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Using Calls

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Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 09, 2017 •  [Post 1]

"I have seen only a handfull of guys with calls, most dont know how or wont use them,. they just carry them round, Now that's a subject that could go for pages" Lefty

I was not sure if Lefty was going to start a thread on using calls or not, so I took his lead and started one here.

Here is my take on use of calls: Some people hunt elk by calling, Some never touch them. Others use different calls as tools. It is all part of a mind set. Of coarse there is a huge difference in level of competency in all groups of hunters and there is a big difference in hunting areas. There is no one right way to hunt elk.
If you are a caller, you grab your call and head out to call elk. Likely as soon as you get away from the road or from camp you start calling. You are convinces calling is the way to locate elk and to get a shot at one. You probably think you can recognize the biggest and target them.
If you are a still hunter, or spot and stalk, or stand hunt you likely don't take a call with you. Some of these in the latter group will occasionally try a call but normally they prefer to stay quiet.
Those that consider a call only a tool, will have them, and use the one they believe is best for the situation in the way they believe is most likely to succeed. I would characterize these hunters as most likely hunting call shy elk. Before anyone says there are no call shy elk, let me clearly reply. Bunk. They can get very call shy when every time they respond or come to a call during the daytime, they are confronted by a hunter.

Ok, that is my lead in. What do you think? Am I right in the bulls eye or have I hit Maggie's drawers?
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 2]

Great thread topic Swede.

I agree with you on being call shy to a certain extent. What I mean is that I do believe that elk can become call shy to a certain sound. The Hoochie Mama is a great example. It is a call that is constant at a certain frequency and that is something an elk can associate with a human if it had come in and caught wind of the person or saw them. This is a call that stays in just one level of sound frequency.

If a caller is doing the same exact thing as everyone else by doing the same exact cow sounds or same exact bugle the elk can act a little skittish. Elk vocalizations are semi-broad and do touch on different frequency levels so if a caller is mixing their sounds, they will have a higher chance of successful call-ins. It's using their vocalizations to communicate and give the appearance that they are talking to another elk. Also, if the caller is changing up their call sounds, the elk can't focus on just one sound to associate it with humans. Prime example, a few years back I was on an evening hunt and was calling for a friend. I called in 2 different bulls at one set up location. The first one was a spike that saw both of us moving and left quickly. The second bull came in screaming for a 30-yard shot. The arrow ticked a branch and hit in the bull in a not so desirable place. We tracked for 2 days and found the bull again up on his feet and bugling. We set up, I started my calling routine and called the bull in for a shot once again. The hit was good and the bull spun and trotted off. I continued to call to try and calm the bull down so he didn't go too far. I actually called the bull back into the same spot for another shot. When we were processing the bull for the pack out, we found the first arrow running along the top of the ribs. This bull was called in 3 times, for 3 shots, over a 3 day period. Since my calling routine includes different sounds and pitches, the bull was not able to associate any of them with a human and become call shy.

Let me ask you this question. If calling is mimicking the sound of an elk, and elk are call shy, wouldn't that mean that every time they heard a real elk make a sound they would run the other way?
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 3]

In the area I hunt, I don't think elk come to unseen callers (elk or human) during the day. The woods have gone quiet except for a few hunters. Now on the ranch, I can watch and talk to the elk all day, but they won't come across the fence.
I have found in the forest a little calling and a lot of waiting can get a curious bull to slip in silent once in a blue moon. Where I was hunting in Oregon this year, I know of no successfully called in elk. The elk were there as we were busy packing out elk killed from a tree stand. The elk are call shy. They can learn that coming to any elk call can be dangerous.
A few years ago I was totally fooled by Mike Slinkard. His bugling was so real I was standing with arrow nocked when he stepped out into view just down the draw. He is the only person I ever heard that made those deep guttural sounds I associate with a real bull. Another thing that convinced me he was real was the two herds of cows leaving the area going past my stand about 1/2 hour ahead of him. I could hear him call occasionally before and after the cows passed by. Mike never knew they were around. He thought they could have caught his scent. They were the last elk I saw on the public land that season. In my opinion they were sent to the ranch by calling and pursuing. The two herds of cows were about 200 yards apart on opposite sides of the draw.
Elk hunting has changed drastically in the last 25 years in the unit I hunt. It used to be easy to call elk. You would see elk frequently when calling. We know elk get used to people in the National Parks. On the ranch I see the cowboys driving past them. One day I watched a cowboy in a pickup drive a large herd off one field like he was pushing cattle. Elk can be conditioned to respond, and they learn what is dangerous and what is not. My 2 cents.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 4]

One September morning in Idaho I was out with RJ and his friend. RJ was setup well and calling along a small ridge. His partner was down slope and positioned to intercept a bull if one came around. RJ got no response that time or that morning. I am convinced RJ knows how to call, and they both know how to set up to kill an elk. Neither of them got an elk all season. They were out September 9th through September 30th. I think they took one day off to get groceries when it was raining hard. They reported hearing and seeing elk nearly every day. We know elk will hang up and look over an area, looking for the elk (caller), before they expose themselves whenever they can. What I am wondering is if they are trained to stay back farther, even in less call shy areas, or use better cover than they would have years ago?
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 5]

When people hear the term "respond" they automatically think a bugle or vocal response. That is where I feel the mistake is made. An elk can "respond" by either a vocal response, or it could be that they slip in quietly to view the source of the sound from a safe distance. If the hunter/caller is using calls and then moving, the elk would spot them long before the person would ever see the elk and slip back out unnoticed. The elk still "respond" to the use of calls and elk sounds even in the heaviest pressured areas. If they didn't, there wouldn't be any breeding going on and the elk numbers would eventually run out.

When using calls it's important to understand that you are not only listening for a vocal response back. It could simply be a twig snap of that bull sneaking in to view the source of the sound. Heck, it might even be that a flash of tan catches your eye.

The other key element is patience. If you are in an area that contains fresh sign then there is a high probability that the elk are in that area. They may not bugle or mew back at you, but they will come into what they feel is a safe distance to view the sound source. Most people don't have enough patience when setting up and they either get busted when they get up to move, move a short distance, or the bull slips out the back door without ever being noticed or seen.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 6]

elkaholicid wrote:The elk still "respond" to the use of calls and elk sounds even in the heaviest pressured areas. If they didn't, there wouldn't be any breeding going on and the elk numbers would eventually run out.


Whoa. Roosevelt elk are notoriously quiet. The cows still get bred.
You can rattle or call a buck, but deer are often very quiet. When they are getting bred, I have not heard a lot of commotion. They are not endangered from any lack of reproduction.
Other mammals do not use calling to attract the males. The elk can patrol an area quickly and smell everything upwind. BTW: Most elk breeding is at night. At that time in September human predation is minimal in the forests.
I think you made at least part of my point. For some people calling is a mindset. Everything is all about calling, and they think if they can just do it better everything will fall into place. They have been convinced they just need a new call, or to buy some other product or service that will get them over the top. It is interesting that over the years, with all of the advances in calling, we are not running out of elk. The success rate is fairly constant and we have much better September hunting seasons now than we had when I was a kid.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Bow4Elk » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 7]

