This is a sound that's been talked about from time to time, & at Kens request for another bit of elk gibberish here's a sound that few have ever heard & if they did they most likely have no idea what's going on or when to use it themselves? Also this is a tough sound to imitate. Ok, why & when would a cow be using this sound? When would you use this sound? What's being said? Just answer one of the questions if you'd like no need to write a book! (grin)
For instance---If you're cow calling & a bull responds with a short type screaming bugle you know he's letting you know where he is & is inviting you over, as a matter of fact he's asking you to come his way. If you don't show at his requests he can get "demanding" you know this because he will add chuckles to his scream, this shows in many cases he wants you coming NOW!!! Can you say "Hang-Up" Most know this, so how would you use & what would you expect out of the Estrus Scream/Buzz?
Oh, & if you've ever heard or seen this sound please explain where or when & what calling you may have been doing which incited this cow. Thanks!
Paul: Do you remember a few years ago when you had the popping grunt and I had the nervous bark? They turned out to be one in the same, right? Just different terminology for different parts of the country.
Personally, I have never heard the term estrus scream/buzz. Would you be willing to put it on a sound wave here?
As you know I've studied literally hundreds of bulls, and the activites associated with roaring, bugling and grunting (chuckles), growls, fighting squeals, tooth-grinding (squeaking), threat rumbles, social contact grunts, coughs, barks etc.
I've also talked to note elk researcher Dr. Valerius Geist (who told me thatI know more about elk vocalizations and behavior than anyone, including himself) and I've read every elk research document I could locate.
The premise most elk researchers agree on is that bulls use roaring, bugling, grunting (often used together) and growling (often a low-intensit form of a roar, may be performed while lying down) to"
1. Express dominance (I'm bigger and badder) basically to tell other bulls to stay away or they ay be attacked.
2. Let cows know they are dominant, strong, desirable as breeding partners and exactly who they are (by sound and scent) so the cows are "faithful" to one bull.
Bulls often bugle in response to another bull, and the prevailing theory is that bulls try to out-bugle other bulls - in their effort to proclaim dominance.
Thus, there is no evidence that bulls have any reason to call another bull to come to them.
I've never heard a cow make a sound within 10 minutes of getting bred (and I've watched dozens of breedings occur, and there is no mention of an "estrus" cow call (indicating she is wanting to or willing to breed), in any research I have read, and this goes back to the early 1930's with several researchers in several different states and provinces, and with both captive and wild elk.
Bulls can tell if a cow in estrus by simply smelling the ground where she lay down, or by smelling the rear of the cow, and becasue the cows and bulls are often in close quarters and traveling together, not passing through feeding and daytime core areas as in whitetails - there is no need for a cow to make a call associated with her wanting to breed.
The prevaling belief is that there is no "estrus" cow call - there are several different sounds that cow elk make, long and short meews, chirps, squeals, barks (whatever you want to call them), that are used in different situations.
I've heard cows perform a a series of high pitched mews or squeals, or a single long cal - as they were approached by other elk, including bulls, but the call was used primarily as an agonistic meew ("leave me alone, I'll do what you want") call.
I'e also heard cows use a long drawn out squeal as they fight, either after chasing and/or biting, or while standing on their hind legs and striking at another elk.
I don't doubt that either one of these calls, or some other sound, could be "presumed" to be an estrus call, or associated with breeding behavior - by hunters. But, in four years of elk research, of between 300 and 500 cows each year - up to 90 days each fall - I've not seen or heard any sound that implied breeding readiness of a cow - nor have I read or heard about it from any elk biologist or researcher.
If you have these sounds on audio or video - I'd love to review them, and share them with fellow elk researchers Dr. Valerius Geist, and/or the Dr.'s Craighead (brothers).
Steve Chappell has it on his calling DVD and has footage of a cow making the sound on one of his DVD's.
