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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been hunting the extended archery hard and consistently getting into elk but running into weird situations with rutting behaviors. Seems like young bulls have all the cows and are super shy to bugles, almost like they are intimidated and will only respond to cow calls with limited interest. I was under the impression that mature bulls will generally start rutting 1st, is that not the case?
 

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My guess is the elk are used to half of Salt Lake County bugling at them and they are getting out of the area because they know hunters are in the area. ?

The peak rut is starting to wind down. The mature bulls are off searching for more cows that are still in estrus. Letting out a bugle intimidates the smaller bulls and they will gather the cows and run. That said, late rut refers to the process of the cows that are yet to be bred and the bulls that are continuing to search for them. This can go on for another month or so.
 

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There's a lot of difference between bugling bull elk hanging out with cows and the rut and I wouldn't call September 22 late for elk to be rutting. Elk are vocal from August to November, even longer. They will rut whenever the cows, or a cow, is in heat. If spikes are hanging with cows and there's no mature bulls around it's probably because none of the cows are in heat; they have either been bred or haven't came into heat yet.

Cows can be in heat in August, way up to December if they don't get bred. If I had one week to pick for the elk rut it would be this week. One day to pick; September 25th.

my 2 cents

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I was hunting in the north Wasatch this morning and there were several bulls bugling their heads off. The rut is in full swing from what I can see. As in life, I think an elk hunter can benefit more from effective listening than endlessly yapping. -------SS
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would generally agree with the thought that they have been called at alot and chased around but I'm hunting way back and havnt seen another hunter or evidence of another hunter.

I very well may be wrong but I have just gotten the impression they havnt gone into full swing yet... I've spent alot of time in this area the last month and only herd 1 bugle besides the ones I've coaxed out of bulls I've been watching.

Having just moved here last year from nevada I am still really just trying to figure out elk, being that a bull tag in nevada is like winning the lottery, but I think I'm on the right path but I am extremely confused. The cows had been avoiding the bulls until last weekend, Saturday I saw some herded up with a nice 5 point but certainly not a classic herd bull.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was hunting in the north Wasatch this morning and there were several bulls bugling their heads off. The rut is in full swing from what I can see. As in life, I think an elk hunter can benefit more from effective listening than endlessly yapping. -------SS
I most definitely agree! I look and listen alot more than I start sounding off, trying to talk to them is my last resort.
 

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when bulls get that itch from the cows going into heat they will bugle and they will fight. They can't help it. It is what they do.
 

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I don't think it's late. I think the elk learn to adapt to the situations they live in. I've been getting elk in the shop that show signs of fighting with other bulls. Many of them come in during our LE rifle hunt that have recent wounds that have been healing for several days.
 

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No late rut.

Might have even snapped on a day or two early on some units in the south.
 

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I would love to have somebody explain to me what is a late rut and what is an early rut.
 

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The early elk rut takes place in September.....

The late elk rut takes place in October, This takes care of the cows that 'missed'
the early rut...............................................
 
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"the rut" is a pretty loose reference to the peak rut which happens within a week or so either side of the Autumnal Solstice each and every year. The rut actually has several phases and cows can go into estrous several times throughout the winter if they have not been bred. These are typically younger cows and the will typically get bred by younger bulls that have not left the cows. Physically a cow can not go into estrous once the melatonin levels drop to the point that estrous can not be triggered. This happens for the most part when the days become longer than the nights after the spring equinox. After this all cycles end. Calving of elk has been recorded as late as November.
 

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I think most refer to the "rut" as when the bulls bugle and act "rutty". Some years I have seen mature bulls rounding up cows and bugling like crazy on Aug 24. This year is the latest I have noticed and by Sept 12 there wasn't the frenzy. Most years it seems like Sept 4-7 are when the bulls really get it going. At least on our place and my experience over the past 15 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I appreciate the input from everyone! Like I said before I know almost nothing about elk behavior other than what I have read and witnessed this year. Could I have just missed the "peak" rut? I have heard very few bugles and no fighting... it was only last Sunday that I even saw a bull with a cow and he was not interested in my calling at all! I literally got no reaction from him at all other than him slowly collecting his cows and feeding off. Just trying to make sense of it all, I've put in alot of hard miles and if I don't fill my tag I at least want to be a little smarter!
 

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with the heat that we have had lately and the moon cycle going full a lot of the bugling we have been hearing during the day has quieted a lot but after the sun goes down and the evening cools they start bugling there heads off. the one herd of cows that we had been observing didn't get broken up till the evening of the 10 and than 4 good bulls broke the whole herd up. my son got lucky that morning a shot one of them
 

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My wife had a LE elk tag a few years ago. We were running into basically the same thing throughout the days of the hunts so we switched to a different tactic. We rode around at night and listened to 10 times more bugles than we were hearing during the day.

We picked what we thought was a good area, and a good sounding bull (sound doesn't mean squat really) and the next morning we were working into that area. The bulls were talking quite a bit first thing but we didn't make a peep. We just used their sounding off to lead us in. We snuck in to within 75 yards and my wife shot a nice 6 point bull.

It wasn't the "story book" elk hunt where you blow in a grunt tube and the bulls parade by and let you inspect them, but then it usually isn't.
 

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Elk are so sensitive to hunting/human presents that a whole mountain can become quiet when the hunting madness starts. I suggest this is what you are experiencing, not some change in rutting patterns. Hunt and call accordingly.
 

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They are rutting for sure. Big time. Anybody ever wonder why there is not always a ton of pictures of elk mating? 90% of it happens at night. Throw in a full moon phase and warm/hot temperatures during the day and there you have it.
 
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