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Soft calling

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Soft calling

Postby Bullnuts » 09 27, 2012 •  [Post 1]

I've used soft calling techniques in the past with great success, but over the years I've noticed that my cow calls have gotten very loud - so loud that a lot of times I'll here them echo up canyons and around bowls. I think that there is definitely a time for loud calling, the early season is a good example, when cows and bulls are starting to find each other, but later in the season I've found that soft calling is definitely more productive.

Soft calling uses more herd sounds than what you might do if you were calling loud with a lost cow or an estrus call. I use soft mews and short, soft chirps to make it sound like a content herd of elk is hanging out in the area. It's a very productive technique, especially when bulls are silent or call shy and they are coming in quiet. It seems to really peak their curiosity, and setting a shooter out 50 yards in front is a good way to intercept a bull as he makes his way in.

To make this technique effective, too, I don't string my call series together very closely. I'll call for twenty seconds or so, and then shut up for a few agonizing minutes as I wait to spot a bull sneaking in. I try to give the impression that the herd is moving around and I want to pull the bull into the area and then make him reveal his location when he doesn't hear any more cow talk.

Elk have amazing hearing and will pick those soft calls up from a long way off, so when the hunting gets tough you can try this technique to exploit their curiosity. It worked great for us a couple times this year and had we not been winded it would have paid great dividends.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby POk3s » 09 27, 2012 •  [Post 2]

I will add to this by saying last weekend this was indeed the ticket.

I called a buddy in for my bull by calling less instead of more and when I did cow call it was as soft as I could make it. I would softly chirp 2-5 times and then quit for a few minutes. Usually I would let the bulls answer the cow calls, and I would do nothing. If they bugled again I would answer. Wasn't getting carried away with it at all and didn't want to bugle as I learned a few guys in the canyon I hunt had been bugling too much. Cow calls only and very soft. Something I didn't honestly think a lot of guys were doing and it got the bulls fired up!
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Re: Soft calling

Postby mongopino915 » 09 27, 2012 •  [Post 3]

The more realistic your call(s) the more elk/hunter(s) you will call in. If you can hear that hyper lip from across 300 yards, I know that most pressured elk can also tell that it's fake. Except for unique cases (e.g. lost, regather, hyper estrus, etc), most real cow mews/chirps are soft and in low volume, at least to the human ear. Elk can hear ten times better than we and will hear your soft cow call(s) just fine. We had several bulls respond to very soft cow calls from 500 yards plus away. Also had a pressured bull respond to a single soft cow mew in the middle of the day by glunking softly. The bull was not more than 80 yards away and my caller and he did not even hear the bull.

How many of you have actually heard real cow elk mews/chirps from 100 plus yards away? Unless you have great hearing, you might not hear them unless within 50 yards or less.

As hunter, we think that we have to call loud and a lot for elk to hear us but that is one of the biggest mistake made when calling. I am not saying that calling loud and a lot will not work.

Elk can continue to communicate and find each other daily, even during pressured time, without letting the whole world know. Being quiet when on the move, soft, low volume, and calling less are more elk like and natural in the elk wood.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby >>>---WW----> » 09 27, 2012 •  [Post 4]

"I've used soft calling techniques in the past with great success, but over the years I've noticed that my cow calls have gotten very loud"

Bill, I copied you first sentence here. Your calls are louder now because you are a much better caller with a diaphram than you used to be. You can always muffle them down with your hand if you want to go softer. I use this technique quite a bit when doing the silent calling routine. Makes it easy to sound like one cow is farther away than the res of them.

Others have pretty much answered the rest of your post.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby Nuck » 09 28, 2012 •  [Post 5]

It seems that most call manufactures are making calls that are on the loud side. Other than diaphrams, are there any calls out there that are good for soft calling?
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Re: Soft calling

Postby >>>---WW----> » 09 28, 2012 •  [Post 6]

Hi Nuck: Actually there is a call you can soft call with. It's the Temptress by Bugling Bull. Elknut sells them on his site. Give him a call to order one. You can soft call with it by placing your finger over the two little holes on the rubber piece of the call. This is just about the only open reed call that I can think of that makes a good variety of cow sounds. Most others make only one or two sounds at most.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby Bullnuts » 09 28, 2012 •  [Post 7]

Nuck hit it on the head, I think. Most of the videos out there show guys wailing on calls and the ones you buy in the stores from the mainstream makers are all pretty loud. I had my best success back in the day using an external reed call that is made by one of Elk Nut's competitors (who doesn't have a forum, so I won't mention the name here) but the call was very quiet. I think that my hearing loss may also contribute to my calling getting louder over the years because it sounds normal to me. I have to consistently remind myself to ease up on the air flow when I'm using a reed and to purse my lips so the call is muted.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby ElkNut1 » 09 29, 2012 •  [Post 8]

Yep, there's time for both styles, soft at times aggressive on others!

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Re: Soft calling

Postby T/H » 09 29, 2012 •  [Post 9]

indeed. a soft cow call is what was needed at the "moment of truth" for me and it paid off in a big way
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Re: Soft calling

Postby Swede » 09 29, 2012 •  [Post 10]

I too use soft calls most of the time. I use more short bugles, but will go with a few cow calls also. My soft calls are for the same reasons as Bullnut's. The elk, where I hunt are call shy but still curious.
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Re: Soft calling

Postby mongopino915 » 09 30, 2012 •  [Post 11]

While most open reed calls are loud, however, soft tone and low volume can be achieved by applying the proper lip position/pressure and blowing it with VERY VERY LITTLE AIR. I used to blow it loud but have switched to low volume, soft mews, calling less, and it is making a big difference. The same applies to diaphragm cow calls and bugling.

But, like Pual said, there are times when load aggressive calls are needed.
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