The first bull I shot with my bow was memorable. The bull was bugling behind camp and bugling repeatedly with short bugles. I eased into the canyon and listened to many elk. The cows were chirping and every now and then, satelites would squeal. One cow was screaming with a loud, repeated, long mew. She seemed to have the attention of all the bulls so I started to imitate her. In seconds, I had a raghorn at 15 yards. He was really keyed up and acted spooky. Another larger bull came trotting up and stood broadside at 10 yards, so I shot him. The elk herd stayed put even as I trailed the bull and started field dressing. After dressing my elk, my wife asked if I would call for her. We setup and, using this estrus call, called the herd bull in only for her to have buck fever and miss.
I've found this "estrus call" to only work under certain conditions. I seems to work when there is another cow nearby in this crazed state and the rest of the breeding herd stirred up.
I've never heard an "estrus moan" or "buzz".
I do have a cow doing this sound on video. I will share it with you here. First things first! (grin)
WW, I hear ya, this is a rare sound to be witnessed. It's not that cows don't use it it's a sound that is rarely seen or heard though. It's exactly as Ken mentions that it's a selective sound for selective times! How rare? Well how many times has anyone seen it in comparison to more common elk sounds?
The phrase "estrus" in the name was given a ways back most likely for lack of a better term. It does signify however that this sound is generally used or heard during the "rutting phases" hence, the term "estrus scream" It is not meant to be understood that this sound is used previous to breeding at all. It's more the "time frame" it's heard as in Aug-Sept-Oct. which are well known & documented rutting times! Enough without giving it away & hearing further encounters! Ken's falls perfectly into my findings.
I only bring such sounds up to further our knowledge in Elk Hunting Encounters. Not trying to fool anyone but instead share another sound that may enhance your sound library & how & when to use it! Too, if you hear it you know what's happening or going on! I will post the video! Thanks guys!
So can I assume you are referring to what I call an estrus whine?
I have a call that I use very sparenly that has a type of buzz or whine to it. Works great on hungup bulls. I don't really think of it as a full estrus type of a call. I suppose the best way to put it would be if a cow isn't really ready to breed, but she is starting to feel the urge. Bulls really seem to take notice when I do this.
Cows often make a loud high-pitched mew when they are separated form the herd, or looking to join a herd. Some of the sounds I've heard during cow disputes are quite high pitched too.
I don't know if either of these are what you are referring to.
Waiting on the video of a cow performing this call - so we can look at it - and listen to it, and I'll share it with elk biologist and researcher Dr. Valerius Geist - to get his input.
This should be fun and interesting ........ bring on the video. 8^)
WW, I was thinking about you earlier this week, were your ears burning? Hoping for CO next year... Greg
The fighting, or annoyed call you are refering to is different in that it is a series of high-low-high-low tones. The vocalization discussed here is a series of LOUD, repeated, long and distinct mews. Or, at least as I've heard it in the past. It is an urgent sounding call, but not an alarm or warning call.
The way you describe a fighting call is exactly as I have described it in my book, and in my research papers - as a result of my research.
Since no two elk sound exaclty alike - it could be a "social contact" call, which is used when a female or calf gets separated from the herd.
Or it could be a variation of a cow calling to a calf.
Or it could in fact be a cow announcing breeding readiness - a yet undocumented vocalization and intentiion.
One problem in interpreting many animal vocalizations, is that the communication of many aninls is a combination of both sound and body posture or bocy action, which some of us fail to recognize or note - when we hear sounds - and try to determine waht the intent of the sound really is.
If we are going to learn more about this, we need to pay attention to the posture (head, ears, neck) and action (running, walking, sidling, aproaching straight on, head turned away from (or toward)another animal, leg raised, head or chin rested on the back etc.
It will help determine the real meaning (to the elk, not us) of the sound.
Have any of you have heard the very low-pitched "threat rumble" of a bull as it approaches a subdominant in a head-low posture (with it's neck and head outstretched, and often pointing away from the subdominant, in a show of what is referred to as "redirceted aggression" - in other words the dominant is suggesting the subdominant move, but is trying to avoid direct contact, by pointing its antlers back and not pointing it's head directly toward the other animal)?
