Bowhunting elk, especially on public land, is one of the most exciting, yet challenging, hunting adventures in all of North America. Despite the fact that there are more elk today than ever before — there are now an estimated 1.2 million elk on the continent, with 23 states and six Canadian provinces holding elk hunts — success rates for bowhunters rarely surpass 10 percent. And that’s for any elk, not mature bulls.

Why is that? Simple: The average, everyday bowhunter heads afield woefully unprepared. They don’t realize how big and rough elk country is, how difficult it is just to get around, let alone hunt elk. They don’t understand that even though there are literally millions of public-land acres that elk call home, within that vast acreage there are only a few pockets of land that consistently hold elk. As herd animals, elk only occupy a very small percentage of a given mountain range at any one time. Once pressured by hunters, they can, and often do, move 5 miles or more in a flash as they seek solitude.

Increase your chances of success by employing Bob Robb’s 7 proven tips for bowhunting elk.