recommend a beginner elk call(s) for me

Macintosh

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Feb 17, 2018
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308
newbie to elk hunting, and would really appreciate any help. I did a search and turned up a few threads on calls, but all seemed to have a bit more of a specific goal than I do, so I'd appreciate a nudge in the right direction toward buying a starter call or calls. I've shot one elk in my life but we didnt do any calling. I will end up going again at some point, which could be a bull or cow hunt, and could be september through later in the season, and could be this year or more likely 2023 or beyond--unknown at this point. I'd like to learn how to call elk, if for no other reason than I can "entertain" my nephews when they're trapped on the boat with me fishing, but at some point I hope to call in one that wants to come home with me and reside in my freezer for a year or so. I used to live in elk country but have been away for 25 years so I don't have elk bugling in my backyard anymore to learn from, either. I can make basic turkey calls with a diaphragm or a slate or box call, and I can scare away any duck with a mouth call, and I've heard other people call elk--that's about all I know about calling elk. So, what is the "go to" rank-beginner elk calling setup--what call or calls do I need (type or brand or model) for both a cow call and bugle, what do I not need, etc? Do I need multiple calls, or is one sufficient or beneficial? etc... Any good tips or resources to learn as I go? (I know of elknut and elk101 but haven't checked them out really)
Thanks very much in advance.
 

Lee_R

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Apr 27, 2021
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Northern Wyoming
As a novice myself, I've had good luck with the Pretty Maiden, I find it quite a bit easier than a diaphragm. I've had some very experienced hunters ask about it and buy some after hearing me with and I'm still learning.

 

Tayler Wayne

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Jul 1, 2017
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Boise, ID
I’ve found that the easiest to use mouth call out of the package is the white or grey amp by Phelps. Other call makers definitely make beginner type calls as well, so this is just IMHO.

As for learning the how, what and why of elk calling, you gotta check out the ElkNut app. Paul Medel is loaded with good info, and he’s the expert on that app. But he’s also put out podcasts and seminars on YouTube that you can watch for free.

Other great resources would be Corey Jacobsen’s Elk 101, the Elk Collective, or Roe’s Hunter Resources by Chris Roe. Pricier than the app, and focused on more than just calling, but still valuable tools.


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MuleyFever

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S. UTAH
My first elk hunt a couple of years ago I got the Carltons Mac Daddy. I had no experience with elk calls and this one appeared easy to use. I called in 2 bulls with it right away, both within 50 yards. Killed the 2nd one.

 

Brooks

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Mar 19, 2019
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New Mexico
I live in the middle of elk country and hunt or guide every year. A lot of times I will sit on my deck at night and listen to the bulls bugling and the cows mewing. The call I like the most and can sound just like the cows that are making all the noise at my place is the Primos hyper lip single.

I have called in so many cows and bulls with that call. Last year I hiked up a canyon with a hunter and we were sitting under a tree just watching and waiting when I heard a call. The hunter said did you hear that cow and I told him that’s not a cow that’s a hunter. We sat there for a while and after about 20 minutes two guys walked out of the oak brush.

I like to study those cows and the noise they make and that hyper lip single can make the perfect cow sounds. Believe me, that call has had me pinned down by cows just feet away so many times and where there’s cows in September there’s bulls near by. I called in a bull for a bow hunter off the ridge he was sky lined on from about 600 yards away last Sept with that call. He killed him at 15 yards.
 

PaBone

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I think Native Ripit series mouth calls are by far the best for bugling. Ripit 450 and Deuce 500 are probably two of my favorite.
 

Slugz

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Dec 31, 2020
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IMO, more important than the call is the "size of the call". Almost all will do the job if fitted trimmed correctly.


That's a really nice chart that visually shows profiles and palate plate info. Read the quick tips and start there. Try a few then you will know which type/size you like and works for you. Then get from what ever company you like best.

Lastly when in the hands of someone trained the hyper lip and diaphragm call combo works well.
 

