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Any elk buglers?

I have not bugled elk before. Just hunt by spot-stalk and patience. However I have always been impressed with bugling, perhaps because I'm not very good at it.

If your a bugler how long did it take for you to "get good" and how effective do you think it is as a hunting tactic?

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-04-02 21:53 ]

Location: Utah
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Any elk buglers?

I used to hunt without bugling but a couple years ago I took it up. It can be very effective although I do think its overrated. Where you are in the rut also has a big effect on the effectiveness of calling. The best hunters are those who make vocal communicating with elk a part of hunting but still do the scouting, stalking, research and all that good stuff it sounds like you already do. I think bugling should go hand in hand with cow calling to be effective.

Elk are very unpredictable. I've been within a few hundred yds of a bull on a photography trip and after snapping a few shots I decided to see how he would react to different calls. First I bugled and he didn't even look in my direction. Then I cow called and he started coming right at me stiff-legged. Sometimes they will respond to bugles and sometimes they'll respond to cow calls. If you're serious about calling you need both.

Not to hard to learn and if you can stand it I like the diaphram calls the best. They make the best bugles and you can cow call with em too.

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Any elk buglers?

Good point on the cow calling. That is another tactic I have not considered. Part of the reason I have never done calling is because I have never bow hunted elk. I think bow hunters need to use the calling more in order to increase the odds of getting a close shot. Although I have known or heard of bow hunters that can stalk in close (30 yds or less) w/o the need of calling.

Does the time of day make a difference in the calling? When I hear elk "chattering" it usually is in the dawn or dusk hours, while they are silent through the rest of the "lighted" hours....

Location: Utah
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Any elk buglers?

There are a lot of factors that determine when they do and don't bugle. Typical you're right about them bugling the most during the dusk and dawn hours but I have been in the field at the peek of the rut and sometimes they will bugle all day and all night.

Around here the general rifle hunt is in October and while the rut is still on I have found that the elk are not near as vocal in october. This last year I was on a rifle hunt that started around Oct 5 and elk were bugling all over the mountain before the sun came up but as soon as any light showed they didn't make a sound and would not respond to any calls. In my opinion calling is not very effective after the peak of the rut is a week or two removed. But during the peak and a couple of weeks before it can work real well.

But like you said you can stalk within 30 yds without it and why I say it is a little overrated. It tips the odds a little more in your favor but it doesn't replace other hunting techniques. As a rifle hunter you could use it to simply locate elk and then put it away and stalk.

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Any elk buglers?

Thanks for your thoughts Rather_Be. That is a good point on the timing of the calling with the rut. Usually I hunt the late or third season (late october, early november) so the effectiveness may very well be nill.

Sometimes I wonder if a persons hunting style is not just an outward expression of their personality rather than a direct statement of a hunting styles overall effectiveness. Outgoing/talkitive/figity types like to make noise and thrash branches, more reclusive types like to stalk or take a less direct route to game. Just a rambling thought...

Incidentially the primary reason I like to hunt the late season is because of bad weather. Snow/cold seems to keep them milling around in the light hours and it is easier to trail them with a fresh coat of snow on the ground.

Snow can be mixed blessing though... Wink

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Any elk buglers?

I have tried bugling and I have tried cow calls and I find the latter much more useful. Not so much for drawing them in as for stopping them for the shot. An elk that is trotting past will almost always stop and look if you gently blow on a cow call.

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Any elk buglers?