In my experience over the last 36 years of archery hunting there are a lot of variables. When they first opened up the state of Oregon for archery there were a few bugles on the market and a few diaphragm calls. Larry Jones made a call and I bought some aluminum frames to make my own diaphragm calls. The first elk I called in was by using my own throat/voice. It hurts a lot more to do that now days. Now there are a ton of calls and everyone can learn to use them. I believe in calling elk. My partner and I have been hunting by bugling exclusively since the 1990's. In that time we have called in hundreds (no exaggeration, I keep daily records of our hunts) of elk and tagged close to 30 bulls that were all 5 point and better. A lot of them were the herd bulls. We have taken one shot at 45 yards and the rest were under 30 yards. All by a mix of bugles and cow calls. We were successful at spot and stalk before we started bugling but the thrill of calling bulls in close tops it all for us. When you see the red in their eyes before releasing the arrow, the heart is pumping overtime. I live for the challenge of fooling the bulls. In the last 3 years we hunted 2 new places we had never been before. Killed a 6X6 both years in the first week by bugling them in. These areas have plenty of hunters and bugling. The bulls can be call shy but we have learned how to overcome that. The hardest time to get responses is when the wolves are in the area. That can put a damper on things and time to switch drainages. We have had elk answer us from the main road and in the back country. We don't have the patience to sit in one spot very long to wait for a silent bull to come slipping in. We cover enough ground till we get an answer. Most days we get answers and at least have a chance to get a bull fired up and in for a close encounter. I have been watching the Born and Raised Outdoors 50 days of hunting and they use the same strategy for Roosevelt elk. They pound the country till they get a bull fired up. I doesn't matter if we get a shot or tag an elk. It is the experience of getting in close and personal with the elk that makes it so exciting for us. The ear to ear grins when we see those big boys come in looking for an unseen elk. I will continue to cover ground and bugle till I can't walk anymore and enjoy the rush.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 8]

Bow4Elk wrote: I doesn't matter if we get a shot or tag an elk. It is the experience of getting in close and personal with the elk that makes it so exciting for us. The ear to ear grins when we see those big boys come in looking for an unseen elk. I will continue to cover ground and bugle till I can't walk anymore and enjoy the rush.

Personally I think that is great, and would not suggest you to change a thing. Your values are perfect for you. What I am sharing, is that calling is not the universal tool that will get a hunter an elk. I am certain with experience, you and others have learned the total hunting game, and you prefer to be on the move when elk hunting. Calling is not the total package. You have to be a very good hunter or calling is not going to work for you. You have to be in the right area or calling is not going to work. I know good hunters that can get elk where others think there are none. That applies to all hunting styles.
Fly fishing is not the only way to catch trout. To hear some elitists talk about it, you would think it was not only the right way; but that everyone should learn how, and get all of the equipment. Elk calling is the same situation. The thrill of hearing a bull bugle back to you, and to just come within about 60 yards, to them is proof of how well it works. They never seem to get the bull, but it was a thrill.
For those hunting the same area, and having the same experience year after year, I will state the obvious. Maybe calling is not only not working as advertised, it isn't going to work. Find a new area to hunt, or use a different technique if you want to dine on elk meat.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 9]

Swede wrote:
elkaholicid wrote:The elk still "respond" to the use of calls and elk sounds even in the heaviest pressured areas. If they didn't, there wouldn't be any breeding going on and the elk numbers would eventually run out.


Whoa. Roosevelt elk are notoriously quiet. The cows still get bred.
You can rattle or call a buck, but deer are often very quiet. When they are getting bred, I have not heard a lot of commotion. They are not endangered from any lack of reproduction.
Other mammals do not use calling to attract the males. The elk can patrol an area quickly and smell everything upwind. BTW: Most elk breeding is at night. At that time in September human predation is minimal in the forests.
I think you made at least part of my point. For some people calling is a mindset. Everything is all about calling, and they think if they can just do it better everything will fall into place. They have been convinced they just need a new call, or to buy some other product or service that will get them over the top. It is interesting that over the years, with all of the advances in calling, we are not running out of elk. The success rate is fairly constant and we have much better September hunting seasons now than we had when I was a kid.


Swede....you missed my point and proved my point at the same time. This post shows the mindset of most people that the term "respond" only applies to the elk making a sound to respond back to our calling. The term "respond" also covers a bull coming in silently to view the sound source. Just because you don't hear a bugle, doesn't mean that a bull is not responding to your calling.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 10]

Respectfully elkaholicid: I read your post on that point. I agree elk respond in a number of ways including coming in silently We both have observed that many times. I disagree, that the mindset of hunters is that all elk, or even nearly all elk come in bugling. Most elk don't respond to our calls that way. Only the greenest of elk hunters believe they all come in bugling when they hear our call. Those elk are a small minority, so where is there a mindset otherwise? One real elk hunt will cure the most naivet'e of the notion they are going to come in like a dairy cow. Is it from too much hype on the virtues of calling, that would get them to believe such a preposterous misconception?
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 11]

I think we are missing something in translation. I never said the mindset of most hunters was that all elk come in bugling. Anyone that has spent any amount of time chasing elk knows that elk do come in silent sometimes.

I did say that the mindset of most hunters is that if they DON'T here a bugle they think that elk are not responding to their calls. They don't realize, as we both have stated, that the term "respond" covers more than just a bugle.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 12]

I will never venture into the elk woods without my calls (and the use of non-verbal elk noises) in my tool kit, particularly during Elktember when they are the most vocal. I strongly feel it is the most productive way to arrange up and close meetings with the indigenous population. Do they always come running in screaming saying "shoot me, no... shoot me", of course not but, sometimes they do, sometimes they come in silent, sometimes they issue a rude "screw you and the horse you rode in on" challenge/warning and yep... sometimes (quite oftentimes) they bugle unsolicited or answer a locator giving away their location. Time to go to work and work the situation that the elk gods have presented you. As elkaholidid mentioned "the term respond covers more than just a bugle". Good stuff right there... Responses don't always mean vocalization (responses come in various forms i.e., moving in silent, raking/tearing the hell out of brush or a poor subalpine fir, providing a visual through optics of their displeasure with this new bull/you making noise in their AO, etc.)... one has to be ready to correctly read the signs and proceed accordingly. Advertising sequences, breeding sequences, locate bugling, non-vocal advertising (raking brush, stomping/kicking the ground, etc.) are forms of calling to elk and should be in one's arsenal. I will say that wolves in the area change the vocalization game. I've seen it first hand for the past handful of years and each year, it gets more acute. My buddy and I found one absolutely gorgeous, grass laden, series of meadows in our N ID area this year that should have been a glory hole. What did we find there? As Joe and I aptly titled it, we found "the killing fields". Numerous elk skeletons and remains, ranging from old to relatively fresh. The elk (with the exception of the poor souls who were taken down and eaten there) for the most part, were not.. I say not.. using that serious of meadows. Yep, they were around it but not so close. We had them answer up on the steep/thick sidehills and way down in the draw but they were not frequently the salad bar that those meadows provided because the big dogs know that they can easily kill them there. You see, the wolves we have now in the lower 48 are not the same critters as the timber wolves that used to live here, they are the Canadian variety that makes their living hunting in more open spaces and running down their quarry. I've found that the elk in NW MT and N ID have changed their habits/mannerisms (sometimes staying almost entirely in brer rabbit type, impassable, steep/thick/steep/thick pits of despair)... even vocalizations are curbed (geesh, every time I holler, them damn dogs are on me) unless you get close, really close which in thick junk, means minimal to less than minimal shot opps. Swede does likesto spark elky conversation, doesn't he :D. Good conversation gentlemen... Please, carry on.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 13]

This is getting confusing. I am not sure it matters what I think you thought was meant. :D I do not know what you are teaching from the elk calling academy. Don't really care either. But if anyone tries to peddle the idea that calling is the right answer for going after elk in every place or every situation, I disagree. In my opinion, calling and calling equipment are over sold and it leads to a lot of people thinking there is something wrong with them or the area they hunt. Hunters are being sold on the idea that if they buy something more, all will work out well. I have no reason to believe you have personally engaged in that type of hype.
Part of what I am picking up on are hunters saying how much they are practicing to get good. I read where people claim this type of bugle is not as good as another. "You need to use a diaphragm" and "the Hoochie Mama is the Hoochie Cow Scare" are common mantras I hear or read. So what happens after months of practicing on their new correct calls, and they get nothing for their effort? They will describe their situation on a forum and several of us will tell them what they did wrong. Then they see the answer. It is advertised for only $29.99 plus S&H.
I will agree that if newer elk hunters want to call, they will do well to enlist the services of you or others that have learned to use one while hunting. I just hope they go away with a realistic understanding that a grunt tube is no magic wand.
It is also true that a hunter can put a crown on their head, hold a scepter in their right hand while seated on the best tree stand made, and they are still not in control of the elk.
Friend, I mean you, or no one else any personal offence. I just hope someone comes to realize that learning about calling and good calling equipment will only go so far. There is no magic that come with any of it.
It still continues to be hunting.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 10, 2017 •  [Post 14]

Addressing RJ's point about how elk have drastically changed their former habits due to wolf predation is another good example of how they respond to predators of all kinds. I have read that elk in past centuries were a plains animal, but have moved to the mountains and more protective cover to avoid humans. If you accept these as true, it is easy to see why they have gone quiet in many places where there has been heavy hunting pressure with calling.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 15]

Changing direction here. I want to share a couple of things I have observed. This speaks of two successful elk hunters.

