Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland with his elk hunting gear

What’s Elk Hunting About Day 1: Ronnie Strickland –...

An elk in the wild

What’s Elk Hunting About Day 3: Corky Richardson Bowhunts...

Comments Off on What’s Elk Hunting About Day 2: Ronnie Strickland Bowhunts Public Land Elk Bowhunting, Elk Hunting, Hunting Advice

What’s Elk Hunting About Day 2: Ronnie Strickland Bowhunts Public Land Elk

Two elk in the wild
Show This to Your Friends:

Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland of West Point, MississippiEditor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland of West Point, Mississippi, is a legend in the outdoors. Cuz started his outdoor career as an outdoor editor for the Natchez, Miss. newspaper. Then when the world discovered video, Cuz was a cameraman and vidiot for Primos Game Calls. Today, Cuz is vice president of Mossy Oak television and video productions. Cuz has been a bowhunter for as long as he can remember and once shot tournament archery.


Some years ago, I met Kevin Williams at a hunting show, who lived in elk country and wanted to swap a whitetail hunt for an elk hunt. I was all over that. Kevin, a logger from Montana, seemed to know everything about the elk up there on public lands. So, I agreed to swap him a whitetail hunt in Mississippi for an elk hunt in Montana. We were going to hunt the Bull Mountains, which is public elk-hunting land. Kevin acted as my guide. He’d show me where to go and then tell me where he’d meet me a little later in the day.


The first elk he called in stopped out at about 70 yards. There wasn’t any wind blowing, but the elk was out in one of those little openings that they call parks out there. I just didn’t feel comfortable taking a shot that far. So, I passed him up.


Elk in the wildThis was the first week of elk season, and the elk weren’t really bugling a lot. We covered a lot of ground trying to find an elk for me to take. Finally, we located a herd of elk down in a little bowl. We had a hard decision to make. Should we go down in that bowl to hunt those elk? If we went down into the bowl, climbing back out would be a problem – especially if we had an elk on our backs. The sides of the bowl were straight up and down. In the bottom was a little creek and a lot of shade, and the air was really cool.


We heard and then saw a big bull elk bugling about 400-yards away with about 40 cows all the way around him. Kevin set-up behind me to call. Every time Kevin called, the bull would answer with a bugle. Finally, I turned and whispered to Kevin, “I see a 5×5 coming toward us. I’m sure he’s a satellite bull, but he’s coming straight.” I pointed to where the bull was coming from, and Kevin gave me the thumbs-down and whispered, “Let that bull pass by you, and wait on the big bull to come.” I smiled. I was thinking, “Yeah, okay, right, that’s what I’m going to do” – knowing that if the 5×5 got within range, he was going to meet Mr. Broadhead.


An elk shot hit by an arrowAs the 5×5 came in, he was walking slowly and took about 20 minutes to reach a ledge just below me. I had ranged a fallen spruce tree at 33 yards from my stand site on the ledge. When that 5×5 came up the trail and turned to his right, he was on my side of the spruce tree. So, I knew he was at least 30 yards and maybe a little closer. I came to full draw and released the arrow. I felt like I had made a good shot. However, when I reached the spot where I’d shot the bull, I didn’t find a lot of blood, which really surprised me. An elk has long legs and a long body. They can cover a lot of ground, especially when they’re running. But I’d always thought, if I double-lunged an animal, the most the animal could survive would be 10 seconds. I closed my eyes and pictured that elk running full out. I decided an elk could cover a lot of ground in 10 seconds. About 1-1/2-hours later, I found my bull. I can remember lying down on top of the elk and patting him. I told the elk and myself, “This is the coolest hunt ever.”


I’m still fascinated with the fact that I took that elk only shooting about 59 pounds of draw weight on my bow. In the old days, most of the real bowhunters were shooting 70 to 80 pounds. But with the new and better engineering that bow companies have now, you don’t have to be a strong man or woman to shoot an elk with a bow. I don’t think I’ll ever shoot more than 60 pounds, and I still only shoot three pins – 20, 30 and 40 yards. I know how to shoot the gap between the pins. So, I’d rather get closer and lessen the chances of missing the critter than I had to take a shot at 50 to 70 yards and increase the chances of missing him.


To learn more about hunting elk successfully, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters’ Success,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at

You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon allows you to read and hear 10% of the book for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click.


Tomorrow: Corky Richardson Bowhunts Big Elk

Comments are closed.