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What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

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What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby Elkhunttoo » 01 28, 2021 •  [Post 1]

Do herd bulls work together?

Last season I was fortunate enough to spend a good part of September on the mountain. I mainly hunted 4-5 draws that a really nice public land Idaho bull has made into his home. Between my friend and I we came to the conclusion the 2 herd bulls in this area were “working together”. I’m assuming these bulls spend the winter and summer together and then part ways for the rut but daily they would touch base with each other always checking in to see where the other was. I’m sure part of that was competition but it seemed more. On occasion they would respond to us or other hunters but for the most part they would respond to each other without fail. I did a lot of sitting in these draws and most days, in the last 10 days of the season these bulls seemed to parallel each other. The one always stayed in the top half of the draws with the other in the bottom half. If it was quite mid day several times the upper bull would let out a soft grunt or super short whiny bugle. Always answered immediately by the lower bull with about the same bugle.

I couldn’t help but feel like even though these 2 bulls were competing for cows they were keeping an eye on the other one for safety purposes. From hunters or predators or whatever else. Just wondering if anyone else has witnessed the same?
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Re: What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby Elkhunttoo » 01 28, 2021 •  [Post 2]

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Top bull was the one that hung in the top and bottom in the lower half
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Re: What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby Indian Summer » 01 29, 2021 •  [Post 3]

I moved down into a saddle for a closer look after spotting quite a few cows bedded. Too thick to glass from above. As luck would have it after creeping down there in some deep late season snow I pulled up my binoculars and the first thing I saw was a bull bedded down facing directly away from me. I had to move to the right a little bit to try to get a good shot angle. That took a mere 5 seconds and when I pulled up the binos again there was a bull bedded down facing directly toward me!

My first thought was did he hear me and turn around? No way not enough time and if that were the case he wouldn’t have laid back down. After some maneuvering I realized these two bulls were laying side by side facing opposite directions. Definitely partners in crime!

Then there was one! :D
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Re: What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby saddlesore » 01 29, 2021 •  [Post 4]

I have stated this many times,few believe it.Bulls start mid August and figure out where every other bull in the area is and can recognize their bugle.That is why just before daybreak you hear bugles one time Once someone steps in and uses theirbugle those bulls know immediately it is a fake unless they are super hot in mid rut.
Every time someone bugles, brings one in and either lets it go because it is not big enough, or gets busted by the bull,that bull tucks that little bit of information back in its brain and remembers it.

I have used mules for many years.They are a lot more sensitive to their survival than horses. They remember every bad thing that happens to the. Elk being more so do the same.To the hunter,it is a game,to the elk it is life or death.
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Re: What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby 7mmfan » 01 29, 2021 •  [Post 5]

Indian Summer wrote:I moved down into a saddle for a closer look after spotting quite a few cows bedded. Too thick to glass from above. As luck would have it after creeping down there in some deep late season snow I pulled up my binoculars and the first thing I saw was a bull bedded down facing directly away from me. I had to move to the right a little bit to try to get a good shot angle. That took a mere 5 seconds and when I pulled up the binos again there was a bull bedded down facing directly toward me!

My first thought was did he hear me and turn around? No way not enough time and if that were the case he wouldn’t have laid back down. After some maneuvering I realized these two bulls were laying side by side facing opposite directions. Definitely partners in crime!

Then there was one! :D


Someone was sleeping on the job!
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: What, no way, do Herd Bulls really....

Postby Swede » 01 29, 2021 •  [Post 6]

I am aware that bulls know each other and have a basic communication. I have heard a half dozen in a canyon all bugling back and forth. I don't know if they were saying if anything, but they were keeping track of each other. Saddlesore is right about an intruder. If the elk are not familiar with humans bugling at them, they may come and check you out. If they survive, they are not as easy to fool again.
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