Have any of you heard "tooth-grinding", when a dominant bull performs similar actions and postures to another elk? It sounds similar to a tennis shoe on wet linoleum, or a squeegee being used on glass.
Have any of you heard the low-intensity low-pithced "growl" or growling sound (similar to a low-pitched roar at the beginning of some bugles) of a bull as it is (often) lying down, or as it is used earlier in the afternoon, often before full blown bugling gets going?
Have any of you notices what sounds like two different tonalities at the exact same time - during the roaring of a bull at the beginning of a bugle; one sound being much higher than the roar?
I just want to know what others hear out there, and what they think.
I'm waiting for the video.
I have not heard the teeth grinding nor, what some call an estrus moan. I have witnessed and heard most of the other things you've mentioned and, depending on the situation while hunting, tried to imitate these sounds and vocalizations based on my past experience with these sounds. I can assure you, I try to note body posturing and other circumstances while I observe elk so I may understand them better.
I used the "fighting cow" terminology as Wayne Carlton did and have witnessed a lead cow vocalizing in this way while chasing other cows (from another herd) from a good feeding area. I have an old mare that makes this sound when annoyed as well. If it is a social contact sound, as you have said, I have not witnessed it. I will take your word, as you have researched this and probably have been able to study elk behavior much better than a hunter in the field, such as I.
I think it's great that we have your opinion to draw from as we try to become better hunters.
I may have posted it wrong, or been misunderstood.
The fighting squeal (as I refer to it in my research papers) is not a "social contact call", but would fall into the category of "agonistic vocalizations" (as in agonizing) as used by researchers. I've used it to bring in whole herds (led by a dominant cow, which proably was curious to see who was fighting), and bring in bulls from as far away as a half mile, looking fo locat the sound they heard all the time.
Another sound I'm wondering if you guys here is what Valerius Geist refers to as "tongue-popping", which is probably the same as the "glunking" I've seen mentioned, and which I refer to as a "glug" or "glugging". It sounds similar to water being poured from a large-mouthed jug. It is used by bulls when they are herding, probably as a means of telling the others to do what the bull wants (probably), and/or used as a "contact call" to get the cows accustomed to the sound of a particular bull (possible), or as a means of stimulating estrus (doubtful).
If you all e-mail me I will send you a copy of the pages from my Elk Addict's Manual with the elk vocalization descriptions on them. Due to the way they are laid out on the page, they will get all screwed up if I post them here.
Learning and sharing information - is enjoyable ...
God bless and good hunting,
I'll admit I don't think I've ever heard a scream/buzz.
If you heard a scream/wheeze/gasp it was me nearing the top of the mountain...
Steve Chappell on extreme Bulls 5, filmed 2 big Arizona bulls posture each other and fight over a cow doing the "estrous scream".The cow walks right in to the camera, up close and in your face.These bulls are definately interested in what she is saying and sure seems to me to be a demanding type breeding call. I heard this exact same sound here in Montana from a cow on October 19th 2008. -> ->
And it doesn't sound anything like a nasaly Primos "estrus whine".
Lots of comments here!! (grin) Let's try & stay on subject so as to grasp the full & correct meaning on the Estrus Scream! I bring this sound & topic up for educational purposes, it's not different than anyother elk sound you now use. Thing is the ones most use today are ones they are familiar with, this sound is a bit different but can easily be understood & imitated with a bit of practice & injected into selective "setups" just as you would use a "cold calling/blind setup".
I've personally have heard this sound a few times over the years, generally under conditions where Dominance is in question as to whose boss! The times I've experienced it fall perfectly into line with the "video clip" -- This clip was sent to me for explanation purposes. Again, this sound is not given by cows for mating/breeding purposes. Some may feel this way but when it's seen as a whole on many occasions & under particular situations then there's an obvious answer to it. This is not what I call a Pre-Estrus Whine in our DVDs, that's a different sound that's used under different circumstances. The elongated cow mews (also used by bulls) mentioned by T.R. & Ken are re-gathering to separated sounds. Cows will also use these Excited Cow mews & chirps when many are together in a group. The excited mew can also be heard when a cow is inviting or excepting a bulls invitation.