Elk hunter #1: He is an avid outdoorsman and archery elk hunter about 65 years old. He has taken many P&Y bulls while hunting central and eastern Oregon. He fills his tag about 75% of the time, kills only large bulls, and gets them by calling. He knows where to find elk on high desert public land by patterning them year round. The only call I know he uses is a Power Bugle. I have never seen or heard of him using an in the mouth diaphragm or any cow call. He does not go on the internet or buy hunting books. So what is his secret: Knowing where the elk are likely to be, set-up and selective calling. He made his career as a professional government hunter.

Elk hunter #2: He is retired Forest Service and gets lucky. He is a bow hunter, but will take off time in the season for a fishing trip to Alaska. His calls are all bite and blow. One is a tiny thing I have not seen anywhere else. I asked about it and he said it is not made anymore. He does not learn about hunting on the internet, but might buy a book if he saw one on a store shelf. His success to is based on set-up and selective calling. He does not pattern the elk and is in the general search mode much of the time.

Neither of these hunters have any special equipment. Their bows are old and #1 has a stabilizer he welded together in his shop. It is junk. Neither hunts in any hurry that I know of, but they know what to do when the elk situations presents itself.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 16]

Swede..No offense has been taken at all and I hope you have not taken offense to my posts either as we are discussing our point of views and beliefs. I never tell anyone that their way of hunting is wrong, or they need to change the way they hunt. It's all hunting as you stated. We are all on the same team. Am I passionate about calling elk? Absolutely! Is it the only way to hunt elk? No. I have friends that will either sit on a tree stand while others will spot and stalk. Each is successful and I support them just as they support me.

I think this is a good opportunity to explain what I do at the Elk Calling Academy. The lessons are all about the students and what they are wanting to get out of it. No 2 lessons are the same as everyone is at different stages in their elk hunting endeavor. I also know that not everyone can use a diaphragm so I do teach on external calls also. It all depends on what the student is wanting to learn. Heck, I don't even push any certain call manufacturer on the students. It all depends on what call fits their needs the best.

We also talk about elk behavior, strategies, elk sounds and what they mean and I also open my playbook and show them exactly what I do out in the elk woods. Everything with the Elk Calling Academy is about the students and helping them to shorten the learning curve but also let them know that there is no guarantee as we are dealing with animals. Everything that is taught comes from almost 30 years of experience chasing elk and learning from the mistakes. I will also encourage students to go listen to others such as Paul or Corey. Knowledge and practice shorten the learning curve and increase the chances of success, but nothing is guaranteed.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 17]

elkaholicid: I would enjoy sitting around a real campfire talking and discussing elk hunting with you. I have no doubt you are very knowledgeable and have a lot to offer. Thanks for sharing about what and how you teach elk hunting. In that we are definitely on the same team.
And truly no offence has been taken. In fact I got upset when I looked and found this thread was gone. :o It was relocated and put right back here.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 18]

WapitiTalk1 wrote:I will never venture into the elk woods without my calls (and the use of non-verbal elk noises) in my tool kit, particularly during Elktember when they are the most vocal. I strongly feel it is the most productive way to arrange up and close meetings with the indigenous population. Do they always come running in screaming saying "shoot me, no... shoot me", of course not but, sometimes they do, sometimes they come in silent, sometimes they issue a rude "screw you and the horse you rode in on" challenge/warning and yep... sometimes (quite oftentimes) they bugle unsolicited or answer a locator giving away their location. Time to go to work and work the situation that the elk gods have presented you. As elkaholidid mentioned "the term respond covers more than just a bugle". Good stuff right there... Responses don't always mean vocalization (responses come in various forms i.e., moving in silent, raking/tearing the hell out of brush or a poor subalpine fir, providing a visual through optics of their displeasure with this new bull/you making noise in their AO, etc.)... one has to be ready to correctly read the signs and proceed accordingly. Advertising sequences, breeding sequences, locate bugling, non-vocal advertising (raking brush, stomping/kicking the ground, etc.) are forms of calling to elk and should be in one's arsenal. I will say that wolves in the area change the vocalization game. I've seen it first hand for the past handful of years and each year, it gets more acute. My buddy and I found one absolutely gorgeous, grass laden, series of meadows in our N ID area this year that should have been a glory hole. What did we find there? As Joe and I aptly titled it, we found "the killing fields". Numerous elk skeletons and remains, ranging from old to relatively fresh. The elk (with the exception of the poor souls who were taken down and eaten there) for the most part, were not.. I say not.. using that serious of meadows. Yep, they were around it but not so close. We had them answer up on the steep/thick sidehills and way down in the draw but they were not frequently the salad bar that those meadows provided because the big dogs know that they can easily kill them there. You see, the wolves we have now in the lower 48 are not the same critters as the timber wolves that used to live here, they are the Canadian variety that makes their living hunting in more open spaces and running down their quarry. I've found that the elk in NW MT and N ID have changed their habits/mannerisms (sometimes staying almost entirely in brer rabbit type, impassable, steep/thick/steep/thick pits of despair)... even vocalizations are curbed (geesh, every time I holler, them damn dogs are on me) unless you get close, really close which in thick junk, means minimal to less than minimal shot opps. Swede does likesto spark elky conversation, doesn't he :D. Good conversation gentlemen... Please, carry on.

i will be completely honest, the majority of my stories about successful elk hunts don't include calling, i would never walk into the elk woods without my calls. calling elk is not only a huge amount of fun, but it's a super effective way to kill a bull. lots of days i am hunting for an opportunity to call a bull, but find myself in a familiar place where i have seen a scenario play out without calling.

only 2 days this season i dedicated to calling elk, and those 2 days were the most chaotic, action packed days of the year, both days with encounters of BIG bulls. i honestly feel like not calling more is my biggest crutch in the elk woods. every year i get more confidence in it, and eventually i will not be talking myself out of calling as much.

if you are a one dimensional hunter, being a good caller is the best way to be. i have a good friend that tells me, if they cannot get bulls going, they aren't killing elk, simple as that. he said he is no good at sneaking or ambushing, and he is one of the very best hunters i have met. he chooses to be one dimensional, hunts popular areas, and they always fill all of the tags they care to. it is hard to argue with such high historical success.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 19]

Roosie: I don't understand. If as you say calling is a "super effective way to kill a bull", why are you not using that way more? The vast majority of Roosevelt elk I know about their death were killed by spot and stalk. I would guesstimate it is about 5 to 1 over calling. I hear about a lot of close encounters from calling, but few kills. Most of the elk called in, and killed, were taken by a team effort. Some Roosies I know of were killed by a person watching over a game trail.
RJ has been hunting north Idaho with his friend and others he has brought in as guests for calling for seven years. Ask him about the howling success they have had. The truth is, anyone can have relatively close encounters with live elk bugling in late September. RJ and his friend were close to bulls nearly every day this past season. In that bull only area, I saw only four elk all season. Terrible! Three were cows. One is now dead. In Oregon our little group went 3 for 5 in 4 days. It should have been 4 for 5, but I shot low.
Hearing elk off in the distance has often tempted me to climb down and make a move on the miserable critters. I forgo the urge because experience has taught me that elk bugling on an adjacent hillside, or down the canyon is not even close to elk on a pack frame. Do not make too much out of one or two elk hunts, but pay attention to trends.
The trend I have seen play out over many years is that calling is exciting and you see and hear a lot more elk than in any other form of elk hunting. You will see far more calling that tree stand hunting for sure. The close encounters with elk is the bait that lures in many hunters. I am not convinced, even though there are some testimonies/experiences out there to the contrary, that calling is "super effective" for killing bulls in many areas, or even as a general rule. People interested in elk hunting should give calling a try, but it might just pay to have a tree stand handy to wait in for awhile too. :D
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 20]

