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Elk hunting is not for the faint-hearted. It is an activity that will test your strength, endurance, and patience. But it will all be worth it as the challenges that you’ll face will give you unique life experiences that money cannot buy. Moreover, if you hunt with your dad, uncles or brothers, you’ll be able to spend time with them and make your bonds stronger than ever.

If you want to try out elk hunting, be prepared to do the work. There are no short cuts to capturing a tough elk, so you better make sure that you’re well-prepared.

1. Understand and Study Elk Habits
A hunter must first be familiar with his prey in order for him to know how to capture it. So, before you go out on your elk hunt, make sure that you know how elks behave, where elks can be found, and how to ensnare them.

Elks are wild animals. They could live in herds, while others, particularly bulls, prefer being solitary. As opposed to domestic elks, wild elks are very timid creatures that readily shy away from humans. They run away or get spooked at the slightest sounds. They can sense people’s footsteps or approaching animals. Because the smallest noise can easily cause a stampede, which is a dangerous event, it’s important to approach elks with caution.

2. Know the Elk’s Environment
Elks live in breathtaking expanses of land. But even though these areas are striking, these places can be the toughest terrains to be on. By understanding the elk’s habitat, you’ll be more equipped to deal with environmental conditions. There’s no use hunting an elk when you can’t do the job properly because you’re too cold or because your gear isn’t protecting you from the harsh elements, which can affect your performance.

Because most elk hunts occur during cold months, you should have clothes that will keep you warm. Footwear should be sturdy, water resistant and yet comfortable enough for long hikes, particularly if you’re planning to go on foot. Your boots should also have grip so that you won’t easily slip on moss-covered grounds.

3. Know What Hunting Gear Suits You Best
Do you prefer the bow or rifle? These are the top two choices when it comes to elk hunting tools. Before deciding which one, determine your strengths first. Are you better at bow hunting or archery? Or do your talents lie in rifle hunting? There are also several types of bows and rifles. So, make sure that you get one that you’ll have no problem carting around. More importantly, test your hunting tools to see if these are working efficiently. Also, fill your pack with items that you need, such as food, water, matches for fire, or a sleeping bag. Don’t forget to carry a sharp knife too.

4. Know How to Properly Pack Elk Meat
It’s impossible to carry an entire one hundred pound elk across rough lands even with the help of your sons or nephews. So, once you get an elk, you’ll need to carve and pack its meat. This is what’s known as “field dressing.” It’s pretty much an unpleasant and also a dangerous job as elk blood could easily attract other predators, such as bears. This is why field dressing an elk must be done quickly and efficiently. Then, meat must be stored properly so that it remains in good condition. Plus, it’s a must to pack meat correctly so that you don’t leave a scent that animals could follow.

Claire Hart contributes articles to several hobby and outdoor sites. She also writes for Velvet, which offers helpful info about elk hunting.