Elk Hunt Preparation and Taming My Mind

Jessica Manuell // September 27

I’m here preparing to go on another fall elk hunt and realizing that I’m just nowhere near as prepared as I want to be. And it isn’t even my tag.

The management unit my husband drew a permit for is just over 1.4 million acres. There are a lot of places to look. There are several microclimates associated with the place and a slew of public, private, and wilderness areas to consider. All come with their own set of challenges.

With such a large area, the consequences of making a commitment to a section of land are unpredictable. There is really no time to think about the what-ifs for this hunt. Choose and go.

Elk Hunt Preparation

Along with the stress of those decisions, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking about everything that could go wrong at work while I am away. Did I think of every scenario? Have I write down every password for every application that someone must use in my absence? Did I leave enough hints to get things accomplished while we are out of cell range?

Let's not forget what's going on at home. Who is going to feed the bird? Did I prep enough food for us? Are we bringing enough water? How many clothes do I need since it can freeze at night, be scorching during the day or even turn into a torrential downpour? How are the tires on the pickup? Where is the dog’s GPS collar? Do we have enough fuel cans for 15 days? It will be a few hours to the grocery store or gas station. When is my next period supposed to fall? And so on…

how to prepare for an Elk Hunt

I believe we like to think that since we have done this so many times that it is easy to prepare. I can’t remember the last time I actually worked up a sweat. Climbing the hills to glass will be torture. Let’s not forget what it feels like to engage in foot races with North America’s 2nd largest cervid. Bring on weight loss and cramps.

{Read More: How to Give Yourself Grace During a Busy Hunting Season}

And even with a mind that just doesn’t quit, I am looking forward to this hunt. Maybe more than my husband but I can’t get a sense of that from him. We always seem to eat better on a hunt than at home. We definitely sleep better after the sheer exhaustion of the day. And all the stress and worries go away while in the great outdoors.

Did I mention I cannot wait to be in the midst of screaming bulls? It gives me goosebumps writing about it.

Elk Hunt Preparation

Elk hunt preparation is hard, but hunting rutting elk is pure bliss. It is a pain in the ass at times, but that feeling doesn’t come without strife.

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About the Author

Jessica Manuell

Jessica is a hunter from Northern Arizona and currently writes for and promotes ReelCamo Girl, Great American Wildlife, Miss Pursuit, Safari Club International, Prois Hunting gear, and her own blog Outdoors Lady. She volunteers her time teaching others as a Hunter Education Instructor in Arizona and she is acting chair of the National Wild Turkey Federation Women In The Outdoors Northern Arizona Chapter. Besides hunting big game, both archery and rifle and upland birds with their German Shorthairs, Jessica enjoys hiking and outdoor photography. Jessica graduated with a Master's Degree in Crop Science from Oregon State University and currently works as the Operations Manager for Canyon Coolers.