Elk Calls & Calling Elk
All about elk language and how to call in that big bull elk

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With more and more hunting pressure put on elk, the elk have gotten smarter and have learned to be less vocal than they were years ago. This is not only due to added hunting pressure, but also due to more and more hunters trying to call elk. This makes it tougher than ever to call in a big bull elk. Most hunters think of elk language as bugles and barks. But there is much more to it than that. Let us not forget about the calves. They do not just learn to bark and bugle when they are all grown up. There is more than just the barks and bugles. There are grunts, and squeals also. There is a universal language that is known as cow talk and is used by cows, calves, and bulls.

After the birth of calves, the cows and calves will start to form nursery groups. In this group there will be a lot of babysitting that will go on. The cow elk will communicate with the calves with calling and barking during the nursery time, and this is where the calves really develop their voice. The calves will talk repeatedly and the mothers will answer them back. During this time there is a lot of talking going on,and even more should danger be near. If danger is near, the talking really begins. And it is done by every elk in the group, cows, calves, and the young bulls.

Cow talk is probably the deadliest factor to the elk hunter. In the past, hunters would always try to call in the big bull elk. They saw them, they heard them , and they wanted them. So they tried to call them in by trying to imitate the bull elk's bugle, and ignored the sounds made by cow elk and the calves. The fact is that the bugles, grunts and whistles made by the bull elk does work given the right conditions. If there is a rut crazed bull elk nearby, it will work. Elk hunters need a bit of help to get those big bulls in, and the solution is cow talk. Some elk hunters refused to believe how effective this cow talk was until the tried it themselves. It is amazing how effective this method is. Elk are very communal animals right from the day they are born, and understand that there is security for them in herds. A big bull elk during the rut doesn't want another bull elk. What he does want though, are cows. He wants not only the cows, but the security of the herd as well. So it would stand to reason that cow calls will bring in bull elk, and Big Bull Elk.

The sound of a big bull elk's bugle in the wild is unlike any other sound. It is power, it is mystery, and it is what excites every elk hunter there is. The successful elk hunter needs to understand the animal they are after. They need to know the places that they go and when they will go there. They must also know how to call. Herd bulls require a different strategy than that of brush bulls and spike bulls. Learning to make those sweet sounding bugles and grunts takes practice, and lots of it. There is no set pattern or sequence that one will use. What will work on one bull elk may not work on another. You will need to know when and where to call as well as how to call. Elk talk is nothing more than four basic calls. The calf call, a one second chirp and mewing sound, the cow call which is almost the same, a little longer and a bit deeper tone, the bull elk squeal which is like a high pitched single note, like a nasal whistle, and the full blown, full bull bugle. It is like a rising extended version of the squeal with a series of grunts on the end.

You will need to learn all of these sounds and practice making these sounds. A good place to learn this is at home with the aid of books, tapes, and videos, and of course the call itself.

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