Moultrie Mobile
Success Method Survey
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
LUNG$HOT 23-Mar-24
elkmtngear 23-Mar-24
Dale06 23-Mar-24
HUNT MAN 23-Mar-24
Mule Power 23-Mar-24
Knothead 23-Mar-24
Whocares 23-Mar-24
Beendare 23-Mar-24
Beendare 23-Mar-24
Bowboy 23-Mar-24
Paul@thefort 23-Mar-24
LUNG$HOT 23-Mar-24
LUNG$HOT 23-Mar-24
JSW 23-Mar-24
Ron Niziolek 23-Mar-24
FORESTBOWS 23-Mar-24
t-roy 23-Mar-24
LUNG$HOT 23-Mar-24
wyobullshooter 23-Mar-24
Saphead 23-Mar-24
cnelk 23-Mar-24
Norseman 23-Mar-24
Treeline 23-Mar-24
Chuckster 23-Mar-24
Stix 23-Mar-24
bowelk65 23-Mar-24
FORESTBOWS 23-Mar-24
FORESTBOWS 23-Mar-24
Willieboat 23-Mar-24
IdyllwildArcher 24-Mar-24
Quinn @work 24-Mar-24
elkster 24-Mar-24
boly 24-Mar-24
Inshart 24-Mar-24
Goelk 24-Mar-24
pav 24-Mar-24
From: LUNG$HOT
23-Mar-24
Ok guys, out of all the elk you’ve not only killed but had good shots on and may have missed (operator error), what method has been most successful for you? Bugling, cow calls, tree stand, sitting water, still hunting, accidental encounter etc… I’d love to hear specific numbers on how many elk you’ve taken with each method.

From: elkmtngear
23-Mar-24
I've taken 7 (archery) elk from trees, 7 on the ground (bugling, cow calling, "running and gunning")

I know for a fact I've missed more on the ground, a lot more.

From: Dale06
23-Mar-24
Three from trees, two from the ground, bugling.

From: HUNT MAN
23-Mar-24
Still hunting and bugling has been the best for me over the years

From: Mule Power
23-Mar-24
Everything but sitting. I love to see some country. I’m saving the sitting for when I have no choice. In the meantime I’m definitely making mental notes of the places I might sit.

From: Knothead
23-Mar-24
I have killed more still hunting but my best quality opportunities to shoot have probably come from either sitting water or a travel corridor.

I almost never bugle so that is a big zero. I fall asleep too easy to ever get in a tree stand. I honestly don't know how you guys can do it.

From: Whocares
23-Mar-24
About a third by sitting which include a little calling, and two thirds by still hunting or run and gun whatever ya wanna call it. This with a mix of bugling and cow calls, whatever, in my mind, the situation required. My mind was often wrong! Tree raking I use a lot and often gets very good results.

From: Beendare
23-Mar-24
I’ve shot about 20 myself…almost all calling…3 I stalked in on…and I’ve called appx 40 for friends.

Now, for my stats, you have to figure those called bulls go all the way back to the early 1990’s….and some are limited units. In other words- its like evaluating stock performance on historical data- its not a good indicator going forward. Bulls have gotten extremely call shy and many times blind calling just runs them off.

Blind Calling has not been a great strategy for me in general units in the last decade without using one particular method that still works pretty good.

From: Beendare
23-Mar-24
Worth mentioning,

I know I am not the only guy that is struggling with blind calling. Just look at the elk 101 videos. Corey is one of the best hunters/callers around and even he is struggling in general units.

I think this is indicative of how elk hunting has changed over the years. …but then, I’m not selling calls or a calling system…. So I can tell it like it is. Grin

From: Bowboy
23-Mar-24
I’ve killed them by most methods stated except waterholes or wallows. My favorite is still hunting bugling bulls.

From: Paul@thefort
23-Mar-24

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Killed 14 elk with the bow, the last 6 have been while waiting/setting over a wet meadow or wallow.. One of those was from a tree stand, remaining were setting and ambush. If I do any calling, it might non threatening , cow and calf and maybe a spike bull sound. I have seen a lot of elk country over the past 33 years of hunting them, and now just wait and let them come to me. I only hunt until 9am and then head back to camp. In the evening, I wait until the wind is correct, get to the site, and then have 1.5 hours to hunt. I stay out of the bedding area, and try not to leave by scent all over the place. This bull never knew I was just 20 yards away.

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Mar-24
Totally agree Bruce. Seems like the dynamic has shifted especially in General/ OTC areas. I hunted a new unit in south central Colorado last year. Was there September 11-20. I figured on at least some bugling. Weather was great. By great I mean highs in the 60’s and 50’s. Foggy and frosty in the mornings and several decent rains. Seemed picture perfect. I definitely ran into a lot of elk but couldn’t get one to bugle to save my life. They would come into calls totally silent. Called in a total of 6 maybe 7 bulls and had a shot on one. (Which I missed… stupid). None were giants by any measure and most were hard to tell if they were legal until it was too late for a shot. I heard maybe 3/4 real bugles during my time and I covered a lot of ground.

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Mar-24
Of the 6 archery elk I’ve taken, 4 were bugled in, 1 came all the way into cow calls and 1 was a cow that just happen to walk by as I was sitting eating lunch. Right place right time. Not patient enough for trees or sitting wallows, which I admit I’ve done before when all else failed. Most I call in come in silent with the exception of a few.

