Elk Hunting With Pasamonte
Pasamonte Hunts consists of 56,000 acres of big game hunting area located in Grenville, New Mexico. With countless canyon rims, tall mesas, and wide flatlands, record book-size game roam thousands of acres of fenceless, prime habitat while feeding on protein-rich mountain mahogany shrubs.
With Elk hunting in full-swing, Guide Guston Wood gives us some pointers on having a higher success rate pursuing those big bulls.
Elk hunting is hard. They aren't as easy to stalk and kill as other deer species. Being successful requires intense preparation and planning. It's physically taxing, with long periods of sitting in one spot and walking long distances - so rest up.
Half the battle in all hunting is keeping your head in the game. Hours and hours in the field can cause your mind to drift. You have to be mentally prepared for things to change in an instant. Stay present in the moment. You don’t have to get ready when you stay ready.
Watch the Moon Phases
The darker the night, the more daytime activity you tend to see from elk. This means on a full moon, expect to find success hunting closer to the elk's bedding areas and less success hunting travel corridors. One exception is that if there is significant overcast weather; the moon phase may have less impact.
Pick Your Spot & Glass
Take 30 minutes at sunrise to just listen. We've found that a high ridge with a great binoculars or spotting scopes is better than tromping around and blind calling. If in the rut, they will tell you where they are. We often elk hunt much like deer hunting. We glass and glass and then glass some more. When we’ve exhausted glassing, we do it again.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Any good hunter knows that patience is key. There's no need to make those calls straight out of the gate. Whether it be bugling with a reed call or making cow sounds, less can be more. Find your prize bull, cut the distance, then you can go to calling.
Don’t Gage Size by Sound
All elk communicate - a lot. Some elk sound “big,” some sound “small.” Unfortunately, some hunters only rely on communicating to succeed. You won’t truly know until you have actual eyes on the animal. I’ve wasted countless hours chasing rag horn bulls that sound exactly like a 400” granddaddy. It’s deceiving and can be costly on a limited day hunt.
Another common mistake I and many others made is not realizing how great elk can smell. They don’t catch a whiff of your scent and stare like a deer does - they bolt. One scent and it’s game over. Personally, I don’t use scent blockers. I just keep a wind puffer at all times and focus on the wind at my face.
What We're Wearing
In New Mexico, September and October is hot, with cool crisp, mornings followed by hot and windy afternoons. Elk have amazing eyesight, an another defense against predators. For this reason, I use Vycah Zynex Stealth Shirt. No matter how close or far they can see your facial features and keeping that covered is a game changer. I combo my stealth shirt with either the nomad pants or early season Zynex pants.
What We're Under-Wearing
The Vycah Briefs have a ball pouch to keep the boys from banging around (total game changer) paired with Vycah Max Merino Socks. Staying cool keeps you in the game and that’s everything for us.
In Cooler Weather
Late October, November, we change it up and do more of a layering technique. We keep Vycah's Ventral Rain gear in our packs for unexpected weather changes and layer the vests and hoodies with an under layer of Pyrex shirts and pants. Our motto, You can always take more clothes off but can never put more on when you’re in the field.