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First off, I want to thank the forum for all the help I have been receiving the last year. I may not comment often, but I am on here daily just looking to learn more. I hope one day I will be able to have the knowledge and willingness to help others like most of you do.

My family was lucky enough to draw 2 muzzleloader elk tags for the book cliffs bitter creek. We have always put in for any weapon LE, but I decided to try our luck at muzzy and looks like it paid off. A few years ago my dad drew this tag with any weapon and came off with a respectable bull. It was our first time ever elk hunting. We used hoochie mama's to locate and call the bulls. We got my dad's bull within 300 yards where he dropped him. obviously, this year will need to be closer with it being a muzzy hunt. so that brings me to my question:

When trying to bring bulls in, will cow calls suffice, or should I learn to bugle? Also, should I pick up a cow decoy? I have seen those work in videos, but I don't know if that's just them trying to sell me on a product. Do they make a big difference?

Your suggestions and instructions are very appreciated.
 

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I typically use a bugle to locate bulls and then get closer to the bull and lightly (and I mean lightly. I rarely use a hoochie mama because they are too loud) cow call them in. Last muzzy season, I ended up calling a 300 class bull to within 10 yards, where he proceeded to make a scrape right in front of me, then walked down the ridge, and destroyed a young aspen tree 40 yards away.
 

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+1 to what Mtnbeer said. I would say it all depends on the elk and the experience that you want to have. I have seen bulls rutting so hard that you practically can get right in on them without calling at all. Other times, bulls will come in without making a sound to cow calls and bugles. I believe that a decoy would add realism to your situation should you decide to try and call one in. Good luck - there isn't much better than hunting rutting elk!
 

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+1 to what has been said. The Bookcliffs is a fun fun muzzy hunt. My dad had it last year and brother in 2011. I was going to put in for it until I got he Manti muzzy tag from the expo. You will have a fun hunt, the elk are very vocal during the muzzy hunt down there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome. I am way excited. Especially after hearing that they are very vocal during the muzzy. I will plan on getting a bugle and learning.

Any recommendations on a bugle for beginners?
 

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Awesome. I am way excited. Especially after hearing that they are very vocal during the muzzy. I will plan on getting a bugle and learning.

Any recommendations on a bugle for beginners?
Mouth diaphragm. and a bugle tube works great.. then you can use the mouth diaphragm for cow calls, bugles, and even turkey calls
 

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A bugle as it's place, it's better when the the bulls are separating cows out. But at the same time use it sparingly. You can intimidate a bull very easily. Areas that have high bull to cows ratio is more prone to bugling do to competition. There's no exact science to calling elk. They make to many different noises! I'm very cautious with cow calling as well. Sometimes it's better if you don't let the elk know your there. Especially with wind in your favor. Most of the elk I've killed I snuck in on them. Without making a noise, but the other half. I've used calls to my advantage.

Knowing how to use them is advantageous.

Good luck
 

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Remember, bulls call to get cows not other bulls. I use cow calls a lot and sometimes if the bull is really worked up I may do a whiny cow call overtop of his bugle. Really ticks them off.

Something else that works is no elk sound at all - if you're close enough to him, just break a few branches but not like tearing up or raking the tree.
 

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Any tips on mastering the mouth diaphragm elk call? or at least where to get started?
Buy a couple different brands, i know i have found that Hunters Specialties works best for me. then watch youtube how to videos and practice a lot. you will get the hang of it
 

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For locating purposes it's useful and it's always worth a shot to see if you can call one in but for the most part I'd be prepared to chase bugles and get in there quietly and shoot that bull while he's screaming his head off.
 

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Great topic first of all! I have hunted both LE units and general unit in the early rut and late into October and each area is different. When I am hunting a general unit, bugling is about all I do. Cows almost always bust out when using a cow call, but are used to bulls bugling. In early hunts bugling is great to locate and I even used bugles to bring bulls in all the way. Shot a great 5x5 on the general unit without even cow calling. As the herds group up bugles are still great to locate BUT remember the lead cow is always in charge of the herd. Good cow calling is the really the key to calling. The best videos that I have ever see on cow calls is Steve Chappel. Take a look at you tube and I hope you agree. Good Luck on your hunt! Hopefull I can put down a big bull. I pulled the Manti Muzzle :)
 

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I use the primos diaphrams. Most of my practice is done in the car during my commute to and from work. I've just found a bunch of random elk sounds online and created my own "mix tape" to try and mimic as I'm sitting in traffic.

Since I purchased the calls I've fought the desire to bugle too much. I think I bugled too much during a LE hunt last year and did nothing but educate the elk in the area well before opening day. I'd probably have been better off making the occasional cow sound or just being silent compared to bugling.
 

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PS. The Montana Decoys are amazing. Worth every dollar!
No way on earth I would use a Montana decoy in Utah... not with antlerless tags that can be filled during buck/bull seasons, control tags, etc.
That's nothing more than a death wish!
 

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My favorite diaphragm right now is the Carlton 2.5. Great for most elk sounds. If you do bugle just remember not to sound like the biggest bull.
 

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I like to sound like a calf, this really gets the attention of the cows. A lot of cows will come into this, with the bulls chasing them screaming. This is after of course i have bugled to locate a heard.
 
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