From: JSW
23-Mar-24
I shot one from a brush blind over water in 94. The last bull I called in and shot was in 97. Now I chase bugles. Get one talking and move in as fast as possible. Move in from behind or try to head off as they are going to bed. Heading them off is really hard since they always seem to go into the wind. You can run them down from behind if you are in good enough shape. I should note that I rarely hunt over pressured areas. It's hard to sneak up on a bull that is silent.

From: Ron Niziolek
23-Mar-24
Spot and stalk or listen and hustle to close the gap, then still hunt.

23-Mar-24
Cow call. Lots of bulls have died because of my cow call.

From: t-roy
23-Mar-24
4 bulls spot n stalk, and 2 bulls over waterholes.

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Mar-24
Interesting, the two guys I know are guides don’t use bugle tubes as their primary tool. Glad you guys chimed in. Forest, do you use a location bugle then switch to primarily cow calls? Also are the bulls responding to cow call with bugles or mainly coming in silent? I’m sure there’s no blanket answer but wondering if you notice one more than the other?

23-Mar-24
Most my elk have been killed on the ground using a combination of bugles/cow calls. I’ve also had great success out of my treestand, although I only use cow calls there. I don't want to attract any unwanted two-legged visitors.

From: Saphead
23-Mar-24
Best success for me has been getting close then going up in a tree and cow calling with a decoy under my tree. I wont shoot past 30 yards w my longbow. on the ground I had way to many bulls at 40 yards.

From: cnelk
23-Mar-24
Raking and mews have been my bread and butter.

We do circuits everyday - big loops and set up every 300-400yds. When the thermals get squirrelly about 1030-11 we’ll have put 3-4 miles on.

From: Norseman
23-Mar-24
Bugling/ambush

From: Treeline
23-Mar-24
Killed a lot of bulls bugling but never a mature bull. Lots of rag horn 5 points though…

The best strategy for a bigger bull has been to use my glass and spot the one I want then hustle over and get the wind right, keep the wind right and let him make the mistake. If he’s talking, let him. If he goes quiet, move really slow and close in to where you last heard him, still hunting. Have a cow call ready if he sounds off under 100 yards.

My last big bull never bugled. Followed the herd for over 2.5 miles. Got within 50 yards and bumped a cow. Cow called twice and he came in to 25 yards looking for the straggler.

From: Chuckster
23-Mar-24
So I've taken 12 elk with the bow (6 bulls/6 cows). I'd say 4-5 were from a tree stand near water in the evening. A couple from sitting a ground blind in a transition area between feeding/bedding area. The rest have been still hunting. I rarely call anymore. I have called in elk but it seems like I scared off just as many if not more. I like more of the stealth approach. Just moving thru the woods quietly with eyes peeled.

From: Stix
23-Mar-24
I've only killed 3. 1 each bugling, cow call, still hunt.

From: bowelk65
23-Mar-24
21 elk 10 cows and 11 bulls. run and gunning with cow calls in the morning most killed. setting in good areas and a few cow calls a hand full. This years bull setting against a pine cow calling killed it just before dark.

23-Mar-24
I do all calling but cow calls more than anything. The big secret is dont be afraid to call when they are close. Knowing when to call and what to say is so important. Only way to learn that is experience.

23-Mar-24

FORESTBOWS 's embedded Photo
FORESTBOWS 's embedded Photo

From: Willieboat
23-Mar-24
59 elk 56 bulls 3 cows I use my bugle more than cow calls anymore but do use cow calls.

I kinda relate it to fishing….sometimes they are biting the bugle sometimes the cow call but then sometimes the just eat up nothing but raking a tree.

The biggest bull I have killed was spot and stalk he was by himself on September 15th.

24-Mar-24
My first and smallest I called in with a cow call. My three 6x6 bulls I've called in with a bugle.

From: Quinn @work
24-Mar-24
Every bull I've killed has been called into bow range with either bugles and cow calls or both. Never killed one sitting.

From: elkster
24-Mar-24
2 silent stalking and 2 bugling

From: boly
24-Mar-24
I have killed cows and bulls waiting at water, bugling and cow calling, spot and stalk, and lucky encounters sneaking in the woods. I use whichever seems to be the best at the time and situation. I do love bugling them in however.

From: Inshart
24-Mar-24
My hearing is extremely bad, so following bugles just does NOT work for me. I've killed 10 or 11 elk, all while setting trails leading to/from bedding / feeding / wet areas (creeks, wallows, wet- "mushy" areas), always in thick timbered areas with limited visibility. Very limited cow calling. I've tried bugles very few times - most of the time they leave, or simply pay no attention at all.

Out of all these elk, about half have been while cow calling - 3 or 4 cow calls - then quiet for a couple minutes - 3 or 4 cow calls - quiet for couple minutes 3 or 4 calls - then quiet for about 15 - 30 minutes or so. Repeat couple times - most of the time the wind begins to swirl by about 9:30 - 10:00 so I get out of the area.

From: Goelk
24-Mar-24
Bugling

From: pav
24-Mar-24
Biggest bull was an ambush based on his own bugling. That actually happened twice. Another bull was spot and stalk in his bed. Remaining bulls were either bugled or cow called into bow range. Nothing from a treestand or over water...although I have sat over water when my legs needed a break.

  • Sitka Gear