Vortex Broadheads
Stopping an elk
Contributors to this thread:
Lost Arra 26-Sep-17
Heat 26-Sep-17
jordanathome 26-Sep-17
IdyllwildArcher 26-Sep-17
deaver25btb 26-Sep-17
GF 26-Sep-17
bb 26-Sep-17
Bowriter 26-Sep-17
wyobullshooter 26-Sep-17
deerslayer 26-Sep-17
ElkNut1 26-Sep-17
Lost Arra 27-Sep-17
Kodiak 27-Sep-17
Old School 27-Sep-17
Ucsdryder 27-Sep-17
Trial153 27-Sep-17
Kodiak 27-Sep-17
From: Lost Arra
For those of us who cannot consistently or reliably use a diaphragm call without sounding like a gagging turkey how do you stop a walking cow elk? For deer I have done a mouth grunt, a whistle or on occasion I just said "hey deer".

Stopping a bull during archery season/rut has not been a problem but the cows seem to be a lot more cautious or less curious. I hunt with a longbow so I'm under 30 yards. I can't seem to stalk any closer than 40-50 in the country I hunt (open and rocky, sage, cedars) so I get close and set up for an ambush. Last week it was to intercept them going to a spring late in the afternoon.

The lead cow in this group was doing the step-pause, step-pause as she checked down into a shallow draw where the water was. I was tucked into a nest of cedars and a pine tree while she was in the open sage. I made no attempt to stop her but shoot on the "pause". My 24 yard shot looked perfect as then everything seem to go into ultra-slow motion as my arrow headed to the boiler room she stepped and impact was not "a little back" (which seems to be a common bowhunting term) but more "way back". She bolted out of sight and I was sick. But somehow that last step was away and so my shot was apparently more quartering away than I perceived it. It entered back and went thru intestine but penetrated liver, diaphragm and lung then stopped behind opposite shoulder. She piled up in 70 yards. Lucky lucky lucky.

My setup was perfect but in the future, how should I get her to stop? Will a whistle work? I just about tried it but chickened out. I'm great on the diaphragm while practicing in the truck but at the moment of truth with a dry mouth and things happening fast it always sounds terrible.

From: Heat

Heat's embedded Photo
Heat's embedded Photo
Get an "elk reel" call. Lanyard optional if you are creative for hands free. No gag, great cow and calf tones. With this call you can blow through it outside or lightly bite on it in your mouth. I think it sounds better that way.

From: jordanathome
For deer and elk I've always just made a generic "bwaaaa" sound. Short and abrupt. Gets them to stop in their tracks.


From: deaver25btb
Congrats on the elk!!!!

Sorry, can't help on how to stop em!

From: GF
If you know she's in a step-pause pattern, maybe the thing to do is to hold tight to the shoulder, track your spot with the bow and release at the instant that she stops?

I shot at a doe mulie that was doing that - she was actually stalking up on my brother, trying to figure out what she was seeing - and I damn near hit her square in the hind hoof when she unexpectedly picked it up to take another step. Luckily, I think she froze at the thump of the string and stopped the motion of that hoof just past mid-stride, because I was going to drill it for CERTAIN. UNfortunately, at the time I thought I'd just made a horrible shot and missed by a mile, and that destroyed my confidence for the whole damn season..... But where your focus is, there goes your shot.

I'd rather swing on a deer/Elk that's trotting at a steady clip - or any consistent pace, really, short of full-tilt-boogie.... Not that I would try it with a compound, but that's a moot point because I'm never going after Elk with a compound again, so help me!

Not a huge fan of making any sound that might put them on edge, though.

And FWIW, perhaps - like me on that doe - you didn't actually make a "poor" shot. Just thinking... If you ended up taking a quarter-away angle and your arrow stopped behind the off shoulder, I'm not 100% that you could have done much better with your placement. JMO, it's possible that you recalibrated your shot in the final instant... Maybe you ended up with an angle that you would not have chosen on a stationary animal, but I'm convinced that if a flinch can cause a miss, then we are capable of adjusting our point of aim during the release - else, how do we hit a bouncing bunny rabbit or tennis ball?