I will now let you view the video for yourselves as I've not explained the whole meaning yet!! (grin) Maybe someone else will hit on it? Remember, this is all about learning new sounds in an effort to arm us to be better Elk Hunters! When do we know too much! (grin)
You may have to copy & paste it?
I forgot to mention for the videos purpose what led to this cows actions as far as what calling took place by the caller. Take special note to the bulls reaction & calmness, he's not the least bit excited, why? It's because it's not a breeding call !!!! Yet these is an Estrus Scream which I will explain & share other situations I've experienced this exact sound!
If someone knows how to make a "clickable" link out of it feel free to do so, I'm PC challenged!
Here is the video! Looks like she has lost someone, maybe her calf.
Nij, thank you! How do you guys do that???? (grin)
I can't wait to hear the responses! Calling was used to get her to that point, was she alone? Fall back on your past experiences where you may have heard this & think what was taking place! I will bet there are a very few here that have actually heard that exact sound sequence. I've used it in selective setups where we were trying to portray a particular event, it works awesome in early season as well as peak rut times!!
I could not tell whether a human or an elk was making all of the sounds, which was it???
My computer would not play more than about 3 seconds of the video clip at a time, so it was hard for me to get the context of the whole thing.
It could be a "leave me alone" call, or a "I'm lost, where is everybody" call, or a distress call. Seeing more body language and what the the other elk were doing would help.
It might be a cow protesting a bull trying to herd her, or breed her, and she did not like it.
You guys might want to check in on the "Do Elk Make Rub Routes" thread.
Put in your .02 worth there too.
I've always known that as a "lost cow call", even though she isn't lost. The behavior I've witnessed this call in, it seems to be an invitation call. The cow is inviting a strange cow who appears to be coming into estrus, to join her herd. I see this behavior when a young bull has one or two cows with him and the breeding herds are forming. This is definately a "social contact call". My opinion anyways.
The cow in the video is making all elk sounds you hear. It's very common for them to mix it up in that situation. Again, this is not a breeding sound!!! It's most commonly heard through rutting times as I mentioned. This cow is coming towards previous calling by the video taker! This not a lost cow call, it could be a version of parts of it but as a whole she's looking for this other group she heard. But why? (grin)
I hate to get off subject here but there are many thoughts here about various elk sounds brought up that are incomplete. "Glunking" is one of them. Here is an accurate description of glunking & when & why it occurs at least from 1st hand experience from both studying elk & hunting elk for over 25years. From a hunters standpoint this sound can be used when adapted in the right encounter.---------
I figured there were a few who had experienced this sound! I agree it's a very subtle sound & cannot be heard very far off. I've talked with hunters over the years that have this sound confused with "chuckling" which is "ape like" in sound & tone. Many times bulls will use very light or low volume chuckles & guys mistake that for glunking. You've got great ears to recognize this sound at 100yds or so, better than mine for sure! (grin) What does a bull do to make this sound himself? I've asked this to a whole lot of different hunters during our Seminars & no one has known the answer yet? Most feel it's a guttural thing by bulls, well, that's not a bad guess! They make this sound by slapping their tongue against the roof of their mouths in a clicking or stabbing like action. Hunters can imitate this sound best with a mouth reed if you're good or another great way is to perch your lips together & act like you're trying to spit a piece of hair off your lips, let your lower lip lead out beyond your upper lip slightly & pop the sound out. With practice you'll get it down very good. Once there do it into the mouth of your Grunt Tube, it works & sounds great! Others will pop the back of their grunt tubes/bugles, some slap their tongue against the roof of their pallet or have other devices to imitate this sound!
