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Don’t Eat Bull Elk Tags When You Can Take a Cow


In June and July each year, you usually can buy leftover tags that haven’t been filled from the previous season. I usually pick the weekends that I want to hunt cows. I'm a fair-weather hunter. I don’t mind the snow and ice, but on the weekends when our area has 50 to 60 mph winds, I’d rather stay at the house. I've found that the most productive days to hunt in the late elk season are the days when the sky is gray, and there’s a little bit of snow and a light wind. 

VanVlack_day3I primarily hunt two units - one is fairly close to home, and the other unit is about 1-1/2-hours away from my home. One of the real advantages that I have is that I can go out on my back porch, set up my spotting scope and scout the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land near my home. If I see elk out on that land, I quickly can put on my hunting clothes, grab my rifle and drive to a place where I can stalk in and get close enough to the herd to take a cow. 

I'm not strictly a cow-elk meat hunter. When the bull elk are bugling in the fall, I love to hunt them with my bow. In September, I spend a lot of time hunting with my bow, and I carry a mule deer tag and a bull elk tag with me. I've taken a nice mule deer buck, but I haven’t had a bull elk in close enough to take with my bow yet. 

One advantage we have here in Wyoming is that the mule deer and the elk season overlap during the first 4 weeks of September. If you have both types of tags during those 4 weeks, you can take a bull elk and a muley buck. If I don’t have a really-good shot at a nice bull elk in the early season, I'm really not disappointed, since I can take a nice mule deer. If I'm unsuccessful during early bow season, my bull tag won’t be wasted, because in the late cow-elk season, that bull tag converts into a cow tag. I still can get meat for the freezer in the late cow-elk season. 

Day 2: How Many Cow Elk Do You Need with Josh Van Vlack

Tomorrow: What to Do When the Cow is Down

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