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Late season Elk tactics:bugling?
This will be the first season that I actively pursue Elk in the late season. I have heard bugles in the late season, so does anyone bugle to locate bulls at this time in the season besides looking for tracks in the snow?
Some cows will still be coming into estrus, so the bulls will be bugling until something shuts them up (i.e. rifle season). Years ago before I started bowhunting, I got in on a couple bulls that were bugling their heads off. They kept right on bugling until I popped one. That was 15 Oct. Once the rifle shots start going off, that pretty much shuts them down.
So who hunts Elk in November and what tactics do you use?
Glassing & tracking them in the fresh snow. Little to no calling, most calling is stopping them for the shot only!
What about this weekend? October 10/11?
One of my most bugle infested days ever was October 6th and there wasn't a cow to be found? What were those 5/6 bulls doing?? called a mature 5point in and missed him!!!! (with just a cow call)..
I just plain ol' have Elk on the brain and it's killing me!
A lot depends upon the area you will be elk hunting! Elk are VERY social critters. I've been in areas with light hunting pressure in mid October and bulls were bugling like crazy. There were likely a few late cows in estrous but the bulls were mostly bugling as a social deal...calling back and forth as if to say "everything is ok".
On the contrary, if you are hunting an unlimited elk unit in Colorado in October on public land you will likely never hear a bugle and barely a cow call!
Once the rut is over and all cows are out of estrous the mature bulls often go off by themselves. Sometimes you'll see lone bulls but often 2 to 5 that tend to stay together through the winter. I can't remember ever hearing a bugle once the bulls get into their bachelor groups...which here in Colorado or Wyoming is generally around the 2nd or 3rd week in October. There may be a spikes and once in a while raghorns in with cows in November but for the most part the mature bulls are off by themselves...and not bugling.
Last year on my late season mule deer hunt, Nov 10th-20th, we heard quite a few bugles. While sitting and glassing we heard a bugle then started seeing cows moving over the ridge, didn't get to excited just thought it was cool. A couple days later hiking up a trail in a completely different area we heard multiple bugles. We sat down and glassed 2 different herds moving towards each other. We heard bugles and cow calls, we think it was just a locating talk so the 2 herds could meet up. The bulls were behind the cows and always stayed on the out skirts with each other. The bulls never got much closer than 70-80yards to the cows, but still bugled, the cows never payed much attention to the bugles(they actually barely even flinched). This was in a winter range too, i don't know if that had anything to do with it.
Last year was the only time I went out after Elk in Nov and I heard a bull bugling several times over the course of an hour. This was right after first light and I suspect it was a locating call since there was no chuckling and I did not hear any answering bugles. I normally am deer hunting at this time, in an area that the Elk do not frequent at that time of year, so really don't have much experience with this. Thanks for the responses.