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Elk calling question

SoTex

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Oct 3, 2013
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57
I am heading to Wyoming unit 81 in 26 days for an elk hunt and I can't quite get the tone right on my terminator bugle. I was at Cabelas shopping for a new call when one of the employees stated I should not bugle at all because all the bulls in a particular area all know what each others bugles sound like and it would be best to cow call or keep quiet. My season opens on Sept.26th and was hoping to catch the tale end of the rut.

One of my hunting buddies bought the Wayne Carltons Mac Daddy Mini and he said it's easy to use and sounds good. Any thoughts on the Cabelas guy's opinion or the Mac Daddy call?
 

mthillrunner

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Aug 11, 2013
Messages
197
Location
SW MT
No opinions on the call, never used it. Folks have varying opinions on bugling. I bugle sparingly as a general rule, however, I have called in several Bulls using only a bugle. They came in hard and looking for a scrap. I do not bugle unless I'm fairly certain there aren't any other hunters in the area. Every day and spot is different. If they're not bugling much on their own I don't use mine.
 

Epfd217

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Feb 26, 2014
Messages
376
Location
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Bugling is a great tactic and can work very well. The assume that a bull knows every bugle in the county is a naive thought. That's like saying you can recognize the voice of every person at your work or on your block. There are good reasons not to bugle, such as the response of the animals or the density of other hunters, but the reason given by the sales guy is not one of them.

Good luck in 81. That is a zone I've been internet scouting, but I didn't get a General tag this year. I'd be curious to pick your brain about your plan.
 

Rocky176

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Feb 26, 2013
Messages
329
It depends on the situation. I always carry a bugle tube. I've had bulls push his cows away from me when I bugled. We just kept pressing him and pressing him until he had had enough and turned to protect his cows. He finally came into 30 yards but I had no shot. One of my best hunts even though I did not harvest.

Can't say anything about the call. I try to put emotion in my calling, when I cow call I try to express a longing a sort of desire in the calls (if that makes sense).
 

esracerx

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Aug 13, 2015
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462
I generally leave my bugle in camp. When I do bugle I want to sound wimpy so to speak. S sounding bad at isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think of it like of it like your at a bar. You walk in with your girlfriend. Some big 6'4 250 pound guy that looks like a linebacker starts yelling at you, whats your response? You're probably going to turn around and walk out. Now think of that same scenario but the guy is 5'6 and 120 pounds soaking wet. Chances are much more likely you go over and want to pick a fight with him.

Bugling can work. But its way easier to do more harm than good in my opinion.
 

ElkNut1

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Apr 10, 2011
Messages
281
Your Bugle is the most powerful tool you can have with you in the elkwoods in Sept & much of Oct, it's main purpose is for locating or finding elk similar to using binos for locating elk. Bugling does not run elk off no more than your optics do, it's hunters that do this by being spotted or winded in most cases. Bulls are bugling at those times fairly regularly for various reasons & you'll notice they are not running to the next zipcode from one another. When bulls Bugle they are not doing their best to sound wimpy to one another in fear of running a competitor off, this is a myth at its best! (grin) This is especially so when bulls are bugling to represent dominance & strength, this action is done by all bulls so they are heard by cows & possibly considered as breeders when these cows are choosing what bull or bulls will breed them. A Bugle should mainly be used for locating when a hunter does not know where the elk are, it's common to have bulls respond giving away their location & now game is on.

When a response is given get over their way as quickly as possible but do not call back as you make your way to them even if they are bugling back to you wanting to know where you are. Once closer you can now pinpoint their position & form a plan according to the situation. Many hunters fail in this area & bugle back to a bull as they make their way to them, this can turn a herd bull into a runner, not always but many times it does so eliminate doing so & you will notice you have many more workable bulls.

Get yourself a Bugle that you can locate with, this means you can reach a very high pitch that can carry a great distance, this will cover much more ground than your boots. Do not concern yourself with growls, chuckles or grunts, just focus on that high penetrating pitch, this will get more responses from other bulls than any other sound.

ElkNut1
 

Muley_Stalker

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Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
1,414
Location
Colorado
Just to give an opinion from the other side. It's not absolute necessary to call at all. Some of us have never called, and don't even own a call. We still kill our shore of bulls.

Don't call them to you. Sneak into them.
 

Baerman

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Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
1,431
Location
Boy-see
Your Bugle is the most powerful tool you can have with you in the elkwoods in Sept & much of Oct, it's main purpose is for locating or finding elk similar to using binos for locating elk. Bugling does not run elk off no more than your optics do, it's hunters that do this by being spotted or winded in most cases. Bulls are bugling at those times fairly regularly for various reasons & you'll notice they are not running to the next zipcode from one another. When bulls Bugle they are not doing their best to sound wimpy to one another in fear of running a competitor off, this is a myth at its best! (grin) This is especially so when bulls are bugling to represent dominance & strength, this action is done by all bulls so they are heard by cows & possibly considered as breeders when these cows are choosing what bull or bulls will breed them. A Bugle should mainly be used for locating when a hunter does not know where the elk are, it's common to have bulls respond giving away their location & now game is on.