Swede wrote:Roosie: I don't understand. If as you say calling is a "super effective way to kill a bull", why are you not using that way more?


like I said, I have a handful of friends who kill bulls every year, let quite a few walk, and most of the bulls they kill are 5+yr old animals. I hunted 13 hard days with 2 shot opportunities. it's pretty easy to see comparing notes at the end of the year that i'm missing out on opportunities.

another thing to consider, I have filled my tag the past 14 years, 3 were cows during late season cow only (one 4 yrs ago, and 2 early in my hunting career) of the 11 bulls, I have called in and killed 4, and I do very little calling, that is a big percentage if you put each into it's own tactic column, and I spend VERY little time doing it.

why I don't call is myself falling back into my comfort zone 95% of the time i'm trying to kill an elk. i'm starting to add all of this up in my head, calling makes sense, and is very effective. if it's not effective, you need to keep trying. I know a few guys who prove it every single year, not just killing elk, but killing good bulls every year.....cannot argue the effectiveness.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 21]

I have always said as far as I remember there are good areas for calling, and good callers can do well there. There are not so good areas and good callers like RJ are not doing well. I am not opposed to any legal hunting style, but make no mistake I think calling is over hyped. I think the claim of "Super effective" is hype.
The people I know of that are killing Roosie bulls are not spending very little time with them. They spend a lot of time monitoring and scouting. It is almost like a second job for them. Sure they get good ones early in the season. After the early part of the season is past all bets are off. Some of those successful hunters are paying access fees for private land hunts. Those exclusive private lands are in the statistics I refer to here. The success for archery elk on the north coast (Siuslaw-Saddle Mtn.) units including pricey private land access in 2016 ran from 9%-15%, for OTC hunts. Again the most successful archery hunters I know of are spot & stalk hunting. I do not know what percent the success rate is for those who are calling in their kills. Success rates are not separated by hunting techniques.
When I lived in central Oregon and worked for the Forest Service, I had over a 90% success rate. the only year I missed getting one was when I had a major operation in the early summer. What that tells me is that knowing the area intimately is very valuable, and the tree stand technique is solid on a good location. What I never claim is that using a tree stand will translate to everyone that tries it easily killing one. I don't care to use superlatives like "super effective" in comparing my way, or the way I am advocating doing things. I am afraid it is misleading. 9%-15% success is where it is at. Just my thinking.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 11, 2017 •  [Post 22]

the end of that reply was a great point Swede, I do agree. I guess I also agree that calling in general isn't very effective if you lump everyone together who employs the tactic. what I am saying, is for the people who are very good at calling, most really good callers are pretty one dimensional by choice, but they kill elk very consistently, and let elk walk by them every season I would kill in a second given the chance.

I think there is a steep learning curve to that type of success, but I also think that goes for ANY elk hunting tactic. if you are on public land with everyone else, there is a learning curve to consistently fill your tag. I personally know a handful of skilled callers that do just that, and they aren't shooting a lot of bulls they call in.

check out angry spike productions on youtube, those guys are a pretty dang good example of public land guys calling elk and filling their tags year after year (entertaining videos too :D )

one major setback I have had calling is I cannot use reeds, I try all year every year, different reeds, walk around with them in my mouth trying to get used to them, they still gag me. over the years I have got together a lineup of external reed calls that I can get by with without much compromise, Elknut's bugle I got this year rounded out that program, it's the first bugle I have owned that sounds really good with lots of control, in sounds and volume, and bugles are pretty much needed if you plan on calling an elk into killing range with any consistency.

it's all like fishing, 10 people can fish a stretch of river using all the normal gear, come to the conclusion there are no fish, then someone comes through who knows the water, and knows how to get a good presentation and catches a half dozen....that's a very real and common scenario, it's all about perception.

I cannot judge the effectiveness of calling elk by my own results, especially when I know for a fact, it can be done through the whole season with consistency...just because I have tried, and it's not true with me, doesn't mean it's not true ;)

calling is really effective if you are good at it, even on crowded public land.....ask Elknut :lol:
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 23]

Swede...I would enjoy sharing a campfire with you as well.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 24]

No! Don't ask Elknut about the value of calls. It would be like asking the Sham Wow idiot about his towels. Too much hype. My apologies to those not familiar with the Sham Wow infomercial. You can check it out by logging in to Sham Wow.

I probably know or know of about 10 excellent Roosevelt elk bow hunters. Most I knew from Forest Service or they were Gold Beach locals. Like the Rogue Wild Outdoors they are, or were guys getting Roosie elk on a regular basis. I have never hunted Roosies with anyone of them. I do not think most are calling. I never heard most of them speak of it if they did. Some did use calls, but again it is only as a useful tool. I think all of them experienced some long seasons and all were skunked once in a while. It does not work like "Sham Wow!!!". :lol:

My experience with hunting Roosevelt elk would have me writing Roosiebull and asking if I could tag along for a few days just to see when he is doing. I found those elk to be about the most aggravating critters on the planet. Like some people I know; they are all around until you need them. Then they are gone.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 25]

Roosiebull: I have another question for you. I understand you are hunting public land and hiking in on roads closed to motor vehicles. Can you get a bicycle in on them or are they too overgrown? The F.S. roads I have gone in, and hunted on the Siuslaw N.F. had the culverts pulled, bridges taken out, and were totally overgrown in places. It was a problem hiking them after about five years from closure. What, if anything are you doing to prepare closed roads for non-motorized ingress and egress?
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Re: Using Calls

Postby saddlesore » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 26]

When I first joined this forum,I made the mistake of saying, at least where I hunt, by rifle season both bulls and cows are very call shy and most will head the other direction if they hear either. That was like peeing on supreman's cape and I was told ,no they don't get call shy.So I don't talk about that much.

I hunt both muzzle loader season and rifle season. In ML season you can call,( very limited) and get bulls to answer.Call cows must be very limited and low volume. Here in Colorado, hunting pressure is very high,even in archery season. You really have to work to get far enough back in and into heavy cover to even encounter elk. Most calls will bring in another hunter.

My calls work best when they are in my pocket
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Re: Using Calls

Postby ElkNut1 » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 27]

swede, swede, swede, what are we going to do with you! (big grin)

Saddlesore, you're primarily a rifle hunter, your hunts are late post rut at best & more likely well after elk rutting times thus the use of calls are used at a minimum if at all!

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Re: Using Calls

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 28]

Yes, there are times and perhaps seasons that keeping our calls in our pockets may work better to kill elk (elk are at their vocalization peak during the rut and to not understand elk vocalization and be able to call effectively is a ham stringer in my experience/opinion). Yes, I'm sure there are areas that are overrun with overcalling and that can cause challenges with the elk vocalization (perhaps those aren't areas a guy should keep hunting?...just saying). Even in these areas with hunters hanging in every tree, bugling from every corner of the road, dragging elk antlers on a rope behind them running up and down the mountain (trolling), and calling twice per minute when walking down the trail (a bit of over dramatization and I have personally never heard it that overt in my three or 30+ years of hunting) elk will still positively react to calling, period. To not learn to call properly, learn to understand elk vocalization and study their physical mannerisms, is like a carpenter heading to work without a hammer and saw IMO. Swede, I really wish the spot I invited you to this year would have been its normal "self" so I could have shown you once and for all that this thing called calling works and works well. It was an off year for sure (probably mostly due to the wolves stacked up like cord wood and doing their thing there). I did call a few in for Joe, used calling to get really.... really close to a good handful but again, it wasn't a normal year for that area.

