Elk, which are also known as wapiti, are among the largest land mammals, weighing upwards of 1,000 lbs. They can be found across much of western North America, in a variety of U.S. states as well as Canadian provinces. Small herds are also being reintroduced in some eastern states. In the U.S., the best states for trophy elk are Arizona and New Mexico. Both states offer permits on a lottery basis. While chances at a true trophy elk are significantly lower in Colorado, this state has the highest elk population and is therefore the place to go if you just want to buy a permit and get to hunting.
Methods of hunting elk are as varied as their distribution: you can take an elk with a bow, rifle, or muzzleloader (or even hunt with multiple weapons); you can call an elk in yourself (this is called bugling) or have your guide do it for you; you can hunt during the rut or during migration season, on horseback, on foot, or with the help of a vehicle. Typically, hunts during the rut are extremely physically demanding, while migration hunts are less taxing and better for first-time or young hunters. Elk hunts can often be combined with mule deer, whitetail deer, and black bear hunts.
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