Three Calls You Need to Start Hunting Elk

Learn to sound like one of the herd for an up-close-and-personal encounter.

Bull elk with cows.
Hearing a large bull elk reply to your calls is one of the greatest thrills in the outdoors.Byron Johnson

Rocky Mountain elk are perhaps the most exhilarating North American big game species to pursue during the rut. Any sportsmen with the drive to chase them can find them on public and private land throughout the country, and the early fall is the best time to seek them out. For western residents and traveling sportsmen alike, archery season is the best time to get in the game. Just imagine a 600-pound mammal stomping through the timber to within spitting distance, before screaming like a dinosaur in your face. To get that close, you need an understanding of elk language along with the right calls to lure them in. Here’s how to start a conversation.

Rocky Mountain Radar Corey's Elk101 Vital Calling Kit-One Size
This tube has a tapered design to improve airflow and sound quality.Rocky Mountain Radar

Increasing pressure on elk herds has left bulls better educated than the typical wapiti of two decades ago. Subtle cow calling, instead of bugling, is now the norm. But big bulls still bugle, and at some point, you will need to reply in kind. A grunt tube is essential for generating the volume and tenor necessary to draw in a herd bull from a distance.

Primos Hoochie Pack Call
This model produces perfect sounds and tones with every squeeze.Primos Hunting

Just like people, some bulls will answer an invitation to romance before meeting a challenge to rumble. Squeeze calls produce the sweet sound of a lonely cow elk that can draw bulls into range. Use multiple calls with different tones to simulate chatter among cows and calves.

Rocky Mountain Elk 101 Diaphragm Call 3 pk.
The reed on this model is good for beginners.Rocky Mountain Radar

Diaphragm calls, which fit completely inside your mouth, are harder to master but extremely versatile. They also work hands free, which is important when your elk comes into range.

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