Hunting Timberline Elk

One of my favorite — and most productive — approaches to bowkilling early-season elk revolves around spot-and-stalk tactics employed in an alpine environment. Gun hunters should take note as well.

Eddie Claypool

Elk often summer at an elevation referred to as timberline — the highest elevation at which timber will grow. Such elk usually bed in the shade of the upper reaches of timber and travel upwards onto the “tundra” to feed in the evenings.

By glassing areas of tundra in late-evenings and early mornings I’ve been able to locate and pattern groups of late-summer “bachelor” bulls.

This accomplished, I will backpack to within striking distance of the area, set up a spike camp and attempt an early morning ambush of the bulls as they are feeding downhill in the morning toward their bedding area in the timber. Remember that west facing slopes will remain shaded longer in the morning, thus downhill thermals will remain favorable much longer. This affords much more hunting time, allowing for a more patient, higher-odds approach as far as interception and/or stalking attempts are concerned.

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