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Calling elk
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Beendare 18-Feb-24
butcherboy 18-Feb-24
Paul@thefort 18-Feb-24
sasquatch 18-Feb-24
wyobullshooter 18-Feb-24
DonVathome 18-Feb-24
elkmtngear 18-Feb-24
stringgunner 18-Feb-24
badbull 18-Feb-24
HUNT MAN 18-Feb-24
Jethro 18-Feb-24
Grey Ghost 18-Feb-24
Jaquomo 18-Feb-24
badbull 18-Feb-24
butcherboy 18-Feb-24
Jaquomo 18-Feb-24
Willieboat 19-Feb-24
IdyllwildArcher 19-Feb-24
Beendare 19-Feb-24
Stix 19-Feb-24
Jethro 19-Feb-24
Jaquomo 19-Feb-24
WapitiBob 19-Feb-24
WV Mountaineer 19-Feb-24
cnelk 19-Feb-24
Stix 19-Feb-24
Ron Niziolek 20-Feb-24
Beendare 20-Feb-24
SlipShot 20-Feb-24
Pop-r 21-Feb-24
Mike Ukrainetz 21-Feb-24
smarba 21-Feb-24
ElkWhisperer 21-Feb-24
Mike Ukrainetz 21-Feb-24
turkeyhunter60 23-Feb-24
Beendare 27-Feb-24
FORESTBOWS 27-Feb-24
From: Beendare
18-Feb-24
Have you had a case where you think the elk spotted you and bolted?

What I mean is a case where they coulnd’t have winded you….you didn’t move…but they recognized you as a hunter?

Back in the day ( decades ago) we never worried about covering our faces..,and I would say it wasn’t an issue.

Now-a-days, I would say there have been times without a face covering elk have made me.

From: butcherboy
18-Feb-24
Probably saw your eyes more than actually paying attention to your face. I’ve been in so close I could touch them many times. Never knew I was there until I looked at them and they saw my eyes.

From: Paul@thefort
18-Feb-24
Well, if there is anything that shows you are a human, is uncovered hands and face especially with some movement and you are both looking in each other's direction. Can you get away without face and hands covering, sure, happens all of the time. I would also expect that with just a sight movement on the hunters part, with the elk looking in your direction, you might get made. Now, did the elk see a hunter (unless the hunter is standing in the wide open, I doubt that, but the elk did see something he did not recognize as normal in his world. Sometimes where we believe we have the right wind in our favor, we do not as just a very slight shift in the wind will give us away.

What is the saying, "you can fool their eyes and ears but not their nose".

From: sasquatch
18-Feb-24
Yes. I Snuck in on a herd (one nice bull and 3 cows) one time and they was probably 70yds away, cows feeding and the bull circling around them doing bull things. Wind was strong and blowing down hill, they was slightly higher than me and I was at the edge of the bench/cliff so my scent was pulling down hard and away from them.

I was just standing by a tree letting it play out, one cow broke off and came toward me and was about 25 yds out feeding. Bull decides to break off and round her up. Here he comes, it’s going to be perfect.

Bull walks behind a big thick tree/bush and I draw. He comes out the other side and stops (tree covering vitals) and out of nowhere he decides to turn and look at me staring.

He no doubt knew I wasn’t suppose to be there, so he just turned around and went back to the other two cows. Never spooked but they worked off. The cow close to me stayed feeding for a while and eventually eased off to meet up the herd.

18-Feb-24
Beendare, I’ve done the exact opposite of you. We used to use camo paint, but I hated the way it dried out my face. For the last 20-25 years I’ve worn nothing on my face. Been awfully close many times and have never had an issue. Now if they catch movement, that’s a completely different discussion. If they do, you’ve got a problem whether your face is covered or not.

From: DonVathome
18-Feb-24
Whitetails here in Ohio are very very wary. Nothing like elk. I started putting leaves on my bow - your bow is always on front of you. I try to wears some on me, especially my hat but they often get ripped off. Many times I have had deer and elk looking at me and a breeze blew, leaves on my bow in front of me fluttered in the wind and the deer/elk instantly relaxed and no longer thought I was a hunter.

I think leaves that can move in front of you can make a huge difference archery hunting.

I do not think elk see your face especially if you have some beard growth.