When a response is given get over their way as quickly as possible but do not call back as you make your way to them even if they are bugling back to you wanting to know where you are. Once closer you can now pinpoint their position & form a plan according to the situation. Many hunters fail in this area & bugle back to a bull as they make their way to them, this can turn a herd bull into a runner, not always but many times it does so eliminate doing so & you will notice you have many more workable bulls.

Get yourself a Bugle that you can locate with, this means you can reach a very high pitch that can carry a great distance, this will cover much more ground than your boots. Do not concern yourself with growls, chuckles or grunts, just focus on that high penetrating pitch, this will get more responses from other bulls than any other sound.

ElkNut1

ElkNut1 is right and knows his stuff. In general, use your bugle as a locator. Once you have a bull located, move to within 100 yds and side hill of his position and throw some emotional cow calls at him. As soon as he bugles, if he is still within 100 yds, bugle right back at him. The bull will usually come charging in if you are close enough.

I once saw a nice herd of elk bed in some trees following a morning hunt. By noon I was in the same patch of trees and tried this method. I was cow calling but because it was the middle of the day I couldn't get the bull to respond. It was my wifes hunt and we were out of water and food, she was ready to give up. So I asked for one more try. I got real whiney and emotional and loud on the cow call and finally the bull bugled back. I immediately bugled on top of him and he literally came charging into our set up. My wife didn't have a shot but it was a thrill. Point is, don't give up if you know elk are in their beds in the middle of the day. Go get em!
 

JMG

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Jul 1, 2011
Messages
815
Location
MONTANA
+1 what ElkNut1 stated.

You don't have to get fancy with the elk bugle. It will allow you to see if a bull responds back. This will just tell you whether there is a bull in the general area (within ear shot). If one responds, you can head in that direction (assuming the wind is in your favor).
 

esracerx

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Aug 13, 2015
Messages
462
Agreed on the locator part. That's the only time I use it. If I'm really having trouble finding them. I try to put myself with the elk before shooting hours. You can hear them bugle and at first light you can get closer. If I've already located them I really don't bother bugling. I try to pull him away from his harem, or have a satellite think a cow has wandered away by cow calling.
 

TRS_Montana

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Nov 19, 2014
Messages
758
Location
Helena
Listen to ElkNut. Also, if you have heard elk in the wild, they make ALL SORTS OF SOUNDS when they bugle. Don't worry about hitting the perfect 3-tone pitch everytime. I think the most authentic sounding bugles are the ones that sound "funny", because hunters rarely make these "funny" sounding bugles, but I have heard elk make them more times than I can count!
 

esracerx

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Aug 13, 2015
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Some of the worst bugles I've ever heard have come from slobbering bulls all horned up
 

SoTex

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Oct 3, 2013
Messages
57
I really appreciate all the advice. This is my third DIY hunt and I have yet to bag a bull but have become addicted to Western hunting all the same. One of my problems is I've always hunted new units and about the time I have it figured out the season is over. I noticed on my last Colorado hunt most of the hunters in my drainage (Colorado unit 66) tagged out opening day. This hunt we are getting to our location 5 days before the season opener to try and locate the herd.

I'm hoping this trip is the year. We rented horses and plan on covering a lot of ground and I've been scouting regularly using google earth and have contacted the game warden so I have a good idea of where to start.

Thanks again for all the advice and if anyone is in the area and sees trucks with Texas plates stop by for a glass of whiskey. My group really enjoys interacting with people from all over the country. Ask for mac
 
Last edited:

putm2sleep

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Jan 14, 2011
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2,558
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Colorado
>well if yer there 5 days before and you locate the herd, just sit and listen and learn and enjoy.
>listen to ElkNut (it'll take you many of those 5 days early trips to really learn how to talk elk)
>so go have fun, let it rip in the truck off the deck and practice a little --- elk make some crazy sounds
 

ORElkie

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Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
17
Location
Oregon
I am new to the west and this is only my second year chasing the wily Wapiti, so take my advice for what it is. But last year, I had posted up and was determined to sit in a spot that held lots of elk sign and I had gotten some very nice pics in that same area too, during all hours of the day. Anyway, it was about 2 in the afternoon I hear the freaking dumbest attempt at a bugle ever. Thought to myself "aww crap, that guy from the trailhead must have wandered up here." Considered very seriously about bailing on the whole plan. Never called back, because I didn't want to call the hunter in to me. Just sat there kind of dejected. About 5 minutes later a bull that had just lept off the cover of Field and Stream strolls by at 40 yards, and I was in no way prepared for a shot. In hind sight, we had a very swirly wind that day. The kind that truly seems to blow on your neck and face at the same time, and I'm guessing he maybe spooked and got his cows the heck out of there. I can't say that I would have gotten a shot regardless, but I know I definitely wasn't going to get one basically sitting on my hands. Anyway, my point is, much like others have said: not all elk belong ~insert Dr. Hook music now~ on the cover of Rolling Stone.
 

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