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Thread: Preferred Elk call?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Region 8
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    Preferred Elk call?

    This year will be my first year of hunting where I am going for Elk, I've been doing a lot of research and seeing that they are very vocal creatures and receptive to calling I was researching one to buy and practice with.

    If you could only buy one type/style of Elk call, which one would it be? (Reed, bugle, grunt, hoochie mama, etc). Bonus points if you can recommend a brand as well!

    Am I thinking about this the wrong way, would you carry multiple calls on a hunt? Looking to soak up any knowledge and experience you're willing to share.
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  3. #2
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    Feb 2009
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    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    Abe & Sons USA . . . . diaphragm in bugle tube. Grunts and chortles. Very good call.
    Reed calls are one dimensional.

    Have a cow/calf call in your pocket. Elk Talk works well for the close-up heart stopping stuff. Hold it in your mouth . . . both hands are free.
    Good luck . . . . it's a learning process.
    Last edited by ACE; 03-25-2021 at 10:29 AM.
    'It would be difficult to describe the depth of my contempt for Justin Trudeau'

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    You have enough time now ahead of your hunt to practice up with a mouth diaphragm call. Get a few different types of single reed, they're they easiest to use. Good for most vocalizations , and get a bugle tube like the Phelps or Wapiti River
    "If you ever go into the bush, there are grizzly bears lurking behind just about every bush, waiting to pounce, so you need a powerful gun, with huge bullets" - Gatehouse ~ 2004


  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1,616

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    I find the Primos dome diaphragms are a bit easier to learn on....I still got a lot to learn with diaphragm calls

    The Elk Reel is a very easy to use call, can produce different pitches, can be used hands free but is a bit bulky to hold in your mouth for extended time

    and then of course the hoochie mama, probably the easiest call to use, and everybody has one lol
    Unfortunately, the rifles are getting lighter because we are getting heavier and more unfit as a society. This is the key to the mainstream acceptance of the short magnums. - Nathan Foster

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    3,960

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    There is probably thousands of posts and articles on elk calls. I'm by far in no way and expert here but have been pretty successful with elk given the limited time I've had to hunt them.

    I still use an older E.L.K bugle, worked very well for me. For cow calls I use several but my favourites for estrus cow are still the primos hyper lip single and a similar carlton call. I always have a primos ivory plate call in my mouth ( a throw back to my bowhunting days) but have killed 2 elk including my bull last year because a little squeak from that call stopped the elk in its track and gave me a shot. A few years back it, my buddy had that primos (Imaka da Bull crazy) call. I thought it sounded horrible but that particular week, it was the only call we used that would get bulls bugling at us.

    I carry about 6 cow calls hoochie mama and a couple other varieties at any given time and when nothing is working, I change it up and try something different. Or I can sound like several different elk chirping " this has worked for me when I bump elk".

    I also don't do a pile of calling in big open country. In my limited experience, I've seen many pull into a big cutblock and from the same spot as the guy before them bugle and cow call. I'm a believer that the elk learn where to avoid these spots.

    My personal take is that calling at the right time, right amount, from the right location is more important then which brand call you use. Always expect that an elk will show up, every time. Screwed up a few good opportunities in the past where I stopped to let out a call and withing minutes had an elk show up silent.
    Last edited by Ron.C; 03-25-2021 at 11:06 AM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    23

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    It’s good to have both a bugle tube and a cow call. If I could only have one it would be a cow call.
    Some areas get over bugled and the elk get wise. If other guys are running around bugling it can be very affective to stick to cow calling.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Abbotsford, BC
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    954

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    I find diaphram calls work better for mt that the red domes Primos - that sucker doesn't feel right to me and vibrates me to no end. I can't seem to get the hang of it despite people saying it's one of the easiest to use.

    Practice, practice, practice. Being able to hit that call with confidence every time seem critical to me. In my mind if I don't hit that call just right the first time, I feel as if I've blown it and I might as well go try somewhere else. No use broadcasting to the Elk that you're a hunter looking for a good time.

    Get your tones and pitch correct and then start introducing the growls. I found that starting each practice sessions with chuckles seems to help me find the right spot for the diaphragm in my mouth and the right pressure.

    Please, don't nobody say that "if you got the diaphragm in your mouth, you're doing it wrong" I've heard that a few times but it still makes me smile.

    Nice thing is the great you-tube stuff out there that you can immediately have reference to copy. Also use your phone recorder to listen to yourself and compare to the real elk recordings.

    certainly every situation and day out there closer to the peak of the rut is different but I've blown my opportunity too many times with over-doing it and calling too much. Everyday out there is a learning experience but man that first time you get a direct response back is the best feeling ever.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Squamish
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    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    diaphragm are by far the most versatile and realistic, usually combined with a tube to carry the sounds.

    I'm going Phelps this year because I wasn't pleased with the cheap ones I bought last year. It takes a good while to get the hang of them but I think it is worthwhile.

    I got cow calling right away, still working on a realistic bugle.

    In my opinion the Elk101 course was worth the money, for calling and strategy for a new hunter.
    Is Justin Competent, or just incompetent?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Prince george
    Posts
    196

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    wapiti river mouth reeds. don't even bother spending money on primos. buy a domed pink lady and 2 more of your choosing and a bugle tube and practice practice practice.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Valemount
    Posts
    158

    Re: Preferred Elk call?

    Last season I tried many times using a reed bugle.No answers.It has worked for me in the past.I just changed tactics.
    Found a good spot to sit well hidden quite a ways below a long ridge that is a bedding area.Started blowing a small reed call like a lost calf from the herd.15 minutes later up along the ridge a squirrel was going nuts.I blew the calf call once more.Another squirrel chattering away much closer this time.Another 5 minutes goes by and a young 4 point bull is standing 25 yards away from me wondering where the lost calf is.Another 10 minutes goes by with the same squirrel talking up a storm and a 5 pointer is directly in front of me near the 4 pointer.
    No more calling on my part as I didn't want to give myself away.I hear more squirrel activity on the ridge.Probably another 15 or 20 minutes goes by.The 4 and 5 pointer wonder off then a young 5 or 6 pointer shows up about a hundred yards from me down this trail I was watching.He was walking away from me and I wasn't sure if he was 6 points so I just let him walk down the trail and disappear.
    I did shoot a big dark antlered 6 pointer a few days later.
    That lost calf call worked very well for me when the bulls were not responding to a bugle.There are times when you get an answer from your bugle.If you don't get more bugles happening switch to cow and calf talk.You can have a whole herd around you.Elk are noisy so don't worry about sneaking around

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