour to edge of the herd where the closest I could get to the only bull was 45 yards. As I stood there completely still and in awe of the scene before me, 10 yards away a small calf rose and eyed me curiously. She eased over step by step until I was looking down at her just a few feet away. Not moving a single muscle for what seemed like an eternity I decided to twitch my call hand an inch. Her eyes bulged and she bolted a step back then the rest of the herd stood up! I drew my knocked arrow for a behind the shoulder shot at the bull, thankfully it struck home. It was a beautiful day and fantastic hunt. I learned that when everything comes together youíll have memories that will last forever.
Letís see, is that 5 secrets? Habits, wind, quiet, stillness and oh yeah, I forgot the last one, enjoyment. Revel in the moment, take in the scenery and bring back tall tales to the campfire because those memories will burn clear in your mind for a lifetime.
A Wyoming elk addict
Doug Rellstab is 56 years old and lives in Pinedale Wyoming. He is geologist by trade. "I moved here 22 years ago from Colorado and never looked back." He spends his free time fishing, hunting and just tramping through the woods with his 4 kids. "Some people like to jump out of planes or ride the rapids for fun but on the night of the full moon, in the heat of the rut, my elk hunting buddy and I like to call up bulls. We rouse them into such a frenzy at such close quarters its a wonder we haven't been skewered. We call it playing with the elk." Recently a group of friends formed a rag tag group of long range shooter wantabees.
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