Pre-Season DIY – Elk Scouting Tips

Elk Scouting Tips
Before going over some tips for elk scouting, here is a video to give you a sense of what it is really like to go elk hunting on your own. As the video shows, dedication, research, planning, and patience can lead to success. The following text reveals how difficult it is to hunt elk without professional help, but also how rewarding and satisfying the experience can be.
There is nothing more satisfying than firing a Grim Reaper into the engine of a bull elk with a Spot Hogg Release, especially after all the effort you put into making it happen. When you hunt elk on public land in a DIY-style hunt, the reward and satisfaction you get from the hunt are much greater. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big bull or a mature cow when it comes to hunting public land, they’re both trophies. You need a lot of information to successfully hunt elk on public land. Although all information is useful, the most important information you can have is a good set of aerial maps.
Aerial maps can provide a lot of information to hunters, which is why they are important to use when planning a DIY elk hunt on public land. Aerial photos can give hunters a bird’s eye view of the area they are planning to hunt in, allowing them to better plan their trip. These maps help the hunter understand what types of vegetation are present. When trying to locate a large bull elk on public land, it is important to understand the land cover and look for signs of open valleys and meadows. Additionally, elevation is a critical factor to consider.
While it can be useful to have a physical copy of an aerial photo, there are some downsides to it as well. Maps are often bulky, and hard to pack. If they are damaged or lost, you will be literally up a creek without a paddle. The internet has made it easy to find information on how to hunt elk on public land.
Go Digital
Most people today have a smartphone that they can use to access the internet and perform various tasks. Since some people who love spending time outdoors are always thinking ahead, there are now handheld devices that can help you get more game while hunting this fall! The onXmaps Hunt App has changed how hunters can use aerial images to their benefit, making it easier to scout or hunt on large pieces of land. onXmaps’ Hunt app is available for both Android and IOS devices and offers hunters a wide range of features.
The Hunt app is similar to the older aerial maps and provides everything the do-it-yourself elk hunter needs to be successful on public land. This app tells the hunter whether the land is privately owned or public, which is important information to have. This app also provides the hunter with information related to public hunting lands and road and trail maps.
The Hunt app is great for hunters because it is specifically designed for them. The app is interactive and allows the user to enter information about points of interest, such as property boundaries, hunting zones, and potentially hazardous areas. If you want to be successful on a DIY elk hunt, you need to have the Hunt app.
After scouting the area from the air, the next step is to look for elk using binoculars. After you have used maps to find elk during the summer, your next step should be to look for them by scanning the area with binoculars. If you want to be successful in elk hunting, you need to scout before the hunt. Although it is important to get an aerial view and to scout an area using an online map or app, these things can only provide limited information. You should try to go on at least one scouting trip before the hunt, and it’s even better if you can go on two. This is an important part of elk scouting. Head to the areas that you noted while scouting with your binoculars and spotting scope. Before you go looking for elk, you need to find a good place to look for them from a distance. Choose a glassing position that is high up and provides a wide view of the area. The best way to find big bulls is to get a feel for the land. To find places where deer will congregate during the rut, look for areas where they will find food, water, and places to wallow. These areas will often be near grassy areas. These are the areas you will need to focus on when the season starts.
If you’re looking for elk, one of the best things you can do is look for signs of human activity. When you’re looking for a place to hunt, look for signs that other hunters have been there before, like camping equipment or the remains of an elk. You should also look for ribbons or other signs that someone has been successful in hunting in that area. Too much might tell you to look elsewhere. Observing elk behavior during the summer season and taking note of their patterns will give you a good understanding of the animals, the other hunters in the vicinity, the landscape, the roads and trails you can take, and how successful your elk hunt is likely to be.
A DIY elk hunt is a challenging way to test your skills as a hunter and is an experience that every hunter should have. The hardest part of planning a hunt is figuring out where to start. If you want to start elk hunting, research and read about any available tips. Elk hunting can be an exciting experience that tests a hunter’s skills and abilities. To be successful, you must prepare and gather all available information. Aerial photography is a great way to start. While planning your next outdoor adventure, keep these tips and techniques in mind to ensure a successful trip this fall!
The Resources
There are several resources that can be used when planning a western big game hunt. Some of these resources include online scouting tools, maps, and game cameras. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more tools and systems available. Everyone has their favorites and we get that. It is recommended that you try out multiple options to see what fits best for you.
The Insider Filtering 2.0 tools from GoHunt are always the first place I look when I’m researching a hunt. If you need to get a limited license or are trying to choose between over-the-counter options, using a filter is the quickest and most effective way to narrow down your choices. This requires a GoHunt insider subscription. From my experience, it is definitely worth the cost.
