Elk Hunting Before the Rut

Kenny Flermoen - TheInsideSpread

Kenny Flermoen

AUG 15, 2022

Hunting Stories - Piedmont Game Calls - The Inside Spread

Category: Elk

Elk hunting before the rut can be an exciting and challenging experience for hunters. The rut, which is the mating season for elk, typically takes place in late September to early October and is when the bulls become more active and vocal, making them easier to locate. However, elk hunting before the rut has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.


Advantages of Elk Hunting Before the Rut

Less Competition: As the rut is a popular time for hunting, there is usually more pressure on elk populations during this time. Hunting before the rut can give hunters a chance to avoid the crowds and increase their chances of success.

More Active Elk: Although the bulls may not be as vocal as during the rut, they are still actively feeding and moving. This means that they can be found and hunted during this time, especially if the hunter is knowledgeable about the elk’s feeding and migration patterns.

Early Season Conditions: Hunting before the rut is usually earlier in the hunting season, meaning that weather conditions can be more favorable, such as milder temperatures and less snow.


Disadvantages of Elk Hunting Before the Rut

Quiet Bulls: As the bulls are not yet in rut, they are not as vocal and may be harder to locate. This can make hunting more challenging and may require more patience and persistence.

Cautious Elk: During this time, elk are not yet on high alert due to the rut and are generally more cautious. This can make it more difficult to get within shooting range of the animal.

Limited Hunting Opportunities: Elk Hunting before the rut often takes place in areas that are more accessible, such as lower elevation areas and clear-cut forests. This means that hunters may have fewer opportunities to hunt in more remote, wilder areas where the elk may be more abundant.

Increase Your Success when Elk Hunting Before the Rut. Here are a few Tips:


Scout the area: Scout the area you plan to hunt before the season starts. Look for areas where elk are likely to be feeding and make a plan for how you will access these areas.

Know the terrain: Familiarize yourself with the terrain and be prepared to hike and climb in rough terrain if necessary. Use the wind to your advantage, you can’t fool an elk’s nose.

Be stealthy: Elk are generally more cautious during this time and may spook easily. Move quietly and avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises.

Be patient: Elk Hunting before the rut may require more patience as the bulls may be harder to locate. Be prepared to sit, and wait for the right shot.

Elk Hunting before the rut can be a rewarding experience for hunters who are well-prepared and patient. By scouting the area, knowing the terrain, being stealthy, and being patient, hunters can increase their chances of success and have a successful and enjoyable hunt.

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