Bowhunting for Roosevelt Elk in Washington

In western Washington State, there is an exceptional opportunity for September bowhunters to diversify their hunting portfolios by punching a Roosevelt elk tag. The terrain is diverse, the weather is warm, and there is an outfitter who uses a hunting tactic so smart, it’s the epitome of deadly simplicity.

Mike Vaughn owns and operates Olympic Mountain Outfitters out of Elma, Washington.  He offers private property guided and unguided hunts for several species, but elk hunting is his bread and butter and he has the formula for success dialed-in as Washington is one of the few western states which allows baiting for elk and deer. “I lease 17 different places all over western Washington, and I put 290,000 pounds of apples on the ground,” adds Vaughn.

That staggering amount of apples almost guarantees that Vaughn’s clients have a chance to look over several elk during one of their hunts, but it is Vaughn’s method of hunting that usually seals the deal. “I use tree stands and ground blinds sometimes, but mainly I use large box blinds which allows hunters to spend the night and wake up to fields full of elk,” says Vaughn. 

This method of sleeping on the actual hunting grounds prevents feeding elk from being run off by hunters approaching blinds. Essentially, it allows animals to develop habits and feeding patterns without being interrupted, and it limits the amount of scent that hunters normally put down while traveling to and from the hunting location. One of the best benefits of camping on elk is having the pleasure of observing them naturally and interacting with each other in a relaxed setting.

Vaughn explains, “Not very many people can successfully sneak up on a field full of elk and stay within bow range, so this method greatly increases the chances of success.” A lot of hunters have probably thought about sleeping in their blinds, but few ever do and this method is just proof that Mike Vaughn digs deep into his bag of tricks so that his hunters can achieve their goals.

I asked Vaughn why he got into outfitting and he quickly answered in his calm demeanor, “I have always loved hunting, but now I live to watch someone else fulfill their dreams.” Vaughn has helped a lot of hunters find success and if you want to experience a high-success western hunt without running up and down mountains all day long, check our Olympic Mountain Outfitters at