From: elkmtngear
18-Feb-24
I've been close enough to see their expression change, when they realize there is a human standing in front of them.

Whether they were looking at my face, or head/neck/shoulders, I'm not sure?

From: stringgunner
18-Feb-24
This is where HECS camo works…..or so they say. Lol

From: badbull
18-Feb-24
Years ago I called in a huge massive antlered bull broadside at 20 yards. He was walking in an open area and came to an abrupt stop when he noticed me. I was wearing face paint and my bow was not drawn so we got into a prolonged staring contest. He knew that I was not supposed to be where he expected to see an elk. After what seemed like forever, I could stand it no longer and started to draw my bow. In an instant, he bolted out of my life. I do not know if face covering makes a difference but I do know that any movement does as this example is just the one that hurts the most for me.

From: HUNT MAN
18-Feb-24
Never and I mean never look them in the eyes !!

From: Jethro
18-Feb-24
I just stare at the rack when they're coming in!

From: Grey Ghost
18-Feb-24
Once, I was getting a herd bull riled up. He wouldn't leave his cows, but he was getting irritated enough to chase the smaller bulls out of the herd. 2 spikes came trotting my way. I was on my knees with no cover, in jeans, no face mask or gloves. When they crossed in front of me at 5 yards and got downwind, one of the spikes smelled the Essence of Fall cover scent I had sprayed all over myself. He turned, and begin sniffing his way right towards me. I never even blinked. He ended up sticking his nose in my ear, and drooled on my shoulder. I actually thought he was going to bite my ear, so I quickly waved my hand in front of his nose. I've never seen an elk turn inside out and bolt off as fast as he did.

I absolutely hate having anything on my face when I'm hunting, and I've been within a few feet of deer and elk many times without getting busted. I think movement and scent are bigger factors.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
18-Feb-24
On the other hand, once on the hike back to camp I peeked over a sharp rise with no hat or face covering and a nice 6x bull was looking right at me. Those of you who know me know I'm very blond and pale, and have a goatee. He bugled and started trotting right at me.

I had just enough time to bail to the side of the trail and kneel down. He came over the rise, looked around, saw me kneeling there, and screamed. Then he took a couple steps and when his head went behind an aspen I drew my recurve and shot him at 7 yards.

I think he saw my goateed oval pale face, thought it was a cow elk's butt, like flashing a Montana butt decoy, and couldn't resist coming to check it out.

From: badbull
18-Feb-24
I don't think Jaq's method and account of "calling in a bull elk" can be beat. Maybe partly due to the use of "Nose Jammer" also.

From: butcherboy
18-Feb-24
Jaq, since you said your face looks like a cows ass maybe you should have let that bull come in and see if he would have tried to breed your face! LOL

From: Jaquomo
18-Feb-24
Ummm, screaming at me at 7 yards was close enough, although I've shot two other bulls at 6 and one at 3...

From: Willieboat
19-Feb-24
I think you are way over thinking it.

I don’t worry about it at all.

19-Feb-24
Lou, you're such a butthead

From: Beendare
19-Feb-24
FWIW, it's not just me....watching a few of the latest vids like Elk 101.....where the guys are busted.

From: Stix
19-Feb-24
I've had a case where I was rifle bear hunting in jeans and hunter orange where a bull intentionally walked to within 5 yards of me and milled around for a few minutes trying to fingure out what I was.

From: Jethro
19-Feb-24
Beendare, I had the exact same thought while watching 101.

From: Jaquomo
19-Feb-24
I'm convinced that minimizing movement is more important than anything else (besides scent) in the "busted" game, but for some of us pasty-faces, any movement without a face covering is like waving a mirror around. I've had bulls within feet when wearing no face covering and an orange vest and hat. But I learned decades ago that I can get away with a LOT more if my face is covered. My hunting partner was real skeptical back then because he is dark complected and has a beard. But after wearing a face mask and experimenting, he now always wears one.

From: WapitiBob
19-Feb-24
Absolutely. First time was in NM and It happened a cpl times. They stopped mid stride. I switched camo and didn't have another issue on that hunt. I also shot a Bull at 2 steps, he had no clue I was there.

