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Lone Bull Tactics

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Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Swede » 12 31, 2016 •  [Post 1]

You look at your watch and observe it is 09:30 on September 2nd. You guess the temperature is about 60* F to 65* F. It is warming up so you take off your light jacket. You are resting and watching while the winds begin to swirl and make their diurnal change. As you observe the hillside across the canyon you suddenly spot a good shooter lone bull. He is about 400 yards away walking slowly uphill. He is obviously leaving the small meadow below and nearing a known bedding area. As you take in a snack and continue to watch him enter the timbered bench, you make a decision on what you will attempt to do. Since I am with you to call if needed and will help you pack out, I am eager to know what is your plan.
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Lefty » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 2]

How much cover? how deep/steep is the canyon? How far is the known bedding area? what direction is the slope hat the bull is on?
If I expect the thermals to be done messing around on the SE facing slope I moving to get above the bull if their is enough cover.

Cut the bull off would be the main plan.Conditions and cover are good I may just put the sneak on him and let him walk to me

Once I dont think we can advance, but have good position and wind, Me slightly above the bull, the wind drift is good but the bull is wide, maybe 70 80-120 yards and continuing up: You might run over small ridge or in some cover or with a decoys and start with a gentle cow call.

Unless you have a better plan


Thanks for volunteering to pack out!! Swede Your a true friend :D
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 3]

In reading the situation you described, it shows there are no hot cows in the area this bull is aware of, odds are not good he is interested in cow calling at this time & will come your way via them but you never know. I would do my best to get over to him pronto assuming he is in dark timber for the day. Since I know his aprox bedding area I would setup within 150 yards or closer if possible & go straight to an Advertising Sequence with light raking & creative bugling, it's important to me that I get there while he is still on his feet, bulls are more likely to check you out quicker before they actually bed down. Even bulls outside of rutting times can't stand not knowing who a new bull is in his area, your odds are high for a silent visit from him! This isn't theory this is from actually using this technique many times with success! When possible I like having the elk come my way by whatever means, I have a big advantage with him moving my way over me trying to sneak in on him.

My strategy could differ a bit if the bull starts to bugle back & he's further than I thought! This means I would slowly not faster close the distance as this bull is not in an aggressive mood but curiosity can pull him in & he's not going anywhere he's where he wants to be for the day! The reason for this is bulls want to know who the competition is in their area so he can move your way to size you up, he wants to know where you may fall into the pecking order status. If you hunt an area with the average 20 bulls per 100 cows 8-10 of those bulls will have cows sooner or later this is why they establish pecking orders in pre-rut times. Curiosity killed the cat & it can also kill the bull. (grin)

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby >>>---WW----> » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 4]

At 400 yards, I rest the cross hairs right on top of his shoulder hump and my 7 mag will drop right in the sweet spot. LOL!

For archery, I'll pick him up in the evening when he comes back out if I'm hunting by myself. However, this is a situation where two guys still have a chance at him. If he answers my bugle, I'll keep him talking from across the canyon while you slip in on him.
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 5]

Swede, here's a couple photos of bulls we've taken that were alone.

This bull was pulled in with Advertising bugles & a handful of cow calls from 1/4 mile away after he bedded, it was around 10:30 a.m.

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 6]

This bull was called out of his bedding area with aggressive bugling from 50-60 yards out in thick dark timber for a 14 yard shot.

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 7]

This bull was called in with Advertising bugling & raking!

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 8]

Here's another lone bull that was called in with cow calling from his bed. We read the situation presented to us & adapt accordingly to the style of calling we feel may give us the best odds!

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Lefty » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 9]

Ok ok Im going with Pauls better plan said :D

Currently Im still trying to get in on a single bull quietly,
Then trying to call
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 10]

Sooooo...wait. You're the one calling, Swede?

:o

:shock:

:?

