90 Days and Counting… | Elk101.com | Eat. Sleep. HUNT ELK!

90 Days and Counting…

Tick, tick, tick……… For some of us, that’s the sound of time slipping away for elk season preparation. Others may say; Ah we’ve got lots of time….. Almost three whole months before season starts! Which one are you?

Regardless if your an over-achiever or procrastinator, the count down has begun. I always feel when June first rolls around there is an imaginary hour glass that’s just been flipped over, and now I’m being timed to get my act together before the opener. The next 90 days will be put into fast forward, increasingly so, into the last few weeks of August. Being very far from perfect, I like to prepare for elk season by doing the following rituals. Crunch time starts now!


If you don’t already have a list of “to-do’s”, goals, and preparations made by someone other than your wife, now is a great time to sit down and put them on paper. With a long cold wet spring holding on in many Northwestern states, you should be able to allow some time for this.

  • Write down all the equipment that you still need to budget for.
  • Using spring scouting trips this spring will help you make a decision on where you’re going to be hunting this fall. Add to your list all the prospective areas of interest that you’ve been itching to check out.
  • Now look at the calendar and start planning some trips to the back country. Getting there may prove to be a challenge with larger than normal snow packs still blanketing the mountains. If your favorite haunts are still covered by 10 feet of snow, take a look at plan B. Many low elevation alternate hunting locations may be snow-free right now and have some elk kicking around there. You may find some surprising rut sign from last year, or get a glimpse of what this fall’s bulls may be shaping into. Finding your elk now, and following them to their summer destination will give you a boost in understanding the herd you hunt.
  • Once the snow melts, make a couple high country back pack trips to make sure you have all the kinks worked out of your pack and supplies. Find those trails now, and put them on paper.
  • Take a good look at what you personally need to improve upon, and add it to the list. Focusing the next three months on strengthening your weaknesses will prove invaluable.


There’s a lot of talk today about being physically fit and ready for hunting season. It’s very worth while to get into great shape, making your hunting experience more enjoyable. If you’re like me and have been slacking all winter because of various excuses, then its definitely time to hit it hard, as you still have time. It’s just going to be harder to get back into shape. No more bacon, beer, and donuts until you get your bull down. Then you can celebrate a bit. Make a pact with a friend or hunting partner to exercise. If you kept up your work out routine through winter, you’re already a step ahead of many hunters out there.

Being mentally fit is also very important. The power of positive thinking will take you far in the elk woods. Having a “can do” attitude is the fuel you need to drop 1000 vertical feet chasing a screaming bull the last 2hours of the day and not thinking twice about it. After the bull is laying dead at your feet, it is the mental toughness pushing your weary body to carry his precious meat back to the truck. Also, being mentally strong will help get you back on your feet after blowing an opportunity at a bull.


Practicing with your weapon of choice is paramount the next 12 weeks. Being able to set your sights and squeezing the trigger on your bull must be an “auto pilot” type of reaction. If you have to over think a shot, you need more practice. Making your bow or rifle feel like an appendage of your body will prove quite noteworthy during the moment of truth.

Learn to use elk calls! I’m always crowing about this topic, but it’s because calling elk will make a difference in your hunt. It’s so rewarding to call in a magnificent animal like an elk. Whether it’s a herd bull or a spike, you’ll have a huge smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment. It just may also be the deal-sealer of whether you tag out or not. Just fit in 15 mins. per day till season practicing with your calls, and you will become a better caller.

Who bought a new camera recently? Who has one that you never learned how to use effectively? Practicing with an unfamiliar camera during spring and summer will make a better photographer this fall. “Pictures are worth a thousand words”, so take pictures often while your in the woods scouting and hunting. There’s no better way of documenting your adventure for your own personal reflection, or sharing it with others.


Being an elk hunter, these preparations will not only enrich your summer, but will make your elk season unforgettable. And for an elk hunter, “that’s what life is all about”!

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