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Herd Bull Tactics!

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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 01, 2012 •  [Post 1]

A challenging or calling the cows from the bull type Bugle is our #-1 choice but not from 150yds + out. Sure you could get lucky & have a bull come check you out but the odds are not good when the caller is to far from the bull & cows!
Now, if the caller was 15-20yds behind the shooter who was only 50-85yds from the herd, then man you got something now you can sink your teeth into!! (grin) You now can get the bull to "react" or "commit" to the situation. You are now a true close THREAT to his harem!!! Cow calling can be effective at times, but one must weigh the odds per encounter & use what sounds can up the odds best for individual situations. When in close to a herd & the herd bull is the target bugles will win over everytime for us. You want to take the undesirables, (cows & spikes) out of the equation, timing bugles will do just that, you will get the bulls attention & his only & that's what you're looking for!!

Problem is, that in most close encounter cases, hunters get intimidated with this type of calling encounter, they fear they will blow every elk out of the country so they stick with safe cow calling, experience with such situations has proven differently for us! If cow sounds are in order then we have moved to the Threat Method! Good Luck!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 2]

RATTLING BULLS!!!! Yes, I've tried it many times in the past, it does work, like any method "timing" is important! I killed a 6-point on Oct 28th, I rattled him in to 40yds he had 2 cows with him & he came thundering in from several hundred yards away, I couldn't see him coming but sure could hear his hooves beating the ground approach. I used a big forked horn mule deer rack with the ends blunted, I rattled & clicked & slammed them along with foot stomping & rustling brush with them, I did this for 5-7 minutes with little 15sec breaks. Actual elk antlers may be better but I've had no trouble using these mule deer horns & they're easier to strap onto the back of my pack!

A method as this will work great in pre-rut times too, (late Aug, early Sept) this is when bulls will spar around lightly pushing one another around sort of like getting their pecking order down, it's generally non-challenging at this time but can attract attention from other elk. "Curiosity" more than anything will get other bulls to "show up" or bugle your rattling sequence. Generally it's the raghorns that show first & rarely a dominant quality herd bulls unless you were within 125yds. As the rut picks up & herd bulls start getting harassed because of cows coming in & out of estrus you can now get herd bulls riled as well as other nearby satellites to scream back from excitement to warnings at a rattling sequence giving away their positions, but you must go to them!

As the rut picks up ones rattling can become more intense to get the attention from bulls far off, so rattling loud & aggressive is important, again better results will be had vocally as the rut picks up!

When rattling for bulls persistence is of the utmost, at times you'll have to go on & on for a solid 30 minutes or so along with the other natural sounds that would "fit" the desired sequence such as grunting, whining, short screams, too, I like throwing in a few nervous cow & calf whines as well as the rut gets closer say Sept 10th & on. Bulls can show up silent when doing this or vocalize on their own from a distance, we've had them bugle the rattling to the point a shooter could keep tabs on the vocal bull who was staying in one spot allowing the shooter to slip in on him. Of course the guy rattling has to do it enough to keep bulls vocal.

What you are basically doing is "creating excitement" with rattling sequences, most bulls show to see what's up with who, they are not showing up to fight in many instances unless you have accidentally or purposefully gotten inside 100yds & now pose a real threat to the herd!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 3]

Location Bugles are just that, looking for location of an elk, any elk! Advertising Bugles are much more repetitious in use! You will hear them as they jockey themselves for vocal position in an effort to signify who they are & what they represent, they all want to be breeders! You will hear this Advertisement mainly when cows are nearing or in Estrus! This is when Bulls are all around the cows & there's a herd bull there keeping all subordinates at bay! You can hear many bulls at this time sounding off or Advertising themselves in hopes of drawing cows their way, this is very serious stuff to all bulls at this time of Advertisement!

Advertising is just not held fast to those time frames mentioned above! You will also hear bulls using this sound as they ready themselves for these Estrus times by making themselves known in a given area, it's very common for things to get competitive as they try to out Bugle or out Roar one another, what this does is show cows in the area what the Bull clientèle is like, each bull is a representative as who he is & his maturity status to these listening cows, these cows will eventually be able to tell who's who just by sound & which Bulls are the Dominant ones!

On other occasions you will hear Herd bulls with established harems instill who he is in his group with lots of Advertising type Bugling, this helps the cows to know who he is just by sound, if a threat of some sorts were to appear especially by intruder bulls, as these bulls put forth an effort to call these scattered cows their way these cows will know who their master is because of his past bugling that's been instilled in them, they can now regroup to the right bull! These are just some of the more popular instances you will hear Advertising Bugles!

