Every elk hunter dreams about memories made in the middle of an absolute rut-fest on a crisp September morning or evening. Hair raising, heart-racing bugles echoing around the basin. Indeed most elk hunters may point to an experience like this as they tell you how they got hooked on elk hunting. We love these moments. But, despite the fun of these moments, don’t sleep on the early, early season hunt.
Now, there’s a chance you find yourself in a hot cow situation on August 30. But it is rarer. Instead, bulls are often still bachelored up and hitting wallows and waterholes regularly. They often won’t be as vocal as they will be later in the month. Even so, these bulls are still call-able! Here are a few suggestions to consider if you choose to hunt elk in the early, early season.
- Advertising Sequence. You’ll find this sequence explained in detail on the ElkNut app in the Sequences section. Here are some high points. Even in the early season, bulls are starting to figure out where they stack up amongst each other. When you enter an area where you know elk frequent, and utilize the Advertising Sequence to announce your presence in a non-aggressive manner, bulls are going to want to know who the newcomer is! Often times they will come in silent, so be ready. You also need to be committed to this sequence, calling and raking consistently for maybe even 30 to 45 minutes, and waiting for that much time or a little longer to see if any bull comes in. You also need to make sure you really are close enough to where the bulls are bedded that they can’t ignore you, the newcomer. As you study this sequence in more depth, and dial in this great early season strategy, you’re going to love hunting the archery opener!
- Cow Party. Here’s the deal: elk are herd animals. Just like with the Advertising Sequence, non-aggressive cow calling may well pique the interest of neighboring elk. Odds are cows, calves or small bulls will be what comes into this sequence, but for many elk hunters that’s a fine trophy. Follow the guidance on the ElkNut app as you practice this sequence, and you’ll be pleased with the increase in the number of elk you see on your next early season elk hunting trip.
- Slow Play Sequence. Now, as stated in the intro above, sometimes cows do come into heat early in the season. And you may well be able to paint this picture to a bull that gives up his location. This sequence is broken down in detail on the ElkNut app, so study up. The gist is that as you guage the temperature of a bull, you slowly and patiently start to heat him up. This is going to take longer than you think most of the time, and you can’t crank the heat up to 10 right out of the gate. Read his reactions and eventually you can get him fired up enough to come into bow range.
We are only a few short weeks away from the archery elk season opener in many states. We all love a good rut-party, and many plan their hunts for that time of the month. But don’t sleep on the early, early season. It’s a sneaky good time to get out and get first crack at the bulls!
Hopefully you’re dusting off the ElkNut app. If you’re up for renewal of your pro subscription, be sure to use the code RENEW25 to save 25% off to renew your subscription to the app again this year. We appreciate your continued support of the app and our platform.