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The Secret Sauce

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The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 09, 2023 •  [Post 1]

Is there any secret sauce for effective elk hunting? I know we can blow a setup or routine, but is there any real magic formula for getting a good shot at elk? What are your thoughts on this?
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Lefty » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 2]

I use to say you can't kill'em em (catch them, trap them,) sitting at home.

And do it to the best of your knowledge and ability.



Long time ago I was fishing with a muskie fisherman, the fish ( at that time in Mn, Wis waters) the fish of 10,000 casts.
His comment was make every cast for a muskie as if it is your only cast.
I kind of turned that into a private motto.
pound every nail as it\f it is the only nail,
drive every screw as if it s the only one
make every shot ( pool, foosball or hunting,,, I never golfed :lol: )
set every trap as if it was the only one set.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby 7mmfan » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 3]

I like Lefty's motto. Complacence is the killer of all hunts. When you let your guard down is inevitably when that buck/bull will present themselves. If I had one secret sauce that has helped me kill more animals than anything, it's simply being in the woods all day. Not going back to camp or the truck for lunch has resulted in far more kills for me than anything.

Three reasons I believe:
- The obvious one is I'm there instead of at the truck
- The second reason is when planning a full day hunt vs a couple hour hunt, I am willing/able to go places that I might not on a time restriction
- The third, and probably barely less important than the first one, I slow down. I'm not in a rush, so I linger, and watch and listen more.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 4]

IYou guys are right on the mark. I was going to argue either way: There is no Secret sauce or there is a secret sauce and here it is.
It does not matter how great a hunter you are if you are as Lefty said sitting on your couch in the living room. You will not get anything. Most of the people that write magazine articles or do videos, etc. where they share their secrets to success, spend weeks and months hunting and scouting. I think there are a few exceptions where some hunt very limited entry areas.
That said, we also need to use some good basic hunting skills too. A friend of my son went out to tree stand elk hunt. He liked it that we get elk frequently and he thought he would enjoy getting an elk too. On a hot day he took off his shirt and started flapping it to move some air his way. As he was doing that a big 6X6 came close and saw this movement and turned away. Needless to say, this guy got no meat or trophy.
I call just once before I climb into my stand. I do that most of the time when I arrive near my tree stand location. It seems to work about 5% of the time. That is just enough to make it worth my effort. That stunt may be likened to my wife sprinkling those tiny candy beads on her cupcakes. They are either just for looks or they enhance the flavor a little. No secret sauce here.
I was stirred to start this thread after reading the new member's question about a technique he had a question on. It might work if done right. I have tried a similar setup to no avail. There is no secret sauce. or there is a secret sauce? You decide.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 5]

Aggressive action! If you have eaten more elk tags than you punched then you are not aggressive enough; physically & vocally!

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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Jhg » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 6]

I can't argue Paul's success!!!
But not everyone enjoys hunting elk the way you do Paul, ie super aggressive and super physical. I understand the effectiveness of hitting an area, get no response so drive to another. Rinse and repeat. I know that is an over simplification of how you call and what you know, but I do not want to spend a bunch of time in a truck breaking up the day when I hunt. I can live with that. And I do use elknut tactics every season and have even had a steal the cow lip bawl battle that had another bull come in and actually do it (steal a cow) while me and the herd guy were having back and forth.
I often listen to hunters arrive in a drainage I am in, do their call thing loud and proud. Then they leave because no bugle back. I usually leave too because even though I was getting on elk and a shot was going to happen, those elk just went over the ridge.
It is a lot like sitting in your living room reading a book and suddenly a dude is next room speaking in a loud voice. WHAT!!! High alert is an understatement..
I will say that if you call you better call right because it is few who do it right and elk can tell. Not that you have to sound right but that what you say is right. I think if you came into an area and get its mood, then called in a way that fit, things can develop. After all, all buglefests start somewhere with that first bugle.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 7]

Blowin and Squeezin aggressively is not the magic sauce where I hunt. I do a lot better sittin and waitin. Occasionally I get to observe elk heading out as the escape the dudes aggressively running and wishing they were gunning as they aggressively squeeze or blow on their calls.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 8]

Jhg, not sure where you get your info from but your impression of how I hunt an area is way off track. Personally, I don't elk hunt where others hunt. When I get to an area I know I'm the only guy there, I don't hunt spots where there is general access & certainly do not hunt if there's even a single vehicle in the area. Yes, I hunt OTC DIY elk hunts but I'm very subtle in my approach. Once I get action occurring I read the situation & proceed as needed!

It's funny you assume I run around scaring elk into new zip codes, yes it's happened but I kill more elk with a strategic mindset. I have a controlled aggression not a reckless one.

I'm sure you have had your share of bumping elk with your Quiet style, it's part of the game, we all do it & will continue to have it happen.

I think what's interesting is guys love the casserole but they don't like the recipe! Hmm!