For those of you that do not believe in the value of calling in the elk woods, have at it. Please, leave your calls at home, particularly during Elktember. And by no means should any of you learn about elk language interpretation and how to properly use calling to hunt elk (@Elknut.com). Oh, and lastly... do not learn how to call from a former RMEF World's competitor like elkaholicid... It won't help you at all in the elkwoods one bit :lol:.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 29]

ElkNut1 wrote:swede, swede, swede, what are we going to do with you! (big grin)


It is good to have you back Paul. I was about to conclude you had gone into hibernation for the winter. I was about to think I would have to smoke you out of your den to get you activated.

As for RJ's argument, Baa. I heard more calling/bugling in Idaho this year than I have heard the last ten where I hunt in Oregon. So what? As best I understand it, RJ and company have only filled one of about 25 tags during the last seven years of hunting there. That is no howling success even when the wolves are not a problem. Pun intended. With all due respect for elkaholicid, I don't think his excellent calling ability would translate into much in many elk areas. Yes, I still have my hammer (bugle) in my tool box, but I don't get it out and beat on things every time I go into my shop. :D We need to be selective with our tool use.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 30]

Swede wrote:Roosiebull: I have another question for you. I understand you are hunting public land and hiking in on roads closed to motor vehicles. Can you get a bicycle in on them or are they too overgrown? The F.S. roads I have gone in, and hunted on the Siuslaw N.F. had the culverts pulled, bridges taken out, and were totally overgrown in places. It was a problem hiking them after about five years from closure. What, if anything are you doing to prepare closed roads for non-motorized ingress and egress?

deer hunting a bike is a great tool (have yet to use mine for that though) hunting timber co land I can travel a lot of miles walking gravel.elk hunting, I don't spend enough time on roads, I am generally either walking in on an old brushed in road, or just finding where a ridge I want to start on is close to a main road. there are a few old skid roads around, but i'm generally traveling cross country, so my legs are the only way to get around.

the farthest I walk on a closed road on NF land is 1.6 miles, too brushy to bike, and too many potentially elky areas to ride by missing the little clues they leave, and I only come in from the bottom if the wind is wrong. coming in from the top, it's .3-.5 miles before I leave the road.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby saddlesore » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 31]

ElkNut1 wrote:swede, swede, swede, what are we going to do with you! (big grin)

Saddlesore, you're primarily a rifle hunter, your hunts are late post rut at best & more likely well after elk rutting times thus the use of calls are used at a minimum if at all!

ElkNut/Paul


I also hunt Muzzle loader about every year which usually starts the Saturday after Labor Day
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Re: Using Calls

Postby saddlesore » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 32]

Wapatiti talk1. I also have listen/watched all four of Paul' dvds have the Playbook,his Lil Chuckler bugle. Refer to his ElkTips and Clips frequently.Don't lump all who say something that others disagree with into one bucket. There is big difference in hunting Colorado which is the dumping ground for all that do not draw a tag for WY, NM, ID, or MT. Archery season is about as bad as rifle season now for hunting pressure.

We who know how to call must hunt in proximity to many that don't and those are the hunters that make elk call shy.Another reason is the guy that calls in a bull and then thinks it isn't the big bull they dream of, so he purposely spooks the bull by showing himself or other means.The bull tucks that episode into their memory and uses in the future.

I was calling in bulls in the 60's using a bugle made from a piece of conduit and cows just using my own mouth with out a call.Then the old plastic 'Cow Talk" came along that enhanced that. As time went on,the big push was those BIG elk bugles and competitions that made hunters think they needed to sound like the biggest baddest bull in the woods and it proliferated from there to what we see today. So today, when I say something, the younger hunters just nod and figure he is just an old fart that doesn't know what he i stalking about. In the 80's my wife and I spent about ten falls in late September in Yellowstone. Her photographing the elk,me acting as equipment carrier and spending time listening to elk conversations ,so I am no neophyte.

Just because elk bugle does not mean they are not breeding and just because they don't bugle does not mean they are not breeding..Because hunters don't know the difference in those bugles is one reason they scare them off.

BTW.
Here in 2nd rifle season that was the latter part of October, elk were still bugling quite a bit at night.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 33]

Good stuff Saddlesore. Thanks for your comments, always appreciated. Wasn't trying to lump you in with my comments, I opologize if it came out that way. Again, no....calling is not always the end all method for getting a shot at an elk but it's certainly a valid tool in our elk tool bag. PVC pipe? Yep, we took great pride in ours in NW MT where I grew up in the 70s, taking great lengths to camo them. I remember my pop taking me out as a pup in the late 60s and getting multiple bulls to answer by blowing into a 30:30 shell. Good times.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 12, 2017 •  [Post 34]

Apparently I was misunderstood by some or someone in my saying don't ask Elknut where I compared him to the Sham Wow idiot. For that misunderstanding I apologize.

The point was not to say Paul is any kind of idiot, but a comparison about his exuberance for elk calls being similar to the guy that goes ape over his clean up rag.
I was also accused of not liking elk calling. Well I have sure bought, and still have a lot of them, for some weird reason if I don't like calls. I have them in a large hunting box.
BTW: for anyone concerned: I am not opposed to the Sham Wow rag either. I am sure it can be useful. Kinda like an elk bugle if used properly, at the right time and place. :D
The truth is I am not in agreement with the indiscriminate and universal calling that gets promoted. I believe it is misleading at best, and often just wrong.

I knew this thread could bring on a lengthy debate. Apparently Lefty understood all of that. I appreciate all who have contributed to the discussion. Monday morning will be here soon, and probably more points of view. I am satisfied with where I stand. I hope you are too.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 35]

"The truth is I am not in agreement with the indiscriminate and universal calling that gets promoted. I believe it is misleading at best, and often just wrong."

Swede....I understand your point of view but to say it is misleading at best might be going a little overboard. Again, I do understand your point of view and we all are entitled to one. However, most of us that strongly believe in calls have come to that conclusion based on years of SUCCESSFUL in the field trial. none of us are saying learn to call and you'll start harvesting a bull every year. There is still a ton of factors that play into it. You also stated, "With all due respect for elkaholicid, I don't think his excellent calling ability would translate into much in many elk areas." I have Oregon, Montana, Colorado and most of Idaho. All on public land while dealing with the same issues as everyone else including the wolves and high pressure. In the 30 years of bow hunting for elk, I have been blessed to have found success on 26 bulls. If you would like, we could also add in the number of bulls I have called in for other members of my hunting party.

Now, as stated, I do understand your point and I also know that calling is not for everyone. AS I mentioned previously, I have friends that prefer to spot and stalk or ambush elk and they find success on a consistent basis. We don't sit around and bash either or talk negatively about their choice. We support one another and celebrate each other's success.

The "misleading at best" does strike a nerve a little bit. It's only misleading if the information is being presented as a cure-all or a guarantee. I know that I have never presented it that way and I also know that Paul, Corey or several others do not present calling that way either. There is still a ton of work that is involved along with several other factors to be successful in the elk woods.

We understand your point of view but I just wonder what the purpose of this thread is now. At first, I thought it was going to be a discussion about using calls but it has turned into "using calls is misleading" and you should "leave them in your pocket" type thread on a forum where there are a few sponsors, not to mention the original founder, that make their living from elk calls. This is the type of behavior I see all over the place nowadays and I just don't get it. Why paint the picture of some legal form of hunting in a negative light? We are all on the same team and are being attacked by enough other groups that want to end hunting. Why attack each other.

