How to Call Elk: Hunting Tips and Tricks

Elk hunting can be fun but demanding. It requires more than just having the right equipment; you must plan and prepare. As a hunter, a successful Elk hunt depends on using a multitude of strategies. Over time, people have recorded the Elk language and made it easier to hunt. A combination of hard work, determination, and a few tricks can help you effortlessly attract a bull for slaughter. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for hunting an Elk.

1. Know when to call

The most successful Elk Hunters are familiar with the prey’s habitat. Don’t mistake calling an Elk at every opportunity, as too much calling can reduce your hunting success. Once you are in your target area, avoid calling frequently. Instead, keep an eye for fresh signs of an Elk, such as ripped saplings.

Elk calls are essential to hunting because the animal uses these calls to communicate. It’s possible to lure a vulnerable bull with a cow Elk call. However, you must limit your calling to avoid raising suspicion.

2. Give them a cold call

An elk is an exceptionally social herd animal. However, a bull will not respond unless you are calling right. Use a bugle to get an answer back from the bull you want to harvest. The bugle is the best sound to locate a bull before you plan an attack. Using a diaphragm call, you will get the most realistic sound from a bugle.

Next, use the calf call and add some whines to demand attention from the Elk. Once you get within 75 yards of the bull, set up and cow call at that point. You will have better luck getting the bull to come to the cow call than the bugle. Some hunters lean heavily on cow calls and seldom produce the bugles.

3. Carefully choose your calling area

Choose a prime location for Elk hunting that will not raise their suspicions. For example, know the terrain and calculate where the elk are heading. One successful strategy is to set up in a blind on a heavily used train or water source and wait for them to pass. Squat down in the location where you are free to move your bow and firearm. When moving towards the animal, keep in mind the angle of attack.

If you’re hunting with a buddy, the best strategy is to set the shooter up with a good shooting range. The caller should use cow and calf calls while throwing in a bugle. The idea is to make the bull believe the other bull is moving away. The caller should keep the call going while the shooter tries to move in its direction for a clear shot.

4. Deflect the sound

Directly calling an Elk can alert them towards your direction and ruin your chances. While you want to draw them closer, you don’t want them to discover you. The best way to prevent an elk from pinpointing your direction is by deflecting the call with your hands.

If you’re not hunting alone, separate the caller and the shooter to deflect the sound. Let the caller stay back at a non-threatening distance and keep the bugling bull occupied as the shooter looks for the best shot. Once you get it within shooting range, don’t call anymore.

5. Read the wind


While fooling an elk’s eyes and ears is possible, you can never fool their noses. The animals have extremely sensitive noses and will easily smell your presence. Therefore, be careful to keep the wind in your face.

Learning to read the wind direction is the best practice to control your scent. Study and monitor the prevailing morning, midday, and evening wind patterns to know which angle is the best for elk hunting. Get the wind right and get your shot while they are occupied with each other. The trick is always to keep the wind right at all times. Use a cow call to create attention with the wind to your advantage.

6. Don’t sound fake

When calling an Elk, try to sound like one. These are naturally gregarious and noisy animals and will suspect any unfamiliar bugle or cow call accompanied by an eerie silence. There are many ways you can do to emulate natural Elk sounds. You will need to snap twigs, knock a stick against a tree trunk, and stir around with some leaves as you blow on an elk call to make a sound natural.

Don’t be in a hurry to sound like the animal on day one. Learn Elk calling to ensure you don’t sound fake. Do this at home or join Elk-calling competitions.

7. Use estrous sounds

If you’re hunting during the rut, the best sound you can do to lure a bull in close is an estrous cow call. This is a long and sometimes quavering mew with a whiny plaintiff tone. You will also need to add an exciting sound like a cow. If you are hunting with a friend, one should be a caller and the other a shooter.

Master the basic Elk sounds like making cow sounds. You can only learn to sound like an elk through trial and error. Therefore, spend time in the field, watching videos, reading books, or attending seminars.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to hunt an Elk, the most critical factor is knowing how to call the animal. Some people know how to imitate a bull or a cow but lack the experience of successfully luring them.  No perfect shortage exists for calling an Elk, but these tips can hold. The best hunting tactics vary from one hunter to another.

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