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How to Hunt Everyman's Elk (Page 2)

Trophy-bull tactics could lead to missed opportunities when the quarry is any legal bull.

Herd bulls can be exceedingly hard to approach but can provide excellent opportunities for all sorts of satellite bulls. If you hear numerous bulls bugling back and forth, one after the other and cutting off each other, chances are a cow’s in heat and the herd bull is under siege. Even if they’re a mile away, waste no time getting there, because every bull within hearing range will be following suit.

Instead of trying to get close to the herd bull, which risks spooking everything, set up on the fringe of activity where the wind’s in your favor, then cow-call or bugle like a small bull. Or do both and imitate a small bull that’s picked up a few strays. Here’s where there’ll be fewer noses and eyes to detect you, but where all the frenetic activity will attract lots of bulls. Be sure to watch the woods away from the main ruckus; most of the times I’ve set up near a cow in heat I’ve earned shot opportunities from bulls entering the fray, not already in it.

The neat thing about hunting this scenario is you never know what you’ll see. I’ve had everything from raghorns to 300-inch 6-points walk right by me. Having a big bull suddenly materialize out of nowhere certainly gets my heart pumping fast.

Then again, so does any legal bull standing broadside at 15 to 30 yards.

The last elk I killed came to sparse cow-calling and expired not 10 yards from where my friend Bob was standing. The bull was a decent 6-point, and when late the next afternoon we finally got him 9 miles down to the trailhead, we met a group of hunters getting ready to pack in. One of the hunters smiled at the rack resting on one of our horses. “Sure glad you fellas got rid of one of the small ones for us!” he said. “We’re looking for that bull’s grandpa.”

“Anytime,” I responded. “It was my pleasure.” And it was.

Arrowing a trophy bull must be a heady experience, but I’m still perfectly happy downing bulls a trophy hunter wouldn’t look at twice. I bet you are, too. 

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1 Response to How to Hunt Everyman's Elk (Page 2)

idahohunter wrote:
October 18, 2012

I couldn't agree more. As they say "Any elk is a good elk" When you understand what it takes to hunt elk and be successful year after year, you understand that antler size does little enhance an elk hunt.