Questions for Cow Elk Hunters

pablodiablo

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Joined
May 9, 2016
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80
Hello everyone...i hope you are out hunting and not in front of your computer, but if there are any cow elk hunters I was hoping to ask some questions please. I appreciate the help as I'm self taught and a work in progress.

-When you have killed cow elk, have you called them to you, or generally found them and worked your way towards them?

-When you have killed cow elk, are they generally in bigger herds or smaller groups? Solo?

-Do you have any tactics or methodology that you would employ for cow elk that you would not employ for bull elk (or vise versa)?

Thank you for any advice you're willing to share with me.
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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694
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South Florida
Here you go! These guys have way more information than I do.

 

p_ham

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Jul 6, 2017
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522
Location
Fallon, NV
It really depends on the season, during the early season and rut calls are effective. Late season I use calls more for covering my own sound.
We've killed cows that were solitary, in small groups, and a larger herd. There really are a lot of variables.
The podcast posted above goes very in depth on the subject.
 

Wy067

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Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
74
Location
Cheyenne, WY
I almost exclusively hunt cows in the late season, which in my area means spot and stalk. I have typically found them gathered into larger groups of 20ish or more cows. During the late season, I've only used calls to stop them (when needed) for a shot. But, I have heard bulls bugle and cow talk in mid December. My strategy is simply to get up on ridges and glass feeding/watering areas and stalk from there. A couple years ago, I took my a cow with my bow when the herd came back to calls after one of my buddies had already arrowed the bull.
 

pablodiablo

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Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
80
Thanks everyone. I’ve definitely listened to that podcast a couple times. Great info there too. I appreciate everyone’s insight. I guess I’m just trying to get as much input as possible to learn how other people have gotten it done, and replicate their successes. Thanks again!
 

Lost Arra

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Aug 10, 2015
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27
Due to point creep in my hunting area I will probably be hunting cows forever. These have been my preferred methods.
Rifle season: spot and stalk. Where I hunt they are herded up by the time we start rifle hunting so there are a LOT of eyes and noses to avoid. I try to anticipate where they are moving and set up there for a shot or just belly crawl thru the sage until I'm in range and wait for one to stand.
Bow season: hunt water more and meadow edges. Once they are located I will almost always setup to intercept them at water or on the way to water. I have not had good luck stalking a bedded group to get in my bow range. There is usually one cow that I have not accounted for and she busts me. I would rather be set up and have them moving than have them bedded and me moving, IF POSSIBLE. After finding some fairly reliable spots over the years I have started using a treestand on hot days around water.
 

plumber1969

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Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
207
Due to point creep in my hunting area I will probably be hunting cows forever. These have been my preferred methods.
Rifle season: spot and stalk. Where I hunt they are herded up by the time we start rifle hunting so there are a LOT of eyes and noses to avoid. I try to anticipate where they are moving and set up there for a shot or just belly crawl thru the sage until I'm in range and wait for one to stand.
Bow season: hunt water more and meadow edges. Once they are located I will almost always setup to intercept them at water or on the way to water. I have not had good luck stalking a bedded group to get in my bow range. There is usually one cow that I have not accounted for and she busts me. I would rather be set up and have them moving than have them bedded and me moving, IF POSSIBLE. After finding some fairly reliable spots over the years I have started using a treestand on hot days around water.
I'd like to kill a bull but other than the horns hanging around, I am a true meat hunter and enjoy the cow elk.
 

buffybr

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Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
76
Most of the elk that I've killed were bulls, but over the years I have killed 5 cows. I had my two best bulls mounted, don't have wall space for another, and my garage rafters are full of antlers, so any more I don't really care if I shoot a bull or a cow. I'm primarily after the meat.

I don't apply for cow tags, but my resident Montana elk tag is good for either a bull or cow, depending on the unit. All of my elk hunting has been DIY spot and stalk. Fifty years ago when I started hunting elk, we made our own elk bugle calls, and over the years I've bought a number of both bull and cow calls. Even when I archery hunted elk, I mostly used calls just to locate the elk, then stalked in for the shot. I think improper use of calls scares more elk away than brings them in.

I also don't hunt cows any differently than hunting bulls. If I shoot a cow I just watch her long enough to see that she doesn't have a calf.
 

OREGONCODY

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Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
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Location
Beaverton OR
I have called in a lone cow using a Phelps Orange diaphragm call for young cow/calf noises. Hard to say what exactly was going through that cow's mind, but it did seem to have been seperated from its herd (it followed the same path that I had seen a herd go through the previous day; they seemed to use it to get off some highly pressured private land onto public land) and looking to find them. I'd say making some chirps/mews can definitely help on lone or small groups, but I doubt they're effective on larger herds.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
Messages
3,360
Location
SW NM
I have taken 6 cows & a couple of those hunts were better & harder than most of my bull hunts have been.
I use cow calls to locate & stop them. Picking out a lone dry cow takes time at times.
Always lots of eyes.....
 
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