Anyone who hunts the elk rut in September will fall in love with listening to elk bugles. Getting a taste of the sound of an elk will hook you forever. You will dream of that sound the rest of your life. The sound of a bugle can be so captivating that we sometimes focus on the bugle more than the actual elk. However, the trick isn’t just hearing a bugle but understanding what the bugle means to that elk and other elk in the area. We as hunters can hear the sound easy enough, but many struggle comprehending the message. This is a key reason why so many general season, public land elk hunters eat their tag year after year. They are trying to learn to speak elk only during that short window when they are in the elk woods hunting. There’s a better way.
Thanks to tools like the ElkNut mobile app, a hunter can study the elk language year-round. And not only just learning to execute accurate elk sounds, but also by developing an understanding of what each elk sound means, which is critical to elk hunting success.
Indeed, as made clear on the ElkNut mobile app, there are many different sounds bull elk and cow elk make that are similar in sound but have very different meanings. Take for instance two bull sounds, the Location Bugle and the Round Up Bugle. The Location Bugle is a sound used by bulls to locate other elk. It is non-intimidating, high pitched, and lengthy relative to other bugles. You won’t hear a lot of grunts or growls with a location bugle. The Round Up Bugle, on the other hand, is not the growliest sound an elk can make either (think Lip Bawl Bugle or Challenge Bugle for that), but it’s a shorter sound than a Location Bugle and has more urgency implied in its tone. A bull is rounding up his cows and preparing to leave the area in light of a perceived threat. Think for a minute, then, that you hear a bugle. If you thought you heard a Location Bugle, and you formulate your plan accordingly (i.e., cut the distance and initiate some cow calls maybe), but what you actually heard was a Round Up Bugle, then your plan is not likely going to succeed.
There are similar variations in cow elk sounds. Think about this: social cow calf talk is conversational and used by elk to keep in touch while grazing and moving from feeding to bedding area. Pleading cow calf mews, on the other hand, are asking for attention from other elk. There’s a more demanding tone. A trained ear can tell the difference, but an inexperienced and unlearned elk hunter cannot. Hearing one sound, and thinking it is the other, could prove disastrous.
These two scenarios show why it’s so important to educate yourself on the various elk sounds and what they mean. You can do this the hard way, through years and years of trial and error (and the errors can be so painful!), which is how many have learned it, or you can expedite that learning curve by looking to tools like the ElkNut mobile app.
Elk have a language of their own. Speaking and understanding any language is something that takes time and effort. But if we’re thinking about and trying to learn the elk language only during that sometimes very limited window when you’re out in the elk woods hunting elk, then you are taking the slow route that will be filled with missed opportunities. Expedite your elk calling learning curve by downloading the ElkNut mobile app today.