Outdoorsman Eddie Salter Loves Hunting Elk Day 1: First...


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Outdoorsman Eddie Salter Loves Hunting Elk Day 2: More about Salter’s First Elk Hunting Day

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Editor’s Note: Eddie Salter of Evergreen, Alabama, is known as Mr. Turkey – a title that speaks to his reputation of having won hundreds of turkey-calling contests and having had so-much success hunting gobblers. He’s also created turkey calls and sold them. Salter’s style of hunting is being aggressive. When he hears a turkey gobble, he wants to go to the tom and get as close as possible before taking him. Salter has learned that being a good turkey caller can make you a good elk hunter. (All artwork this week is courtesy of Dallen Lambson of Pocatello, Idaho, who’s won numerous awards, and has his artwork featured in Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores. 

Elk hunter in the woods and elk

I told my guide, Cliff White, “You keep bugling, and I’ll step in there and see if I can get close enough to get a shot.” I moved toward the bull and used my wind puffer to make sure that the route I was taking wouldn’t cause my human odor to reach the elk’s nose. Every now and then I could hear Cliff bugle, and the bull bugling back to him. As I got closer to the bull, I saw cow elk all around me in every direction, about 25-30 yards from where I’d stopped. Finally, I spotted the bull, and he turned and started walking to me, bugling as he came. When that bull stepped-out at 35 yards, I drew my bow and said to myself, “This is my chance. I’ll not get a better shot on a bull than right now.” 

At that time, I was hunting with a Bear Archery/Jennings UniStar Bow – one of the top bows in the Bear Archery line then. The first time I saw the UniStar, it had a funny-looking cam on it. When I met Mr. Jennings at the Bear Archery company, he said, “Eddie, let me build you a bow with 12 pounds of let-off. That way, if you see a turkey that’s standing behind a tree, and you can’t get a shot, then you can draw this bow and hold it forever if you must. That bow will be very fast.”  

When I first started shooting that bow, I felt I could hold it for 30 minutes. I told myself, “Eddie, you’ve shot a good number of whitetails with a bow. If a 700 pound, 5-foot-tall elk steps out, just look at a basketball-sized target to double-lung him.” When the elk moved into that opening, I let the arrow fly with a 165-grain Land Shark broadhead that made a big cut. I thought I heard the bull elk fall and realized that I’d made a good shot on him. He only ran about 100 yards. That broadhead went through the elk like butter goes through bread. 

Later, I told Cliff what I’d done, and that I was pretty sure I’d gotten the bull because I thought I’d heard him fall. Now, remember I’m an Alabama boy, who’d never even shot at anything as huge as an elk. Cliff asked me, “How big was that bull you shot?” I told him, “That’s the biggest animal I’ve ever shot.” Cliff suggested, “Let’s wait another 30 minutes to go to him. If he fell where you said he did, I can get my 3-wheeler ATV with oversized tires here to reach him easily.’  

About 30-minutes later, we got on the 3-wheeler and went to the spot where I thought the elk had fallen. Once there, we prepared him and put all the meat on the 3-wheeler. Two or three different times I thought the 3-wheeler would dump over with Cliff, but he knew what he was doing. I shot the elk at about 4:00 pm, and after we did all the field dressing, skinning, caping and deboning the meat, we arrived back at camp at about 11:00 pm. 


When we first saw my fallen elk, Cliff said, “Man, why did you shoot that bull? He’s only a 5×5. We’re in Arizona, and you drew a once-in-a-lifetime tag. You should have held off until you spotted a bigger one to shoot. This is only the first day of your hunt.  

I told Cliff, “Are you kidding me? For an Alabama boy to shoot a critter like that that’s 275 inches is amazing. If I were at home in Alabama, I’d strap that boat-sized animal to my car and drive all around town, showing everyone what I’d shot.”  

I was tickled by this bull and although Cliff didn’t think much of my 5×5 bull elk, I wasn’t sad. I was extremely pleased to take this bull on the first day of my ever hunting elk. 

Another hunter was at the camp when I returned, and I told him about the first elk I’d seen that morning that I’d tried to sneak up on to shoot. He went to the exact same spot later and took a bull that scored 450 inches. As I studied that hunter’s elk rack, I was certain the bull was the one I’d drawn back on, before the cow spooked him. However, at that time, I was as proud as I could be of the elk that I took. Although that hunt took place more than 30-years ago, I still can remember it as vividly as if it happened yesterday. Afterwards, I was always fired-up to hunt elk. 

