The 5 Best Elk Hunting States

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If you’re wondering what the best state to hunt elk is, we’ve got some great options for you. However, there are a lot of things to consider. For this reason, it is important to look at each state and weigh their advantages and disadvantages.

Perhaps, the easiest way to determine which state is best is the availability of hunting tags and how certain you can get them. That way you can plan your hunt in advance without many obstacles. Additionally, you also need to consider the hunting opportunities available for both residents and non-residents of the specific state.

Arizona and Montana were holding back elk tags in 2020. This means these states might offer rare tag systems compared to other states – even more so for non-resident hunters. However, that does not mean you can’t go there to hunt elk. If anything, the elk here are just highly sought after so getting one is harder to come by.

Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are promising states when it comes to elk hunting. That is because getting tags from these states are easier and more affordable compared to other options. With these states in mind, here’s more information about five of the best states to hunt elk in:

1. Colorado – Overflowing Elk Hunting Opportunities

2021 Colorado Elk Harvest – 35,230

With the largest population of elk in the US at over a quarter-million, Colorado is easily considered one of the top states to hunt elk in. This is especially true during September and October months.

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Locals and non-resident hunters can access the land without many obstacles because the state offers tags for both bulls and cows. The huge elk population alone is more than enough for every hunter, something many others states can’t offer.

2. Montana – Prime Elk Country and Best for Residents

2021 Montana Elk Harvest – 26,005

When it comes to typical bulls, Montana has held the top spot for almost a decade now. It is a land of opportunity with a high hunter success rate, reporting 20-40% success rate in just the archer category alone. Montana has the longest elk season compared to other states with six-week archery, five-week rifle, and nine-day muzzleloader seasons.

However, Montana is not looking too good for non-residents. That is because it is harder for them to get a tag. On top of that, it is quite costly to get an out-of-state license for hunting elk in the area. If you are a non-resident who is quite adamant to hunt elk, they are willing to let you in as long as you have hunting experience and diligent boots-on-the-ground scouting background. Montana locals are also friendly hunters and any non-resident would love to hunt with a good elk hunter by their side.

3. Wyoming – Accessible and Budget-Friendly Elk Tags

2021 Wyoming Elk Harvest – 24,333

Wyoming is known to have affordable elk tags and has a 100% drawing success rate for hunters. For non-resident hunters, the state has a preference point system just for them. With the said system, 75% of the tags in a certain hunt area are offered to non-residents. This means they have a higher chance to pull a tag, especially if they have been unlucky in the other states. On top of that, Wyoming overtakes Colorado when it comes to the record number of typical bull elks.

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4. Arizona – World-Class Hunts for Typical and Non-Typical Elk

2021 Arizona Elk Harvest – 8,022

This state holds the record for typical and non-typical bull elks since 2010. For this reason, many want to get into the state for a hunting tag and make elk history there.

However, getting a tag in Arizona is actually quite difficult. This is made worse if you are a non-resident because they do not allow more than 10% of eligible elk hunting tags. As a result, there is more demand on guided bull elk hunting in the state.

Elk hunting in Arizona is limited and highly sought after, which makes it top class. This is why non-residents should not give up and still apply as the state offers 50% hunting tags that are randomly selected. Getting lucky in Arizona is great not only because you beat the lottery odds, but also because you are certain to snag an excellent elk there.

5. Utah – Best State to Draw an Excellent Elk Tag

2021 Utah Elk Harvest – N/A

Utah holds another top record for the number of bulls taken over the decade, second to Montana. What makes it different than Montana is the fact that it’s much easier to get a tag. Additionally, even first-time hunters have the opportunity to get one too! This state is also known for their big bull elks.

Your chance at getting a tag to hunt an elk here is better than most states. Utah is the right place for you if you have been unsuccessful at getting hunting tags elsewhere or you just want to improve your chances at getting one.

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To learn more about the Best Deer Hunting States click here!

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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 >>