In-Your-Face Elk

Elk guru Gene Kronberger tells how to handle big bulls when they're within arm's reach.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

**1. Be Patient **
Don't rush going after a bull if the conditions aren't right. In the mountains especially, the wind can trick you. If I get a bull to bugle on a distant ridge at first light, I may not go after him until late morning, once the wind has settled into a steady updraft.

2. Make Sure the Bull is Ready
If a bull bugles back but doesn't seem excited, wait for him. However, if he's thrashing every tree, has a hat full of brush on his horns and is going crazy, he's ready and it's time to move in. Your best odds of killing a bull are on the first time you call it in.

**3. Call Smart **
Don't cow call the herd bull. You won't get him. Cow calls work great for satellite bulls if that's what you're looking for. Instead, bugle and thrash trees. The key is to hit him with a response at the right time.

If you're sounding off constantly, there's no need for him to come looking for you. He knows where you are.

**4. Practice Close Shots **
Last year the longest shot any of my clients took was 18 yards. Most were 10 yards or less. Practice those close shots. Most hunters have no idea which pin on their bow to use for a 3-yard shot. The same goes for firearms hunters. Know your equipment.

**5. Don't Stop Thinking **
This is how you help control your adrenaline. It's very hard to do, especially if the bull is only 3 yards away. You have to force yourself to think about what you're doing-the shot, the approach, everything. If you let your mind go blank, you'll shoot over the bull at 4 yards. I've seen it happen many times.