If you’re planning on going elk hunting soon, you’re probably tempted to talk to other game hunters to find out how they were able to bring down mature bull elks. While you can certainly learn a lot from these hunters, you can learn just as much by studying what not to do during your next hunting trip. With that being said, here are a few elk hunting mistakes to avoid.


Not Being in Good Shape


Elk hunting is far more physically demanding than many people realize. Elk are large animals that cover a lot of ground when they move, and they will easily get away from you if you’re not ready for them. Make sure to walk or jog every day in the few weeks before your next hunting trip, especially if you’re planning to hunt in steep and rocky terrain.


Not Knowing How to Shoot Without a Bench


Since you may not have the luxury of shooting from a bench when you hunt elk, you’ll have to get used to shooting without one. Practice shooting paper targets from standing, kneeling, and off-hand positions before your trip so you can confidently hit the real thing from an awkward position.


Using Long-Range Rifles


You might love the idea of hunting with a long-range rifle, but these guns are often more trouble than they’re worth. Shooting and wounding an elk at maximum range might only ensure that it will get away before you can kill it, and carrying a heavy rifle will only slow you down as you trek through elk country. Instead of buying the biggest rifle with the longest range that you can find, stick to guns that weigh nine pounds or less, and always get as close to an elk as you can before taking a shot. Try to be around 200 yards away for the best results.


Only Going After the Biggest Bulls


While all elk hunters want to bag a mature bull, these larger elk only make up one percent of an elk herd. If you’re only looking for these larger animals while disregarding easier targets, you might leave empty-handed. If you have a great shot at an elk, take it even if it’s not the perfect trophy. Bagging a smaller elk is still better than leaving with no elk at all.