Utah Wildlife Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I joined this forum a little while ago and have mostly been lurking. Figured I should start contributing and build a little "credit" with the community.

I've only lived in Utah for 2 years and before this season only tried some half-assed muzzleloader elk hunts with no success. This year I decided to try my hand at archery elk hunting for the first time. I head up into the Uintas pretty frequently for non-hunting related reasons, and I scouted out an area that was pretty out of the way where I don't see many people but always see elk sign, plus lots of fresh water and food sources. I picked this weekend for a 2.5 day trip because I didn't want to deal with labor day traffic, and I figured that by now the elk would be pretty loud and hopefully see some pre-rut action.

My scouting paid off and I saw 3 bulls this weekend. Day one it was a stud who would be an OTC trophy for sure. I spotted him when he got up from his bed at 350 yards. He responded to my bugles a couple times, but only with really low chuckles. He had no cows with him. On my way down to him I ran into another hunter who had just bumped him though...

The next day I located a young 5x5 after a day of hiking and calling all over the place and hearing zero bugles. He made some really strange noises. Barked and howled like an angry dog/coyote at first. Like I legitimately thought it was somebody's dog reacting to the sound of a distant bugle. Then he would do a series of bugle/howls, like 10 in a row with a couple seconds in between each, and then a couple minute break before doing it again. He probably did about 4 or 5 series of these in a row. I threw out a bugle and a few cow calls but he just kept doing the same thing. It felt really bizarre but fortunately it allowed me to find him in the timber. I climbed down to his level and got no response to my calls, so I just shut up and snuck into the timber to find him. Eventually I locate him and stalk him to 45 yards, I about got a shot off when he stepped out of my window and started rubbing his antlers against something. Then I realize it was ANOTHER SET OF ANTLERS. They weren't going hard, looked like they were play fighting like you would see young whitetails do back in the midwest. I was hyped, but this was in the middle of a small rainstorm, and the wind shifted and blew my cover before I could get in position for a shot. I'm kicking myself because I was waiting for him to look the other direction before drawing, but in retrospect it was rainy and in thick stuff and I should have just drawn while I had the window because I don't think he would have noticed enough to spook. But hindsight is 20/20.

First of all, this stuff is so thrilling. I'm absolutely hooked even though I'm beat to hell today. Lol. Second, I was just curious from some more experienced hunters if this is typical behavior from elk this time of year in this area, and is that kind of calling typical from a young bull? I'm planning on going back in this weekend. Will they be more responsive? Or does the hunting pressure keep them quiet? I'd love to be able to get them moving towards me, or at least calling back rather than have to try and find them in the timber hoping they stay put from where I glassed them.

Thanks ahead of time for any tips or wisdom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,199 Posts
Hunting pressure can educate them, particularly if the elk in the area are "resident" enough to know who each other is and hearing a foreign sound can cause them to go tight-lipped. Switching calls can do it as well, especially if they get used to the one your making noise with.

Sometimes the best elk "vocalizations" aren't vocalizations at all. Breaking branches or kicking a log is an elk noise too. I've called in vocal bulls before just by breaking a few branches in semi-rapid succession the way they will when tearing up a tree...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hunting pressure can educate them, particularly if the elk in the area are "resident" enough to know who each other is and hearing a foreign sound can cause them to go tight-lipped.
That's something I didn't think about with resident elk, but that makes a ton of sense that they know who their neighbors are.

I actually tried breaking up the branches on a dead tree before I went in on the younger bull. I saw several big rubs in the area so I figured that was worth a try after my bugle earlier went unanswered. I'll keep that in mind when I go up this Friday. Thanks for the reply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,199 Posts
That's something I didn't think about with resident elk, but that makes a ton of sense that they know who their neighbors are.

I actually tried breaking up the branches on a dead tree before I went in on the younger bull. I saw several big rubs in the area so I figured that was worth a try after my bugle earlier went unanswered. I'll keep that in mind when I go up this Friday. Thanks for the reply.
A common mistake people make on pressured elk is acting like elk too much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
617 Posts
Sometimes less is more with calling. Vary your calling tones as well. I called the same 4 point in 3 different times in 2 hours last year.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top