Elk Talk – Practice Makes Perfect

Are you shooting your bow, sighting in rifles, hitting the trails and doing pre-season scouting trips for elk season? What about practicing your calls? Jumping into a heated call situation while being rusty is frustrating. Put some time in at home to work through cadence and elk calling scenarios before the season opens and the rut takes hold.

Calling Resources

Everyone has some style difference and preferences for calling. Take advantage of any video and audio resource and study until you find what really works best for you. Many folks prefer aggressive calling while others stick to the cow calls with very little bugling. Study the pros and develop a plan of attack. Testing different styles will help you gain confidence as you practice the cadences and calls at home.

Know Your Area

Your calling style is often dependent on the hunt area. High-pressure areas have call shy bulls and you should shift the focus from bugling to cow calls and making a quiet approach. Even consider hunting away from the noise in these areas. Lightly pressured areas have more opportunity to bugle and talk to elk rather than other hunters. Do some statistical research on herd sizes and the number of tags allotted to your hunt area. 

Play the Geography

The landscape should play a major role in your calling strategy. Pay attention to areas of opportunity during your pre-season scouting efforts. The rut is taxing so look for water sources and wallows that offer a place to cool down and eat. You can call bulls into the water sources with bull or cow calls. Calling in thick timber on north facing slopes is also a good approach. Hike out the slopes and look for ambush points and hidden funnels. Sometimes you have to simply walk these slopes to find the position. Mark the area, sneak back in during the rut and call from a solid shooting position. 

Plan Locator Bugles

Do the actual call practice at home but do your map work and scouting to strategically use locate bugles. Look for ridges and divides that can dump you into multiple drainages. Use the calls from the high ground and wait for responses to dictate the direction you will travel. Have a strong locator and a good sense of direction will make a huge difference on your next elk hunt.

At Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, we offer high-adventure and high-success guided elk hunts in some of Montana’s most remote and rugged country. We hunt bull elk in the rut during archery season in Southwest Montanta. And we offer trips into the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness to hunt rutting elk in September with a rifle. Please explore the rest of our website for information. For details and availability, contact us online or call us at 406-932-5687.