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questions on calling in elk
walked into a wallow at 5.oopm wind had shifted to evening thermals. the elk always come from above the wallow. I cow called very quietly at 5.15 had a bull bugle immediately from about 100 yards he moved away bugling often, I followed for about 200 yards and set up on a trail and waited about 45 minutes, he bugled the whole time but would not come in, he would come to about 100 yards and move off to maybe 2-3 hundred yards. he would continue to bugle groan and moan every now and then. I moved closer at about 7.00 gave him another cow call or two again he would come in to only 100 yards and move off at 7.20 I decided it was now or never moved closer gave him a bugle, we bugled back and forth for few minutes he move up the hill and never made another sound. going back tonight opinions?
My guess is he had cows. No reason to move for a single cow when he has a herd already. And when you bugled, he definitely wasn't coming into a strange bull. He is not going to search for a competitor.
I'm guessing he wanted you to come to him. He also never made a visual confirmation. I think in these moments a decoy is monument or stop calling and stalk in. I suppose you could've challenged him with a bugle, but that isn't a guarantee either.
I was in a similar situation w/ a friend and the bull was right there, he would not come to us. Even w/ me moving back 100yds raking and bugling. Hindsight.. go to them. I think I've learned my lesson. FYI it was late rut, def not peak.
I have pushed them before and all I usually do is end up chasing them up the hill only to have him circle around and pick up his cows and leave. it is very hard to stalk up close for a shot it is very thick and dry every thing crunches. I am sure he has cows there were upwards of 15 cows on my camera. I will try just sitting at wallow tonight, no calls and if he bugles try a stalk probably my only option I believe a caller would help, I could stalk in while he cow called to the bull.
Since he was letting you know his location, I probably would have silently sneaked in on him as close as I could (without getting busted), set the elk ass decoy, and started thrashing brush/ rolling rocks/ pounding the ground, etc. behind it.
If you had a partner...same game, except have the shooter crawl out front and off to one side. That would be the best odds of success IMHO.
Best of Luck, Jeff
We called in a Bull sunday night under the same scenario with 4 cow calls. When he answered your first cow calls with a bugle, I would have given him two "come over here" replys. Our Bull came in on a string after those calls.
If you didn't hear cows I doubt he had any.
Chris Roe on Jay Scotts podcast is worth the time, there are several episodes. Roe is spot on with the lost calf buzz and that come over here cow call from what I have personally seen.
Bob, that "come over here" call, is that similar to an estrus call? Longer, more pleading type cow call?
I would describe it as soft with a drop off at the end but not loud or pleading.
Is it the "assembly mew"? I have the Roe ap, but none of the vocalizations are labeled come here.
You want to "talk" to him or kill him...lol After you locate him...hunt him and set up a ambush. If he didn`t come on the call more calling might push him away harder and faster. Less is more.
Thanks WB, I will add that to my repertoire!
getting ready to head out think I will try being silent tonight I will get in and set up a ambush. don't have a decoy. he is not a huge bull but I think he is the herd bull for now. I have a pic of him he is in the 290 range. the other bulls are just little 5 pointers.
Ohio, I believe that's the one.
I'm far from an expert but elk come in to fight or...date. If a bull won't come any closer or sounds like he's heading away, I clam up and try to close the distance before calling again (as you did) or try and cut him off.
There are plenty of possibilities but to me it sounds like he had some cows and was willing to put a little effort into letting this new cow catch up. When there was a bull in the mix he decided to take the sure thing and quietly move on with his girlfriends. He may have already been where you were just before you arrived and it's not easy to make a bull backtrack very far while his cows are intent on going wherever they are going.
he bugled all night again last night tried a stalk got to about 80 yards to many cows in the way to get to him backed out to the side and set up on a trail had cows come by not him I cow called at dark had 2 other bulls fire up I think they will come in but I would rather shoot the big groaner he was so hot last night after he bugled and ripped up a tree I could hear him panting. Im headed in after him again tonight
Good luck Idaho!! We are all rooting for ya!
Good luck! Enjoy the Ride!!!
Just my .02- If you knew elk were using the wallow why did you call at all? In my experience, many bulls don't want company at a wallow. Your bull sounds like he wanted to be left alone. Sometimes they come in from uphill so they can see the wallow first. They may also come from down wind so they can smell if anyone is there. Raking or splashing can work better at wallows because I think it peaks their curiosity. Do you know he had cows? I would guess he doesn't. Depending on the size structure in the area I would guess he was and is going to be a sub-dominate bull. As in, next year he will be a real contender. In my area I find that a lot of bulls that act like you describe a decent 5x's and 270-290 ish bulls. They act like a big tough guy but when push comes to shove, the last thing they want is a fight. I would guess he either thought you were a cow and he wanted you to follow or more likely he thought you might have a bull nearby and wanted him to know he was leaving. But, whatever, I've been wrong a lot and I'll be wrong a lot more. It's just what I've noticed.
i have shot 3 other bulls from this wallow 2 have came in as soon as they heard the cow call, I never shot anything but 5x5's at this wallow, I have seen some nice 6x6 in this area but never killed one, I have killed quite a few elk but never a herd bull, they are definitely a different beast to hunt. hopefully I will be able to tell how big he is tonight when I have my hands on his antlers, getting ready to go now.
What's your plan. If it goes like it did last night and he's covered up with cows. What are you going to try?
bringing a friend with me tonight, we are not sure, I don't want to bump him out of the area. I think my first play will be to stalk in for a shot, if that doesn't work we might try having my friend sit back and cow call. last time he just sat couple hundred yards out and bugled at me. hoping If the cows are between us they go to him with me stalking in behind for the shot
Good luck tonight. How is he bugling? Lip bawl, grunting, chuckling included or just locator?
not sure on the lip bawl, but low growl bugle, mostly, the more he bugles the more it turns into just a low growl. ripping up trees and I have heard heavy panting
Partner's tagged out.
Assembly Mew; came in on a string from 100. Frontal shot at 30 and he went 50 and tipped over.
Nice Bob, I think a 10yd or less frontal shot would be the pinnacle of any rush in the elk woods. Post up some pics when you can!
we where on our way into my spot about a 1/2 mile away at 4:00pm just above my trail there was 10 or so cows a spike and a 5 point about 100 yards up the hill. the cows got nerves and head out. the big bull wasn't close enough to spook, he started bugling as the cows milled up the hill away from us. my friend started calling to the bull he did not want to come in I decided to go right at him while my friend called to him. I closed the distance to around 80 yards got a good look at him but that was all the closer I could get. we bugled and cow called to him all night till dark him and his cows staying just out of range. i did find a wallow up on the hill that he was using, i believe it was the one they were headed to that night. i went back the next evening at 3:30 with intentions of getting to the new found wallow before he showed up instead i jump the whole herd on my trail lower than i had ever seen them before. that night was a bust. i went back the following night at 2:00 got to the wallow with out jumping anything stayed till dark never saw anything heard one bugle. hope i didn't bump them out of the area for good will give it another try in a day or two let them settled down.
Elk will move too. They will stay in an area for a couple 2-3 days and move drainages. So that's all it could be or you could have pushed them out. They'll be back.