Quiet Elk how to hunt

BigAntlerGetter

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Sep 5, 2012
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Gypsum, CO
ok guys iv been in an area, theres elk there i know there is fresh sign everyday. monday they bugled headed down hill round 10 am tuesday got on a ridge above them and watched a bull rub his antlers for 30 minutes in roughly the same area. i didnt go after them either morning due to the wind but when i do get into there when the wind is right and start calling i get absolutely no response and seems like the place turns into an elk ghost town. so how would you guys hunt this gulch? i only got a few more days to hunt and really jus wanna fill my tag for meat bull cow idc jus need the meat haha but i cant spot an stalk hardly due to the areas i have to spot from and how long it would take to get anywhere they are and they always hit dark timber to bed but when i sneak into it they y are jus gone. whats ur guesses take on some of this hunting
 

MT_Nate

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Jul 16, 2012
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Northwest Montana
I guess that's why they call it hunting, and not "killing." Hunting silent elk is a tough question I think every elk hunter has asked themselves at one time or another, especially when you expect them to respond to something.

A few years back I hunted a particular pressured group of elk like they were whitetails because they were vocally silent and ran like hell when they heard a call. Figure out any patterns you can and either get to where they're going long before they get there, or sit at their preferred escape area. Sit and listen...even though the elk may not be vocal, they're still noisy enough when they move...snapping twigs...occasional light vocal sounds. I snuck and still-hunted the areas I was able to pattern...I didn't get into them every time, but every once in awhile you get lucky and you're right in them. Resist the urge to call unless you're close and you think it will seal the deal. Play the wind. An opportunity will present itself, especially if you'll take a cow. If you only have a few more days to hunt, it might be hit and miss, but if you know the dark timber they're going to, then get there long before they do.
 

justin davis

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I have been hunting quiet elk. Glassing and listening with your ears are key. Finding spots that elk are going to be in and getting there. Just use your eyes and listen but don't call. I was trying to call and having no luck. Actually prob hurting my changes. Got close and then made it happen on a bull a few days ago. All silent not a peep
 

actionshooter

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Feb 25, 2012
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Wa
I'll be in Montana in 2 days hunting an area that has been "silent" in the past. Its tough but I always watch the wind and we always seem to get on them.
Good luck
 
OP
BigAntlerGetter

BigAntlerGetter

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Gypsum, CO
thanks guys i think the next few days im jus gonna stay quiet they do bugle every once in a while and im gonna try to get on them then. i know one guy told me tonight that he had been getting the same thing and one time a bull bugled and he cut him off before he finished and said he flat came in hard. the area im in has 3 bulls that i have seen i havent seen the cows but when i see the bulls seems like they are on their afternoon rant away from their cows. hopefully i can seal the deal in the next couple days, friday morning will be an alone hunt so i wont have to worry bout someone else that little extra movement and smell. then ill have my brother and friend in for the weekend to hopefully triangulate an area and maybe block them all off. but im gonna go silent for a while and see what happens
 

trophyhill

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Tijeras NM
i say continue to call to them. whether you think they are responding or not. eventually you will get a bull to sound off.
 

horseshoe

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Mar 21, 2012
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massachusetts
hunted what turned out to be a very popular recreational unit in colorado, 4 wheelers, campers, cattle etc., the 2nd and 3rd wk. first week we got some bugles by cow calling, never by bugling. 2nd week they shut right up with an influx of muzzy hunters and more bow hunters. however, they were coming to the calls! and sometimes pretty damn fast! 2 good bulls came to 20 yrds to 2 of us, one within a minute or so and the other within 10 minutes (how do they do that so quietly?). on the other hand 3 cows and a calf nearly ran me over after a lost cow call...muzzy hunters may have jumped them out of their beds. never did close the deal but had a ball! use elknut's playbook and have a few different calls on hand. had em coming even on the last day...i can tell you many ways how NOT to kill an elk!

one guy i talked to was into bulls every evening by silent still hunting (shadowing them after coming from their beds). in fact, that was what i was intending to do during the cow encounter, but i just had to throw in a little calling!
 

sanchomaes

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Feb 26, 2012
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Lakewood, CO
I have resorted to not calling and still hunting the areas I think will be my most probable bet later in the season a few times. I was out early and shot my bull labor day. The elk were fired up for a few days then. I went back to the same area when some friends came in town last week and not a peep. The elk were just flat clammed up and quiet. A few weak bugles here and there but nothing wild. So we hunted hard and really focused on getting into "elky" areas very early and staying as late as possible. We had to walk out in the dark a few miles each night but it helped our odds. The elk were there and we got on a few nice bulls but could not connect before the guys had to go home. All still hunting or moving very slowly through the timber. Work that wind and go slow is the short of it...
 

