Teamwork: Calling Elk with a Partner

By Zach Lazzari | Photo by Ryan McSparran

Working as a team during elk season is an excellent tactic. Multiple callers can strategically manipulate bulls within shooting range. The key to successful team calling lies in having a great strategy before you start sounding off bugles and cow calls.

Locate First

Before you head out and start calling off, make a rigid plan. Begin by locating bulls that are already bugling or are visible through your glass. This means working hard around sunrise and sunset. When you are not locating bulls, have only one caller send out a locate bugle. Use this sparingly and wait for a response. Once you have one or more players within calling range, it’s time to build a strategy. 

Shooters Role

The shooter should always focus on finding a shooting lane with good cover. Look at the landscape and work into a position that puts you between the bull and your partner. Cutting off the route is critical to prevent the bull from moving directly to your partner rather than the shooting position. Sit around 50 yards ahead of your partner and conceal yourself well. Keep a cow call handy to stop the bull and a bugle just in case the bull is spooky and you want to challenge. Your partner will however dominate the conversation while you focus on the shot.

Partners Role

Wait until your shooter is positioned and hidden. You get to handle all of the calling and your exact approach should be a combination of reading the other bull and using your most effective calling style. I like to challenge and cut off the bull with my own bugles. Other callers prefer a less aggressive approach. Make sure you are positioned to play the wind and hidden from view. Keep your glass handy and work your calling sequence until you hear from the shooter. Do not rush and do not leave your position until the shooter signals. Sometimes a bull will go silent but still move in your direction. Give the shooter time and sit tight when this happens. 


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