Cameron.25

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Jan 26, 2021
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Oregon
I would just get a few different diaphram calls from different brands, a bugle tube and the elknut app, then listen to a few podcasts with paul medel, he's my favorite! Roe hunting resources, joel turner and elk101 are all great too and all these guys have some stuff on YouTube as well. Out of those guys i feel like elk101 has good tips to start to make the noises but paul has mastered communicating with elk. Its one thing to just make the sounds but actually knowing what noise to make when and when to shut up and/or move is much harder and you'll probably just have to screw up a bunch before things start to click. When i first started i found the rocky mt and other brands of calls didn't fit my palate well as phelps and the phelps gray amp was the easiest to learn on but they wear out faster than other phelps calls. My favorites now are the pink amp and the bugler red and green ones from phelps but im sure i could use any of them now. I keep like 3 of each of those 2 on hand usually. Basically all you need is a diaphragm call that works for you and the elknut app tho
 

Scoot

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Nov 13, 2012
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Figure out what kind of diaphragm call fits your mouth- do you need a flat plate or a rounded dome on the top of it. For me, I can't use the rounded dome type calls- they just don't fit my mouth. I need a flat plate on the top of my calls. Tons of good diaphragms out there and what works for one guy doesn't work as well for another. Buy a few of them from different companies and see what you like. When you find one that seems best play with it (a lot). Try a few other calls from the same company. It'll take a little money, but you'll figure it out. Get a bugle tube and off you go...
 

fjmcguigan

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Oct 22, 2020
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Also a beginner caller, that new Phelps bugle with the attached diaphragm was pretty easy to figure out.
 

365sportsman

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May 21, 2022
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For Diaphrams the Amp grey and black were by far easier for me than Rocky mountain diaphragms. That being said the open reed Rocky Mountain Temptress is by far the best sounding cow elk call I've ever blown, and I've blown a pile of them.
 

acesand8s

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Jan 29, 2020
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I would advise to get a few different calls to figure out and see what one works the best for you...that is what I did. I really like the Phelps amp grey and pink.
 

E Butler

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Feb 12, 2015
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I have been using the power bugle for twenty or more years and it is my favorite by far. White or gray reeds.
 

WAB

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Sep 28, 2021
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Michigan
Phelps Amp diaphragm in gray, pink, red (maverick), white. Gray is easiest when starting out, but as noted above, they wear out the fastest. A mouth diaphragm is more versatile than other types of exterior mouth calls.
Bugle tube

Elknut App - Paul Medel rocks!

There are many, many great podcasts available about calling as well.

Good luck!
 

IAMRAJ

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Oct 15, 2020
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I consider myself noob when it comes to calling but nothing beats Flextone booty call..if you can find one. I practiced, practiced and practiced. You tube is your friend. Play the corresponding call...make your call..rewind..play again...make your call..rewind...do it over and over every day..till you get in sync. I heard millions of advise and what worked for me was you tube. I'm from OR and I've called elk twice...my son was static...he was 10 yo. He never saw elk up close before in wild. I was par beyond static...cow mews and small chirp combo..and lot of irregular small mews with hands making natural amplifier and change of tone. Elk was 20 ft away from us. It bolted when my kid whispered the fjrst word..so that tells you about their keen hearing. I still haven't got any response to bugle. Also Steve Chappel's diaphragm calls are amazing. Especially the orange cow call. I have the original one bought long time ago. Its more about practice. If you can copy that tone and be versatile, they will come. I am still a noob. I have had chance to dwell with some guys way younger than me but just master in calling. It still baffles me that they make it look so easy. Its not just about making sound..but that right pitch/node and modulation of tone. Phenomenal. I wish I could do it with that ease
Agreed diaphragm calls are hard to start with but not that hard. Once you know how to place em and how to blow...modulation and pitch will come. Work on something which will actually bring em.

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Mule3006Elk

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Jun 17, 2016
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I don't like Phelps calls. They just don't work well for me.
Easiest: Bugling bulls mellow mamma.
I also use: Elk Camp, Tines Up, Royal Point. All Bugling bulls.
**On their website they have a page which list calls by mouth profile. This is important. Your mouth profile will tell you calls you can run**. I don't like Phelps calls ONLY b/c they don't seal well for me. I'm not sure what profile they are but I have a mid profile.
 
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