elk calling for beginners


New member
Jun 6, 2003
Boise, Idaho, USA
How often does one call? Does bugling only attract cows? Should I always call loudly? Does bugling only work during a certain time of the year? When is the rut in Idaho? Can an Idaho resident just purchase an elk tag, or do you have to apply for a hunt?
Bear Sniper.....Bugling generally starts early September...can be earlier in some areas, especially if a cold front hits.

Bulls will answer other bulls bugling,..so no, bugling does not "just" attract cows.
If you are not an experienced caller, I would suggest you only bugle if you don't here any bulls bugling on their on. Use your bugle to "locate" the bulls, then close the distance and use your cow call. Many times a bull will come in silent to your calls, so be alert.

The volume of your calling will all depend on the situation, and like with turkey hunting, you CAN overcall. A soft cow call is better than a bad bugle anyday, so be conservative with your calling until your get good at it. Trial and error or hunting with an experienced caller is the best way to learn.
Good luck.....
Bearsniper,,I'd get ahold of Berry Game Calls in Medical Lake,Wa. I'm sure they can put you in the right direction...

Raybow.. You're a funny man, If you're going to get money, you should have raised the price

Bearsniper, I'm no Expert so only lay a bit of surity on what I type, but it is some answers to your questions.

How often does one call?

thats like asking how many times should you cast into a pond in order to catch a fish. It will definately vary. I can assure you that under calling is far better the Over calling. I think Bugleing is a bit over rated. I like to throw out a bugle in the morning to locate something, But usually we know that there is Elk in the Area so even if they don't respond it doesn't mean the they aren't there. I'd say a good rule of thumb is about every 1/2 - 1 hour. If you get a responce, And it seems like they're coming in and You're working them, It's a "FEEL" thing. if they get agressive you can too, If they don't then you have 2 options, Try to get agressive for a responce, or go quiet and see if they heat up again.... Best thing is to feel it out. It will work one way sometime and the NExt time not. Kind on like picking up chicks in the BAr with a 1-liner

Does bugling only attract cows?

NO way. I have seen cows run in to a bugle. But the goal of the Bugle is to let another bull know you're in his area. HAve him come in for a looky loo to have him take you out in a fight.

Should I always call loudly?

Only if you don't want anything to come in. Elk can hear you bugle far past were you can hear their return. There is a difference between loud and Agressive too. You can blow a loud Non-agressive bugle with a lower tone. Does that make sence ?

Does bugling only work during a certain time of the year?

Well, we were in Palisades 2 weeks ago and Bumped a heard of Elk. there was a group of 27 BULLS, 20 of them were spikes, NO raghorns just from Nubins to long spikes. The rest of the heard there was a Bunch of Cows, calves and at least one big bull we saw, maybe 2 in there.

The big bull wanted to heard up the group and bugled a few times to orientate them and get them going. I didn't have my Bugle but wondered if I did and Snuck around and called what would happen. But to kind of answer your question, they are vocal all year, just a bit more during the rut.

When is the rut in Idaho?

Well. I'd say pretty much in Sept. Some say it's when the weather changes, but we've had action when it's 90 degrees in the middle of the day the first week in Sept. There are ideas about the Moon or the Weather but in general around this area I'd say Sept is your best bet.

Can an Idaho resident just purchase an elk tag, or do you have to apply for a hunt?

Both, You can just buy an Over the counter tag (General hunt) or put in for a Draw. It's too late this year for the draw though.

Hope that helped ?
Bear Sniper:
You, as a resident of Idaho, have to apply for the tag through the state of Washington now.
The application fee is $325.00 nonrefundable and can be sent to:
Ray Capp
P.O. box 867 Bellingham, Wash. 98226
Sorry no personal checks accepted.

P.S. The drawing has been 100 percent draw success. 100% chance of not getting the tag. Those odds are the best in any sate for a draw hunt.

Please hurry as my hunting fund is a little low this year.
Thank you and good luck with the draw.
The rut for deer and elk is definitely tied to the Lunar cycle. Their bodys respond to the shortness of days by producing more hormones, throwing the bucks and bulls into pre rut rituals and battles for dominance, and the does and cows into their estrous cycles, which occur exactly every 30 days until they are bred, thus the reason for a main rut followed by a couple of secondary ruts. The influx of a cold weather cylce can jump start the scenario....the drop in temperature signifying the lateness of the season much the same way the shortness of the days do. But even in the event of a very hot fall.....the shortening days will still trigger the rut, however lathargic it may be. The optimum scenario is a bitter cold front in tandem with the shortening days, thus creating a full blown rut instead of the "Start, Stop, Start, Stop" ruts we sometimes see.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hunterman:
Bearsniper,,I'd get ahold of Berry Game Calls in Medical Lake,Wa. I'm sure they can put you in the right direction...


Since you are close enough to Glen Berry, I would suggest you give him a call as Hunterman has suggested. Glen is a real nice person and very knowledgeable.

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