You are close to a bull elk and you are looking for a good ambush spot before bugling or cow calling. Once you emit that call and he approaches, you know your location becomes the most critical element to success until you aim and release that arrow.
Finding concealment while allowing unobstructed shooting lanes can be a challenging task. One can not spend an inordinate amount of time pruning and dressing an area like preparing a treestand before the season begins. The following are a few key tips that will help one quickly find and settle on an ambush spot.
The most important rule that everyone talks about is getting in the shadows. Look around and observe the light and shadows in your area of interest. The darkest zone relevant to the surrounding area is the ideal spot. Even on an overcast day, get in the darkest zone. Usually a tighter grouping of trees or overhead brush creates the contrast needed.
If the dark zone does not permit a good shooting lane (presumably, because it is too brushy), then find a large object that envelopes one’s entire silhouette and back yourself up to it. Do not necessarily hide behind it. Hiding behind a tree can often block one’s shot opportunities. The exception would be a natural blind which permits one to shoot over it in any direction, such as a stump, deadfall or dirt mound.
Consider the density of the vegetation for the ambush spot. If the area is too wide open, the elk will probably stop at a safe distance and try to make visual contact with the caller. When the elk does not see another elk, it will leave.
The ambush set-up needs enough visual obstructions that the elk must come within bow range before it stops for visual confirmation. Such an area will normally have the shadows and natural blinds one will need for concealment. However, don’t go to the opposite extreme and set-up where you can’t see ten yards in front of you.
There will be times when you will not have a good ambush spot available. In such a case, get low. Go down on your knees next to the biggest object in the area. If that object is a clump of flowers, then use it, and don’t move until the animal is looking away. This scenario doesn’t have the best odds, but one must try.