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How To/Pro-Tips

Check Out Your Gear

There are few nastier surprises than to be putting out your decoys and feel ice water trickling down your leg. Modern waders are made from materials that are far more resistant to weather or air cracking than waders used to be but they still require sensible care for a long life. Store them in a dark, cool and temperature-controlled place. It is also a good idea to put them in an airtight plastic bag for long-term storage.
Check waders for leaks well before the season. Small tears or punctures can often be repaired. Look for wader repair kits in sporting goods stores and fly-fishing shops. They come in both full-scale repair kits and smaller kits for smaller jobs. A field repair kit is a handy item to keep in your blind bag if you snag your waders while hunting.
Air-cracked waders are usually a total loss. Even if you patch the current leak, other weakened areas will soon give away. Give them up and go shopping.

Bowhunting for Elk - Get the Point

If you are a serious bowhunter for deer, you probably already have an elk-capable bow. Most bowhunters pull the most power they can comfortably handle to take advantage of a flatter arrow trajectory. Increasing your bow's draw weight or buying a new heavier bow is much like a gun hunter going up to a magnum caliber. You must practice with it to get in shape and back to your top shooting form.
Arrow and point selection is more critical. Of course your arrow should have the correct spine strength for your bow but going to a heavier arrow increases energy and penetration potential at the expense of a bit of trajectory flatness.
Your broadhead should be razor sharp and I prefer simple heads with three or four very strong blades for elk. Multi-bladed heads, very wide heads and the "trick" heads that pop open on impact cut a larger wound channel at the expense of penetration. With a big animal such as elk, penetration is the key to success.

Cold-Weather Hunting

Because I regularly hunt in northern states and Canada, I know a little something about cold-weather deer hunting. Mostly I know that it is difficult to stay still or even stay on stand when you are cold and miserable.

Staying warm starts with the right breakfast. High-fat foods, such as bacon, do not produce much immediate energy or warmth. A high carbohydrate breakfast of pancakes or oatmeal provides quicker fuel. Carry some high-carbohydrate snacks to the stand to keep internal fires burning.

Dress in appropriately warm clothes and put them on in layers. "Layering" allows you to put on or remove clothing should temperatures change. It also allows you to remove garments when involved in strenuous activity and replace them when you are still.

Sweat is your enemy. Make sure all your layers are quick-wicking and breathable to transport moisture away from your body. Anything that absorbs and holds moisture is going to make you clammy, cold and more miserable as the day goes on.

Binoculars for Bulls

It is possible to hunt elk without binoculars but I sure wouldn

Elk Like to Cool It

During the warmer parts of elk season, particularly bow season and early muzzleloader and rifle seasons, elk are very temperature sensitive. They are big animals and they've already started laying on fat and sometimes their winter coat.
Shade and water are the elk's equivalent of air conditioning. Hunters who go way up, above timberline, for early season elk should consider the absence of shade on very warm days and drop down into the trees.
The West is generally dry and water is critical to western wildlife all the time. A known elk watering hole is worth watching. Not only will the big bulls come to drink and perhaps wallow during the breeding season, they know the cows will come to water sooner or later.
Warm daytime temperatures also promote nocturnal movement. If it's hot while you are elk hunting be out at the crack of dawn and stay until the end of legal shooting light. In the middle of the day, look for shade and water.

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