I used to keep track of details like draw odds, harvest statistics, and other information about hunting units in spreadsheets and notes. GoHunt provides detailed information about hunting in Western states and every hunting unit, delivered right to your email inbox. Since joining GoHunt, I have been able to go on more quality hunts and have more memorable experiences than I would have otherwise.
OnX Hunt Maps
Next, I like using OnX Hunt maps. Like GoHunt, this is a subscription-based software. I have found it to be very beneficial, despite the cost. OnX is a great way to see public and private land boundaries in clear detail. You can save pins and routes on the website that will automatically sync with the same information on the mobile app. This allows me to look for potential animal targets on my large desktop monitor at home, but I can take all of that information with me when I go into the field with my phone. Before you go on your trip, download maps of the area onto your device so that you will have them even if you do not have cell service. This app turns your smartphone into a GPS.
OnX is an essential tool for all of my e-scouting because it allows me to see what properties are available, where they are located, and how much they cost. The website provides current information on land boundaries, motor vehicle use maps, and other topics. However, you will still find plenty of places to go and plenty of things to do that are not shown on a map. Although you can get an idea of the public access, roads, and most trails before visiting a unit, there are still many places to explore that are not shown on a map.
Gaia GPS
Gaia GPS is a great tool to have in your toolkit. Similar to OnX this is a subscription-based software. The app allows you to access your information from both your desktop browser and mobile version.
The strength of Gaia lies in its ability to produce a wide variety of mapping layers. There are a lot of different types of overlays that you can add to your maps, including USGS topo maps, Trails Illustrated maps, satellite imagery, slope angle, shaded relief, and more. There are several layers to this image, and each one can be turned on or off to see how it changes the image. This is helpful when you’re trying to familiarize yourself with an area. In many cases, trails that appear on USGS or Trails Illustrated maps don’t appear on other maps. These maps are helpful when looking for a place to camp in the wilderness or other large areas without roads.
State Game and Fish Agency Resources
My next move is to contact state game and fish agencies. I frequently refer to the Hunt Area Info and Public Access Info provided for each unit on the Wyoming game and fish website. To find the animals you want to hunt, search for their species and units on the Hunt Planner. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunting Atlas is a great resource for Colorado hunters. It includes maps of all of the state’s public hunting areas, as well as information on hunt dates, bag limits, and more. You can find a free resource on the CPW website. This Atlas can help you identify public land in any big game hunting unit quickly. This is a great way to get a feel for how a unit is structured in terms of public access.
The CPW Hunting Atlas has overlays for each big game species. There are several things that can affect where animals live, such as migration routes, summer and winter areas, and more. Although these species overlays are not very accurate, it is still important to be aware of the potentially dangerous animals in the area. Remember that. There are a lot of great hunting areas for animals that are not shown on the map. Instead of thinking of the text as an example of how animals use terrain, think of it as a general example of how animals tend to move across the landscape. From a very high-level perspective, these maps are helpful. Don’t take them for more than that.
Google Earth Pro

Last but certainly not least is Google Earth Pro. There is no digital scouting tool that is more powerful than this one. It is extremely helpful and it is also free.
There are many interesting and useful overlays that can be added to Google Earth. I have added overlays to the map that show game management units in different states. You can use all three of Google Earth, OnX, and Gaia to upload and share your pins, areas, and routes.
But the real strength of Google Earth is the ability to see your hunting unit in high detail. You can use a drone to fly over an area and then zoom in on a specific drainage to see stands of timber, grassy meadows, and water sources. In addition to finding watering holes, you can also find wallows, game trails, and other small details. I can get easily distracted and lose track of time when looking at Google Earth.
Prioritize Based on Your Abilities & Expectations
Additionally, think about your abilities and expectations. If it is not realistic for you to walk several miles and carry out an animal, then you should rate the options accordingly. Try to find areas that fit the animals’ needs and that you can manage.
If you’re alone, you might realize that one spot on your list is too far to carry an elk by yourself. Determining its place on the priority list might help. When planning a hike, it’s important to consider the starting point (designated trailhead), any roads that might need to be crossed, and potential places to camp along the way. In spaces without designated trailheads, where are the best places to access them?
In other words, utilize everything at your disposal to create an accurate image. Roads that are public include county roads and roads that are maintained by the Forest or BLM. Roads that are private include ranch roads.
In the end, try to decide which spots look awesome, which ones look pretty good, and which ones give you some concern. What is your next step now that you have a prioritized list of spots? You can go ask for some local advice.