From: bb
shuffle your foot

From: Bowriter
Every time I see a thread about "stopping" an animal,the same questions comes to my mind. Why? Unless an animal is moving quite fast, I don't want to stop them and have never understood the thinking. A moving animal is an animal that concentrating on what is ahead. When you stop them, regardless of the sound you make, you instantly put them on guard. I routinely practiced shooting moving targets. As a result, felt confident in shooting animals at anything less than a gallop. The last elk I shot on film was trotting, the last caribou I killed was between a trot and a gallop. I had no thought of stopping either one and both were clean kills. I made more "bad shots" on stopped animals that ducked or jumped when I shot than I did on moving animals. Is that something else television has spawned?

Bowriter, in answer to your question as to why...because it works. Personally, I question why anyone would shoot a moving elk. Concerning the ducking and jumping, elk aren't whitetails.

Mews are a calming call. An elk isn't "put on guard" when it hears one.

This tactic wasn't spawned by TV. I've been using it for 4 decades.

From: deerslayer
My "mehhh" has killed many a deer. Actually not too many deer have heard that sound and lived to tell about it!

Some years back, I had the bull of my dreams (370ish) walking from my right to left with strong gusty wind blowing the same direction. I let out a diaphragm cow call, and all he did was slightly turn his head and turn hard quartering away continuing his pace. I ended up putting my arrow in his shoulder with about 2" of penetration. Same morning a friend of mine had a similar experience and used the tried and true deer "mehhh" and killed his 350" bull stone dead. I think that is a good choice as it sounds like a deer fawn, and isn't alarming but is enough for them to stop and try and figure out what just made that sound. I have been told by some legit elk killers that they use a loud bark and it stops them on a dime. I think when you need to get one stopped in a hurry in loud windy conditions that is a good option as well. I will probably give it a try this season if the need arises.

From: ElkNut1
For elk we've found not much trumps the Nervous Grunt for stopping any elk. A cow call can be adequate at times but unpredictable in many situations. Distance is generally a factor as well, inside 20 yards & any obtrusive sound burst can stop them. Problem with a cow call is most hunters try using a mew, this is more of a soft sound & many times the moving elk cannot hear it so continues on. Too, a normal cow mew or whine does not ask an "Action" from other elk, it merely represents that an elk is present. However a Nervous Grunt is generally much louder in tone & asks an action! This in itself is a huge plus in stopping elk since this sound asks for a visual or satisfying identification. Since all elk can & do use this sound for this exact purpose it can work very well in stopping elk for a calm shot!

When a Nervous Grunt sound is used it does not cause alarm or warning, it asks for an identification! We've taken countless elk with this sound from 10 yards to 60 yards. I cannot think of a single situation where it has back fired! It flat anchors elk to the spot!


From: Lost Arra
Thanks to all. Good info. I've used the mehhh for deer and probably should have in this instance. There were even some mule deer at the water when I shot.

I had not really thought about a bark. I'm usually on the receiving end of the bark during a stalk but when I think about it every elk usually stops dead still when it occurs. At least for a few seconds.

I have no intention of shooting a walking animal but I guess that's personal choice based on your weapon and how you practice.

From: Kodiak
I say mep...if he still doesn't stop I say mepps.

Gits em every time.

From: Old School
Stopped a 6x6 in his tracks one morning this year with a voice call - don't even know what it really sounded like - a mix between a cat being strangled and a cow elk mew. We were dogging a herd up a drainage and quietly stalking the herd - they were on the open hillside and we were down in the willows in the creek - heading uphill. When the cows/calves crossed the creek and headed up the other side, the bulls dropped into the creek and unknown to us started coming down with the wind towards us - we had a head on collision at 20 yards in the willows. They busted out into the open hillside at 30 yards - I made a terrible voice call to stop him and he stopped immediately - then I tried to nock and arrow, get my release on my D-loop, you know the routine...by the time I got it all done, he had walked into the timber. I really couldn't believe my call stopped him and he stood there for probably 5 seconds.


From: Ucsdryder
I tried a mew this year and he kept walking. Hit him with another mew and he kept walking. Hit him with a hard mew and he stopped and looked over. When I say hard mew, I mean hard mew. Amazing that he didn’t even react to the first two. Like others, shooting a moving elk target? No thanks. Makes zero sense to me.

I need to work on another technique.

From: Trial153
Why stop them? Really ...

From: Kodiak
Most of the time I stop them when they enter a clear shooting lane. Those lanes don't last forever...

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