Where is the Best Place to Hunt Elk?


Many hunters actively seek out the best place to hunt elk, so we’re here to break down which locations are most likely to bring you success. After all, you don’t want to plan a hunting trip, only to discover that there are no elk to hunt!

There is nothing like hearing the echo of a bull elk bugle through a mountain valley on a crisp fall morning. These majestic monarchs are a remarkable sight in their natural habitat, whether on the east coast or the west.

Whether you prefer to hunt with a rifle or archery tackle, with or without a guide, or on private or public land, we’ve compiled a list of the top places to hunt elk. Stay tuned for more!


If you’re a fan of trophy hunting, Arizona is the place for you. You can find some of the biggest elk in the country in this sunny state. The downside to Arizona elk hunting is that it happens on a limited draw basis. Hunters apply early in the year and then wait with bated breath for the results. It takes many years for most hunters to get a tag, but when they do, they say it’s well worth the wait.


Forest fires depleted the elk population in Washington for many years, but their numbers are currently on the upswing. To hunt elk in this luscious, green state, you must purchase a big game hunting license with elk as a species option.

Next, choose an elk tag based on the area you will hunt in and the method you will use. The Blue Mountains of Washington State offer an expanse of high plateau with vast elk herd populations, but keep in mind that most general harvests here are restricted to “spike only.”

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Elk hunting is rapidly growing in Pennsylvania; many hunters say it is the best place to hunt elk east of the Mississippi. Nearly 500,000 people visit north-central Pennsylvania each year for the chance to spot and hunt wild elk that roam the area.

These vast, free-ranging animals can only be found in this area of the state. Here, elk retreat deeper into wooded areas during the day’s heat, so it’s best to come early or near dusk. To obtain an elk tag in Pennsylvania, prospective hunters must apply and then wait for the results of a license drawing in late August.

New Mexico

Like Arizona, the hunting draws in New Mexico are pretty limited; however, if you get the chance to bag an elk here, you’ll find some of the biggest bulls in the country. New Mexico offers hunting opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere, with prospects as abundant and diverse as its terrain and habitat.


Within the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, you’ll find immeasurable elk herds sure to make for an adventurous hunting experience. If backcountry adventures aren’t your style, Wyoming has plenty of elk in lower mountain ranges and plains, too. Wyoming is another state with a lottery draw system, but the odds are more promising than most other states with similar procedures.

Although Wyoming elk hunters are subject to the lottery draw system, most of the R&K Hunting Company elk hunting ranches are in the general elk tag pool. This draws 100% for a non-resident special license. We also have two migratory hunts with a small percentage of tags allocated towards non-residents.

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Many hunters assemble in the southwest part of Montana each year, where many majestic elk can be found. With more than 150,000 elk in the state, Montana has high success rates and a large selection of big bulls. Similar to Wyoming, the lottery draw odds are relatively high here. Travel to Montana to experience one of the most scenic hunts in the country.


In many areas, Idaho makes it easier to hunt elk with a first-come, first-serve elk tag policy. You can purchase tags online, over the phone, or at a license vendor location during regular business hours. With many over-the-counter tags and public lands, Idaho gives hunters a solid chance to chase big bulls.


Elk seasons take place in October and November in Oregon. These elk are some of the most sought-after species for hunters, making the state a highly desirable location. Applications for controlled hunts are typically due in May, but you can also purchase over-the-counter tags for general season hunting opportunities.


Many hunters deem Colorado the best place to hunt elk because of its numbers. Colorado has the largest elk herd in the country, with over 280,000 animals. This state also boasts over-the-counter opportunities, increasing Colorado’s popularity tremendously. The early season and transition from summer to winter typically yield the highest success rates here.


After excessive hunting nearly eliminated the species, elk hunting season was discontinued in Utah in 1898.Today, elk are flourishing in northern Utah, including many trophy bulls. Utah has more record harvests than any other western state.

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Many hunters claim that only Utah rivals Arizona when it comes to trophy elk hunting. Both states have the best public-land hunting, but Utah makes it more accessible with over-the-counter tags.

And, if you partner with R & K Hunting Company, you can obtain your tags directly from us. R&K Hunting Company’s professional guides are experts at helping clients locate and harvest elk during both the archery and rifle hunts.

R&K Hunting Company Guided Hunts

If you’re ready to discover the best place to hunt elk for yourself, joining the R&K Hunting Company has a distinct advantage. Our large private ranches allow R&K Hunting Company to carefully assess herd numbers, avoid excessive harvests, and allow for large numbers’ natural maturation of trophy bulls.

We have a passion for hunting and helping our clients meet their hunting goals; it shows in everything we do. Give us a call, and let us put together one or more of these spectacular adventures for you in Utah, Wyoming, or both!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>