Elk Calling Tips

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Bring them in on a string.  I love this term, if you want to be successful on calling in Elk, try not to just sound like the other caller. We all laugh at each other when we are practicing Elk calling at home or while camping. When I first started calling in Elk, I had no idea what i was doing and it's funny how many I could call in. The biggest Bull that I have called in to date was actually my first. I was making cow calls and screwing it up big time. But it's obvious I didn't screw up at all, no two Elk sound the same and the Big Bulls have heard every call in the woods.

The best trick today for me, is to sound like more than one, so I carry a couple different cow calls and a basic bugle call. The idea is to sound like a small herd or satellite Bull that has snuck off with a couple of cows. Call in different directions and cover up the calls with your hand, be aggresive and don't be afraid of sounding bad. I have heard plenty of bugles from a Big Bull to where if he was in a bugle contest with other hunters around my campfires " he would of lost."


Retired2hunt's picture

  Taking your advice!  I've


Taking your advice!  I've got a primos cow call.  My partner got a primos baby call.  Just might now go out and get that bugle since I have a 1st rifle tag and it appears the rut may just still be in place by that time.  Anyhow - you have given me some courage here.  I thought my calls may be suspect on authenticity but think now after your tips I can be succesfull.  I'll let everyone know when I harvest that first elk this year!



arrowflipper's picture

Excellent tip

You actually had me laughing.... I've heard some of the worst callers in the nation out in the woods and they have been successful.  I wonder where they learned how to call or if they were just sick.  I remember one guy that I was sure was playing a flute and practicing the scale... up and down, up and down, up and down.  I sat laughing until he called in a killed an elk.

I have tried a plethora of cow calls, both mouth and hand held.  I would prefer to use a mouth call as it leaves my hands free, especially when I'm bow hunting.  But some of the hand-held calls are very good.  As bigalwapiti said, change it up and use different things.

I was out with a friend on a black powder elk hunt in Utah one time and we were both making cow calls and just banging our way through the woods.  We didn't try to be particularly quiet but we called a lot.  We walked right up on a big old cow and she succumbed to a single shot from my buddy's 50 cal Hawkin.  It proved to both of us that being quiet isn't always the best method.  Especially when it's hard to be quiet on the brittle leaves and sticks that time of year.

I agree with bigalwapiti, when it comes to chasing wapiti, or Cervis Canadensis Nelsoni, be creative, be persistent and above all, be ready for things to happen fast.

hunter25's picture

If sounding bad is the key

If sounding bad is the key then I'm gonna tear it up when I finally start calling. I have only used a cow call a few times but have never really hunted when the bulls were bugling good.

We will probably draw an early rifle tag this year so I'm gonna need to learn a little more about the whole calling process before we head out. I know it's not a necessity with a rifle tag but anything to help tip the odds in our favor would be great.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Great tips. That is pretty

Great tips. That is pretty funny.

numbnutz's picture

Thanks for the tip. I could

Thanks for the tip. I could also say dont over call, a lot of people make that mistake.

Critter's picture

Calling Elk

I agree with you.  Some people believe that you need to sound like the biggest and badest bull out there but if you sit and lissen to them bugle you will hear a wide varity of different elk. 

I know that the first bull that I called in was a rag horn 4 pt but he came a long ways and up a good size hill before he realized that he wanted no part of me. 

Thanks for the tip!

Thanks for the tip!