Category Archives: Elk Hunting Preparation

Knots For Elk Hunting And Survival Situations

In all survival situations, knowledge is more important than the fanciest survival tool. You can have the best equipment that money can buy but without the knowledge of how to use the equipment it is useless.

Knot Tying









Knowledge of how to tie a few basic knots is very important. I started out learning to tie knots while in the Boy Scouts. I was fascinated with the prospect of things I could build with my new found skills.

I remember seeing a swinging bridge built with rope and wood from the forest at a local scout jamboree. That bridge inspired me to learn the knot tying skills that have served me over the years. There are so many things that you can build with rope, knowledge and imagination.

Every year my family would camp for a week on the river swamp in central Alabama. My job was to help set up camp and make it comfortable for our stay. I started off by digging a latrine and then I would lash a sapling with a back to sit on while doing our business.

 Next, I would lash together a kitchen table between two trees to hold our camp stove and to provide a work space. My next project was a gun rack that would hold all of our guns.

As you can see, learning to tie knots and to lash provided us with useful camp furniture and creature comforts. Later in life I learned specialized knots that I would use to secure packs on pack animals and build hunting camps while guiding for elk in the Rocky Mountains.

Knots are used for many camp chores, making of snares, security around your camp site, securing loads and tying animals four legged and two. Knots are also used to save lives in rescue situations.

 Because knot tying is so important, I have included instruction on a few of the most important basic knots that a person should learn.




The running end of a rope is the free or working end of a rope.

The standing end is the balance of the rope, excluding the running end.



The Square Knot

This knot is used to tie two ropes of equal diameter together.

To tie a square knot, hold each end of the rope in your hands with a tail on each one. Cross over the rope in your left hand with the rope in your right hand.

Now take the tail that you crossed over the left from the underside and cross it over the tail in your right side and through the loop created. When you pull it tight, it will appear that there are two loops with the ends of the rope coming out of the same side of the loops.


See illustration below:

square knot









I always said right over left, left over right to tie this knot. If you do right over right or left over left however, you have tied a granny knot that will come apart.


The Bowline Knot

This is one of the most secure knots when tied correctly. It is also called the rescue knot.

To tie the bowline, make a loop in the rope (1), then the running end of the rope passes around the object to be secured. Run the end of the rope through the loop (2), around the standing end of the rope(3), and back through the loop and draw it tight(4).

See illustration below:

bowline knot color









The old saying used to tie this knot is “the rabbit came out of the hole, ran around the stump and went back into the hole”.


The Clove Hitch

This is a very useful knot used to attach a rope to a pole. You can also use this knot when lashing poles together.

To tie the clove hitch at the end of a rope, the rope is passed around the pole in two turns so that the first turn crosses the standing part and the running end comes up under itself on the second turn.

See Illustration below:

clove hitch











The Half Hitch

This is useful for tying things to trees or posts.

The running end of the rope is passed around the tree or pole. The running end is brought around the standing part and back through the loop created.

Repeat the process for two half hitches.

See illustration below of two half hitches:












Shear Lashing

Lashing can be used to build shelters, furniture, bridges and many other useful things.

The shear lash can be used to make an “A” frame to support a ridge pole that can be used to support tarps or shelters.

You can use three poles to form a tripod for many uses.

Put up the desired number of poles. Usually two or three parallel to one another and the lash is started with a clove hitch on an outer pole.

The poles are wrapped with seven or eight turns loosely. The running end is then wrapped around the loops of rope between the poles and finished off with another clove hitch.

See illustration below:

shear lashing










Square Lashing

This type of lashing is used to attach a pole horizontally to trees or vertical poles.

Start the lash with a clove hitch placed under the horizontal pole. Wrap the rope over the horizontal pole, around the back of the vertical pole, back over the horizontal pole and around the vertical at the bottom.

Four wraps are enough. Now make three wraps around the ropes between the poles, draw tight and finish with a clove hitch on the top vertical pole.

See illustration below:

square lashing picture










Hopefully these knots will serve you and others well in any future elk hunting or survival situation. For more helpful and indepth tips on elk hunting visit


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Elk Hunting Checklist…………Do I Have Everything?

Elk Hunting Checklist………..Do I have everything?

This is a question that I always find myself asking before I go on an elk hunting trip. Three times I have reached into my hunting pack and couldn’t find a flashlight after hunts. On one of those times I was bow hunting for elk near Stagecoach Lake, Colorado.

