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You can’t be too aggressive!
You always hear people say you can’t be too aggressive or something along those lines. This year I packed in 3 miles solo and after setting up my tent I headed up a steep hill to some meadows for an evening hunt. As I sucked wind, a lot of wind, I heard a bugle. It was one of those, was it downhill? Uphill? Side hill? I bugled back and located him, back down the hill. Of course...
Wanting to be aggressive, I bailed off the hill...it’s the kind of steep where your feet slide out from under you as you head down. I made it 100 yards before I was standing there staring at a good 6x6 who obviously was being just as aggressive as me! Wind was good, but I was caught...or so I thought!
Moral of the story...I guess you can be too agressive! It doesn’t hurt to wait a few minutes to see if the location of the bugles change. Or does someone have some different advice?
This year I heard a couple bugles in the dark up the ridge a few hundred yards. I waited 30 minutes until shooting light and heard nothing more from him, so I set out a decoy and did a benign cow-calf herd talk sequence. After 20 minutes I'd heard nothing so I moved up 100 yards and gave out a locator bugle.
That big 6x bull ran in on me so fast, mooing like an Angus bull, and stopped at 15 yards while I fumbled to get an arrow on the string. He took a couple more steps and stopped with his head behind a tree. I totally wasn't set up in a spot to shoot and had to lean out to get a window. He saw the slight movement and bolted back a few yards where I didn't have a shot. And that was that.
I've been doing this thing for 43 years and know better. I just wanted a clue as to where he was. Total rookie mistake...
I let him go to bedding and the wind got funky so I left him bugling in the timber. That afternoon while I waited across the draw for the wind to settle somebody charged in on him in the bedding area in the bad wind, blew him out, and I never found him again.
Two examples on the same bull on the same day.
I believe like anything you Gotta know the time and place. I like to hang back and wait until I feel the time is right to make my move. A lot of it depends on what type of hunting you doing I don't personally do a lot of set up and calling, but I do believe some of the best out killers are pretty aggressive overall. Obviously you're going to make mistakes but you're also going to kill elk too. I like to be aggressive in the sense that I work like a maniac to try to loop around them and make a move, but there are sometimes where I know I have no play left, and that's what I just hang tight hope for the best, and see what happens.
Yes, you can be too aggressive and blow it. And yes you can blow it by waiting for him to make the next move or expecting them to come on a rope from a half mile to your calling. Which happens sometimes as well, but not the norm these days.
Basically, there are a lot of ways in elk hunting to blow it. Best I know how is to get as close as possible (without blowing it) and see who makes the first mistake...... my win/loss record is pretty dismal.... but it only takes one.....
You can run them out of the country so some care is smart. But when I was younger I saw the aggressive approach in a different light. But I was willing to put up with hunting 10 plus miles a day to find them again. Of course sometimes it paid off and I didn't need to find them the next day. Just my opinion.
On my hunt bugling was very minimal. If you got lucky a bull would give you 3 bugles then shut up, most times it was one. I would go in before daylight, get myself set up, bow decoy, sneaky feet etc. and when the first bugle sounded off I was hauling butt. I got close a couple of times and was busted by elk I didnt see. On another time I was able to creep in only to get pinned down in less than 5 feet by the lead cow, then when she went back to the herd I muffed the shot. For me, aggressive was an absolute. To wait 30 minutes for another bugle, well I never would have seen any elk much less get a shot.
Being too aggressive usually isn't the issue, it's taking that last extra step to get to the perfect ambush/set up spot when they see you. Happens in elk and turkey hunting both.
Yes you can. That is blanket statement regarding hunting: Which makes it a "dumb statement".
+1 HDE....you nailed it. Being aggressive isn't running up and smacking them on the arse. The wind, always the wind. You can be extremely aggressive in making a move if the wind is right. Being aggressive doesn't mean you run right up to them, it means depending on cover and terrain you close the distance considerably to as close as safely possible before making your next move.
Agree with the others. I call it being selectively aggressive. When the odds aren't in your favor, be smart and bide your time. If there are too many eyes, ears, and noses, or the wind isn't good, etc, better to back out and live to fight another day. However, when the conditions ARE right, I go all in.
One thing I've learned through the years of hunting in pretty thick cover...the bull is normally closer than he sounds, so when you think you're close enough to press the issue, chances are you're right. You can always move up if need be, but pretty hard to turn back time once you've busted them.