Yeti

Bugling bulls

Gr8bawana

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I've got a question for those of you that get to hunt rutting bulls on a regular basis. Last month I was in AZ with my brother for an archery bull hunt. For about the first week the bulls were extremely quiet, no bugles at all. When they started bugling they were going crazy bugling until about 8:30 in the morning. They did this for about three days and then they went quiet again.Do they start and stop rutting? Is this normal behavior? This was just the beginning of the rut and the bulls didn't have many cows herded up yet.
Thanks for any info.
 

Greenhorn

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Did they go quiet or did they actually leave?

Last year I saw some crazy rutting action on Sept 8. This year, not much until October 4th. I went Sept 21-25 without seeing or hearing anything, but I think it's because I wasn't where the elk were.
 

Baerman

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Greenhorn has a good question.

Also, when was your hunt and did you or other hunters pressure them? I've gotten into elk early in the season to have them stop for a week to ten days. I think early season they are just starting to puff their chest but the rut is not really going yet and if they feel pressure then they go silent and or move over a drainage or two. I've also been in bulls early season only to have them leave the second week but come back later. I believe that if you find a bachelor group that about the 12th of Sept. in Idaho they start to search for cows. The bulls can move a lot from around the 12th to the 17th in search of cows.

I spoke to a buddy of mine who hunts AZ regularly and he said the rut was very late this year down there.
 

Gr8bawana

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No the elk did not leave. What few bugles we heard after they quieted down were stopping right at daylight.
 

sagebrush

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Here in Az, it can be pretty warm during September. My experience is they tend to be quiet on the warm days but a monsoon at 2 in the afternoon can get them fired up as it can drop the temperature 30-40 degrees. When the rut is really going, they will bugle round the clock except for 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the day if you are in a unit with high bull to cow ratios. I think your experience is more temperature related as it was warm this year with temps in the 80's.
 

whiskeydog

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This year up in the breaks (north side), we watched a huge group of elk in the trees bugling all day long. it was Sep 20-22 and it was 80+ degrees and miserable out. they hung out in the trees all day, bugling every 5 minutes or so...all day long! and then fed out onto the prairie when it cooled in the evening. very frustrating, because while we were on BLM and they were only 500 yards away, all the elk were on private, stayed on private, and knew exactly where the boundary was even with no fence between us.
 

hank4elk

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I'm hoping they have just been shut down some by the heat the last couple weeks. Never did have day & night bugles going off.Just a few at sunset & daylight. Monsoon cut off late in Sept. Lots of feed and water has them scattered around my area. And 85 in Oct is not usual.
Could be different south 40 miles where I'm heading for my mz bull hunt. Have rains coming back the day before,tapering off thru my hunt. 2 yrs ago they were screaming all day & night the 1st 3 days of my hunt.
Late rut,3rd week of Oct is not uncommon in southern NM. I've heard bugles into Nov before.

I figure they are just waiting for me to show up now with this change in weather & some hot cow calling......
 
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Lawnboy

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I have seen this multiple times. My friend who has a ranch that is basically loaded was guiding a guy this year and had the same thing. This place has easily 30-40 bulls on it consistently and he said that they were going crazy for 2 days straight and then one day he did not hear a bugle the entire day both morning and night. Now I know the elk didn't leave but it just goes to show that sometimes they can turn on and off for no apparent reason.

Sometimes at least in this area if a storm is coming in they will shut up and just eat. Usually on a full moon cycle it will be real slow in the morning because they've been so active all night. Not knowing your area I can't say for sure what's going on but it could be just about anything from too many people calling to they just decided not to call at all that day.

One thing I know though is if there is a cow in heat or a couple it won't matter if it's full moon, stormy, 90+ degree weather or whatever they are locked in and going nuts. It doesn't matter what cow call you throw at them either. Nothing with substitute for the real deal in front of their nose.

They are elk let me know when you've got them figured out :D
 
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hank4elk

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My comment was totally tough in cheek to be sure. I live with them here year round and just when I think I might know something about their habits,they change them.....lol.
 

Gr8bawana

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You guys may be on to something here. Some of the areas we hunted had a lot of people in them. This was an archery season in mid september. A lot of them were just campers though. I'm thinking that when the bulls started bugling it allowed the hunters to get a good idea of where to go. I do think a lot of those guys call way too much and made them extra wary. The locals did say the rut was later this year.
 
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