To make matters even worse, I had passed by several muddy spots in the trail with fresh bear tracks. That was the most un- nerving hikes back out of the woods I have had to make. No light, with an arrow in my hand to defend myself against a bear attack.

Fortunately, the bear didn’t show up. I had learned a valuable lesson to make a checklist and go over it before I leave camp or vehicle on the way to hunt.

I now make sure that I have checked my pack using my elk hunting checklist for such important things as a flashlight, first aid kit, food and something to start a fire with to name a few.

These are just a few of the important items that should be on your elk hunting gear checklist. Believe me, you won't catch me going to the woods without going over my checklist.

 With everything that we have on our minds today, it is really easy to forget what is needed. Take a tip from someone who has made the mistake and learned from it. Being prepared for an elk hunt can literally save your life as the mountains are not very forgiving.

Get a comprehensive elk hunting checklist plus a step by step guide

to planning an elk hunt Click here

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Where To Hunt Elk In Colorado

Many hunters planning a hunt want to know where to hunt elk in Colorado. Colorado is known to have one of the largest elk populations in the country.


There are estimates of at least 292,000 elk in the state according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. So is there a "best" place to hunt elk?  Well, it depends on several things.

If you're planning an elk hunting trip to Colorado, you need to ask yourself a couple questions. First, when do you plan to go? And secondly, what type of hunting will you be doing ? Will you be elk archery hunting, muzzleloading, or hunting elk with a rifle?   All this will dictate where to hunt elk in Colorado.


If you are going in the earlier part of the elk hunting season, which is usally archery and muzzleloading, you will want to hunt at higher altitudes. Most elk will stay at higher altitudes until snow starts to set in.


Once the snow has accumulated and its harder to find food, which is usually in the later part of the season (Mid October into November) they will begin to migrate to lower altitude and settle in to the valleys.


Unfortunately, much of the valley property is privately owned land and will require special permission to hunt on them. If you're hunting during rifle season, my two favorite seasons to hunt are first and second season. The weather is still pretty darn good and you might even hear an elk bugle or two. There will be some snow,  but usually not too much, plus,  it's great for helping you track your elk.


But no matter what season you hunt, with a little advanced planning, you have a good chance of seeing some elk.

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What Is The Best Colorado Elk Season To Hunt?

Choosing the best Colorado elk season to hunt in is a hard decision because there are so many variables to be considered. Some of the things you'll need to consider are weather, concentration of elk in a location, available land to hunt, special permits and if you want to combine the hunting trip with sightseeing.


Colorado weather can be extreme and hard to predict but one thing you can count on is that the later you go into the seasons, the better chance you will have of being snowed in. Most outfitters don’t like hunting the last season in the Colorado High Country which can go into November because it is too unpredictable and you can ruin your equipment.


I can remember many a trip in the late season coming out on horseback in near white out conditions. Snow can hit at anytime but the later you wait, the better the chance for snow. I have seen it even snow on the 4th of July in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Choose an earlier season for a better chance of not fighting snow. I personally like a little snow on the ground. It makes for better tracking and locating elk. It also contrasts their bodies making them easier to spot.


When choosing the best Colorado elk season take into consideration how concentrated the elk are in a location. Pre season scouting is so important when determining the number of elk in an area. Things that affect the concentration can be food source, water source hunting pressure and the weather.


As snow builds in the higher elevations, the elk move down to lower altitudes. Public lands are my favorite places to hunt but private land hunts are good too. Private land hunts are much more expensive. When choosing the best Colorado elk season be sure to check and see if permits are allowed for the area you want to hunt and if they match the season you will be hunting.


Some people like to combine their elk hunting trip with sightseeing. Many hunters bring their wives and they love to go into the many quaint mountain towns that are known for their good food and great shopping. There is so much history in Colorado with its old mining towns and western flavor that you really should enjoy both while you are here.


The best Colorado elk season is really a matter of opinion and preference. I personally like first or second rifle season. If you want to hear the elk bugle and hunt when few are in the mountains, choose archery or black powder in the early fall. But no matter what season you choose, you'll be in for a memorable time.


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Elk Hunting Season………….A Much Overlooked Priority In Planning Your Hunt

30477761.thm It’s hard to believe a new elk season is arriving and another is behind us. On a personal note, I welcomed in one of the newest generation of elk hunters right before Christmas……… My first grandson! What an exciting time.  My son in law even went to Bass Pro and bought him a camouflage outfit (baby size of course). So he’s definitely ready for elk season to start!


