Call builder and my filiming buddy Clay Griffith and myself crested the hill above these basins and heard a multitude of bull elk bugling.
Acting like a herd dropping down to bed from the ridge above. We used a K series Elk Reel for cow calls and our Extendabull ATM bugle in the unextended position to bugle and cow call. It was all to easy to put on a clinic on how to sound like a small herd with a bull elk trailing. Every Bull elk in a mile radius lit up like it was the middle of the rut. It was definitely a fantastic morning of Elk hunting soul soothing therapy.
We had called in a small 5×5 bull elk and a 260ish 6 point already at first light. Im hunting one of the better units this year so we left them bugling. We dropped off the ridge on the shady side to chase this unseen Bull. He was claiming king to the end of the point and that was where we has seen several mature bulls.
Moving in on him I was using a small herd of cows with satellite bull trailing as my calling technique. This time of year I have seen and called in small herds of cows trailing a 5×5 bull elk many times. I was hoping he was a 300″ plus bull ready to start a harem with an easy run off of a rag horn. When we finally got into bow range and saw he was not that old his tentative nature made sense.
It always in my opinion pays to close distance to any bull you get to respond. If they aren’t going to move and are standing in cover they are very approachable. You can use your Elk Reel to basically walk right up to them as thats what they want cow elk to do. Just stay mostly out of sight and definitely downwind!
This encounter is a great example of how to use accurate elk sounds to sneak right up to your quarry. Being confident in your elk calls consistency tone and volume control is a must in this situation! Hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did! Stay tuned more to come! -Drew
P.S We are running a special on call combos get a great deal on Elk Reel and a Bullistic Missile elk bugle combo calls pick one up today!
Whether the Elk have been pressured or not plays a huge part in my strategy for using an Elk Bugle call. Do I need a devious strategy for using my Elk bugle? There is a huge difference in behavior between pressured over the counter elk and un-pressured bulls. I believe that on opening weekend every elk that is in a heavily hunted spot sees or smells a hunter. If you are hunting public land in an easy to get a tag unit they definitely have been. Archery and muzzleloader Elk hunting is as popular as ever and public land gets absolutely hammered.
Or even before the hunting season the elk get pushed around. With the advent of Instagram it seems now a days everyone and their brother is out putting up cams and taking pictures of animals with a digi-scope. When I got into archery hunting it seemed this was level of dedicated scouting was the rarity instead of the norm. But just our very presence in elk country draws warning attention to the approaching Elk seasons. We set off their alarms at the same time every year. I think the older cows can predict when to head off the top of the mountain where they have spent the summer.
The elk you are hunting are prepared for you
Public land over the counter Elk have a well rehearsed playbook of moves to avoid you. They will drop into a deep dark hole most people won’t want to pack them out of. Or maybe pressured bulls and cows spend their daylight hours on a extremely steep timbered hillsides using small benches and flat spots above trees to bed. They will move onto private property or in some cases into the limited entry unit next store. Elk will start bedding deep in the oak brush where you will have trouble approaching them stealthily. Basically they will do everything and anything to even keep you from finding them. One of their favorite moves is to turn the volume down.
They still need to vocalize to stay in contact with each other. This is the main reason elk calves, cows and bulls vocalize in the first place. Imagine moving through a thick forest with slight terrain undulations created by erosion of eons of snowmelts and thunderstorms. To keep from getting separated the elk will whisper mews and chirps to each other. Even the bulls make whines and cow like vocalizations and they definitely like bugling at ultra low volume.
They reduce their volume to avoid you. How many times do they need to wind a hunter after calling or see one to become a tune to this relation? Elk where they do not need to reduce their volume to avoid hunters talk much louder all season long. This I have seen time in and time out. Elk on the ranch you drive past to get to public are screaming and the cows are whining loudly. When you get to public? They have shut up before dawn.
