Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask JSO Question 2-Elk Hunting

Pictured above is Dick Corbett's 420 inch giant AZ bull guided by Darr Colburn
Here are a couple of questions that we have received about elk hunting from one of our blog followers.  We are getting lots of good questions so keep sending them, jayscottoutdoors@gmail.com

Answer by Jay Scott:  I would say first thing I would do is try to sneak in tighter to the bull before calling to him in the first place.  If  bulls are bugling on there own I don't call at all.  Try and get right in his hip pocket before you make a peep.  Often times they will come right over if you get inside bow range before making a sound.  Another tactic to try that works well on a bull that hangs up is have your buddy fade back and cow call like the cow is leaving the herd.  Most of the time the bull will eventually follow.  Lots of times they will follow silently because they  just can't take the cow walking away.  We refer to this tactic as the fade away or floater.

Answer by Darr Colburn: If the bull is on the move I would not call and try to loop around and get in front of him depending on the wind.  I usually don't call at all if a bull is bugling on his own.  I push the envelope and sneak in as tight as I can silently.  Once you get inside of 100 yards you never know what can happen.  If a bull is screaming and acting very aggressive sometimes raking a tree and sounding like another bull can push them over the edge and get them coming your way. 

Answer by Janis Putelis:  Change something!  Even if that means shutting up for ten minutes.  I also like to add lots of other sounds in addition to the calling.  Examples being: raking, thrashing, stomping, literally running through bushes.  Elk are big and make a lot of noise when rutting around so they expect to hear that from you to.

Answer by Jay Scott:  I very rarely bugle.  I may bugle for location then move in tight and "sweet talk" them.  In my opinion, very few guys can bugle good enough to consistently call in big giant mature bulls.  If you are trying for younger bulls bugling can be extremely effective.  To me cow calling is where it is at.  Try to concentrate on soft, sweet nasally sounds.  I have found the more natural and real that you sound the more success you will have calling in bigger bulls.

Answer by Darr Colburn:  I never bugle.  I am not a master caller by any means.  I usually sneak in silently and only call when I need to stop a bull for a shot.  Most hunters I hear call don't sound very good because they don't practice.  If the call does not sound good to my ears the elk will for sure know the difference.  Practice your calling and listen to the really good callers like Jay and try and imitate the sounds they make.  There are some great calls out there that sound good with a little practice.  Another thing is elk are usually on the move in the morning and evening.  The majority of the time they are traveling into the wind.  You need to be in front of the elk in the direction they are traveling to call them in most of the time.

Answer by Janis Putelis:  It depends on the stage of the rut.  I mostly just bugle as a locator or to keep the bull bugling while someone else is sneaking in, but I've found that there is a period pre-rut when the bulls seem to really respond and come to bugles.  I think at that point they are more focused on gathering harems and pushing off other bulls than actually mating.  Once a larger percentage of the cows are hot, cow calls are where it's at.

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