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Hot Off the Press

Expert offers helpful hints on how to hunt elk


By hunting different areas of the country with people you've never hunted with before, you'll learn new techniques, try out new equipment and broaden your hunting education. As an outdoor writer for 35 years, my job allows me to have a continuing education in the out of doors.

Last week, I went to Montrose, Col., to hunt with my friend, Wayne Carlton, one of the nation's leading elk hunters. Here are some items I learned about while there:

Super Sneakers — After climbing to the top of mountains, we stalked elk on benches and in parks (plateaus). To get close to the elk, we wore Super Sneakers, thick yet lightweight, felt-soled sandals that we quickly slipped on over our boots, The Super Sneakers muffled the sound of our walking on leaves, sticks and rocks and allowed us to stalk close to the elk. White-tailed hunters can soak Super Sneakers with deer lure to dispense deer lure and cover their human odor.

Smooth Talker — I hate not being able to use my cell phone to tag in at home and with the office when in hunting camp. However, a new product called Smooth Talker, a bi-directional radio-frequency amplifier that amplifies the receiving and the transmitting signals of a cell phone, increased the range of my cell phone by 60 miles or more. Our hunting camp in Colorado was 20-miles away from the nearest telephone. But I hooked my cell phone up to Smooth Talker, plugged it into an electrical outlet and could talk clearly and easily when no other cell phone could send out or receive a signal. I also could operate the Smooth Talker on house current, plug it into the cigarette lighter of the car or attach it to an ATV battery.

Vanish Camo — This year for the first time, Dickeys, the work-clothes folks, will introduce a new western camo pattern, Vanish, which combines shadows, light spots and an evergreen overlay that makes it very adaptable for eastern hunters. Most camos feature hardwood leaves and limbs.

The McDaddy — Most hunters find bugling elk with a diaphragm mouthcall tough. But Hunter Specialties' new McDaddy elk call, which hasn't arrived at stores at this writing, allows the hunter, by simply blowing, to make the lowest-pitched sound of a bull elk and then by pushing the lever, to reach those high-pitched notes of a screaming bull elk without having to use his tongue to meter air over a diaphragm. Even a beginner can bugle elk effectively with this new call.

GPS — I always take a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) with me any time I hunt in unfamiliar territory. However, last week I learned that when hunting in high country, a GPS must be able to determine elevation and show your route in relationship to the elevation to be effective. The GPS I carried showed the route we took. But, because we walked back and forth, sidehilling the mountain we were climbing to gain elevation, much like traveling a switch-back road, the trail on my GPS had so many lines on top of lines that I couldn't identify the route back to our vehicle.

Therefore, if you plan to hunt in mountainous ranges and navigate with a hand-held GPS, make sure it has some type of elevation discrimination device built into it. If not, you'll be as lost as last year's Easter eggs.

Learning about the latest equipment will help you broaden your hunting education and in the process, increase your hunting skills. I know I have.

Sept. 7, 2005