Think outside the box to learn how to use an Elk bugle call more effectively
When you have animals well aware that they are being hunted. They are well versed in how to behave to avoid you. This is where being a good elk caller and using calls that play accurate variable tones can pay serious dividends. When I got into making elk calls it was because I was unsatisfied with any of the calls I had used. The original goal was to make a bugle mouth piece and then design a tube to amplify the sound. Elk bugles I had always used were not all that reliable and were hard to use at low volume.
The low volume issue was particularly troubling. I have observed many times bulls making low volume bugling sounds that don’t sound to most people what elk bugling should sound like. In my opinion I think a lot of hunters could get the idea that elk only sound like people on an elk calling stage. Maybe they think elk sound exactly what someone teaching elk calling with a diaphragm call sounds like. Or that elk only bugle at full blast. They don’t spend enough time listening to actual elk. People just don’t get to experience what elk actually sound like unless they seek out this information actively.
I think that they vary their volume to depending on many things, how old they are, how many times they have been bumped or missed after bugling loudly. Maybe they aren’t actively breeding any of their cows because they just aren’t in estrous that day. Some old bulls love using a bull calling cows bugle to communicate to the cow that he has heard them and is searching for them. This kind of sound can really drive a big bull nuts.
Be Clubber Lang to instigate a bull fight with an Elk bugle call!
Maybe Im dating myself here but I think the above scene in Rocky 3 when Mr T Aka Clubber Lang tries to bait Rocky Balboa. He started trying to instigate a fight by calling him names. This fails however. He then switches tactics and when Clubber invites Rocky’s wife over to his apartment however the fight is on. This kind of reaction is why I feel a bull sneaking in and sweet talking another bulls ladies is such a great sound. I like to use it when you’ve already had contact with your quarry and are interacting with him vocally. Or he is talking and you’ve snuck in. We all know if some guy starts blatantly hitting on your woman like this in front of you it may elicit a response on a whole other level.
Volume variation is your friend when using your Elk bugle call
To imitate these bulls I don’t think anyone makes a call that works more consistently and easily to add some more sounds to your cow calling then our new Ballistic missile bugles. The OTC RPG and the Extendabull Anti Tank Missile. You can make the kind of low volume accurate whines that a bull approaching cows will make to call them to him.
What ever call you use I think trying to accurately make the lower volume guttural then whiny sound an approaching bull makes requires restraint. Do not scream as loud as possible. I try to stay at half volume when imitating this type of vocalization and behavior. The video below is a great example of this behavior. This bull was a 360″ satellite bull with the herd bulls being gargantuan. My way of doing it is not a be all end all approach to this type of a vocalizations as bulls will make this vocalization in their own way. I just say don’t try to be but more than half volume.
I recommend adding some of these low volume sounds to both blind calling setups as well. When moving through the woods after a few cow vocalizations followed by a short break then a bull responding searching for those cows. And most especially when you’ve located the herd and crept into close proximity to the herd bull.
Blind calling strategies for using an Elk bugle
I love mixing it up when blind calling elk. Also like to try to paint a picture of two smaller bulls mixing it up. To the point where I have even carried around 5×5 sheds to rattle with.
What I like to do is try to imitate one whiny squeeler of a juvenile bull and then another bull chuckling in a slightly different tone. That is one nice thing about both our bugles the mouth pieces are available in single and double reeds. Adding this to some cow calling sequences gives the idea of a happy herd of elk. Juvenile satelitte bulls and mature elk are equally attracted to such scenarios. Add beating up a tree with an antler or big stick and its just a killer technique.
The two juvenile bulls is my go to for blind calling and I highly recommend it. The last OTC Colorado 6×6 I killed came into just the particular sound. After pretending to be a herd moving up the mountain to the ridge top. The bugles were the icing on the cake that he couldn’t resist.
