In the situation where conditions are ideal for an ambush or a stalk the best thing you is can do is NOT BLOW ON AN ELK CALL. There will be many times in the elk woods that a hunter is better off being quiet, patient, and stealthy.
My 8 biggest bulls have been killed by staying quiet, sneaking in, and shooting them.
Good input Curt/Lou
Good luck, Robb
In more open country or terrain where stalking is possible no doubt staying silent along with unlimited patience can be the key to a close encounter! Too, some ambush elk at destination spots but that's a different story! -- Personally I do not want to hunt Elk like Deer, if for the most part I wasn't calling elk I wouldn't have nearly the passion for the hunt if I mainly tried sneaking in on them or sitting water, there's times for that but rare for me! Calling bulls in close is the ultimate adrenaline rush even at 63!
Last year in WA, I had a bull come down a trail to the side about 200 yards away. I gave him a standard cow call and he stopped for a second, then kept going sideways to me. So I hit him with the Hyper-Hot and he spun on a dime and came trotting right at me. I shot him @ 32 yards.
Currently I'm on OR hunting Roosevelt elk. This morning, we spotted two nice bulls @ 1,788 yards fighting and then just hanging around. My guide threw a couple of bugles their way, just to see if and how they'd respond.
All they did was turn their heads and look our way for a minute or two.
After a few minutes I decided to see how they'd respond to my Hyper-Hot.
One bull turned and looked our way immediately, so I called at him again. Immediately, he started trotting hard right towards us and his buddy was right on his heels!
Mind you, given the distance and all of the physical obstacles between us, including a 200' high cliff, there was no way I was going to call the bulls in, nor was that my intent. In fact, I didn't call again.
But it sure was interesting to see how fast they responded to the call.
One of the best calls ever made.
Only elk call used, was when I barked (with my voice) to stop him, before the shot.
I've called in a lot of bulls, using an open reed cow call like Kyle described. You can spike squeal with it as well, which has actually been the right ingredient to "seal the deal" on a couple bulls for me.