19-Feb-24
Not a real experienced elk hunter. But, I’ve shot some and helped hunt and pack out another half dozen with friends. So, I’m no elk pro by any means but, killing elk hasn’t been too hard. Once we found them. In other words, They ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed in my opinion.

Anyways, I personally think they are oblivious to their surroundings a lot of times. And, that movement is about all they do see with certainty.

Where I’ve hunted has been thick. But, it’s always been as long as you aren’t standing out in the open in the sun, they aren’t likely to pick you out. And if they do and you hold still, they check off you as long as you aren’t moving. And, breathing too loud. Etc….

I shot a bull once that surprised me with my bow on my shoulder, in a sling, walked up to 5 yards saw me, spooked off to 25, allowed me to get the bow off my shoulder, out of the primos sling, nock and arrow, draw and shoot him. He was a younger bull. But, I’ve had cows as close looking for me too that never saw me. Because I was in some waste high oak brush I standing against a tree. Stand still in the shade with something to break you up and they ain’t going to see you.

From: cnelk
19-Feb-24
Took this video last Sept while hunting with my son during ML season. We were sitting by a tree, with blaze orange on, no face paint.

From: Stix
19-Feb-24

Stix's embedded Photo
Stix's embedded Photo

From: Ron Niziolek
20-Feb-24
I never worry about it and I think the only time it’s ever been an issue was hunting Montana in the breaks. Those freakin cow elk had infrared, radar or whatever you want to call it but they picked me off several times. B$@!#es I found a lone bull and got my revenge.

20-Feb-24
I’m still back on the part where you’re calling elk.

Elk can be called in ????

:>))))

From: Beendare
20-Feb-24
AS, I'm not going to be the one that wrecks Cash Cow Elk Call businesses.....Grin

From: SlipShot
20-Feb-24
I do most of my hunting from tree stands. Due to the geography of my hunting grounds, there are often situations where elk are at eye level or above me. My optimal shooting lane is typically around 20 yards and slightly above me.

I have used cow calls to stop elk numerous times, ranging from 5 yards to 30 yards, when you call at that distance the elk knows where the sound came from. The bulls burn a hole looking straight through me. In my most recent encounter, I stopped an elk at 20 yards while wearing my gray/silver Stone Glacier puffy pants. Despite the pants not blending in with the background, the elk did not detect me.

In my experience, as long as there is no movement and the elk cannot see you.

From: Pop-r
21-Feb-24
Sometimes they just pick you out. Hunting without face and hand coverings just multiplies those chances.

21-Feb-24
Pop-r you are correct!

I always wear a leafy wear jacket, a leafy wear head net and put face paint on any exposed part of my face along with wearing light camo gloves. It’s a huge advantage and works against you to not do it, 100%!

When I have a bull coming in I flip my leafy wear hood onto my head and it helps to break up that distinct human head and shoulders outline. I’ve had bulls scream in my face while looking right at me at under 10 yds and then walk on by, many times. It is very unlikely to happen without being covered up.

Yes you can get away with not doing it but why take the chance? I really don’t get it when I see all these TV shows with the hunters without it. I hunt and guide elk for 30+ days a year, 90% by calling them in to close range. If I get lazy and don’t wear it they pick me off way more often than when I’m fully covered.

We have lots of young bulls and lots of cows, very few older bulls and I need to be able to pass them up at close range, less than 10 yds, let them walk off and try to call in another one without spooking the herd. Or when hunting solo I need the bull to turn broadside, not stand there staring at me and then blow out.

If I could get through thick brush and shoot my bow with it and stand it on hot days I would wear a full ghilly suit. I can’t kill the bull if even just a cow picks me off and this would really help.

From: smarba
21-Feb-24
I think it's great that many of you don't wear any face or hand covering. Keep it up!

21-Feb-24
I wear face paint, when you’re in tight with a bull gives me more confidence. I’ve had a bull bolt off I knew my wind was good I just remained still and did not call and he came back in and I killed him solo.

21-Feb-24

23-Feb-24
I always cover my face with face paint and I have a beard

From: Beendare
27-Feb-24
Good post Mike....yeah, sometimes it works not covering your face...but it's not worth it anymore....I'm going to a face mask.

Is Spandoflage around anymore?

27-Feb-24
I have never covered my face while elk hunting and dont think ive been busted just because they can see my face. Have had hundreds of elk under 20 yards.

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