bugling early season

ohhiitznik

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Feb 24, 2012
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Rochester Hills, MI
How much success do you guys have bugling during early season? I've never hunted an opener and im expecting to hear other hunters bugling their heads off.... I figured when the rut is in full swing its no holds barred but what say you veterans of bugling in late august early September?
 

wapitibob

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Feb 24, 2012
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Bend Oregon
Depends on the area for me. I used to call bulls in before season opened for friends, in an area south of town for years. In NM I'm there on the 8th or 9th and they are going strong. In Eastern Oregon I can get an answer or maybe a lopy bugle from them early on but one and done was the rule.
 

JPD350

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Feb 25, 2012
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Abq NM
I really like early season but it can be tough at times. Early morning and night time bugling is what I always hear, I get going extra early and am closing the gap in the dark, as soon as the sun comes up they tend to shut up. The bigger bulls will be still in their bedroom areas getting ready, it's perfect for still hunting! I generally get close and use only cow calls.
 

Ross

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Feb 24, 2012
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Liberty Lake, WA
Some years great success, other years no so much...if you get lucky enough to find a cow that has come into estrus early the action can be fierce, but more often than not it is alot of cold calling and set ups....calling success will typically be very early and very late as JPD noted...Good Luk 45 days and counting!
 

ktowncamo

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May 14, 2012
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Kamas, Utah
I've used the silent calling technique and had elk come in about 50% of the time. First heard about it from a Jim Horn cd. The key is being patient enough to let the curious side of the elk come check things out. 45 minutes is the min we wait. Filled 4 tags in two years between 3 of us doing this early on in the hunt.
 

RUTTIN

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Jun 5, 2012
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Kamas, Utah
Like Ktowncamo, cold calling with cow calls and waiting for their curiosity to get the better of them seems to work well, especially in Utah where our hunt starts so early, and ends early for archery. A great tool that has worked for me is the lost cow or regathering sound, when you have bumped a herd. Many times I have used the regathering sound and the elk will start coming back looking for the lost cow, again you have got to give it time for them to come.
 

Swede

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Mar 24, 2012
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Warren Oregon
Ktowncamo has a much higher success rate at 50% than I have had, but I agree with that technique. I like a short bugle or maybe even a series of short nonthreatening calls, then wait. I set up and work that call anywhere in the season. It can be productive in midday. If I have 1 in 10 success, I am pleased though.
 

littlebuf

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Feb 24, 2012
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you can bring them right to you mid august.but i like to leave the ones im hunting alone until the season opens for obvious reasons.theres areas i dont hunt around my house and ill start calling them here in a few weeks just to see what the general mood of the elk are.its been a weird year around here so i dont really know what to expect
 

MT_Nate

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Jul 16, 2012
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Northwest Montana
I've historically been a frustrated early season archer. I've had zero harvest success early season (late August/1st week of September). Had one silent calling episode bring in a rogue cow from far off ~Sept. 1, but other than that I've been 0-for-many. I can likely attribute this to the fact that I rarely have the time to pre-scout an area to truly know where the bulls are hiding at during the onset of the season. That coupled with limited vocalization adds to the frustration and I end up hunting to find elk in multiple areas rather than hunting elk I know that are actually there. I regularly make the mistake hunting my hot-spot rutting areas early season only to find that the elk aren't actively using them yet. In my mind, the only way I can think of fixing this is to get out pre-season and locate the bulls and patterning, but given my work schedules and family commitments in August, it will probably never happen.

All in all though, you're amped to be hunting and I'd much rather be in the woods learning something new than sitting at home wondering what's happening...
 

Rick Seymour

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Mar 4, 2012
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Western Colorado
Cow call primarily. Its like fly fishing. Its romantic to want to catch fish on a dry fly but you know you will have more success with a nymph below the surface. Just like bugling vs a cow call
 

vcb

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Feb 24, 2012
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Colorado
x2 with the fly fishing! same reason I hunt with a bow rather than a rifle. :eek:
 

bobhunts

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Jun 16, 2012
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Colorado Springs,Co.
I watched a herd of bulls above timberline last year and bugled just to see if they would answer. I was at 11,500 above timberline watching them above timberline. They were on the opposite side of the bowl we hunt and they did respond with a look and one or two of the younger ones replied. Not sure how to take that in except that don't expect them to come running in. They will let you know where they are if you are below them sometimes. Watched them feed out of the bowl we were in over into the one next of us and back into the one we were hunting. Ah ha! We thought we found there bedding site! No.. we did not busted our buts to get up there before they would be there and no Elk to be seen? The area had seen some other hunters in the area so we were left scratching our heads? I don't know where five bulls left to but we went over the other side to the north looking for them and no luck! They are like a damn ghost at times. The year before I shot a Little 5x7 on the trail on the way up there. I'll be back this year of course.
 

ElkNut1

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Feb 25, 2012
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Idaho
Depends what you are trying to accomplish? Location of unseen elk? If you have them glassed then no need to call. If you are close to unseen bulls because of good cover & within 150yds you do have a chance to use creative calling & draw on their curiosity if that's your only option. If you do find a bull already hooked up with cows then he can be defensive by getting too close to his harem & bugling for the cows to come your way. Aug can provide any one of these scenarios.

If a herd type bull is what you are after at that time, Spot & Stalk & random Bugling/Advertising yourself & holding tight to that position up to an hour are your best bets! Cow calling early season rarely nets the caller a herd quality bull. If you decide to use cow sounds be very aggressive with them to almost annoying, this can really peak an elks interest over social mews & chirps, again though, mostly smaller bulls & cows generally will show first unless few or none are around when you are calling! Do not call from spots where elk can look over your direction & see the area where your calling is coming from!

You will have more elk slip in silently early season to ones calling at this time! So if calling is what you decide on "stay put" do not walk around calling & think elk are going to run up to you calling back! Only call in cover!

ElkNut1
 
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