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Elk calling

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longcruise

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It's going to be here soon, even though it doesn't feel like it. šŸ™ƒ

What are your thoughts and experiences on calling elk. I've had some success but I'm curious about the methods and techniques of others.
 
I used a Houchy Momma one year with storybook results. I moved towards some distant bugling paying attention to the wind. At around hundred yards out I sat down and gave two cow calls then went silent. Minutes later a nice bull came into about forty yards.
 
I use a mouth reed with a grunt tube. I can create bugles of different pitches, as well as mews and chirps. I use the bugles to locate a bull and then go to the bull. When I get in visual range, I usually set up in some trees or brush and convert to cow and calf calling to pull him in. Watch your wind, use cover scent, and sometimes a lot of patience. In one instance the bull very slowly circled my position trying to cut my wind. It took over an hour for him to circle, probably 300 degrees, to a clear area before I had a decent shot. If you are on a herd bull, the cows are more likely to bust you. You need to know where they are as well.
 
We have better luck having guys as spotters at various locations if they spot elk, they text the guy with hunter and they move over to where elk are seen. If you hit elk call they gone.
 
Hocchy Momma is probably the best thing to use, and use it sparingly. To many people trying to use calls of different types, and doing so poorly can do more to move elk to another drainage, than the orange men if full head to toe blaze orange in their ATV's running every road/trail they can while listening to their favored iTunes loaded into that expensive sound system the factory installed.
 
Not looking for knowledge or information. I do pretty well at calling. Just wondering how others do it.
LC, I gave up on elk calls after I found a new and better way.

What I did was dig a deep and fairly large hole, put ashes in the bottom of it, then sprinkled a little bit all the way around on the top edges. You see, elk are curious about ashes so they will walk up to check it out. I hide in the bushes and as soon as he walks up to look down, I run up from behind and kick him right in the ash hole. :)

Kidding aside, I never was very good at bugling elk.
 
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I normally use a diaphragm and tube to locate, then a Cowgirl mouth call in conjunction to vary the sounds and create interest. I have found that using the Cowgirl as a predator call, trying to imitate a wailing calf has brought in more bulls than I would have imagined. The Sceery Ace cow call also works well blown as a predator call, creating a more mature cow sound. Normally I use this in a series of four to five calls over a span of five minutes before changing to the full blown wailing. Sometimes they will come running in.............. makes for a fun time!
 
Bugling to sound like a lesser bull tends to draw in satellite bulls or move herd bull and herd away in my experience.. First 5 x 5 heart shot at 25 yards was called in with a Carlton call. Another hunter in our camp said it was coming into him two mountain tops away when I pulled it away. Last 6 x 5 and 6 x 6 at over 80 yards killed were with cow and calf calls. Unit 201 took 16 years and 15 preference points to draw. Herd bull with harems busy fighting off suitors. 5 x 5's hung out at fringe and did not challenge him. Good advice I was given in hunting trophy units is don't shoot the first one you see. There is high concentration of good bulls, low numbers of hunters and less pressure. You will most likely find a larger bull. When hunting cows pre rut I concentrate on lost calf calling. Hunting with a partner that is a seasoned caller and hunter can help when a bull tends to hang up out of range. But when it is circling and checking the wind you have two hunters' scents instead of one that might spook it. Plenty of times I wish I had a caller behind me before dusk when the bulls are answering and coming in. Beginner hunters thinking bugles and cow calls are magic flutes call too often or wrong and increased pressure may make the bulls go nocturnal or silent during rut. More often than not when I used to bull call to try to locate a mature bull, it is another hunter that answers and if it is a real bull, then it knows something or someone is in the area. The worse case was when I got onto a herd just after sunrise and trailed them three hours only to have an out of state turkey hunter at a dude ranch blow the stalk with his terrible calling. He didn't have any hunting tags and wanted to get good pictures. During archery season I find active wallows and watering holes and sit early, mid day and evening. Limit my calling to little or none. With introduction of timber wolves that are shown with their radio collars to be in my game management unit it will be interesting to see elk movement and any decline in numbers beyond the very bad winter kill two years ago. Season structures set for muzzle loading seasons every four or so years and depending on when the full moon occurs has bearing on how often and when I hunt and call. Calling seems to get little response the days following a full moon. Rut often falls on the Tuesday after the nine day muzzle loading season ends on a Sunday.
 
I rarely bugle. If I do it's usually over large deep valleys trying to locate if they are silent.