Tomorrow: Eddie Salter Turkey Hunts Elk 

Expert Guidebooks on Elk Hunting: Best Sellers

Secrets for Hunting Elk
The quickest, easiest (if there is an easy way), and safest way to find and take that bull elk of a lifetime will be to hunt with a guide.

Chad Schearer, a longtime Montana guide and TV personality, told me, “My hunter is my gun. If I get to the elk, and my hunter isn’t with me, then we don’t take the elk. My job is not only to find the elk but also to help the hunter get to the elk and make the experience as enjoyable as I can for him.” That’s the kind of fella with whom I want to go elk hunting. 

An elk hunt can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be so tough that you don’t enjoy it. That’s why this elk hunting book starts with the confessions of an elk guide and with Chad Schearer’s philosophy of what the guide and the hunter’s relationship should be.

A good portion of your success will depend on your physical condition, and Matt Morrett of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania explains how an eastern hunter can get ready physically during June and July to hunt western elk, the animals he describes as, “Like deer or turkeys on steroids.”

Wayne Carlton, well-known elk hunter and TV and video personality from Montrose, Colorado, tells us what types of elk calls to use and what to say to the elk. Mike Miller of Colorado, another elk guide and Mossy Oak video personality, has tactics for the best equipment for bowhunting and gun hunting elk.

You’ll learn helpful strategies and hunting tips in this book, as well as some straightforward hunting methods that will help to make your elk hunt more successful.

“Thanks to the advice in your elk hunting books, I was able to call up a nice 6-point (6X6) bull elk! He was bugling like crazy. I called him in from about a ¼ mile away. Called him into bow range (about 40 yards away). It was a thrill!” ~Rob Brannon


Elk: Keys to 25 Hunters’ Success
Often just one tip or tactic makes the difference in whether you take an elk home to dinner or have to hike back to the truck by yourself. In John E. Phillips’ latest elk book, Elk: Keys to 25 Hunters’ Success, you’ll learn from successful elk hunters the strategies they use to find and take elk.

Many know that the technique that seems to work most often is to hunt where other elk hunters don’t and understand where the elk are before you go on a hunt by studying data from each state, visiting HuntData (see chapter 1), examining maps, and reading postings on elk forums.

This book also tells you how to get ready physically for an elk hunt, including participating in Train to Hunt Competitions, what gear you need to take, how to enjoy a successful do-it-yourself elk hunt, or how to pick the best elk guide for you. You’ll also hear about the X System and the Broken Y System of hunting elk. 

Although no one person has all the answers on how to help you find and take your elk, I’m convinced that this book’s outdoors men and women will teach you how to have satisfying elk hunts.

As my friend Karl Badger once told me, “Elk hunting doesn’t get any better than when I ride horses into the high backcountry, see two grizzly bears, hear a pack of wolves howl close to camp all night long, eat plenty of delicious food prepared on a fire and enjoy the company of good friends.”


How to Find Your Elk and Get Him in Close will teach you the tactics of 10 nationally known elk hunters, to help put that giant bull that’s been screaming at you from afar, in your lap. You’ll learn what some of the best guides, outfitters, and successful elk hunters do to find elk and get them in really close.

Also in this audiobook, you’ll notice that the majority of the experts call elk to within bow range. We selected numerous bowhunters and bowhunting guides, since the bowhunter has to get much closer to a bull than the gun hunter does – often less than 20 or 30 yards – practically in your lap.

On one elk hunt, I’d heard this bull bugle all morning. My guide had called him within 30 yards, and he was standing just inside black timber. I saw the smoke from his nose wafting out into the icy air less than 30-yards away. All the bull had to do was step out, and I could take the shot with my bow. But then, through no fault of my guide or me, the bull vanished.

The only conclusion I could come up with to understand why the bull I wanted to take with my bow hadn’t stepped out and given me a shot, was because he got raptured. He evidently had left the earth with no trace of himself.

This hunt was when I started wanting to learn more about hunting elk up close. In this book, I’ve tried to find some of the most knowledgeable, experienced, and practical elk hunters. I’ve always found that the best way to learn any outdoor skill, is to either hunt or fish with the best sportsmen in that field.

Often, in elk hunting, that means elk guides, who generally hunt every day of the season and receive a salary for every hunter they guide. So, I’ve put together a group of some of the best elk hunters I know to help us all learn how to find bull elk and get them in close.


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