Bulls Glunk in the presence of cows or trying to call cows their way, it's not just an estrus thing but also a Dominance feature, bulls will also use this sound to call a new cow (you) over to them. It's a Dominance & Signature sound to bulls, it's generally only done by the more mature bulls in a group or given area. Because it is a Dominance thing among bulls it's a real slap in a herd bulls face to have another bull come in close to his herd & try to call his cows from him with this I'm bigger, badder & deserve those cows more than you. Remember it's the cows who choose the bull they want to be with, bulls will use this sound "glunking" to display their manhood & their deserving to be the chosen one to keep/have those cows & breed them. So it can be a challenge to the herd bull as well as an action on this new bulls part (you) to persuade those cows they should be with him instead. That's his ultimate goal is to have those cows for himself, he's trying to prove his worthiness!
Now you can see why a well placed glunking action is very deadly at the right time!! Get in tight, glunk & give a series of rapid soft chuckles at the end & you'll be demanding for those cows to take notice of you, in doing so you'll most likely have a pretty pissed off herd bull, you'd better have an arrow nocked!!!
TR, if you're using Firefox w/ added codecs installed the video will hang. It should play in Windows browser.
I'm using IE 7.
Here is my problme with referring to it as an "estrus" call. Estrus is something cows and does experience, not bulls and bucks. When whitetail hunters use the term "estrus bleat" (again there does not appear to be one, accoring to all the research I have) they are referring to a call they belive is produced by a doe in estrus.
Elknut posted this, "Bulls Glunk in the presence of cows or trying to call cows their way, it's not just an estrus thing but also a Dominance feature, bulls will also use this sound to call a new cow (you) over to them."
Are you saying that the "glunk" is an estrus call? Or that bulls use it to bring cows into estrus? Or that bull use it when a cow is in estrus?
I've never seen a bull use a glug to call a cow over to him. I have seen a bull use a glug to walks or run a stray cow toward the herd, or the direction he wants, sometimes with its neck outstretched (similar to what we used to call "snaking" when a stallion herds mares). Again, while herding with the outstretched neck, the head is often pointed away from the cow - in what is termed "redirected ageression). Bulls use redirected aggression to avoid physical confrontation, you will often see it used when bulls do a "parallel walk" (walking in the same direction a few yard apart form each other) with their heads turned away form each other. If the bulls turn around and walk the other way, they away form the other bull so as not to point the head and antlers toward each other. This is a "dominance display".
I've heard bulls glug when they herded other bulls, when there was nothing but bulls in that pasture. I've also heard bulls glug as they walk alone in a pasture (no other elk within 100 yards or more), as if the herding instinct/urge was so strong that they could not stop themselves. As I noted above, elk researcher Dr. Valerius described "glugging" as "tongue-popping" which acurately describes how this sound is produced. T.R. Michels
Been around a lot of elk and have never heard that call before. That sounds like a raspy mew, have heard the raspy before but not that short. Looks as if she is looking for something.
That really shows us how rare this sound is! dr.bob has called in hundreds of elk & he's darned good at it & has done it for years! I know this because I have 2 of his DVDs he was so kind to send me to check out! I had said it was a rare sound, I've heard it 4-5 times in all my years of studies & hunts! All situations link themselves very well for a great defining meaning!
"Are you saying that the "glunk" is an estrus call? Or that bulls use it to bring cows into estrus? Or that bulls use it when a cow is in estrus?"
My Response====It's used exactly like I mentioned above! No, glunking is not an estrus call, & no a bull is not trying to bring cows into heat with it.==Glunking can be used whether cows are in estrus or not or nearing/in pre-estrus state. Glunking is one of the calls that bulls make that are a "Signature" sound! Lip Bawl screams are another "Signature" sound! Both these sounds identify a particular bull especially so to the cows present! T.R. with all due respect, have you ever heard or witnessed such sounds as glunks" or "rutting gulps/glugs" under actual elk hunting conditions in the wild? If so, would you please explain the differences between the two & how ones would use them under ideal hunting situations? Do so from experience & not a book, please! Adapting ones sounds that "fit" an encounter is crucial during ones elk hunts, if one does otherwise you will experience bulls hanging-up. This would be because you would raise the proverbial "red flag" in their minds eye! This doesn't happen in all encounters of course but, where selective sounds are used by you the hunter or the bull your next response better be close to what he expects to hear or your odds for a shot opportunity just went way down!! This is why we here on this Elk Forum share much info so as to prepare all who care to take part in for their up-coming elk hunts!
