Yeti GOBOX Collection

Spotting Tips

Mini Moose

New member
Dec 10, 2000
Pocatello, ID, USA
For my elk hunt this year i am going solo and wondering if anyone had some spotting tips for me, i will be hunting in pretty thick pines with the occassional stand of quackies, not much room for glassing but since i do have a cow tag it will be a bit easier.

Also i will be useing a relativly small caliber either a 30-06 or a .270 so my shot placement is key i am thinking in the neck or at the base of the skull what do you think

Happy Hunting
A lot of things can go wrong with neck shots and base of the skull shots. Most people don't know where the spinal column is and miss it easily. Nothing like a good ol' heart or lung shot.

Nothing much to spotting. Just go slow and look hard for parts of elk. Don't expect to see the whole animal.
Damn.....I sure hate to agree on anything with Ithaca.....but he is right. Go for a lung shot.....Neck and head shots are for the expert marksmen.

As far as spotting.......Be quiet and move s l o w l y . Cover every piece of ground and don't just look for a whole animal,,,,look for color contrast....a piece of the animal....a tip of an antler....lots of time you can see an eyeball......Good optics are a big help.
Ther ya go Mini. There is some good advise above. If you see a really big brown animal with a dark neck and a light rump, no antlers, you have spotted you elk.
Shoot it.
Look for straight horizontal lines in the trees. They'll either be a branch, a log or the back of an animal. Look for white asses when you're hunting mule deer or yellow for elk. Look for black noses pointed at you. Look for legs from the knee down. Get down on your knees so you can see under branches better. Learn to track in all conditions, don't wait for snow. Learn to be a good tracker by backtracking animals you jump (when you're practicing) and figure out what they were doing when they spotted you. Spend a lot of time listening for cow elk. Use your nose to smell elk and deer. Learn to think like the animal you're after. Learn to tell what they're thinking by reading their tracks. Listen to all the birds and squirrels in the woods. They'll tell you where elk and deer are. You can learn to tell when an animal is starting to look for a place to bed down by watching it's tracks. When you see that happening be real careful. They'll bed down with their back to the wind so they can smell what's behind them. They'll use their eyes to watch in front of them. They'll have brush behind them so they can hear something coming behind them. They'll be watching their tracks for a predator following them. Always stop with your left foot forward if you're right handed. Hunt into the wind and keep track of the wind real carefully. Spend a third of your time watching the ground and pick where you'll step at least five steps ahead all the time. Look at least 50 yards ahead to pick your trail thru the woods. Take off your boots and walk in your socks if you have to to get close to elk and deer. Get down and stick your nose into tracks or animal beds to tell how fresh they are if you have any doubts. Elk are going to cross ridges in the saddles, so watch real careful there. Spend lots of time listening. Watch hawks to tell where updrafts are and hunt accordingly. Elk love to use updrafts. Learn to tell bull and buck tracks from cow and doe tracks whether in snow or dry ground. If you're tracking feeding elk make sure you know where the bulls are in relation to the cows.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 09-13-2003 23:46: Message edited by: Ithaca 37 ]</font>
Thanks for all the tips guys i hope to geet my first elk this year so everythign is being taken into consideration and studied over really intensely when i drop the hammer on my cow it will be you guys that helped me do it so you will deserve as much credit as I

Thanks again
Happy Hunting
Those are all the things I look for also, it is all very good advise.....
One other thing, make sure you are out at first and last light watching the edges of large parks for those critters that are sneaking in for their evening eats..
I, when moving cross country, watch for heavily used areas with a decent amount of tracks, then set up camp fairly close and figure when they are moving thru the area...
Usually twice a day, never on the same lines or trails, but usually alway's in the same areas..
Try to get a mile and a half to two miles as the crow flies away from the main roads, this will make it easier to pattern them as most generally they haven't been pushed very hard or at all....