Mossy Oak Pro Keith Pullins from Rapid City, South Dakota, has been hunting mule deer for 35 years. After high school, he joined the Armed Services and became a radiology tech in the U. S. Air Force. After service, he immediately returned to hunting mule deer and elk. Throughout his career, he’s harvested 30 mule deer bucks and also enjoys hunting elk.
I love to hunt elk, but there’s always more to learn about the sport. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- I always need to be in the best shape I can be from hiking and working on my legs, my stamina and my breathing before I go elk hunting.
- I need to remember to enjoy the moment when I’m hunting elk that will cause me to see hunting from a different perspective. Rather than just knowing the physical side of a hunt, I need to enjoy the beautiful countryside and realize I have an opportunity to hear, see, harvest and be close to elk – all to make an unbelievable memory. These aspects of elk hunting are part of why I’m addicted to the sport.
- I’ve learned to be persistent and not to give up on an elk hunt – possibly hunting the same bull elk for two weeks before taking him.
- I hunt best when I have a seasoned elk hunter with me for guidance who shares his knowledge.
- I don’t rush the hunt because then I may spook the elk I’m trying to take.
- I know to hold an arrow at full draw until I have a reliable shot.
- I don’t look at the elk’s antlers. If I get distracted by them, I can’t concentrate on the spot I’m trying to hit. I’ll also be nervous.
- A good pair of hunting boots is worth its weight in gold. I like Kenetrek boots with their quality ankle support. Elk hunters put plenty of pressure on their ankles when climbing up and down mountains. Having tight ankle support makes those ups and downs much easier to navigate.
- Sharp broadheads are important. An elk is a big animal, and you need a very sharp broadhead to make a lethal hit, to get a clean pass-through and to have a good blood trail to follow to recover your elk.
- I’ve changed my arrow setup for elk. Although a heavy arrow doesn’t shoot as flat as a lighter arrow, I believe a heavier shaft pushing down on the broadhead gets a better kill.
- Hydration is very important when climbing up and down mountains. Also be sure to bring plenty of healthy snacks to provide energy throughout the day.
- You must spend time shooting your bow before you go on an elk hunt to improve your muscle memory. During practice, I shoot most of my shots 220-260 yards away from the target to fine tune my accuracy for shooting at shorter distances.