:oops:

*ahem, hghrmm, hmmmmm*

Ummmm... I think I'll stalk my way in alone on this one.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Jokes aside though, I think I'd listen to what Paul laid out up above!
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby cohunter » 01 01, 2017 •  [Post 11]

I'm trying to get better at calling, but if I'm honest, my best shot at this bull personally is to try to find a good ambush point/thoroughfare on or near water or feed where this bull may slip out later in the day - for a mid-day drink for example. The other possibility is that another elk in the same general area will slip through the same travel corridor. It's been my experience that a 'lone' bull is rarely very alone. I'm betting there are other elk nearby.
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 02, 2017 •  [Post 12]

Here are things to consider as to what approach you may like to try! I see many bulls bed where there is no obvious water or feed nearby so it becomes a real crap shoot to find that exact spot he may look for a midday drink. Too, trails leaving & which one he may use can be a tough decision as well, there's nothing automatic about either choice. They are good ideas & I too have used those very tactics, you look good when they pan out but from experience they rarely do unless you're rifle hunting & have some pretty open country where he has to come out sooner or later! (grin)

Personally I try to play the odds & get him to come to me! Please understand though if the bull that you know is bedded in the unseen dark timber does not come your way then what have you hurt? Nothing! He's still there without a care in the world, you haven't run him off unless he winds or sees you, you cannot allow that to happen during your calling sequence or waiting 45 min or so after you stop all calling. For swedes bull I would certainly stick with an Advertising Sequence to lure him my way! I do agree he is most likely within earshot of other elk somewhere there so be on the look out for a different bull to show other than the one you've seen! I've also had cows & spikes come to this sequence although it's rare it can happen, in most cases it's a branch antlered bull.

Here's a bull I took 2 years ago that was all alone & bedded in some real thick brush with few trees 250 yards below me. I had not seen him go in this spot but I heard him advertising himself 3/4 of a mile away. It took me 45 min to get to him & by that time it was around 10:30 a.m. & he was bedded down- I decided to sit on a rock out cropping where I was 150' higher that the small basin he was last heard in & watch & listen intently for him. After an hour or so I heard & saw nothing so dozed off for another hour. I happened to wake & look down in the basin & I saw him walk past some brush but could only get a small glimpse as it was very thick. I knew previously that he was looking & calling for cows so decided a cow call or two would peak his interest. After 3-4 of them here he came covering that 250 yards & 150' climb in about two minutes as it was a rough go for him. I shot the bull around 1 p.m. at 25 yards. This was a lone bull called out of his bedding area! See, no advertising bugle here from me! (grin) Each situation is generally different, read it & use what may give you the best odds for a close shot! It's really that simple, give these bulls what they want not what YOU want them to have! (grin)

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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Swede » 01 02, 2017 •  [Post 13]

ElkNut1 wrote: he was looking & calling for cows so decided a cow call or two would peak his interest


There is the key right there folks to explain Elknut's 2014 bull.
In that situation, if the bull had not been advertising, I would try one of Elknut's Lonesome Charlie sequences. I can't explain it, but it works when everything else seems to be shut down.
Elknut can explain his Lonesome Charlie routine and when to use it. I stumbled on to it by accident, then when Paul explained the matter I got one of those ah-ha moments as it came together in my head.
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Re: Lone Bull Tactics

Postby Swede » 01 02, 2017 •  [Post 14]

I believe in the original scenario, I would have watched and waited until the bull was in the bedding area. When the wind permitted, I would have crossed the canyon skirted the meadow and worked my way above where the bull was.
From there I would have started some cow calls and played it by ear from that point on. Move into a good shooting location and position after doing some calls.
If the bull just bugles back, after waiting a while, then I would move closer if the terrain and vegetation permitted, then cow call again from secure cover. Again I would move away from my calling location. As soon the bull responded with another call, I would hit him with a bugle and grunts, and quickly move to a shooting location. In a situation like this I would prefer to use a double reed diaphragm and not sound like too large of a bull. I want to make the other bull believe there is a cow that wants him, and all he has for competition is one wimpy upstart bull to deal with.
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