With that said, I still respect you and your point of view. I also know that written text can be misinterpreted very easily and I'm sure you didn't set out to attack anyone. It just feels that way when reading some of the statements that have been posted above. By the way, I would share a campfire with you while sitting and chatting about elk hunting.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby >>>---WW----> » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 36]

Don't get your shorts all wadded up over this guys. If you know how to use a call, use it. If you don't, learn how to use it. And I might add, the elk timber is no place to do your learning. But it is a good place to listen to what the elk are doing. Notice I said what they are doing, not what they are saying. They use emotion, not language. "Elk can't talk pilgrim"! I'm sure Michale and Paul would both be willing to teach you. Just don't get all caught up in all the hype!!!!!!
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 37]

Thanks elkaholicid for the clear appraisal of my posts about calling. I admit I have become jaded in my observation of calling. I was not trying to say you could not effectively call in any State. Areas are not States. Take your home State for example. I know people that successfully call in elk there every year or nearly so. Other hunters, in some parts of that State struggle long and have very little or no success. I don't think they are necessarily poor hunters. They know how to call. They are using a hammer where a wrench is the right tool. I don't care how good you are with your hammer. It is not the tool to remove the wheel from your car. You get out the lug wrench for that. The same can be said for elk calls in many areas.

elkaholicid wrote:The "misleading at best" does strike a nerve a little bit. It's only misleading if the information is being presented as a cure-all or a guarantee. I know that I have never presented it that way and I also know that Paul, Corey or several others do not present calling that way either. There is still a ton of work that is involved along with several other factors to be successful in the elk woods.

Please show me some examples where calling is being presented with any significant disclaimers. I have read a lot of superlatives used to describe calling, but I do not remember anyone saying that you will need to be 100% at the rest of the hunting game to make it work. When have you ever pointed out that in over called areas, the elk may literally run from you bugling? I have seen it and pointed it out. Now, I am getting mail that says I have gone to the dark side (Evil). You have hunted in a bunch of States. Have you hunted in 10% success places where the hamburger and potatoes hunters are camping out and using your calls?

elkaholicid wrote:We understand your point of view but I just wonder what the purpose of this thread is now. At first, I thought it was going to be a discussion about using calls but it has turned into "using calls is misleading" and you should "leave them in your pocket" type thread on a forum where there are a few sponsors, not to mention the original founder, that make their living from elk calls.

That is where the shorts WW referred to are getting wadded up. Swede would dare to challenge the internet gods of elk hunting forums. He has gone to "the dark side".
The Cool Aid is still being served folks. Drink all you want, but just know your chances are no better for getting a big bull with your call, than it is without, if you are not a very good elk hunter in the first place, and in the right area. To be a good elk hunter including calling, you need to know elk.
When you use quotes please refer to whom you are quoting and where you found the quote. I could not find the basis of your quotes, so I am thinking you have resorted to propping up a straw man to make your point. BTW, the thread was started to discuss how we all view calls and how we use them differently. It was nothing about advertisers or the founder of the forum. See post #1.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby >>>---WW----> » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 38]

Swede: Are you referring to my quote, " Elk can't talk pilgrim"! It is a take from the Jerimia Johnson film where the old bear hunter said, " Elk can't count, pilgrim "! :lol:
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 39]

Jerimiah Johnson was a great show. That is where I got my elk hunting knowledge pilgrim. All of that is embedded in my subconscious now: lol: Actually I am not sure I have seen the whole show, but I remember parts from the time I saw it with the kids.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 40]

Swede....I appreciate your discussion with me on this topic. Let's just agree to disagree as we both have different beliefs which are based on our experiences out in the field. Look forward to your next topic of discussion.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Bow4Elk » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 41]

Swede,
I have never hunted the unit you hunt in Oregon but have hunted most other units at one time or another. Granted a lot has been in the past. Haven't hunted in Oregon since 2004 because of the way I like to hunt (bugling) and the problems we run into with that method in Oregon. Like has been stated, people bugling all over the place with doors slamming afterward. We have bugled in elk in all of the units we have hunted in Oregon. HOWEVER, the one place I have been that bugling did not work was in the Starkey Experimental Forest. The first year elk were callable but after 2 years they would run at the sound of calls if they were close. On the flip side though, I was watching a herd of elk feeding with a nice bull in it and a bugle sounded off down the creek. Sounded like a bull but the herd looked that direction and took off in the other direction. A minute later here came the bull up the creek that had been bugling. It was more like there were too many mature bulls and they wanted to get their herd away from ANY other bull.

Bugling is not the cure all or sure fire way to get an elk. Where we hunt now it is a bull only unit and too thick to spot and stalk. The elk do not use the saddles regularly enough to put up a tree stand. The elk do not move far when spooked (like in the open Oregon country where it seems like they run for miles sometimes) and it is a lot harder to predict where they will be and go.

That is the reason we hunt by bugling. The other part of the equation is that when we started hunting by bugling there were a lot of elk in the area we hunted and if you blew one elk out, you just found another to call with. We learned by trial and error but had multiple opportunities which taught us a lot. Without that experience we would not be nearly as successful as we are today. Looking at my stats for a 25 year period we went on 573 hunts (morning and evening are different hunts). In that time we had 888 bulls answer us (only counted different bulls that answered for each day) and called in 331 bulls to what I call a close encounter, which was within bow range (usually under 40 yards) and put eyes on most of them. Sometime it was so thick you couldn't see the elk at 30 yards.

All that to say if you are going to be calling to elk you have to do your homework and know how to hunt elk. Know when to call, be silent, move, rake or stomp. Just like with spot and stalk or tree stand hunting. You can't just go out and be successful regularly if you don't put in the time in the right places.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 13, 2017 •  [Post 42]

Ron I agree with you. There are many things to consider, and as you and Michael both have said, skill is a major part. It is not the only piece needed to successfully put the puzzle together. Good hunters can fall short too. You obviously keep some detailed and meticulous records. I manage to keep a record of some things, but have not covered others I hunt with as you have done. I think that could be very useful. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 15, 2017 •  [Post 43]

Swede, it's been a crappy weather blustery day here, been watching lots of youtube videos. Born And Raised Outdoors has a new series "land of the free" great videos as always, they did insanely well on the coast this year (5 bulls in 8 days which is crazy Roosevelt action) plus another Roosie. the weather was terrible, and they were calling and killing bulls almost daily, I would say their calling was far more effective than anything I could do :D I hunted my rear off for 13 days to kill a bull, and I was willing to kill a spike or any other bull I came across.

hard to say it's not "super effective" after watching those few videos. I am personally excited about calling more, after 18 seasons in the Roosie woods, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of elk hunting. I have quite a few tools, but some tools are better than others, not calling is like owning a tire shop and not owning an air compressor...sure I can and will get the job done, but my clientele is limited, and it takes me longer, and is harder work :lol:

that may be a little dramatized, but ya know.... :D
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 15, 2017 •  [Post 44]

I am not disagreeing with you totally, but consider the following: Chuck Adams, arguably the best bow hunter of all time had a lot of difficulty getting a Roosie. If I remember right he had professional help on where to hunt. Larry D Jones, is another famous elk hunter who lives right next to Roosie country, and has made his living on calls and videos, and spent a lot of time scouting them, had a lot of difficulty getting one for his video Elk Fever II. He also speaks of unfilled tags and going out on the late cow hunts. I have read Will Primos, another famous call and video maker had such a hard time filling his Roosevelt tag on a guided private land hunt, on the Powers Unit (Oregon's best Roosevelt area) that he will not come back.
Only about 12 percent of the thousands of Roosevelt hunters succeed. So what you are saying is that because a small group of guys came to Roosevelt elk country and scored, that is proof of the Super effectiveness of calling? I know a lot of people that hunt and call them. Some have been very successful over the years and know their area. You are the first I have heard refer to calling Roosies as super effective. I have heard Larry D. Jones say it is doable and calling will work.
I will accept your argument when you can demonstrate that calling is 20% or 30% better than spot and stalk or tree stand hunting. I really don't believe you can demonstrate it is 1% better.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 45]

I believe it is for the right people, I hope to make myself one of those people some day. killing 5 bulls in 8 days shows the potential effectiveness, and they do it every year they try, maybe not that fast, but they fill their tags....and do it all by calling. they put themselves in that top 10% every year with one technique.

