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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

Well, I finally got drawn for an Elk hunt. I'll be hunting a Cow with my Bow ! This will be my first ever elk hunt and I am reading everything I can find. However, nothing beats the real life experiences of those of you who have walked this path before me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how to take a cow elk with my bow. The hunt will be during the height of the rut (I believe). Please take a few minutes to post a sentence or two to help me out with a tip! Thank you all!

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

You're going to have a great time. Elk will be pretty easy to locate in that unit at that time of year. Focus on the little things like wind direction, and most importantly try to learn from your mistakes. You'll get a lot of chances if you put in the time and work hard. Good luck.

My wife's hunting that unit for Dec. Antlerless.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

Well, that's great news. Thanks for the encouragement. Hope she does well too.

But, I am still looking for advice on how to get a cow in close. Does anyone have an experience on cows coming in to a call? What did you do? What call were you using? What was the terrain like? Where did you set up? Were you hunting cows or bulls? What time of the day was it? Were you near a water tank, a wallow, a field? Think Thanks again.

elkkill06's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1946
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

I have always called cows in while trying to call in a bull. I have used many mouth calls, but I myself have never been able to use a diaphram call. I hunt all different terrains especially while I hunt elk, I am more of the run and gun type hunter. I never was one to be able to sit and watch an area all day, and as my father always says the elk are where they are standing !

During archery season I have called them in at any time of the day if they are being very active, but as always early morning and just before sundown are the best times. Where I hunt in Colorado hunting over water is not the most productive because there are way to many little hidden springs and creeks and you never know where they will water next.

In 2008 archery season it was one of the best I have ever seen when it comes to the rut. We had elk bugling and going crazy everyday. The second day of season had my two sons and I in the middle of about fifty elk, I started cow calling and almost instantly had four cows and five calfs in our lap. The lead cow came into within two yards and stood there for over a minute, but the way they had come in on us the boys did not have a shot.

Elk in my area tend to like heavy cover and try to stay in that cover. I hunt everywhere when it comes to elk, all the way from around 8600 ft to the desert. I pick a lot of cactus out of myself every year.

As for the way I hunt, I am very agressive. I will stay on the herd and try to move with them. I am usually not very quiet when I am chasing elk because when elk move they tend to be noisy, but with that being said I have also seen big bulls move so quietly you wouldn't even know they where there. I seen a bull one year down in the thick cedars that was twelve yards from me, all the bull did for over fortyfive minutes was stand there and every ten or fifteen minutes he would drop his head down to ground level and look around. He ended up walking away and not presenting a shot.

Setting up is something to be learned over many, many years. I don't care how good you think your setup is, nine times out of ten they will not come in the way you expected them to. Thats the great thing about hunting is it is a learning experience. The more you are out there, even when its the off season, the more you will learn. I have gone out during the end of July and snuck in on big groups of elk and watched them, it is truly amazing some of the things thay do and the sounds they make.

I hope this is some of what you were looking for. Good luck and good hunting !

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

Thanks for the advice and experiences! I was talking to a guy at a local Cabela's yesterday and he was saying how he hunts them between their watering holes and their bedding areas. And sometimes in their beds. Many people also hunt from tree stands in the area. I don't have one and don't really want to hunt from a tree stand. I haven't scouted the area yet but have heard that the forest is open enough to drive a quad to the downed animal for retrieval. At least if it isn't in a canyon! I was thinking about a spot and stalk hunt or setting up a ground blind near a watering hole. Most will be dry by the end of August here in Arizona so they will have to come in to drink in the 90 to 100 degree weather we usually have here in the summer. I thought if I do hunt from a blind that I will cut some branches and tie them to the blind to try to "brush it in" a bit. I bought a Hyperlip single reed call yesterday so I can practice cow and calf calls. I'm going to sight in my 50, 60, and 70 yard pins today just in case I have to take a longer shot. I'm hoping not !

Anyone have any other ideas or suggestions? Thanks for the help!

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Location: Hayden, Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2009
Posts: 45
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

Almost all the stock tanks in 6A have ground blinds built at them out of natrual materials. Just check the tanks to see what ones they are using and set up.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

That would be a great help. I'm probably going up there to begin scouting this weekend. Thanks for the info. Thumbs up i took my bow out to a large flat area to sight in my 50, 60, and 70 yard pins. Unfortunately, my bow isn't fast enough to be able to set the last pin for 70 yards. I ran out of room to lower the pin in the sight ring even though the 20 yard pin is at the very top of the sight ring. But, after several adjustments and a few arrows in the dirt in front of the target, I can now hit within a couple of inches right or left of the small 2 inch square piece of paper I attached to the target as a bullseye even at 50 and 60 yards. I know you can miss even at 15 yards given enough adrenalin (heard the story from the guy at Cabela's and his dad missing a big 6x6). I don't think I want to shoot from 70 yards anyway, but if I had to.......well, I will just try to get closer and seal the deal at a more comfortable range for me.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt
azcoyotehunter wrote:
I know you can miss even at 15 yards given enough adrenalin

LMAO. Here's my stories of lessons learned the hard way last year.

I missed a cow last year at a lasered (after the fact Brick Wall,) ) 21 yards. eye roll

I had been watching a cow at 55 yards, waiting for her to present a clean broadside shot. I was calm, everything was perfect. Then the cow I hadn't seen stepped into the open directly below me on the steep slope. She was sniffing the air and about to bolt. I quickly drew, held my 40 pin on her heart, and sent an arrow a few inches over her back. Oops!

The next afternoon I was still hunting a series of trails on another steep slope. I came quietly over a small ridge and saw an elk feeding head down on another trail 15 yards below me. The elk was totally unaware I was there, but the bottom half of the elk was obscured by brush, including the head that was down feeding. The vitals were totally exposed for an easy shot, but I couldn't be 100% sure of its sex. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting for it to lift its head, the cow I didn't see bolted and sent my cow off down the mountain as well. Cry

The next day I found myself in between 2 bugling bulls. I knew at least one of them had an number of cows with him, so I made a guess and set up on a trail that I thought one of the bugles was coming from. Sure enough I guessed wrong and the lone 5x5 came wandering down the trail and stopped perfectly broadside 8 yards in front of me for a minute before winding me and running off. Unfortunately all I had to capture that moment was my camera phone. It's a cool video but I can't figure out how to get it uploaded to my webshots site.

As I said in my first response, if you do a little homework it's not hard to get opportunity at elk during AZ's archery season. Actually connecting with a cow takes a little more luck and/or skill than I've ever managed. I had a blast last year, but this year put in for rifle hunts.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

"LMAO" ???? what is that???? Think

One thing I haven't done yet is practice uphill or downhill shots. I have seen the new Laser Rangefinders that compensate for angles. How were you able to estimate the shots? Did you have one of them or guess the range you should use? Is there a good way to estimate angled shots? I have a standard Nikon rangefinder and don't really want to spend the hundreds of dollars for another since I just bought this one last year.

Sounds like up and downhill shots are the next practice item for me!

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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Joined: 09/05/2007
Posts: 98
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

No need for the 70 yd. pin. Get good with your cow call. I have called in herds of over fifty animals with cow call. The cows will come in first. Get into a good setup and be ready. You will probably get a short shot. Scent control and good camo. I have had cows and calves walk within 10 feet during the rut. Don't forget the water holes. Have a great time. I'm still holding out for a Bull Archery tag. Not this year.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posts: 19
Arizona 6A Archery Cow Elk Hunt

When you say, "I have had cows and calves walk within 10 feet during the rut."

Were you in a tree stand or a ground blind or in the open at the base of a tree?

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