Though a muscle-popping, big-boned, 700-pound bull elk is a tough customer, when you've closed the gap and put your bullet or broadhead into the right spot, even the biggest 6x6 won't go far. Here is what you need to know about gear and shot placement before you tackle elk.
Shoot fast carbon or aluminum arrows and 100-grain broadheads, either fixed or expandable. Are you leery of mechanicals for elk? "A lot of our guys use them with good success," says call maker and elk expert Will Primos. Whichever you choose, make sure the blades are sharp.
Know the Range
While we have entered a modern rifle-hunting era where 400 yards is the new 300, a 300-yard poke at a bull across a canyon or though the pines is still max in my book. Distance aside, you have to factor in the wind, your trembling hands and other limitations. If you can stalk inside 200 yards or closer yet, all the better.
Don't skimp on ammo. An elk hunt is the time to pay $50 and up for a box with premium bullets. You need Federal's Trophy Bonded Tip, Barnes' Triple-Shock X, Nosler's Partition or another quality bullet. Basically, you need a proven, controlled-expansion pill that hits hard, smashes bone and holds together on a heavy animal.
After you let fly an arrow, watch for the bull to fall and/or listen for him to crash down. If you look 100 yards, see him still running and seriously start to doubt your shot, back off and wait. "Wait a day if you're not sure about a hit," notes Primos, "as a bull will bed down and die there if you don't push him over a mountain."
When you flatten a bull with a bullet, immediately chamber another cartridge and lock your scope on the bull. If the animal tries to lurch up, shoot again. You want your tracking job to end right there.