Cow calling works for me. Sometimes if they aren't talking they are there and will sneak in on a cow in heat.

@beardedhorse did you apply for anything this year?
 
Remy Warren has several podcast episodes on this. In my experience, calling elk (and turkeys for that matter) is all situational. Figuring out your set up, what to call, how frequent, knowing when to bulldogā€¦ Reading the behavior and scenario are more important than the elk sound itself
 
LongCruise, I put in for muzzle loading elk and pronghorn. Where I have permission to hunt pronghorn on private land only was hit really bad two winters ago and not many yearlings or does. No doe tags for antelope will be issued where I applied. Didn't draw or hunt antelope in 2023 and now down to loin meat from 2022. What did you apply for and have you heard from Colorado Parks and Wildlife? Should be getting results soon. Did you get to hunt spring season for toms and jakes with your new shotgun? Get it patterned? Had a bowhunter camped next to me who placed 2nd in the elk bugling contest at a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation annual meeting and show. You can be a top caller but the darn elk have to cooperate. Didn't get close enough to bulls in our unit but he arrowed a cow elk in a different one. Advantage of state wide over the counter archery tags versus hunt in your assigned unit for limited license muzzle loading. Last two years been getting uncomfortable close in bull moose during their rut. Not sure if elk calling attracts them. They don't look or sound anything like an elk.
 
When the elk were so thick on our ranch, it was an interesting study in elk calling. It seems they are like us, they know most of their neighbors voices and a strange voice bugling would put the herd on edge. Cow calling didn't seem to matter much, in fact it would get cows and bulls coming around to see what was up.
In the Snowies and Sierra Madres the archery hunters are almost as thick as the rifle season, and with the plethora of folks running around playing their favorite marching tunes on their newest latest greatest elk call as seen on the Outdoor channel etc, the elk get really quite and may or may not answer, but they will come look.
In the Winds and elsewhere, where the constitution has been changed to read we the furry little grumpy forest creatures,,,,, you're just as likely to bring in a pack of wolves or a grizzly as elk.
 
What did you apply for and have you heard from Colorado Parks and Wildlife? Should be getting results soon.
I didn't apply for any ML tags except moose. Buying my third $50 Point :oops: Extremely unlikely to draw. I applied for a late season either sex deer with 3 points and it should be 100% chance of success. Also a late season cow elk that should be 100%. I can hunt both of those with ML. Applied for a "not a prayer" antelope tag so it's just for a point. Grandson wants me to do a back pack bow hunt for elk so that will be an either sex OTC in september.

No news from CPW. Last year it was late may when things started coming out.
Did you get to hunt spring season for toms and jakes with your new shotgun? Get it patterned?

Not yet. Between weather, timing of family duties and some major car repairs I've not done a thing on the gun nor even gotten my turkey tag. I wanted to do the pistol match at FLMLC yesterday but WEATHER! I'm up to my eye balls in project commitments. I need to build out two bows before the end of may. Need to put together two rifle kits for granddaughters by the 8th of June. Am committed to two leather projects that should be done SOON!

Due to the generosity of @Century to late I have all the components needed to pattern and hunt the 12 but . . . . . see above paragraph!

And, finally, there is an issue of the Poke due this month. Deadline for submissions is May 10. Do you have anything?
 
I didn't apply for any ML tags except moose. Buying my third $50 Point :oops: Extremely unlikely to draw. I applied for a late season either sex deer with 3 points and it should be 100% chance of success. Also a late season cow elk that should be 100%. I can hunt both of those with ML. Applied for a "not a prayer" antelope tag so it's just for a point. Grandson wants me to do a back pack bow hunt for elk so that will be an either sex OTC in september.

No news from CPW. Last year it was late may when things started coming out.


Not yet. Between weather, timing of family duties and some major car repairs I've not done a thing on the gun nor even gotten my turkey tag. I wanted to do the pistol match at FLMLC yesterday but WEATHER! I'm up to my eye balls in project commitments. I need to build out two bows before the end of may. Need to put together two rifle kits for granddaughters by the 8th of June. Am committed to two leather projects that should be done SOON!

Due to the generosity of @Century to late I have all the components needed to pattern and hunt the 12 but . . . . . see above paragraph!

And, finally, there is an issue of the Poke due this month. Deadline for submissions is May 10. Do you have anything?
Your easy chair shows no sign of use. Your family is lucky to have the love you give. Hope you pull some good tags this year.
 
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