One thing not to do with an elk bugle
Bugling like the king of the mountain with your Elk bugle while blind calling is usually a bad plan. This is depending on the age structure of the bulls where you are hunting. There simply may not be one big enough to charge in to steal a herd bulls cows. We witnessed a bull last year that was a broke up 260-280 6×6 turn around after two massive bugles 50 yards short of the caller and slowly walk off. He had obviously been fighting hard and perhaps had just had his butt whipped early in the predawn that morning.
It is just a theory but I do believe that so many variables exist in bugling for elk with an Elk bugle call that lots of strategies work. But I do like to stick to the trying to sound less intimidating than the bull I want to shoot. Being realistic about whats in your unit or area is something you should take into account when sounding off.
Using an Elk Bugle call to locate bulls
I love to try to get a bull to talk by bugling a loud clear note just as much as the next guy. However it is a beat the dead horse strategy if you ask me. Though I am guilty of hitting that horse way too much myself. I started always adding loud cow talk to my locator strategy and trying to just make cow sounds then take a break then cow sounds and the loud clear high ringing locator note. Our new extendabull and OTC bugles excel at this accurate ringing tone and the single reeds are easy to play and have an excellent range of volume. I try to do something to sound different than most people on the OTC hunting and using an elk bugle.
Doing this kind of stuff in the predawn darkness can have consequences. You can blow the elk out of the basin you’re in at your own risk. But that being said it can be a deadly technique to locate a talkative bull before sunup. I highly recommend trying to not road hunt and call and educate the elk. We all share these woods and those elk might be the ones your on tomorrow over the ridge. If that lead cow says I heard that coming from a dirt bike that just shut off yesterday it might be pointless.
Using a challenge bugle
I wish I lived somewhere with bigger bulls sometimes. The OTC a few hours west of Denver gets shot up during the gun seasons. We just don’t have the age structure to make this a technique I go to all the time. A bull going over the 300″ mark is rare here. However challenge bugles can be very effective. Some bulls just have that attitude problem and want to fight. Just like some people can’t help themselves when provoked.
Getting in between a bull and his cows or cow and ripping the baddest bugle note you can can be very effective. I like to use this while running at a bull in heavy cover trying to make him run me over. However I do believe in only cow calling if that will do the trick. I think its best not giving a bull an excuse to round up his cows and head for the next county. However we all know how much fun ripping huge bugle notes is so if this is your style of hunting stick with it. Eventually the bull you encounter will be one that only wants to fight.
As always think outside the box to call in more bull elk
I can’t stress it enough when calling elk, be different and be multiple. Anything creative that you can come up with to add realism will help. Bugle a funky sound you’ve heard bulls make and never hunters and you will get more responses. Run 100 yards in between challenge bugles. Splash a wallow with a log and scream your head off.
Good luck this season! If you take a Elk with one of our calls send us an email! And as always if you have any questions or need any help hit me up -Drew Rouse
Drew Rouse and Clayton Griffith head to Eastern Kansas to chase birds on public and private land. We decided on a whim last year to skip hunting Rio’s in western Kansas and go east.This is the first morning hunting and the boys decided to try a spot a fellow hunter said calls and a decoy spread wouldn’t work in… The Eastern Turkey is notorious for its cunning. So when two Eastern Turkey jakes walked in it was way to tempting! Everyone said we would struggle since we had limited experience hunting this wary birds.
The eastern Turkey is a much different creature than its western counter parts. Both can get educated however the Eastern turkey will not cover as much ground as a rule of habit. While western Birds, Rios and Merriam’s and the various hybridizations, regularly cover lots of ground. We put our Turkey Reel calls to the test on these high pressure birds. It was a fun hunt!
The boys went on a roll! Reality TV Day 2 episode 5… subscribe on youtube!
This means that Eastern Birds will take longer to come in. You need to setup closer to where they roost or know where they like to be during the mid day hours. I feel like scouting is key for both species. Knowing where they are is a given to hunting anything. But I also feel that out west you can stake out a cruising corridor and know that usually birds will be moving through at some point.
The more information about an Eastern Turkeys habits the more we feel you are in the running to kill him. Thats why when these Jake’s walked in on a first morning sit in a strange place at least one of them was in big trouble!
