By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York –-(Ammoland.com)- VHS hunting videos from the late 80s through the late 90s helped to shape my passion for hunting and wild places.
One tape each year was what we had in our house and would watch it obsessively until the next season came around. With the expansion of outdoor television and now YouTube, kids and hunters of all ages have the chance to watch as much hunting content as they can fit into an evening.
I learned so much from watching old VHS videos and if you know what to look for, you can glean even more from the authentic and often rough-cut videos posted to YouTube. With elk season upon us, I think I have watched every piece of elk hunting content on YouTube.
Hunting elk is interesting since it is like blending turkey hunting with an animal larger than some horses. Where people can glean information in these videos is by paying attention to the little details, especially when the animal closes the distance.
Elk Hunting – When To Draw:
I remember my first elk hunt seven years ago and my friend, Bryce, telling me to always scan for antlers when watching for a bull working into the calls. It was a great piece of advice since I have watched far too many videos where the shooter does not draw early enough. Elk tend to come in on a direct line to any call, which can make for drawing difficult when a bull gets in close. I remember seeing this on TV at one point where the host waited to draw until the bull was right in the shooting lane. Needless to say, the bull didn't stick around. Watch for when hunters draw and do not draw on elk, and keep it in the back of your mind as you make plays of your own on screaming bulls.
Elk Hunting – Body Language:
The insane amount of content on the internet allows hunters a huge archive of authentic videos showing animal behavior. Learning to hunt animal means getting to know the animal and how they act. I’ve learned through watching YouTube videos how elk act when in close to a hunter. As I watch any video, I put myself in the shoes of the hunter and role-play the hunt to see if my instincts for making moves or for drawing in a particular situation would have resulted in a chance for a shot. Compare this to the outcome of the video and you have yourself a crash course film session on hunting elk. Connect to a projector and it feels like football camp meets the high country.
Elk Hunting – Shot Placement:
Watch shot placement. This is a huge benefit of being able to replay shots by other hunters from the confront of your own home. Shot placement on any animal is critical and especially since elk are much bigger than whitetails it helps to pay attention to what shots resulted in kills, which ones did not, and at what angles you can make an ethical shot at. This hands-on session in animal anatomy will come in handy as you size up a bull of your own in the heat of the moment.
Elk Hunting – Calling Techniques:
Calling is one of those parts of the game that you have to learn on the fly and have to work at constantly. There is an ebb and flow to calling elk and by watching YouTube videos you can see what works and what doesn’t. How some elk react positively and others turn and run.
Elk Hunting – Meat Care:
How you plan to deal with the meat often can dictate your hunt and how far you are willing to go to pack one out. Watching videos on the gutless method have been valuable to me and my father as we do not want to deal with the frustration and mess of having to deal with the guts. Learning the gutless method via video makes it easy to visualize and keep things clean while breaking down your food for the next year. Then read AmmoLand's review of the best Skinning & Hunting Knives
Elk Hunting – The Dream:
The biggest thing to take away from watching an elk hunting video is the passion, the excitement and catch the dream. We need to make sure the passion for wild animals and the public lands they inhabit stay accessible. Watch the excitement on the faces of those in authentic YouTube videos. There is power in the mountains of the West. Make a plan and go West.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid balances passions for business and outdoor media. While careers in different industries keeps him busy, his passion and commitment to adventure bowhunting and capturing outdoor stories is unwavering. Follow the adventures on Facebook.