Big game.big prep.always prepared. Always lethal
· Daily need for food, water, safety areas & bedding areas
· Put your topo maps & google earth to work to help determine areas that elk will be attracted to.
√Saddles- Natural crossing points for animals to travel
√Benches- Common bedding areas
√North West Slopes- Common bedding facing due to more shade, vegetation, humidity & water.
√South Facing Slopes & Open Meadows- Host feeding areas
√Water- Locate possible drinking and wallowing locations
√Look for areas that lack roads and man trails; out of the way and hard to reach
√Keep a journal, mark informative way points into your GPS. Feeding areas, bedding areas,
game trails, water/wallows, fresh scrapes or rubs
Bulls in high elevation in velvet; cows in rich feeding areas
· Pre– Rut
Scrape velvet end of August
End Aug. first of Sept. begin to leave bachelor herds
Start looking for estrous cows
· Peak Rut
Estrous lasts no longer than 14 hours & repeats up to 3 times per season or every 21 days if not bred-
Chemical changes– Pheromones
Timed so that when birth occurs when the habitat is condusive to raising young
· Post Rut
Younger satelight bulls tend to still be eager to come in to calls in October
Where & how
· Preseason scout likely hunting areas– look for sign, water, food and security
· Talk to local and state fish and wildlife officials
· Tell a story using vocalizations & movement
Cow in heat
Young Bull chasing cows
Old Herd Bull
· Wind– Typically thermals go down in the morning when the air is cool and heavy & up when the air temperature starts to warm. Wind direction can change suddenly.
· Moon Phase- affects patterns, migration and behavior
· Weather-a factor in patterning, migration and behavior as they vary depending on weather conditions
· Barometric Pressure-affects patterns, migration, behavior & vocalization
· Typically Elk are most active during the morning and evenings; watch for moon phase
· Herd talk-
- Location: Locate other bulls or cows
One, two or three note high to low non-aggressive or low-high
No growl or chuckle
-Display: Impress cows as dominate bull, establish pecking order
3 Note with lip ball & chuckle
-Challenge: Territorial, fight call
High note scream with hard fast chuckle
Early season set up
· Set up in a location that you have scouted pre-season & where the elk will likely hear your vocalizations
· Territory marking strategies
· Herd sounds
· Bulls will often come in silent so be patient
· Use early season to your advantage, bulls are still in bachelor herds or alone looking for cows
· Elk will frequently come in down-wind of your call so use that knowledge to your advantage
· Create excitement in the area with vocalization sequence telling a story
· 70-80 yard hang up
· Be patient
Peak Rut Vocal set up
· Hunt with a partner; one shoots, one calls– Shooter does not ever call unless to stop for shot opportunity
· Caller 60-80 yards behind shooter– Allows caller to make adjustments or run away etc.
· Bugling– Knowing how, when, and how much
· If what you are doing is working, DO NOT change it.
· Set up shooter and have caller move away, rake trees etc.
· Bugle on responding bulls level unless he is not coming in then up it to create more excitement
· Satelight bulls often come in silent so be prepared
- Elk will frequently come in down-wind of your call so use that knowledge to your advantage
· Use of scents
· Use of decoys
· Trust your camo– don’t hide behind heavy brush as it may impede your shot options
· Accidental bump– Let bull/herd settle down before calling to them. Keep things calm and emotion low.
· Cow or non-shooter comes in– Run them off quickly followed by a bugle telling the story of a more dominate bull either running off a smaller bull or stealing cows.