Elk season will be here before you know it. If you’re planning a trip to the Rocky Mountain high country, it’s never too early to get ready. Getting the right gear for hunting elk, scheduling the hunt location, and contacting the elk guide are definitely priorities. But don’t overlook what I believe is the MOST important priority……………getting in shape and being prepared for the demands of hunting elk at high altitude.



When considering how to get in shape for elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains, don’t forget the challenges of high altitude. Altitude sickness is a very serious condition that has been known to lead to deaths in some cases. Believe me, it’s not something you  want to experience. So it makes sense to plan ahead and be prepared.



If you need to get rid of a few unwanted pounds, begin now. Consistent exercise each day and a diet of healthy, whole foods is always a good starting place. This needs to be started months prior to the hunt itself. Being in good physical condition and keeping properly hydrated with plenty of water is part of the prevention once you arrive for the hunt .



Drink eight glasses a day of water and stay away from alcohol because it dries you out. Get plenty of rest each day and give your body a chance to acclimate to the higher altitude before your hunt. Remember the air at altitude is thinner so pace yourself. Oxygen saturation will be depleted by about 15% at 7500 feet.



So as you can see knowing how to get in shape for elk hunting is something that should be taken seriously by all hunters heading to the high country. I’ve included many other helpful tips and suggestions in my book, “The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide” that can make your trip run much more smoothly and efficiently.



Enjoy the upcoming season……………it will definitely be here before you know it!

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Elk Hunting Tactics…….9 Elk Hunting Tips For Success

30478190.thmLooking for some elk hunting tactics? Here are 9 elk hunting tips that hopefully will help you bag that elk!


1. If you can find out where elk bed down, feed, and during the rut reproduce, you increase your chances of getting your elk.


2. Elk like to bed down on the top of ridges. This gives them the advantage because they can see all around them and can move away from danger quickly.


3. Always approach ridges from the highest possible point. This gives the hunter the advantage because you can look down on them. We all know that even in whitetail hunting, height is an advantage.


4. In bad weather, you can find elk in the thicker evergreens to ward off snow, rain and wind.


5. Elk like to feed along the edge of meadows and will feed in the early morning sun on eastern facing slopes. They feed in the evening on western facing slopes as a rule.


6. Look for fresh scars on aspen trees because elk like to chew on them quite often.


7. Many ranchers leave their cattle in the mountains through the summer. They often leave salt and mineral blocks out that elk also love. If you spot these you will usually see fresh signs.


8. Elk reproduce much like whitetail. They will create rubs and scrapes just like whitetail but much larger. Look for these signs and set up close enough for a shot.


9. Use scents and calls to lure elk in just like whitetail. Best of luck and enjoy your hunt!

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Can WhiteTail Deer Hunting Improve Your Chances Of Getting An Elk?

34638509.thmSo the big question is, "Can whitetail deer hunting improve your chances of getting an elk? Well, my answer to that question is yes, it can definitely improve your chances of bagging an elk and here's why I think so.
I base my answer on the fact that I started out hunting whitetail deer many years ago in Alabama. I spent so much time in the woods going after that trophy whitetail.
Years later, after moving to Colorado and becoming a guide and outfitter, I used some of the same skills from whitetail deer hunting to help bag my elk. And I have gotten my share of elk over the years.
If you really think about it, Elk are in the family of deer so they share many of the same characteristics and habits of elk. Deer and elk have the same basic needs. Both of these animals need to eat, rest and reproduce.
When hunting whitetail, you are always looking for areas where they might tend to eat, or where they might be bedding down or maybe where they would be reproducing, especially during the rut.
Because of these three needs, scouting becomes simplified. Using these whitetail skills will definitely pay off. Now Elk hunting does have its own set of techniques but hunting whitetail deer definitely gives you an advantage.
So by combining your present skills with the new skills you learn about elk hunting, your odds become much more favorable on getting an elk. So, will whitetail deer hunting improve your chances of bagging an elk? You betcha it will!

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Preparing For Your First Elk Hunting Trip

34701243.thm I've been asked many times ,"What is the best way to prepare for my first elk hunting trip?" Well, here are a few tips that might help you as you prepare for your hunt


1. First, be sure and plan your trip well in advance. You will need to choose where you plan to hunt and what season you will hunt. You will also need to find out about licensing in the state, make lodging arrangements and plan many other details for the hunt. Outfitters book up fast so a trip needs to be planned well ahead of time.