ElkNut1

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Yes, calling is the ultimate adrenalin rush, we all want to experience it, problem is there's a time & place for it & we must recognize this in order to use it correctly! When elk are on the quiet side no matter the date in Sept/Oct you are hunting it is because no cows are in estrus or nearing it by a day or two. Bulls know this & can get in the "quiet mode" -- Spot & Stalk is great where country open enough allows it! Ambushing elk at "destination" spots such as water, wallows trails, escape areas where elk move through nearly everyday to stay in front of other hunters, all these can be options to consider the put you into elk range!

Things to consider is that bulls could care less about you cow calling at these times, they simply do not respond or come your way with any degree of satisfaction! Why, because they know there are not any hot cows in the area, sure we can imitate a breeding/elk party sequence to trick them but it's not your best bet, it's much better used when bulls are showing signs of rutting! For the more quiet times your best method of use is to Advertise/Display a new bull in their area!!!! This is what real bulls do all the time, they let other elk in the area know there's another kid on the block, this raises curiosity to other bulls within earshot & can bring them your way to size you up! It's a common occurrence in the elk world at this stage! They generally come in silent but they do come a high percentage of the time!!

To imitate a Advertising/Displaying action get to 150yds or closer if possible. (I've called bulls 1/2 mile away too with this) Start raking tree/brush & shuffle your feet around & add light stomping & rolling small rocks, do this for a minute & now add a short bugle scream, rake another minute & slowly intensify it, add chuckling, groans & moans the best you can, make it as real as possible, you are Advertising yourself to other elk. You may have to do this sequence for 30 minutes with 30sec to no more than 1 minute pauses, mix up your bugles to short & long ones, some with chuckling & some with none, Chuckle 1st then bugle, again, make it real & mix it up! Listen, listen, listen as elk will slip in silently in most cases. If two hunters put them out 50-75 yds out in front with good wind from where you feel elk should come from! Elk are herd animals, this will peak their curiosity to see who this bull is????? Do not cow call!!!! Have a good setup, do not use this method where approaching elk can see the source of calling too far out & see nothing, put them into search mode & force them into bowrange!

ElkNut1
 

horseshoe

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massachusetts
ok, this is to elknut, first question...to us beginners without seeing or hearing the herd,the bull,the elk, how do you get within the 150 yds? we focused on terrain features such as benches and knobs in timber/aspens to assume bedding areas. it seemed to work for us, but it was luck.

next, as i said above, we could not draw a response by bugling so we went to cow calls. specifically, we referred to your play book in "simple sounds", "lost re-gathering", "aggressive cow calling", or "method #2 in early season tactics" as references. they worked! while we had encounters with spikes, we called in real good satellites or herd bulls on several occasions and we had call-ins this way even on the last day. oh, we did throw in the occasional bugle and chuckle, but this was usually on the couple occasions when we did get a bugle response but seemed to be hung-up.

so, you say not to cow call ... i'm confused. what are we reading wrong? or is your response specifically to the author of the thread and not to all of us that responded?
 

ElkNut1

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Horseshoe, the Do Not Cow Call part is referring to the Advertising/Displaying Method! This method is at its best when bulls are very tight lipped (no cows in estrus) & we are getting no response from our cow calling. There will be times as this! Same goes with Bugling, there are times bugles will not raise anything but cow calls get hammered! We as hunters have to adapt to individual situations & rut times which requires versatility on our part! When bulls are saying little such as a one or two bugle response & nothing more then get in as close as you can from where the bugles came from or where you think they came from & do not cow call, use the above method, it promotes curiosity!!! We have lots of silent bulls slip in on us with this sequence, 15-30min is needed at times!

ElkNut1
 

horseshoe

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Mar 21, 2012
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massachusetts
thanks for the clarification. i assumed he was just bugling to these bulls and was not cow calling. i was relating the success we had by switching to cow calling after not getting responses to our bugles, adapting as you recommend.
 
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