Elk season does not end at the close of the official season. Once the official season is done, after a break to rest and recoup, it is time to start preparing for the next elk season. Here are a few tips to ensure you are fully equipped and ready on day one of the hunting season.
Focus on quality gear
Do not assume your hunt is a day trip. Make sure your camo can withstand a day (or two, or three) traversing the wild (https://hecshunting.hecsllc.com/hunting-seasons/elk/). Always assume you will spend at least one night out in the elements. You want gear that will emerge slightly dirty but in no less good condition than when you started your journey.
Buy the best quality gear you can afford. Buy less equipment of higher quality if you are hunting on a budget.
Physical fitness is key
First and foremost, you need to stay in shape. Take on a physical regimen that at least includes walking outdoors for a mile or two every day. If that is not possible, at least jump on a treadmill a few times a week. It is not only good for you in general, but it will also ensure you are ready once you face the rigors of the backcountry.
Get your permit early
The sooner you lock in your permit, the better. Getting your application in early is particularly true if you live in a state that has an Elk lottery. You should also apply for over-the-counter hunts if your state runs them (good states include Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming.)
Scout your territory
Walk the territory off-season or at least study topographical maps. If possible, spend a day or two looking over your hunting zone and familiarizing yourself with the terrain. Pick out areas you think might be prime feeding or bedding areas. Try to find remote areas with limited human contact as that increases the likelihood of an elk taking up residence.
Prepare your weapon
Ensure your hunting rifle or bow is cleaned, primed, and ready to go. Spend some time at a range and practice to get an elk in your scope quickly, and your shot will kill.
If the weapon is new, getting a few hours on the range with it will prepare you for how it handles during the hunt. The more familiar you are with it on day one of the hunt, the better your chances of avoiding problems when you need it to perform.
Remember your feet
Feet that are comfortable, warm, and dry make for a good hunt. Ignore your footwear if you want to wreck a hunt from the outset and make it a miserable experience. Buy hunting boots early and wear them a lot to ensure they are comfortable, will not give you blisters, and will stay dry throughout your hunting season.
Bagging an elk is a great experience every hunter should get to enjoy. The hunters that are the best prepared inevitably enjoy their elk hunt the most. Make sure you are part of that group.