2. Next, decide on what type of elk hunt. Outfitters offer guided and self guided hunts. If this is your first hunt, you might want to opt for a guided hunt with a professional outfitter who knows the terrain and where the best elk habitat is in their local area. If a guided hunt is not possible, there are other more economical alternatives that you could discuss with your outfitter.


3. Last but not least, get in shape. I can't stress that enough. Most good elk hunting areas have some rugged terrain and high altitude so you better be in shape. Most people are use to being at sea level or a little above. Remember, you could be at altitudes up to 10,000 ft and the air will be much thinner. So don't come ill prepared.


As an outfitter, I've seen too many hunters come ill prepared and wind up having a not so memorable trip. Don't let that be you. Are You Ready To Experience A Properly Planned And Executed, Almost Totally Stress Free Elk Hunt Of A Lifetime? Find out how at

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Preparing For An Elk Hunt

34799155.thm So, how do you get ready for an elk hunt? Well, there are definitely a lot of things to consider and plan for well before the hunt takes place. Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for your elk hunt.


It's always best to start planning at least a year in advance. That gives you plenty of time to set the date and location of your hunt. If you decide to go on a self guided hunt, (without an outfitter) you will have a lot more to begin to do including a decision on what state you want to hunt,where in that state to hunt, what licensing that you will need and much more.



Other things you will need to consider are what season you will hunt (archery or rifle), where you will stay and what equipment and gear you will need for your hunt. If you choose to go on an elk hunt with an outfitter, you will need to secure a date well enough ahead of time as outfitters can book up very quickly.



You can also go on what is known as a "drop camp". A drop camp is a combination of a guided and a self guided hunt. You are "dropped in to camp" and picked up after the hunt by an outfitter. They will usually provide the basic equipment for camp (tent, cooking equipment etc) but you will be responsible for everything else. A drop camp can be a much more economical way to go on a hunt.



How do you get ready for an elk hunt? The bottom line is, preparation well in advance. That way once you finally get there, you'll be ready to experience an incredibly wonderful hunt.

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How To Plan Your First Elk Hunt

34799155.thmPlanning your first elk hunt can be a little intimidating. The big question always is, "So, where do I start"? Well, the first thing you will want to do is start your research at least a year in advance, especially if you are going on a guided hunt with a professional outfitter. They begin booking hunts at least a year ahead of time.


If you choose to go on a self guided hunt, (one without an outfitter) you will have to make several decisions including what state you want to hunt, which area of that state to hunt, licensing and much more. You'll also need to decide which season to hunt, where you will stay and what supplies you will need.


Two of the easiest ways to go on your first hunt for elk would be to go with a professional outfitter or opt for what is known in the industry as a "drop camp". A drop camp is in between a fully guided hunt and a self guided hunt. You are "dropped in to camp" by an Outfitter.


They sometimes supply the basic equipment for your camp (tent, cooking equipment etc) but you are responsible for most everything else. What's nice about a drop camp is it can be a much more economical way to go on an elk hunt but yet you're not doing it totally alone (self guided).


As you can see, planning your first elk hunt is not an easy task. But the good news is, when you finally get there, you discover it was so worth all the time and effort you invested in planning for it. Are you ready to experience a properly planned and executed, almost totally stress free elk hunt of a lifetime? Find out how here.

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How To Get In Shape For Elk Hunting

7686232.thbMany people have asked me how to get in shape for elk hunting in Colorado. Hunting elk in Colorado presents many challenges as does hunting in any high altitude location.


An outfitter friend of mine said that he believes hunting elk is more physically demanding than hunting for big horn sheep. Great elk habitat is found in the Colorado high country and you are hiking either uphill or downhill. The only way to get in shape is to follow an exercise and conditioning program.


As with any new exercise program, you should consult with your physician before beginning it. One of the biggest mistakes hunters make is trying to get in shape right before their trip. You should start your program a year in advance. Aerobic training three to four times a week with resistance training twice a week is a good goal.


Don’t forget to concentrate on flexibility as this will help with hiking and if you are using horses for your hunt. As your endurance improves, add a pack that you plan to hunt with.


Believe me, you'll definitely thank yourself for taking the time and effort to get in shape for what could be an elk hunt of a lifetime! Get more insider tips on planning and preparing for an Elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains here The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide.

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