Hunting & Fishing  Elk calling tips

Chesapeake

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Feb 25, 2018
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I’m looking for some recommendations on the best way(s) to learn to elk bugle. I did my first elk trip in 2018 which was a great learning experience but didn’t do any bugling. This year I will be archery hunting and want to set myself up for success. What videos, books, advice do you guys recommend for a greenhorn elk caller? I’m not sure if there’s much of a difference in the equipment but recommendations on that are appreciated as well. Thanks in advance!
 

MNTC

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  • Apr 29, 2017
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    It's not so much about how it sounds as long as the tone is close. More about when and when not to call. Spend some time in the woods watching them and seeing there behavior. You will learn the language.
     
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    Caveman0101

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    Mar 16, 2018
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    See if you can find some Abe and Son audio or video, Abe is an elk calling fool. I'm not trying to sell his calls, they sound awesome but are hard to use and harder to tune properly but he can teach you how you should sound. Primos also has a pretty good instructional cd. But learning to sound good is not going to make that bull just come running to you every time. After I became confident that the sounds I was making were not scaring off every elk in the country I still wasn't calling in many elk. I was paying attention to the wind, trying to match the tempo and intensity of the elk I was hearing. Then I started hunting with a guy who was born and raised in Idaho and grew up chasing elk during the rut. The biggest thing I learned was I had never been aggressive enough.
    We try to locate elk at night, then before daylight, we get on one, the first call is to locate him, a few minutes later a second call will tell you all you need to know. If the bull is further away its time to move and I mean far and fast, no more calls until you think you're in front of them. This will often happen with heard bulls and usually, it takes a dead run for several hundred yards to get the job done, all the while paying attention to the wind. I don't give a shit what kind of scent stopper you're wearing and using, if the wind blows from you to the elk within 3-400 yards they are gone. Another scenario the elk sounds like he is in the same place, check wind, try to get within 150 yards before you call again. Next scenario, and my favorite, the second time he answers he cuts you off in the middle of your bugle and sound like he's halved the distance. These are usually bachelor bulls, very aggressive looking to fuck or fight. Probably going to tear down some trees and piss all over himself a few yards from you. With this scenario never cow call, only bugle and match his intensity. If you want him real close glunk and rub a tree with a stick.
    With heard bulls they usually have a circle you'll have to stay inside of for them to respond to your calls(@150-200yards). All the while they will be moving away from you, unless you can put your self in the path they want to go in anyway. But if you can get in close (inside 80 yards) and blast a bugle they will come to check you out.
    Young small bulls are the most frustrating, they will answer you until you get close, they will often stand in the open where they want to see you before getting to close.
    I've called in well over 100 bulls and all but a couple of those was with bugles, not cow calls. I'm not saying cow calls don't work but if you want a bull standing at 4 steps with snot coming out of his nose as he screams in your face and tears down a tree. It is probably going to be in response to a bugle. :cool:
     
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    Chesapeake

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    Thanks guys!

    Caveman- that’s exactly what I’m looking for! Much appreciated!
     

    shields shtr

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    Mar 4, 2017
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    I've called in satellite bulls whistling with just my mouth. Satellite bulls are fairly easy to fool depending on where you are at. Elk will get call shy, I actually never really call anymore unless I am bored, or if I want to stop one to shoot at it. If I think I am on a herd bull, I don't even think about calling. I've had a few come in, but in my neck of the woods most of them just would rather gather up their cows and leave. I've managed to shoot one herd bull with my bow, and I did it by just basically getting in front of him and his cows and he walked by me. I mostly go after herd bulls now because I have lost track of how many satellites I have shot with my bow, although it is really fun calling them in and being able to shoot them with archery gear. And Caveman is 100% right, if you don't have the wind in your favor, don't even mess with them until you do.
     
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    Chesapeake

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    Thank you @shields shtr and @Caveman0101 . I am an east coast guy so I will let an arrow fly on any legal bull this next season if given the right opportunity. Hell, I will be happy coming home with a cow but I want to give myself every chance I can to harvest a bull.
     

    BattleBorn

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    Look up Jay Scott Outdoors. He has some great YouTube videos and Podcasts on the subject. He'll also tell you that it is way to easy to screw up a bugle and blow a hunt. He's a strong believer in cow calls only. Buy a bugle tube and start practicing.
     
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    Caveman0101

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    Look up Jay Scott Outdoors. He has some great YouTube videos and Podcasts on the subject. He'll also tell you that it is way to easy to screw up a bugle and blow a hunt. He's a strong believer in cow calls only. Buy a bugle tube and start practicing.
    Horse shit, I've heard bulls that you would swear was some dumbass fucking up a call, only to be totally surprised by a real bull stepping out. One of the biggest bulls I've taken was with 20 cows and seven other bulls, every time he bugled all the rest would answer, it was something to behold. The thing was he had bugled so much and was so hoarse the only sound he actually made was the last part of the bugle, just a growl and it didn't sound like anything else I'd ever heard in the woods before, except maybe a bear. I mean there are endless accounts of calling in bulls with a whistle, just like the Indians used to do. Where most novices fuck it up is with the intensity and rhythm or just bugling to often.
    A couple of years ago I ran into some Wisco guys hunting, their strategy was to have one guy walk the ridge while the other walked about midway down the mountain. They bugled every five minutes to each other, one guy bugled twice in a row and the other would answer back with three bugles. They told me that they would have known if a real bull answered them because a real bull would only bugle once.:ROFLMAO: We quickly gathered our stuff and got the hell out of there never to return.
     

    Caveman0101

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    I can also tell you without a doubt if you have a bull responding and coming to you with the use of a bugle 75% of the time if you suddenly hit a cow call, your hunt is over. Unless it's at the moment you release your arrow to get him to stop. All these fuckers watching youtube is why there are so many assholes in the woods these days. I had a guy tell me last year "so and so said if you get in the elk woods and just cow call an elk will come by" I said good luck with that. But yes if you are near elk and they are call shy, setting up downwind and giving a few soft cow call will sometimes pay off. Although it will usually be a small bull or cow and they will come in so quietly that they see you before you see them most of the time. There is a guy out of Idaho, I think his name is Barry he makes calls and gives some pretty solid advice. He mostly hunts public land so his videos are realistic. I quite keeping up with that shit years ago when I became a master elk hunter with any weapon.:cool:
     

    BattleBorn

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    Horse shit, I've heard bulls that you would swear was some dumbass fucking up a call, only to be totally surprised by a real bull stepping out. One of the biggest bulls I've taken was with 20 cows and seven other bulls, every time he bugled all the rest would answer, it was something to behold. The thing was he had bugled so much and was so hoarse the only sound he actually made was the last part of the bugle, just a growl and it didn't sound like anything else I'd ever heard in the woods before, except maybe a bear. I mean there are endless accounts of calling in bulls with a whistle, just like the Indians used to do. Where most novices fuck it up is with the intensity and rhythm or just bugling to often.
    A couple of years ago I ran into some Wisco guys hunting, their strategy was to have one guy walk the ridge while the other walked about midway down the mountain. They bugled every five minutes to each other, one guy bugled twice in a row and the other would answer back with three bugles. They told me that they would have known if a real bull answered them because a real bull would only bugle once.:ROFLMAO: We quickly gathered our stuff and got the hell out of there never to return.[/QUOTE
    It has everything to with the area, time of year, hunting pressure.
     

    gonzaga

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    Apr 17, 2011
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    Shoot me a PM with your phone number. I'll get ahold of you and try to explain a few things....