8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/26/2015
Posts: 9
elk calls

What is everyones favorite calls?  What should a beginner really work on over the summer?  I plan on getting some stuff from Elknut's store.  Just wondering what calls I should really work on.  We will be hunting the first two weeks in Colorado so I know the rut won't be going good yet.

Thanks for any advice.


Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4433
I have found over the years

I have found over the years that the call doesn't have to be perfect or even very expensive to call in elk.  The best thing to do is once you purchase a call is to listen to a video or a DVD of someone calling in elk.  Just remember that elk are like people and no two of them sound the same. 

Also in some areas the elk will be call shy and will hardly bugle at all during the rut.  They hear so many other hunters bugling that they just shut up during the hunts.

COMeatHunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
I'd skip the bugle and go

I'd skip the bugle and go striaght for the cow calls.  A good reed will let you make all kinds of sounds.  But really, all you need a one good cow call--even a simple hoochie mama works if used properly.

Striker's picture
Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 223

I agree. The cow calls are where it's at. Especially the first two weeks of the season in your case. Bulls are just barely starting to look for the cows. In many ways early season is the best time to get a bigger bull because they haven't got a harem yet.  I like the hoochie mama and a mouth reed combination. Keep in mind you need to set up correctly when calling. You need a partner or you will have a difficult time getting one by you. In a 2 person team the caller can bring the bull by the other hunter. The caller gets all the attention from the bull. All his ears, eyes, and nose are focused on where that sound is coming from. This gives the shooter more mobility and a better chance for a shot.  So have a partner or a good decoy.  Several times this last year, if I had either one, I would have got a shot.  

AlderCreekRanch's picture
Joined: 03/06/2015
Posts: 12
Using elk calls correctly

While there are many elk calls out there, cow calls are the most versatile and easiest for a beginner to use. But first let's start with the comment of when the elk rut starts and ends.  While elevation and weather play a role, in my experience over 40 years of hunting, that bull elk bugle at the first hard frost closest the the September full moon.  Elk rut a good month earlier than deer and using a bull call any time other than the rut is unnatural and will scare the bulls away.  Using a bull call properly is critical and the second biggest mistake is calling too much.  Frankly over the years here in Colorado, bulls except in very remote terraine  rarely bugle.  This is because so many hunters are walking around with their bull calls as if it were New Year's eve horns.

A cow calls to find her calf and to notify the herd that it is okay to com out in the open to feed.  There call will often attract young bulls during before and after the rut.  They normally call only in the evening so using it other times of day might scare them away.

Use the cow call infrequetely unless one is talking back to you.  It is also good to stop a running elk for a shot in some instances.

My favorite cow calls are made out of rubber that you bite while making the first high pitch part of the call. There are various models and some mimic a calf lost call but I have never found them to be productive.

One thing many unseasoned hunters in Colorado do not realize, is that the mating call of a porcupine, sounds similar to a cow calling her calf.  But if you listen carefully there are added notes and pitches made by those quilly salt eaters.

As recommended previously get a CD but I also recommend going to an elk farm or to Estes to watch their inflections during the calling.  





COMeatHunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
I'd agree with most of your

I'd agree with most of your comments--especially on the overuse of any call.  Again, pick up a cow call and learn how to use it well.  Cow calls work well during the rut, after the rut, early season, late season....If in doubt, put it back in your pocket and be patient.

I have had bulls give me full bugles late in the year too.  I wouldn't say it's unnatural to hear a bugle outside of the "rut".  Might not be common, but does happen--and it's pretty cool.

Lots of threads on here about when the rut happens, yada, yada, yada.  No matter what wisdom you share there will be experience someone can share that will point to a different moon phase, frost, snow, etc., as the source of the beginning of the rut.  The best advice is get out there and hunt and simply respond to what you see and hear appropriately--and enjoy it for what it is where you are at.

Joined: 02/19/2015
Posts: 2
The bull's bugle is awesome

The bull's bugle is awesome, spine tingling and will definitely get your blood boiling. However, when it comes to successfully calling in that trophy bull elk, you will need the aid of the cow calls to lure him in. You will also need to master the Bull's bugles, grunts, squeals and chuckles. 

Mark B.

Joined: 01/26/2015
Posts: 9
All great info.  Thanks

All great info.  Thanks everyone.  I purchased some DVD's, calls, and the playbook from ElkNut.  All great stuff.  Now just to listen, learn, and practice with the cow calls all summer.

vinny217's picture
Location: frederick CO
Joined: 05/08/2015
Posts: 77
One thing also to remember is

One thing also to remember is each bull is different and each situation is also different, I have had Bull's come in with cow call and not bugle's but I have had them come into bugle's and not cow calls it depend's on a lot of differnt things how hot the bull is if he has cow's with him or not ect. Some good starting points would be to use your bugle early in the morning higher then the elk are to locate them, once you locate them try to get within 100-200 yards and give a cow elk to see if you get a response if you don't get a response but you feel the elk are there be patient I have had many of bull's come in without making a peep. If they are not responding to cow call's try another bugle but try and sound like a younger bull higher pitch. Another thing if you have a hunting buddy it would be better if you both knew how to call. Take turn's hunting and calling for each other, the person calling should try and set up 50-100 yards behind the hunter and off to one side a little this will increase your odd's of a closer shot. I have called up elk solo also it's just tougher bringing them all the way in because once they are close and they don't see the cow or other bull they will sometimes lock up until they see one so a decoy works great if your hunting alone. I also perfer a reed with a grunt tube, but for begineers hoochi mama and a small bugle with a build in reed is a good start, but definatly get a reed and try to master it.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Wyoming official leftover listexbiologist006/30/2010 11:05 am
TWRA ELK RESTORATION PROJECTLynn003/01/2007 11:50 am
Elk Habitat StudyBlacktail Slayer001/11/2014 17:43 pm
Anyone following this (Updated)dpmule409/09/2006 12:50 pm
CWD ELK ANTLER VELVET CDC WARNING MAY 2009flounder004/05/2009 12:18 pm