Here is what i just posted on another site just to long to retype and this is for archery.
To me it depends on the time of season. I agree with everyone about the places being hunted but once you find the bulls and you get them vocal. It depends on the time of year you are hunting.
Beginning of season I have found that most bulls will respond to the bugle just to let you know they are there. I have found that some smaller bulls will round up cows and think they are the king this time of year. The bigger bulls will hang back till the season starts to get into full swing. You can locate the bigger bulls with a bugle and find them. They will also come into a bugle and also by using cow calls. This is where 2 people are very good for calling.
Coming into the rut most bigger bulls will start to get active and will answer the bugle more. The older wiser bulls will come in silent if using cow calls especially in heavy hunted areas. Meaning areas that are closer to roads or areas where hunters have quick access to them. We listen for limbs being broke antlers hitting trees ect....
Full rut the bigger bulls will be more active with the bugle. This is the time that the bigger bulls start to go whip up on the smaller bulls for all there cows they have collected. This is a good time to locate them with a bugle and move in on them. @ hunters are the best then. We have found that when you have a bull located even with cows you can pull him away. You get close enough and torment him enough he will come. This hunting is best farther in, in a area where no hunters are. The bulls will bugle back and want to fight you. Actually like previous;y posted depends on the bull. have had them leave with there cows if they have a few and dont want to leave them. depends on the bull and how many years he has been king in his area. Old and wise they will take his cows and go. But if a younger big bull he will try to stand and fight. but if you set up with one up front like all video's show. Then you have the fornt guy using cow calls and the back guy use his bugle and if the bull comes in depending on how he responds you can get the bull to come into the bugle. Once they get close enough front guy stops calling. you can get the bull fired up by having the guy in back bugling, grunting,racking trees with a branch. Also a few soft cow calls to let him know there are cows in here to that he will win and add to his collection. We used last year a hoochie mama while still being able to use our bugle.
Coming out of the rut the bulls will answer to the bugle and are more out of coming to it. They are all tired out from the seasons of fighting running. Cow calls work best this time of year. They are trying to catch the last of the cows coming back into heat. The best time for cow calls. Bugle just for locating. But I am sure like in all areas it depends on location of hunting grounds and where you are hunting. I have found that depending on where I am hunting is how I decide what I will do. It is a natural instinct for a hunter to adapt to where he is at and what he will do. One thing might not work for another area. So it is just a natural insticnt as a predator as we are to change what we do.
These are from my experiences during archery seasons and being with fellow hunters as caller or shooter. These might work for some but not all. just my insight on the question given in the areas I hunt.

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Any elk buglers?

But also wanted to include that about the bugling in the morning hours and at dark. If you are hearing that. I have found that if you are in the peak of the rut or during this time. Like from Sept 15th till like Oct 1st then you will and can get them to talk during the day IF you are back in somewhere and not near any roads. we have been in 3-5 miles and had them going all day long. But it depends on when you hit the area.
But the reason most bulls dont bugle is because during the day that most relax and do not want fight during this time. They lay up and wait. Have been out and have heard numerous bulls fighting at night. It is a awesome sound. Is great.

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Any elk buglers?

Thanks for the info guys. Don, do you think that any sound would stop the bull in his tracks if he had no idea you were in the area? Or do you think this only works with the cow call? Reason I ask is that I have noticed that elk, if they have not been heavily pushed, will stop and look around if say they hear an odd "pop" like a crack of a branch. So I'm wondering if it is specifically the cow call that stops them or just the sound that makes them immediately come to "alert".

Supersider, sounds like you have had some fun harassing the bulls. Wink I imagine that a few guys blowing cow calls, bugles, and thrashing around just drives some of those bulls mad in the middle of the rut! Do you tend to hunt terrain that is more alpine with a lot of pine and aspens around?

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Any elk buglers?

I don't know. I do know that I've accidentally made a noise when elk have been in hearing range and seen them bolt, not stop and look.

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Any elk buglers?

It is very common to use a cow call to stop a bull to get a shot off. Just another reason why I like diaphram calls, you can be at full draw (or shooting position if a rifle hunter) and still give a soft cow call. Most other calls you have to use your hands. I would hesitate using other "unelky" sounds because he probably will stop see what the sound was but there is a good chance he'll spook. With a cow call he thinks hes gonna see a new girlfriend.

I know a lot of guys who do a lot of thrashing and it sometimes works but I think if you get too aggressive and sound too big you drive a lot elk away. The object is to seem like a little bit smaller bull with cows. A bigger bull will think hes got easy pickens. I suggest getting a couple cow calls. Maybe one mouth call and a hand squeeze call. That way one can sound like more than one.

You otta try callin bitmasher, it adds another whole dimension to hunting. And there is no feeling like the first time you get some ole bull goin.