Late Season Calling Strategies - Tips
Late Season Calling Strategies – Changing Your Game
I often hear people say that bulls can’t be called in late season. Although I will agree that it is more difficult as bulls become call shy, I consistently call in bulls all season long. I just change strategies as the season progresses. Using my calling strategies while guiding and hunting I kill, or help kill, many bulls every September in my home state of Idaho on public land.
The Elk Bugle
What I love most about the days from Sept 20th to the end of the month is the bulls are naturally bugling hard. I use this to help me succeed as I don’t have to announce myself before the game begins. I do a lot of sitting and listening that time of year. Herd bulls can’t help themselves, they just gotta make noise. When they do, I ease in close and take my time while getting in their kitchen. On my way in, I’m able to gauge their movement and temperament to determine if they are on the move. I can tell if they are actively communicating, (cows and bulls) and if there is more than one bull. By the time I get in there, I know a ton more about that herd and what they are doing. Late season success is very dependent on the “sneaky-sneaky”. It is important to get close before you engage.
I will always try to place myself in the path where they are going. A bull is much more likely to come into calling when he is already going to where I am set up. This is 100% dependent on a lucky wind, as wind is king and trumps all else in elk hunting. If the wind is with me, I put myself ahead of the elk and see if they will move past for an ambush. I ALWAYS call as little and quietly as I can in the late season. If he replies with one call then I shut up. If he doesn’t engage, I do not accelerate, because often times this is the bull quietly assessing, as he slowly comes in. Tons of bulls will come in silent and sneaky this time of year and hang up at 100 yards or more. Many hunters will worry they are losing the bull, and escalate calling. Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect the hunter wants. The bull will sense some discontinuity with nature, and stop altogether and get pushed away because the hunter is using strategies that the bull has already heard.
Late Season Calling Strategies with Cow Calls and Bugles
I ALWAYS use cow calls and bugles equally. Quiet bugles can be deadly to fire up a scared bull and tip him over the edge, especially when you sneak in close. Be in their kitchen this time of year, and work twice as hard on position. In a shooter/caller team scenario, getting in close, and set up is the recipe for success. The bull may only come in to 100 yards, but if the shooter is set up with the caller 75 yards behind the shooter…dead bull! Position, position, position. That, along with calling smart, will help you succeed on these late season pressured bulls.
I hope you find this helpful.
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