I know if I was a proficient caller, I could create more shot opportunities. I often find myself in a place where I run out of options, cannot get further without bumping game, and those are situations I have called and killed elk, and i'm the first to admit, i'm not very good at it.

one thing I noticed, the more I bugle, the more elk I hear bugle, that alone is a big asset, even if I stop as soon as I get a response.

I have this mental block that keeps me from learning certain things instantly, like I have to roll it around in my head awhile before it sinks in, but looking back, I have turned about 1/3 of bull answers into shot opportunities. one out of 3 bulls that have answered me have got shot at by me or a hunting partner.

I truly believe it as effective as any other single technique if employed correctly, roosies talk, you have to be close, and they may not do much unsolicited bugling most of the time, but they aren't quiet and can be very vocal if you can start the party.

I think it's the hardest technique to master. again, I will use a fishing comparison. steelhead....drift fishing them is super effective, all water, all conditions, but it's hard to get REALLY good at it..... most would argue bobber fishing is far more effective, and it is for the majority, but a real elite drift fisherman will clean up behind bobber fishermen, it's more effective for the very few who are really well versed in it.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby ElkNut1 » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 46]

Roosiebull, you basically avoid calling because it's out of your comfort zone! I don't blame you, I was that way to begin with as most newer hunters are these days to calling. With practice with calls to achieve believable sounds a hunter will build his/her confidence. As you get comfortable with your progress you would now add a definition or meaning to your sounds. We view them as the elk view or understand them. It's simple communication. You would grasp this easily with your experience & dedication to wanting to be a more complete elk hunter!

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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 47]

Roosie, I think you nailed it. Some people have figured it out. Don't ask me why, but many never get there. I think it is far more than the calling, and a call is the tip of the spear, or arrow in our case. I had a successful bow hunter send me a PM the other day. He said he too has seen elk literally run from the sound of a call. I have had elk come to a lousy call. It was awful. I do not think it is the call per se. It is what we are doing with it. It is like the drift fisherman. It is not the boat that is the super effective thing, but the character in the boat.
With absolutely no disrespect to anyone here I will share my personal observation. I am stymied by what I saw and heard. RJ and friend are struggling to get a bull by calling. They leave camp year after year empty handed. RJ has studied calling and practiced. He has all of Elknuts books, the Elknut bugle, and even the I-phone App. He is better than the vast majority I have heard. He is diligent in his pursuit, and out early and late day after day. He seems to understand setup ok, but I was not with him enough to be dogmatic on that point. Brush is challenging where he hunts, but it did not pop up instantly and ruin his shot. It is always there. Wolves appear to be a problem, but they are a part of that environment too. If we say calling is for every place or everyone, then we need to be able to manage in that environment.
Being a good elk hunter requires several things. Among these are knowledge and skill. I am uncomfortable when there is some nebulous unknown out there that can't be defined.
The one time I was out with RJ and friend, RJ was doing the calling. I think that is the normal situation. Personally I would not have called from the location he chose. It did not matter as no elk were around that we know of. RJ's friend was down the ridge about 80 yards with RJ on the same side of the ridge. We could see down the ridge to the area where the friend was. We could see out front about the same distance. Any bull that would have come, could have seen where the call was coming from well before exposing himself. I would have dropped down a few yards on the back side of the ridge and not had my calling position exposed. I would have not had my shooter only about 60 yards out and trusted he would take care of any bull coming around to investigate. The bull would have had to come closer to determine what the bull he heard was all about. That may be a one tie event, but something is not working. Can RJ and friend become as successful and Michael of the calling academy and his buddies are? I cannot be sure one way or the other. All I can say is very few are, and the ones I know that come to that level of success have different hunting styles. All scout diligently or have a guide. Just my thought.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Kentrek » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 48]

Im guessing RJ was out and exposed because his calls will travel better....calling while in a trench or on the wrong side of a hill is only good for when the bull is very close.... his camo and lack of movement will hide him from being seen by any bulls that have swarro vision hd binos

Just some thoughts
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 49]

ElkNut1 wrote:Roosiebull, you basically avoid calling because it's out of your comfort zone! I don't blame you, I was that way to begin with as most newer hunters are these days to calling. With practice with calls to achieve believable sounds a hunter will build his/her confidence. As you get comfortable with your progress you would now add a definition or meaning to your sounds. We view them as the elk view or understand them. It's simple communication. You would grasp this easily with your experience & dedication to wanting to be a more complete elk hunter!

ElkNut/Paul

Paul, that is exactly right, it takes me out of my comfort zone, and have gained confidence in other ways, I have been pushing myself to call more, knowing how effective it can be in certain situations, looking back it's kind of funny with the success I have had with the little bit of calling I have done. like I mentioned previously, my biggest crutch has always been not being able to use reeds, and being stuck to external reed calls, but I have a lineup of calls I have gained confidence in, with your external reed bugle finishing up that lineup this year. that is the first bugle I have owned that I really like, it's almost as good as a reed, for practical use, it is as good.

I think next year my goal should be to call in and kill a bull, rather than an antler goal, a technique goal :D

the beautiful thing about hunting, no matter how much experience we have, we are all rookies in one way or another, there is no way to "master" hunting. we can get more well versed, and expand our tools, but it will never get dull being too easy (some days it seems easy, but the other 29 days of the season it seems hard to impossible :lol: ) every new technique we embrace makes us better, and gives us the feeling of starting over, which is fun in itself....that's where I am right now, I am going to get better at calling, and force myself to rely on it next season.....only 300ish days left!
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 50]

Swede wrote:Roosie, I think you nailed it. Some people have figured it out. Don't ask me why, but many never get there. I think it is far more than the calling.

I agree, I think it's hard to hear elk interactions enough to grasp what means what with elk vocalizations, and when you do hear it, many times you don't care what they are saying, we get tunnel vision trying to figure out how to kill that bull, rather than sitting back, listening, and learning.

if calling is not working, we quit doing it and move on and try something else, rather than looking for a more cooperative bull, it's a strategy with lots of layers I think, and you have to change your mentality to make it work. I also think many just don't have the ability to get good at it, no matter how authentic they sound, there are aspects of calling that go against every other technique to kill a bull.

I want to learn, I have a good head start on it, knowing areas and spending lots of time around elk, don't plan on it being easy, but it is something I want to push through and figure out. it will make it more fun after I fill my tag as well, hunting with friends and family. if I get good at calling, it will help people I hunt with quite a bit.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 51]

Kentreck: there is a problem with using camo for cover. The bull comes in and expects to see the critter that bugled out. When he does not see it, he will pace back and forth a time or maybe two, then he turns and leaves never exposing himself. I have had it happen many times. The best solution is to use the terrain and vegetation so the bull is exposed to a shooter before he hangs up. Elk know exactly where the call came from even it they are 1/4 mile away. If you are a lone caller you need to move from your calling location and reset up quickly after you bugle, or you need to be in a spot where the bull is vulnerable and exposes himself before he sees your calling location.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 52]

Roosie, you obviously have the fundamentals down. I would think adding calling to your routine would be a real asset. I wish every caller was as fundamentally sound in their hunting skills as you are when they started blowing on their bugles. My gripe is that folks seem to have the idea that the elk bugle is some kind of magic. If they just buy the newest stuff they will be an instant elk calling hero. My cutting torch is super effective, but if it is not used right, it can create more problems that it solves. I am sure you are on the right track. Everyone that has follow3ed this thread now has the different perspectives and has read the arguments both pro and con. I don't see elkaholicid here now. I hope he was not to offended by my counterpoints to his posts. I wish him well, and anyone needing help getting to the next level in their elk hunting game would be well advised to check out the Elk calling Academy. Elknut knows the whole elk hunting game. He has done a lot to move people in the right direction when it comes to calling. Just don't get the idea that by buying some products, you can forgo the hunting fundamentals. There are few shortcuts to getting good. Education is the cheapest in the long run. Remember this; the pathway to success is heavily littered with mistakes.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 53]

Swede...I'm still here and have not been offended at all. Can't run me off that easy! Haha!!

