Elk calling scenario - help!!!!

Bob-WY

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
550
Fairly rookie/new at calling/bowhunting elk. Last night for the first time I actually found elk! I've been moving area to area going higher and higher til I find them! I am not a great caller, but have been in screaming matches with bulls last year,

I am hunting a general tag area in WY, so dealing with people. Last night I took the ATV 6 miles in, on the way passed about 5 tents, including 5 guys setting up right at the end of the ATV trail, they will be there til Tuesday.

The trail ends at a large park, I followed the creek west for a mile to another park. I wanted to get to the steeper pines/aspens on the other side which looked good on the maps, around 9200 feet. While crossing the second park, sticking to the edge I noticed fairly fresh droppings, a good amount. I got to the other side and was next to a rock slide, so edged around it to the north and entered into the pines (aspens up higher). I was about 15 yards into the pines, still VERY thick and a bull bugled at me. Bugle, by my guess was about 150-200 yards in and struck me as sort of lazy, didn't have that angry tone to it. However it was a shortish bugle, about 2 seconds, then chuckled 4-5 times. My guess was he heard me but didn't see me.

I moved in about 50 yards so I could see a bit further. I let out a bugle to challenge him back. My response was based on me thinking his bugle/chuckle was one of two things: 1) figuring I might be a bull and telling me to back off, or 2) I might be a cow and calling me over. I heard nothing for about 2 minutes, so bugled again and then followed that with cow call.

At that point I heard cow calls respond to me, but not where the bugle came from, but more around the other side of the rock slide. At this point was in a "what do I do now?" situation. My GUESS was he took his cows and moved off, I had the rock slide between me and them and if they were doing what I thought, I would have had to go up and around the rock slide, then chase them. I figured catching walking elk is a loosing game. What I did do is continue to cow call occasionally and slowly made my way in another 100 yards. The whole area looked like some bull(s) had recently beat the crap out of about every tree. At any time I could stand and see 8-10 fresh rubs, all different size trees. From there I bugled again and cow called again

Nothing else happened.

So, what should I have done?
 

huntandfly

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2020
Messages
340
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Elk don’t respond to every call or run in to every calling sequence like they show on the YouTubes. If that bull bugled without you calling at him, then I would have got the wind right and just snuck in there. No matter if you are the best caller out there, the moment you let out a call you indicate your position to the elk. If you are good/lucky they may think you are another elk, but most of the time they shut up and get out of dodge.

Some folks are successful hammering on the calls, but I have been more successful getting close to elk by calling less and sneaking more
 

Backofbeyond

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
1,453
Location
Boise, ID
^^^What he said^^^

I learned that lesson hard last weekend... worked a bull all morning, snuck in close enough and cut him off when he ripped a bedded bugle 80 yards away. He came down the ridge at me ready to kick my butt, and I was still trying to find a spot to get set up. I set up on the wrong side of bunch of slick leaf so all I saw at 8 yards was eyes and antlers. Lesson learned, if you sneak into their comfort zone be ready for them to come in on a rope.
 

Bob-WY

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
550
So quietly sneak in, with wind right, glass continually so I don't stumble into them. Then get a shot, or get in there then call?
 

Backofbeyond

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
1,453
Location
Boise, ID
So quietly sneak in, with wind right, glass continually so I don't stumble into them. Then get a shot, or get in there then call?

The answer is yes. To either. Do what works best for you, and it's always going to be situation dependent.
 

kwyeewyk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
967
Location
Washington
I find this video that describes the general behavior and types of calls to be pretty informative on this type of situation, gives some starting points for learning how to react since as others have said, real life scenarios are all different. There are a lot of other good ones too, search around a bit to get some ideas.

 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
100,400
Messages
1,587,321
Members
31,513
Latest member
Bluetix
Top