Elk-Killing Setups: Part 3

One cannot predict what’s going to happen on the mountain in pursuit of elk. This anticipation keeps hunters returning year after year, and each step of the hunt holds its own unique experience.

Hunting elk is my passion and my life. Here, in part 3 of 3, are a few tips that I hope bring you success during the rut this hunting season.

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Peak Rut
There’s nothing better than hunting elk during the peak of the rut, especially if you have a hunting partner that can also replicate elk sounds naturally. When hunting in pairs, specify one person as the designated shooter and the other as caller for each setup. The shooter should not ever call during the set, with the exception of stopping a bull for the shot.

If the shooter caves in and hits the cow call, the bull will immediately have the shooter’s location pegged and the hang-up rule might keep him from coming in close enough for a shot opportunity.

The caller should be positioned 40-60 yards behind shooter, which will allow the caller to move if needed to draw the bull to the left or right. There have been many situations I’ve encountered as a caller where a bull really wants to hang up, so I’ll literally move or run away from the bull that I’m calling, telling the story of a more submissive bull trying to run away with my cows before this big bad guy comes and steals them.


If you're looking for a hot bull, it always helps to start close to fresh sign.

If the bull that I’m calling is convinced that he’s dominate by my lesser behavior as a caller, it will fire him up to give chase, allowing a shot opportunity for my hunting partner.

Every calling scenario is different, so there is no real right or wrong way to bugle; however, time in the field will lend you the experience to have a better understanding of how, when and how much within each situation.

I used to hate it when my dad bugled; it was loud and beyond what I thought was reasonably aggressive. His bugle literally sounds like the angriest bull known to the face of the earth, but time after time, I’ve had my dad call me in bulls with this crazy-sounding bugle.

Learn how to sit back, relax and just enjoy the moment, knowing that if it were easy and there was one perfect bugle, everyone would be calling in and tagging bulls. When hunting elk, you just never know what they are going to respond to.


Good luck elk hunting to you all.


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