Elk hunting is one of the grandest hunting adventures in North America, and you needn’t be rich to enjoy it. In many Western states, if you can camp you can hunt elk, even it you don’t have a guide. Wayne Carlton took this huge bull, pictured above, from a waterhole-side tree stand. He found elk, figured out a pattern, and waited like any good whitetail hunter would do. If you need a visual stimulus to plan a hunt, check these out:

byers010Elk-hunt camps are great outdoor fun whether you hunt with bow, blackpowder, or rifle. Camps often include members of various generations, where everyone pitches in to help. Notice that the cook (on the left in this picture) is packing heat and nobody complained about the grub.

Colorado Rifle Elk 2010 007Elk camps require teamwork and lots of gear. Depending upon your location in the United States, some members may drive and tow a trailer full of gear while other members fly to a nearby airport and meet their buddies. By sharing resources, the overall cost of the hunt is lowered and meat returns in excellent shape.

Colorado Elk 2010 835The American West has millions of acres of public land from National Forests to Bureau of Land Management areas to state tracts, most of which can be hunted. All National Forests have headquarters and staff that will assist you with maps, directions, and even information about where you’re likely to find elk. They aren’t just for tourists; stopping at a ranger station should be first on your list. Rangers can help you locate campsites and RV parks and can explain any special regulations about the area. Your tax dollars and monies from the 11% special tax on firearms helps to support these folks, so don’t hesitate to use their resources.

Idaho Elk 06 1942

Tales around a campfire are the essence of any elk hunt. Whether or not you get lucky (probably not), you’ll never forget the memories spent in wild places with great friends. Elk are among nature’s most noble beasts, and when you outsmart one you can celebrate with the finest of venison that it provides. Sharing it with your family and friends is a fitting celebration.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.