First of all our new section is under construction. We have some of the first articles up! The first few articles were written by Reel game call inventor Drew Rouse. We started our lessons with Elk Calling. However we love Deer and Turkey hunting too. In addition future articles will cover all aspects of calling game.
Class is in session!
We will be giving you the insight and knowledge that went into making our Elk Calls. Here at Reel Game calls we take hunting as serious as humanly possible. We live and breathe in Elk country.
This new section will start with information about Elk Calling. How to use calls to shoot more Elk! What makes Elk calling work? Furthermore why do we think that the Elk calls of the past. Elk calls that were available previously available fall far short of Reel technology.
As a result of using advanced technology. We added synthetic materials, 3D computer modeling, CNC machining and 3D printing our to achieve our design. Their is no doubt it is light years ahead.
First hand knowledge
Years literally in the making this page will focus on what we have learned purely on first hand experience. While the boys from Reel didn’t grow up in Elk Country. Rather they weren’t blessed with knowledge passed down over the generations. Consequently this benefited our development as Elk hunters.
We got to start with a fresh canvas and no real assumptions or myths were bought into. In addition everything we write is based on learning by making mistakes. We have learned everything we know the hard way. Our Elk calling techniques our fact based in a real world Elk laboratory.
We have hunted all 30 days of Archery in Colorado many times. As much as our legs would stand! For the past decade plus… We will convey through this knowledge things that will make you a more effective Elk hunter. We want you to rev the fun meter to the max this fall!
The link below is on how to make calf elk sounds. Calf elk sounds are one of the most effective tools in an Elk hunters arsenal. Hence a hunter should integrate calf sounds in their Elk calling. Because It will add untold amounts of realism to their setups.
Our calls make the most realistic calf elk sounds. They make calling elk easy and repeatable. Its so simple to use our calls. The size transforming reed is activated by the hinging action of the call. It does all of the hard work. Hence you are transformed into a composer playing a symphony of Elk talk! Take your Elk calling to another level.
A buddy of mine asked if I wanted to go to the show in Madison last week. I looked up the exhibitor list specifically looking for elk calls and western hunting, Was shocked to not see anyone…other than you. Never heard of you before. A quick google search directed me to some youtube videos. The only reason I went to the show was to find you guys and get a call for my dad who still finds other calls difficult to use. I ended up buying one for myself and one for my buddy. Now I have to get a few more because I tend to lose at least one call a year, and to get one for my dad because I kinda stole the one I bought for him originally. Oh and now my friends dad is getting a few because he likes it too. Been going out West from the Chicago area 8 years now and someone finally made a good sounding elk call that is easy to use. Can’t understate how good it really sounds, I’m a stickler for it. Congrats on the ingenuity. You deserve all the success that comes your way. I’m sure I’ll sell a few more for ya. Kinda sells itself. Was good seeing you at the show. Now just gotta wait for the New Mexico draw to see if I can use it.
Co-ower Drew Rouse takes a few 2017 Turkey Reel turkey calls to Nebraska for an afternoon hunt opening day. Come along as we show you the power of the reel as birds are coming from every direction to check out the sweet sounds! The Turkey Reel Turkey calls make a statement in their opening debut of 2017 that you won’t want to miss.
The Vail Daily, which is the local daily news periodical in the Vail valley, wrote this article about our hunting call company in last saturdays paper. Check it out for yourself and see what the buzz about our products is about! We have been making some waves in the hunting community lately and we are excited to be building on our initial product debut of the Elk Reel, the most innovative Elk Call ever produced. We are branching out w the latest release of the Turkey Reel, which is a two reed V-cut version of the original design and the Buck Reel a wider version with a slower vibrating reed that accurately imitates all species of north american deer doe and fawn vocalizations. Our hunting call business is going to be releasing some more embodiments of our patented design in the near future. Both Elk and Turkey calls! Stay tuned…