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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Jhg » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 9]

I meant no implications regarding how you hunt other than you hunt aggressively as you often state. You often mention hunting pressured elk. You mention having a lot of areas to hunt- if one is unproductive you move. Thats where I got my info. From you.
My only response directed toward you was in that regard. How, for example, I prefer to hunt vs how you do and how many guys hear parts of your advice but apply it in a way that is not effective.
. My reference to hunters chasing elk out of an area was in no way meant to imply you do that. I have watched your videos and listened to your podcasts and have never assumed you do that.
I seem I might have offended you and apologize that my post led you to feel that way. Not my intention at all. I think this would not have happened across a table as the mis-understanding would have been right out in the open. Now there seems to be assumptions being made all around because we are not in person.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 10]

Secret sauce? It’s a red line balance between patience (which I have trouble with) and aggressiveness (which I seem to be full of). Both pertinent as the situation dictates.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 10, 2023 •  [Post 11]

[quote="WapitiTalk1"]Secret sauce? It’s a red line balance between patience (which I have trouble with) and aggressiveness (which I seem to be full of). Both pertinent as the situation dictates.[/quote)

No doubt.
Where I have hunted for years, the nearby ranch sometimes holds over 1,000 elk shortly after the season opens. It is not all due to hunters calling for sure, but it is human activity, open roads and cattle. It all adds up to pressure. In places like that it pays to not add to the pressure. When I hunted with RJ one season he said the elk were no longer bugling like they used to. That is true where I hunt. RJ attributes wolves for much of the difference. I can's say that about my area, but in any case I think it is pressure we see as the common denominator. When elk bugle and bring in wolves or hunters, they learn to go quiet. I remember on several occasions years ago exchanging calls with a bull and bringing in hunters that ran off the elk.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 12]

Jhg, no worries sir & certainly no need to apologize! I understand we all have our ways, but are they successful?

This is what I was referring to on swede's question. It's the lack of aggressiveness that cost hunters opportunities every year. I've given seminars, webinars, podcasts & talked on the phone with countless hunters in the last 25 years. This is the overwhelming reason guys are not successful. It's not just finding elk, it's what you do with them once found!

Most hunters become timid or intimidated once they are in encounters as they are unsure what to do, they lack confidence. Why, because they question their calling abilities in crunch time. They feel they are going to run the elk off! Huge mistake! Hunters need to build that confidence within themselves so they do not shy away in an attempt to bring elk to you in the right situations. Hunting mountainous, timbered, brushy type terrain with downfall are great calling areas. Open country is not best suited for this. Glassing & ambush or spot stalk would take over there. I choose Calling country & take advantage of an elks weakness there plus it gives me the best adrenaline rush as they come in silent or vocally.(grin)

I've archery elk hunted 32 years on OTC DIY public land hunts & averaged better than an elk a year. It's because of my aggressive personality & not holding back when the situation calls for it. I have 100% confidence I can call in any elk in the right terrain. (I don't call all of them in) You & others can do the same. Most don't call much because they lack the confidence! Not a slam on any here, to each his own. But if you're that guy that is not at least taking elk 80% of the time I consider changing my ways! My .02

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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 13]

It is obvious that some hunting systems work better in some areas than in others. It should be noted that some work better in some seasons that others. We need to know when, where and how to use those different systems. I sure have no urge to tree stand elk hunt in November. I think I would prefer to hunt with Indian Summer and use one of his rocket launchers to shoot elk a mile away. :lol:
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Jhg » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 14]

Thanks Paul. I agree. I was alluding to that mentioning "you better call right". I always call when I know what to say but will revert to stealth if uncertain. I would rather keep my chances goung than ruin it. I see many hunters who might benefit from a little more restraint and a lot more practice!
I do wonder if I am limiting myself, but then again I did take a risk awhile ago and called in a nice bull that was otherwise going out if my life. Does that make me aggressive? Not really. Confident is the word.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Tigger » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 15]

I think this is a great time for an unsolicited plug for Elknut's Playbook! I have used this every year and describe it to many as the archery elk hunter's bible. I should have asked for a commission early on (grin) (see what I did there Paul? :lol: ). My daughters boyfriend is coming with me this year. he is SOOOOO excited. I gave him the book and basically said memorize it.

IF you are an archery elk hunter and IF you hunt in terrain like Paul describes and IF you want to have close-up experiences with raging bull elk, buy his Playbook. I am convinced many of the bulls on the mountains have read it and also follow it! I know for a fact one on my wall read it. He did EXACTLY as Paul said he would.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby Swede » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 16]

Tigger, you should have been a used car salesman. If a hunter knows elk and the area they are hunting, then the playbook has some useful tips on closing the deal by calling. I have run into several people over the years that got hyped up on some toy or publicity and thought they would be the Pier Piper of elk. It was most often or always to no avail.
Learn elk and your hunting grounds, then get what you think might help you reach the next rung in the ladder. With some good reading or watching videos you might skip a rung on the ladder or be able to see your way on up higher. Just remember, you are not going to pole vault your way to the top skipping the whole ladder.
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Re: The Secret Sauce

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 11, 2023 •  [Post 17]

Thread is locked. I don’t allow personal attacks on members, or, WapitiTalk sponsors. RJ
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