First Elk Hunt. Bow or Rifle?

MNTC

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
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590
Location
Colorado
Rifle for a better chance of being successful right out of the gate. Archery is not easy. You may see elk but getting them to commit and be in range with the perfect setup, not see you draw, have an ethical shot, and not get winded... that may take you years of being into elk archery hunting before it all comes together. My vote is Rifle until you get some more experience elk hunting.

I would get some experience and learning curve out of the way on those southern whitetails before coming out west with a bow. Nothing beats practice on live animals.
 

zekesteve

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
11
Greetings from way down in Florida. I’m starting to plan for my first Elk hunt (2022 season). I am a long time waterfowl hunter and have never made the leap into big game. I just never had the desire to shoot a deer from a tree stand down here.

Elk hunting has always been a desire of mine, and I am finally in a position to drop some coin on a guide.

I recently started shooting a bow with some professional teaching and I have the setup at home to be able to shoot every day. I am proficient with a rifle and optics already.

So the question at hand is, do I go on my first hunt with a bow or a rifle? My real desire is to get into the bow world, but it is too much too fast? Rifle just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.

I realize that the risk of going home without an animal is greater if I go the bow route. Any input is greatly appreciated!
I hear you friend. Went on my first in Sep (10 days archery) and headed back this week for rifle. I love bowhunting more than anything so I had to do that, plus it gave us 10 days in the unit to learn our way around. We are doing DIY, Wyoming and camped near Kaycee. Wy Type 6 tags let us do archery AND come back for rifle. The experience is something you'll have to feel, then you'll know why its so addicting. It is physically grueling and (since I live in North Florida) you can't simulate altitude/oxygen. If you could do Crossfit while having COVID, that's a good comparison. I know this next off season I'm gonna take some trips to the AT as part of the prep for 2022.
 

trophyhill

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Feb 27, 2012
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1,887
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Tijeras NM
My first elk hunt was a bow hunt. Been addicted to both ever since. Bowhunting and elk hunting that is. 🏹🏹🏹 If you’re going to rifle hunt, I wouldn’t say it’s easier or your chances are better. For example I just did a cow rifle hunt this past week. If I ever do that again in the timber where they were holed up, it will be with a 30-30 with open sights, or a 12g shotgun with 00 buck. Or I could just take my bow lol
 
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browning2480

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Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
755
Location
NW Arkansas
If you are talking about Colorado, I vote Muzzleloader. You get the best of both in my opinion. You can call them in and have a 100 yard range. It is draw though, so that might limit you on next year.
 

arock

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
76
My first elk hunt was a bow hunt. Been addicted to both ever since. Bowhunting and elk hunting that is. 🏹🏹🏹 If you’re going to rifle hunt, I wouldn’t say it’s easier or your chances are better. For example I just did a cow rifle hunt this past week. If I ever do that again in the timber where they were holed up, it will be with a 30-30 with open sights, or a 12g shotgun with 00 buck. Or I could just take my bow lol
I'm going out this weekend and I'm half tempted to take the bow instead. I was in NM a few weeks ago and with the crazy ass moon they were doing most of their feeding at night so we were bushwhacking in the timber and every opportunity was under 100 yards (no shots though unfortunately). BUT in the event that I can catch one feeding being able to drop a bomb from a few hundred yards it would be super convenient to have a rifle.
 

cburgin72

Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
176
Location
Alabama
You've probably received this response a few times already but my vote is to go with what interests you the most. I think that even if you don't get one with your bow you will enjoy your hunt more. Not to mention you will enjoy the preparation leading up to your hunt more as well.
 

Gman12

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
35
I prefer hunting elk with a bow. I also come from the SE and it is so nice to leave the 90* weather at home with high humidity and go out west where it is perfect weather in Sept. I would recommend booking with someone who hunts private land and has exclusive access to thousands of acres. If you can find the right place it should be fairly easy to kill a legal bull with a bow. Good luck with your search.
 

ganngus

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Messages
161
Location
Texas
If I could hunt one animal for the rest of my life it would be elk. If I could do it one time a year for the rest of my life I'd choose mid-September. If I could use one weapon for the rest of my life I'm choosing archery. All of my hunting decisions revolve around those three things.

I was going to say the same thing, until I realized I would be beyond heartbroken if I never got to chase pronghorn spot and stalk with my bow...
 
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