I'll go out on a limb here. The title of this post is very miss leading. There is nothing estrus about it. There is no scream, and there is really no buzz either. Heck, no wonder I couldn't figure out what you were talking about.
I have heard this exact sound in the past. But in thirty years of elk hunting, I have only heard it once. Your video was the second time and it was the exact same situation as the first time I heard the call.
This is a very anxious young animal that is seeking companionship. In this case, probable because the guys that were filming had made some herd sounds. No wonder the bull wasn't excited. All he was doing was coming in to see what all the ka-motion was all about.
It could be used in a silent calling setup. But I wouldn't bet on it as a sure-fire thing.
Yeah, what >>>--WW--> said!
I've tried reading thru this thread and it's honestly given me a headache. It's great fun to ask what this sound means or that sound means, but it's just basically an argument waiting to happen. We all use different terminologies when talking about elk vocalizations. Doesn't mean one is right or another is wrong, it just means we use different words to identify the same thing. I've been bowhunting elk for 24 yrs and have read and watched darn near everything in sight to either learn new ideas or verify what I've experienced in the field and I've NEVER heard the term Estrus scream or buzz in my life. When you start throwing in all this scientific jargon on top of it, it confuses the issue even further.
I've read several threads asking what different elk vocalizations mean and what you should do in response and so forth. These are great if used as a forum to share information. Both new and experienced elk hunters can always learn from these threads. There are many experienced elk hunters that respond to these threads based on THEIR experience. Each one is correct, again based on THEIR experiences. Everyone can benefit from each of these contributions. But to have someone say their's is the only "right" answer is not only wrong, but quite arrogant.
Yes, WW, this is different than what I was thinking too. Much different than the scream I was describing except for the repetition of the call.
Yep, you guys are right! Sometimes these threads can turn into fiascoes, fortunately in most cases things go fairly smooth & are very enjoyable & we all benefit from them. Sorry if things went South for some!! I'm done here!
I agree with many of you - and your sentiments are what I was getting at. This appears not to be an "estrus" or "cow in estrus" or "cow estrus" vocalization, and therefore it is very confusing - and misleading to some.
The use of "made up terms" by some people, and the use of terms by some hunters meaning or describing one thing, and others using them for another tning - is why I prefer to use the terms used by elk biologists and researchers - because they are clearly defined and appropriately named as to "function" and use.
Otherwise, as we have seen here, it gets confusing ...
Which is why I've offered everyone here the excerpt from my book on elk vocalizations, because each call is categorized, explained and named accordingly. And the name or description of call previously described or used by other elk researchers - is included in the text.
As to have I heard the Glug in the wild? Yes, several times while I guided in Chama, New Mexico on Lobo Outfitters land right next to (literally across the fence) Chama Land and Cattle Company & US Guides and Outfitters land for 9 years. It is not a call I use regularly, only when conditions are right - usually to simulate a bull with cows - along with the other sounds I am making, generally during pre-peak breeding and peak breeding. Because I often have hunters with me - it is often a call of last resort or choice. I can't afford to screw things up.
I use the reference to the book, because it comes from years of personal research, research of noted biologists and researchers - and years of personal experience hunting.
God bless and good hunting,
Elknut: Thanks for bringing this call to everyones attention. There was alot of speculation going on here. And, I suppose that is good. I enjoyed everyones thoughts. We can all learn from this and that is what it is all about.
Yep - thanks for bringing it up elknut, I'm always willing to learn.
You are all welcome to get a FREE copy of the elk communciation pages from my book if you want them.
