When trying to decide the number one piece of advice to give when it comes to consistently harvesting elk, I always end up back at HARD WORK. The best calling in the world, the most knowledge of elk, or the latest in hunting gear wont matter if you can’t push through the pain and get to the elk. There is nothing easy about consistently hanging your tag on a mature bull year after year. In order to increase your odds you need to work harder, both physically and mentally.
“I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
September is merely the time to showcase the skills and tactics that I have been working on from November through August. Whether it is the long hikes with a weighted pack on a blistering July day, weekend scouting trips in August, pouring over maps from January-March, shooting an extra ten arrows a night, the harder I work the more successful I have become.
For Example, I am a firm believer that when I go to shoot my bow, the first shot is ten times more important than the arrows that follow combined. The only way to replicate this first “cold” shot is to shoot multiple times rather than one long session. Yeah, this takes time and we are all strapped for it but are you willing to work harder for success?
Whether I have just finished a five mile run or just finished my last set of lunges and the hamstrings and quads are on fire, it is easy to say “good enough”. The only problem is, I have yet to find a herd of elk or bull that have the same definition of “good enough” as I do. By running the extra mile or doing the extra set in the weight room, I have increased my chances of becoming successful.
Hard work doesn’t always have to come in the form of physical exertion. Every winter I pull out my maps, open up google earth, and pull out the game regulations and begin to look for uncharted areas that will hold elk. I look for areas that are off the beaten path, hard to get to and have the feed, water and cover that the elk need to live. I spend more time scouting from my desk than I care to admit. This armchair elk scouting has paid off huge the last couple of years.
These are just a few examples of ways that I push myself to become a better elk hunter. I guarantee that by working harder everyone will increase their chances of bagging a bull come September. I just turned 28 years old and am thinking about giving myself a day off as a present, instead how about I ride my bike twice as far as I had planned, After all I just became a year older.
– Jason Phelps