Ultimate Elk Hunting in Oregon

Ultimate Elk Hunting in Oregon

Oregon is one of the ideal states for elk hunting. The rising herds and quality bulls provide an excellent opportunity to track and bag your harvest.

Quick question: have you purchased your hunt-tags yet? 

New regulations in Oregon, along with numerous other states, including Arizona, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Texas, have moved to an electronic tagging system (e-tagging) used via an app on your smartphone.

We’ve compiled this guide to help ensure:

  • You’re fully prepared, 
  • Have a good understanding of the various hunting seasons, 
  • Are wearing the ideal elk-hunting gear, and
  • Are familiar with tracking and scouting techniques.

Preparing for Elk Hunting in Oregon

Preparing for an elk hunt is extremely crucial. Something you might only realize once you hit the ground. Here are some things you need to put in your checklist:

Keep in Good Physical Condition 

You must be physically ready to chase elk in the Rocky Mountain West and Roosevelt. So, we recommend starting a fitness program at least several months before the season. Focus on both strength and cardio conditioning. 

Selecting the Right Hunting Tags

Every hunter is now required to carry their own state-specific tags. Read What is a Hunt Tag if you require more information.

Here’s an example of West Virginia Hunt Tags that would need to be purchased and verified before your hunting adventure. 

Tag kits come with everything you need to properly tag your harvests in the field, as per the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

Understand the Best Hunting Seasons and Locations 

The 2023 open elk hunting Oregon season is between November 11th and December 1st. 

The open hunting land in Western Oregon promises up to 30 units, while the one in Eastern Oregon only goes up to 28. 

Aside from that, there are controlled elk hunt tables in different areas. Consider checking these tables to find the right time for your adventure. 

The general antlerless elk damage open season started on August 1st and is expected to extend to March 31st, 2024, with a bag limit of one.

For more information, please read our 2023 Hunting Season Guide by State.

Gear and Equipment Essentials 

The right gear and equipment are crucial in elk hunting. You must have:

  1. Elk Hunting Boots

There are five essential factors to consider: material, insulation, height, size, and brand.

Leather is preferred because it’s rugged, flexible, and somewhat breathable. Other materials are available, but getting a professional opinion is best.

  1. Elk Hunting Clothing

When it comes to clothing, there are three basic elements in selecting clothing: layers, weight, and fabrics.

  • It’s best to dress in layers so you can adapt to the changing weather conditions. 
  • The weight of your clothes depends on the area and distance you plan to cover. 
  • For fabrics, consider high-tech, synthetic fabrics or merino wool.

Ensure you have other critical hunting equipment and accessories, such as

  • A hunting backpack
  • Tactical survival kits
  • First-Aid kit
  • Spotting scope
  • Rangefinder 
  • Binoculars

Expert Tactics for Elk Hunting 

While Oregon stands out as the optimal state for elk hunting, achieving success doesn't solely hinge on venturing into the wilderness. Employing effective tactics is essential, and we've outlined some strategies to enhance your chances:

  • Hunt in the evenings when elks are more relaxed.
  • Do not fear moving. Since elk can travel long distances when spooked, you should be ready to follow them over distances. 
  • Patience is key. Most elks move in large groups. Rushing will cause them to disperse. Keep calm.
  • Consider rattling to call them out, especially during the mating season. You can even use an elk decoy to attract the bulls.

Tracking and Scouting Techniques

Here are three elk tracking and scouting techniques that should work for you:

Follow the Food

Elk eat different grasses and plants, with a preference for high-quality grass. Find this, and you have your hunt. 

Find the Signs

Elks move in herds, which makes it easy to trace. Check for scat, tracks, and bedding places that are used regularly. 

Find the Water Point

With so much food to chew the whole day, elks drink a lot of water. So, look for reliable water sources, and you won’t miss the traces.

Safety Measures in the Wilderness

Safety should be at the top of your priorities. For starters, tell someone about your hunting plans and possible time back. 

Carry and check your communication equipment, like satellite phones and GPS devices. Most importantly, prepare for changing weather and emergencies. 

Hunting Ethics and Conservation 

Hunter ethics is a code of conduct all hunters must adhere to. Respect and responsibilities are the pillars of adhering to these codes. 

Responsible hunting does not take unfair advantage of the animals and other hunters. Hunters must adhere to hunting rules and regulations, including the season, proper tagging, weapons, and bag limits. 

Are you ready? Here’s to the hunt!