Rosiebull...I'd be more than happy to work one on one with you.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby saddlesore » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 54]

A lot of talk about bulls responding. Turning tail and going the other direction is also a response and one elk rely on quite heavily. What proponents of calling don't seem to realize that is they never get to see those elk that go the opposite way, so they think the ones that respond either by bugling back and coming in or just sneaking in are the only elk in the area.

I will never go into an area and initiate a calling sequence. I might do a few location bugles,but very low in volume.I need to either see or hear the elk first
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 55]

They say never try mud wrestling with a pig. The pig always wins as they enjoy the whole experience. I don't suppose anyone would ever guess I enjoy a good debate. This has been informative and I believe gives people a good perspective. :o
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Re: Using Calls

Postby elkaholicid » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 56]

It has been a good discussion filled some great information.

Here is a little bit more that may blow some peoples mind. Calling is not just a tool used by itself. In reality, we are actually are using almost all the styles of elk hunting on each setup. Here is what I mean. When moving in the last little bit to set up we are actually stalking. Moving slowly while scanning the forest ahead of us and listening for sounds of animals moving.

We set up close to the elk once we find a good ambush spot that will basically funnel the elk into clear shooting lanes. Then we use calling to influence the elk to come into those shooting lanes. The only approach we are missing is tree stands. Although, I do have a couple of friends that will call while sitting on a tree stand. Hunting in thick brushy areas reduces the shooting lanes and visibility that can make it a lot more difficult. Choosing the right set up location is a critical part of the equation.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 57]

Swede wrote:I don't suppose anyone would ever guess I enjoy a good debate.


That's one way of putting it :D
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Re: Using Calls

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 16, 2017 •  [Post 58]

elkaholicid wrote:It has been a good discussion filled some great information.

Here is a little bit more that may blow some peoples mind. Calling is not just a tool used by itself. In reality, we are actually are using almost all the styles of elk hunting on each setup. Here is what I mean. When moving in the last little bit to set up we are actually stalking. Moving slowly while scanning the forest ahead of us and listening for sounds of animals moving.

We set up close to the elk once we find a good ambush spot that will basically funnel the elk into clear shooting lanes. Then we use calling to influence the elk to come into those shooting lanes. The only approach we are missing is tree stands. Although, I do have a couple of friends that will call while sitting on a tree stand. Hunting in thick brushy areas reduces the shooting lanes and visibility that can make it a lot more difficult. Choosing the right set up location is a critical part of the equation.


Thumbs up emoticon. Who owns this darn site? Where is the thumbs up emoticon? ;)
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Tigger » 11 17, 2017 •  [Post 59]

How did I miss this party? Swede, why didn't you send me an invite?

Interesting read. I have a new perspective from you old timers. I started archery elk hunting 3 years ago. There is 4 in our group, so 12 man-years of hunting. We have went 1 for 4, 0 for 4, and 2 for 4, so right at 25% success rate and have had 1 other shot taken for 33% shot opportunity. I think those are pretty respectable numbers for the first 3 years in 3 new areas...yes, each year was a new area.

Now, how did we get those bulls (all 3 were bulls and we passed up a couple of cows)? 2 out of 3 were calling. The other shot opportunity was calling. I realize this was a very small sample size and my pea brain isn't chocked full of elk knowledge like some of you guys. But I have spent a lot of time understanding and being able to reproduce elk vocalizations (assist to Paul for that). Without calling we would have 1 bull instead of 3. No way, no how do we get the other bulls. We have also had quite a few (>12) opportunities that didn't quite pan out because of a branch or another needed step or something. So we have had both a good share of opportunities and results.

Will it work everywhere? Probably not. But for some greenhorns from the Midwest to come out and have the results we have had calling in 3 general areas on public land with no guides, I think demonstrates that calling does work if you put forth the time and effort to really understand it. I cannot believe what our percentages would be if we knew elk half as good as most on this board.

As far as campfires go, I would love to sit around a campfire and just listen to you guys talk!
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 17, 2017 •  [Post 60]

Dang, Tigger is in now and crashing the party. :D Just keep him away from the hors d'oeuvres and entertain him a little. BTW: nobody says calling won't work.

In December 2011 I did an on-line survey and asked hunters to tell me what style of hunting they used for elk, how many days they hunted and what they got if anything. Of coarse my sampling was not enough to be accurate within 3% or who knows what, but I think it is interesting. I had 59 respondents.

For calling there were 202 days spent hunting and 15 elk harvested. For spot & stalk there were 172 days spent hunting and 12 elk harvested. For tree stand hunting there were 44 days spent hunting and 7 elk taken and for ground blinds it was 27 days hunted and 3 elk taken. And BTW: calling did not produce bigger bulls either.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby ElkNut1 » 11 17, 2017 •  [Post 61]

Roosie, you'll do fine my friend you'll do fine! You're an elk hunter & heart with no give up in you! You've already taken the 1st step seeing the need! If you can learn the use of mouth reeds great! If not don't be too concerned about it! My Son In Law cannot use them because he has serious gag reflex so uses the Chuckler XTR Bugle (like you have) & bite & blow cow calls, he generally only uses one but can get very soft or aggressive with it. He's taken roughly 25 OTC public land bulls with this setup so don't despair if they're the best tool for the job for you too.

Sent you a PM!

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Re: Using Calls

Postby stringunner » 11 18, 2017 •  [Post 62]

This has been both informative and entertaining, don’t stop now, and please someone pass the popcorn! :D

I’m not a huge fan of calling inthe area I hunt, and I now share a camp with Swede. I had come to the same conclusion as Swede about our area even before we met. And since we stopped calling, and gone to stands, both my dad and I have shot several more elk. It’s a tactic that works in our area, stands. Where calling is not nearly as effective.

But having said that, I too am watching the Born and Raised guys on YouTube right now. I have been following them for many years as they hunt the Oregon coast every year and kill many bulls every year with....nothing but bugling. Grant it they also know the areas that hold elk, but basically they ride bikes or hike roads everyday all day and say they bugle sometimes 250+ plus times a day. When they get one to respond they go after him with bugling. The crazy thing to me aswell is they mostly do this between 9-3 pm each day. They are now on a 50 day hunt across 5 different states hunting their exact same way as they do in Oregon, hike and bugle, hike and bugle. They have put down maybe 9 -10 bulls already and are only just finishing their 2 state.
They are hunting areas that hold elk for sure but all they do is hike and bugle. Right or wrong they are getting it done. All public land and over the counter tags, no draw units.

Watching this has been fun and exciting. They are making a strong case for the methods of run and gun, or hike and bugle.

As for me and the area I hunt, I will stick with stands, I’ve come to enjoy it a ton and have experienced decent success. But if I ever move areas or when my boys get a bit older and are ready to hunt, I’m not sure how they will do in stands at the age of 12, I may have to think about that chuckler bugle I still have sitting next to my treestands.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Swede » 11 18, 2017 •  [Post 63]

Stringunner, it is good to see you post again. Where were you when I kept having to deal with Roosiebull? He kept coming up like a bad meatloaf. I finally had to give him a little credit on his argument just to get him to settle down.
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Roosiebull » 11 18, 2017 •  [Post 64]

Swede wrote: I finally had to give him a little credit on his argument just to get him to settle down.

I trick my wife that way all the time :lol:
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Re: Using Calls

Postby Wapiti » 12 12, 2017 •  [Post 65]

For me I enjoy the use of calls but I also use a ton of other sounds..........Raking trees and clicking rocks. Heck I've been know to carry a 2 point antler and clack it against a tree and hold it above my head when an elk comes walking in !! All kinds of sounds and noises.........all it can do is help.

This past season I spent a lot of time watching and listening as well. Not calling for hours on end just to see if I could hear something in the distant tree's. Maybe waiting and hoping an elk would walk my way !

What I learned was that I'm just happier calling and making something happen then just waiting and hoping something would happen !!

I guess I was just born to let'er rip on the bugle !! Maybe I just like hearing myself bugle ! LOL It does bring a smile to my face so I'll say do what makes your hunt enjoyable.

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