Advertising Bugles can get long & even aggressive in sound, they are not the same as Pure 2-3 note Location Bugling which are more serene in sound.
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 4]

When referring to "Calling A Bulls Cows" away from him, many think 1st off that cow sounds are being used by us? Now yes, there are occasions for this & it can work well in the right situation & with the right sound selection! But to use cow sounds no matter what & regardless of the situation will result in many Herd Bull Hang-ups, plus I'm not really wanting cows or young bulls to show first & screw things up! For best results you must be a good reader of an encounter & adapt to it. When referring to Calling His Cows away in an actual close encounter hunting situation we as hunters are looking at getting to the Herd Bull & bringing him our way, this is done in a way that will put the odds well into your favor & not the Bulls Favor in getting him close! This is best done by luring him over to us & NOT any other part of his harem first!!! So basically we are presenting ourselves as a THREAT to him or his harem. This is what will get him to "React" to the situation we are presenting before him! Why does this work? How should it be done to guarantee us the best possible odds & not the bull getting the advantage? This is where understanding why elk do the things they do especially speaking of pre-rut & peak-rut times!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 5]

As hunters when we get into encounters with Herd Bulls with cows & slipping in silently will not work for whatever reason then our next best bet is to do our best to represent a satellite bull doing his darnedest in calling a herd bulls cows away! If we do this too far out or outside a 125 yds or so our odds of success will drop as the Herd Bull will issue forth a warning but generally isn't forced to take immediate action because we are outside his comfort zone & not a true threat, we are tolerated! But get inside that 100yd realm & closer depending on the wind & good cover so we are not spotted & start calling at his cows aggressively with the sounds talked about above & all hell can breakout! Now you are a THREAT! This can & in most cases will get the Herd Bull to see RED & he will "react to the situation"-----Same applies if we got between a bull & his cows, no matter the circumstance, as long as you are close & the wind is in your favor with that good cover you can now confidently & effectively attempt to call a bulls cows away, the herd bull will not like it at all, he doesn't want any of them leaving him to come your way so he can go straight at the intruder to force him out of the area! This happens to the herd bull all the time so it's nothing unusual for him to deal with. Represent this Satellite bull in a believable manner & you too will have many golden opportunities at the herd bull through calling & more importantly through the use of bull sounds!

Practice these methods at home, watch elk videos or the outdoor channel & see these actual sounds being used by the elk themselves as they sound off coming to a hunters cow calling & all the other things talked about here. A bulls sounds do not change if he's calling a lone cow his way or he's trying to call cows away from a herd bull, it's all the same to them!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 6]

But what about Cow Sounds for Herd Bulls? When, Where & How can they be effective? Are they good odds to use at times or will they always resort in Hang-Ups? Yes, many hunters use cow sounds on herd bulls & experience hang-up after hang-up, why? There are many reasons for this such as to much distance between them & the bull. Too, they're seen or winded or "contact mews" are what they use, meaning there's a cow over there & that's it, they are not asking anything or in need of assistance! -- Things could change a bulls attitude if annoyance, excitement or soft pleading sounds were used instead! Another reason is a herd bull does not like leaving his cows unattended at times, not always but in most cases unless he's given a good reason to do so he will not leave them! He'd rather just call the new recruit over to join the group. When he calls (bugles or & chuckles, glunking) & this cow does not show up after several minutes of back & forth calling from both parties he can get nervous & move off or the lead cow can save his butt & take the herd out of there as she feels something isn't quite right! They know this cow should've shown up in that time frame of 5-10 minutes of hide & seek! The hunter should have went straight at this herd once asked to do so by the bull giving a few excited whines & mews & don't worry about making noise on his way as he keeps the cover between him & them & the wind in his favor, this can get the bull excited & keep him very vocal! So yes, cow sounds can be used effectively in the right situation as long as you "read the situation" correctly & adapt to it accordingly!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 7]

I'm not in favor of getting inside the 80yd distance & turning solely to cow calling and staying there with no more forward progress as it drops your odds of getting the herd bull to come to you 1st! So many times you will get unwanted elk to show out of curiosity such as cows & or spikes & they can blow the whole thing as they search out the source of the elk sounds they heard, so basically it's a crap shoot unless you'll take any elk!
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Re: Herd Bull Tactics!

Postby ElkNut1 » 06 03, 2012 •  [Post 8]

Things to look for so you know if you're dealing with a Herd Bull or not! When using cow sounds & a bull responds several times to your calls but does not come your way hardly at all it's a solid bet he's got cows & is calling you to the group as he doesn't like leaving them unattended for too long. Distance can also come into play here, once you are being invited to come their way, do it, you are giving him what he's asking for. Satellites on the other hand are much more apt to come your way especially if there's more than one of them, it can get competitive as to who gets there 1st!
At times you will get between 2 Bulls bugling anywhere from 300--yds to 1/4 mile apart yet they are not approaching one another, this is a good chance both have their own cows or else one of the bulls would be much closer to the actual herd in search of a cow that may stray from the herd. This is especially so as the rut picks up! If you get between these bulls & give very excited whines & mews you will get their attention big time! If one is a satellite he's most likely the one that will show up as long as you're not seen or winded. If it's the Herd Bull you want, forget about the Satellite & get the wind right with cover & go at him with those whines of acceptance! You should be able to distinguish one from the other by their mature sounds & aggressive calling. If both sound mature then both can be good candidates! (grin)

So, when dealing with HERD BULLS with cow sounds be prepared to give him what he asks for, this calls for aggressiveness in both action & calling on your part, watch your approach & ALWAYS look out for other elk on your way to him! These are good solo hunter tactics but can be used successfully with 2 or more hunters as well.
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