Just e-mail me at TRMIchels@yahoo.com
Or just go to the Libraay and read the book, The Ecoloy & Management of North American Elk, publshed by Stackpole. It is available in most larger cities, and you can usually order it from other cites by requesting it. I highly redommend it, if you want to learn about elk and elk manageent. Pay particular attention to the Biology/Behavior chapter by Dr. Valerius Geist. He is recogfnized by many as - the top cervidae (deer species) researcher in North America.
T.R. God bless and good hunting,
Thanks for starting this thread. Your last post sounds like you're frustrated and was by no means a "social contact vocalization". (grin)
I think this thread was, generally, informative and contained good info we can all take to the field. I hope you continue to share your experiences with elk vocalizations with us because I learn so much when we share in this way.
Hopefully, in the future, things will stay on topic.
I'll probably start some threads on this subject, just to keep things going. Hope you chime in.
WOW. Seems there are definitely some other agendas here other than identifying this unique elk sound. [shaking head]
To any of you who already got the pages --- I just noticied that I sent the wrong file - it is incomplete.
e-mail me again and I'll get you the WHOLE file.
As I listened to this call again, and watched what the animal was doing, I'm thinking this is an abberant version (meaning not all elk sound exactly like this) of the "social contact call" (or mew), in which the animal is looking for a herd it got separted from. Or just looking to join another herd.
For a moment - let's consider the dynamics of an elk cow/calf herd.
In some cases - a cow/calf herd is made up of cows and their calves, and may have grown up yearlings (from one of the older cows in the herd) from the year before, and their calves - and possibly two or more generations.
Or, the herd could be made up mostly of totaly unrelated cows and their calves, with possibly yearlings of the cows from the year before.
In either case, the animals - at some point in their lives - were probably part of a herd - and that is what many of them are comfortable with.
So - when a recalitrant (independent) cow, and especially a wandering yearling, gets separted from its mother or the herd - they may want to join up with the herd (again), or join another herd, because there is safety in numbers. To locate the herd, and get theri nother to signal where she is at, or where some other elk in a herd is at - the wayward (lost) elk performs a loud "social contact call" which we may be hearing here.
The elk hopes to hear another elk, and then the other elk will repsond, and they can get together.
Now, for the calling part...
You can use this call to bring in a bull, because any bull that wants to breed, especially bulls without a cow or a harem, MAY (notice I said may) respond to this call - hoping to find a cow (in estrus or not), to follow around, or to get to join the harem, and eventually breed with.
Which is why you can use most cow/calf calls to attract bulls.
This does not appear to have anything to do with "estrus".
If any of you have questions on the elk pages you get, notify me at TRMichels@yahoo.com, post your question here - and I'll get here fast as I can.
As I told the whitetail guys, I'm laid up this year due to chronic pain, and can't hunt. But, I may (may) be able to help you guys hunt, or understand elk, better.
I enjoy sharing what I have learned.
God bless and good hunting,
I've been hunting elk for many years too, and I have never heard that elk sound either. I think what TR said makes sense after watching the video, it appears that the cow is searching for other elk. Is she searching because she is lost I don't really know, but to me it looks like she is definitely looking for other elk, just look at her body language, she makes a few loud "social contact" calls then stops and listens intently, then runs up a bit and repeats.
Whether it is for breading purposes or not, wouldn't it be a good call if you were in close to elk and trying to pinpoint their location, especially if the bull wasn't bugling much?
Thats how I use ittoo.
I use bull vocalizations to locate bulls, then cow calls to get them to come in (because most bulls would rather breed than fight).
If a bull is willing to come to bugle, I often switch to a 2-year-old bull sound (one he thinks he can whip), and I think you have to get in their "space" (30-40 yards?) before they want to challenge you, but there are always exceptions.
God bless all of you,
It's fun to wonder what each elk sound means and in reality, I think we can all agree, that elk vocalization is based on needs and evolution and is more basic in nature that some of us would like to think. :) More than likely, she's trying to locate her herd, or a seperated calf, but she seems a little nervous, almost ready to bark. Her voice is high pitched. If she wasn't born this way (which is a possibility I suppose), she probably is nervous or irritated. I'd still like to hear Elknut's theory, since he's the one that knows the situation.
