We asked a few of our experts to share their single can’t-hunt-without-it item of modern elk gear. Here are their picks…
1) The Blade
● “Once you’ve got an elk down, if you don’t have a great knife, you’re in for a long day,” Doug Stults says. “The Havalon Piranta Edge Knife, with its replaceable and scalpel-sharp blades, has changed the game. Instead of stopping to resharpen, I can swap blades in seconds. It literally shaves an hour off the time it takes to quarter an elk.” —D.D.
2) The Bug Proofer
● “In September, bedding areas can be hot and the no-see-ums are thick,” Jody Smith says. “It’s hard to stay completely still when you’re swatting at bugs, so I’ve started carrying a ThermaCell. I’m amazed at how well it works, and surprisingly, the elk don’t seem to mind the odor.” —D.D.
3) The Edge
“Like a lot of elk guides, I preferred fixed-blade broadheads for their durability,” Tom McReynolds says. “But the Ulmer Edge has convinced me mechanical broadheads can be great. They have excellent flight for longer shots, they’re tough, and the blade design allows the head to slip around heavy bone, allowing a pass-through shot.” —S.B.
4) The Locator
“When guiding hunters, knowing where we are at all times is my responsibility,” Mike Miller says. “With downloadable Hunting GPS Maps, I can check boundaries on the go to make sure we are legal. It helped me kill a 338-inch bull last year. I knew it was on the other side of a fence, so I figured out the border was between BLM and national forest land, making the elk fair game.” —D.D.
5) The Deke
“Bulls coming to calls are always looking for the cow that made them, and hanging up outside of bow range is common,” Chad Schearer says. “That’s when an extremely lightweight, portable, and easy-to-carry decoy like the Montana Decoy Cow Elk I is a perfect closer. I’ve used the full silhouette many times, but even the Elk Rump can seal the deal on a bull that needs to see another elk in order to commit.” —S.B.