Elk Hunting Preparation – Mental

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Beyond a doubt, mental preparation is the single most important element in the success formula for elk. This is because both the land and the animals are radically different from anything the average hunter has ever experienced.

The western forests are vast expanses of roadless wilderness where a man can feel not only insignificant, but also downright intimidated. The sportsman who does not like to explore or walk much during the hunt will be at a severe disadvantage because the nature of elk hunting is adventure and exertion.

The sudden presence of a huge bull elk at point-blank range can also intimidate and unnerve a person unaccustomed to encountering such a belligerent animal, especially during the rut.

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These two factors, the land and the beast, should not discourage any hunter from planning an elk hunt. In fact, the isolated beauty of the land and the very nature of the wilderness dwelling elk are the main reasons why faraway men are driven to return to elk country every year to once again experience the magic of the elk hunt.

Mental preparation for the elk hunt is mostly a simple practice of searching yourself for the inner strength that all true hunters possess. You need to break down that notion of wilderness being too big to hunt. Think about it, the backcountry is nothing more than a long string of deer woods with no roads in between. A man with a map and compass has nothing to fear or shrink away from.

And what of the mighty bull elk? He is nothing more than a giant deer. One whiff of human scent from a 140 pound hunter and a half ton of rampaging, rut-crazed bull elk will swap ends as fast as a whitetail deer and run away.

One of the best ways to prepare mentally is to talk with other hunters who have been to the West hunting elk. Glean their feelings and attitudes, plus any practical knowledge or suggestions, and you’ll find yourself slowly evolving from a tentative amateur, into a sportsman with true grit, who is willing to accept the challenge of western elk hunting.


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