This year, I spent the entire hunt working a single bull. This guy had about 30 cows and 6 satellites in tough terrain covering 3 seperate canyons. Although I was able to locate and stalk within 60 yards of him on a couple of occasions, the only way I could call to him and get him to come, was to get close (less than 100 yards) and threaten him with a mature raspy bugle. If I just squealed at him, he wouldn't pay attention. When I threatened to steal his herd, all heck broke loose and he came looking for me.
All elk are different, one bull may run when threatened, another may be looking for a fight. All elk sound different and their reactions to those sounds may be totally different from one herd to another.
I have never heard this sound in the wild. Only on Steve Chappel's videos. If you can make the "Lip Ball" this call is very easy to imitate.
I tried it two years ago in a desperate effort to get a bull to come in. I had two bulls calling to each other on apposing hill sides, and nothing, I mean nothing would bring them in. I tried this in a last ditch effort. Things went quiet for a while and then I heard one little huff from about 75 yrds but nothing ever appeard nor did I hear anymore calling.
This sound did bring the bull in closer than any other sound that I had tried over the previous couple days.
That is my only experience using this sound.
P.S. this was about the 13th of Sept.
As I said, I believe it is a "Social Contact Call" (mew) used for the purpose of locating other elk, often members of a herd the sinle elk has been separated from.
Now - suppose you are a bull (with or without cows, but especially without cows) and it fall, when the rut is either beginning, going on or ending. If you hear the sound of a cow, you are probably going to investigate, hoping to either get the cow to join you, join your harem, or just get lucky.
One of the problems is that many call manufacturers either do not understand the complexities of elk communication; that it is a comnination of sounds, scents, body and head postures, and body or head and neck action - or - they make up names for calls, in an effort to market one of their products.
Take, for instance, the "estrus cow call" or "hoochie mama" or "hot cow" or anything that sems to imply that it sounds like an "estrus" cow, which many hunters think is the "cure all and end all" to get a bull to come in 90% of the time.
I'm not saying the manufactured call will not work, I'm saying that in all the sceintific literature I can find, and in my own experience of 9 years guiding elk hunters, and 4 years doing research of over 1000 cows and 300 bulls, I have never found evidence of, nor heard, a call that is thought to be a cow telling the world - that she is in estrus or wants to breed. (The same holds true for whiteatils, there is no "doe estrus" call - the calls I've heard, sound like a "Social Contact Call".)
So, the thing to do - is learn what actual, real, live, elk (or whitetail or turkey, or duck or goose) vocalizations mean, know what they sound like, figure out which ones may (I said MAY) attract the aninmal in some situations, and then use a call that can imitate that sound, and be able to use it properly.
I believe that many of these "estrus" calls are simply imitating the "Social Contact Call" which will attract bulls sometimes, but not in all situations.
The manufactures "use" the word "estrus" or "hot" to SELL their product.
HOWEVER, no two elk sound exaclty alike, believe me, I know, because during my research I heard as many as 1000 bugles a day, from 75-150 different bulls; and up to 200+ cow/calf calls per day, from 200-400 different cows. Anyone who has ever driven Highway 52 north of Rochester and Oronoco, Minnesota, has seen those elk, they are there, on the Hoehne Elk Farm.
Although I promoted Haydel's Game Calls for years, to be honest with you - I have to say that most brands of elk calls, particularly mouth diaphragms, will work, if you use them properly.
I use a single reed turkey/elk diaphragm for calves and young cows, a double reed for older cows and younger bulls, and a triple reed for older bulls. No splits, or cuts or fancy designs in the laytex either.
I've yet to find any other mouth-blown call that recreates elk sounds as easily or as realistically, as a mouth diaphragm.
PS I'm still offering FREE elk communication pages and FREE whitetail communcations pages from books.
If you want them - just e-mail me at TRMichels@yahoo.com