Here are three sequences that we highly encourage you to understand and implement this elk season! The below info provides some high points, and then be sure to dive in to the ElkNut app to further explore!
Cow Party Sequence!
This Sequence is utilized when elk are fairly quiet or actively rutting, so can be used when any elk are within earshot.
I prefer hearing a bugle nearest bedding areas as you know elk are there & will remain there for many hours. A distance of 250+yards or so is just fine, stay out of the actual bedding area & setup on perimeter, I’ve pulled elk in over a 1/2 mile away so being real close is not necessary, get the wind right & a GREAT Setup spot where any approaching Bulls/Cows cannot see source of calling without being in your effective range.
Once set up with the wind/cover right; you’ll want to imitate as many cow sounds as you can with two or more cow calls, especially if solo. You will imitate social, cow, calf, regathering mews & just a couple contact buzzes every two minutes. Getting Excited/Crazy with the calls is ok—- The ElkNut App Video will show this demonstration to a tee.
If multiple hunters with a couple cow calls each, you guys will sound like a chorus of cows as you cast your chatter left, right & behind you. (No Bugling) Change volume, pitch & tone as you make it sound realistic. Do this for 5 – 6 minutes, wind it up & wind it down. You can randomly toss out a cow call or two over the next 2 – 5 minutes letting other elk know you are still there & possibly bedding there.
Be mindful if multiple callers that they face each other 5-10 yards apart, this gives you a 360 view for those elk that show where you didn’t think they would! Sit & wait. Stay FOCUSED & DO NOT MOVE AROUND!!! Most Elk will come in silent & show up within 20 minutes but wait for 45min to 1 hour!
Super deadly tactic! (A big mistake would be to do this at a 100 yards or so from the elk, it’s just too close) Again, the ElkNut App Video portion shows how to call & setup!
The Breeding Sequence is a method every hunter should know & when to use it! We have called in countless elk with this method, most are bulls! That’s the cool thing with this sequence: it has a much higher ratio of drawing bulls in over Cows & Spikes! If you prefer cows & spikes use an excited version of Cold Calling or the Cow Party while rustling brush & ground cover with cow chatter being the dominant sounds used. This sequence can be deadly on both Quiet elk or Bugling elk, don’t be bashful, let those sounds show excitement. We’re not World Champion elk callers & you don’t need to be either but the sounds suggested are right on par with elk that are somewhat lethargic during pre-rut or when no cows are in estrus. These sounds flat attract elk on our OTC elk hunts!
However, the Breeding Sequence is not just a couple bugles tossed out here & there as a Cold Calling Sequence, it’s not running & gunning, it’s high energy calling & setups from one spot, the elk come to you. Bulls will bugle for various reasons, this sequence raises curiosity in other elk to come check out a breeding situation because of the high energy bull sounds. It’s also one of my favorite ways to draw in semi quiet to quiet bulls!
When a cow shows signs of coming into estrus the herd bull can become very vocal, at this time of courtship a bull tries to keep his hot cow close by whether in transition to bedding & feeding or in the feeding & bedding areas themselves, he does this through specific bull sounds such as lip bawls, glunking, pants & chuckling, this is another way the satellites in the area are alerted to these herds with hot cows. The cow/calves in a group can chatter it up as well so injecting a variety of cow sounds at varying volumes can add realism. They listen for this sound sequence in addition to checking trails for that testosterone driving smell cows emit. This bugling can be heard at long distances & it draws satellites their way. — This sequence is a Satellite killer! Nothing wrong with a satellite bull on OTC DIY elk hunts! There is a How To Video on the ElkNut App of this sequence!
Slow Play Sequence!
During the Pre-Rut phase bulls will start to gather cows; some of the mature bulls may not show interest in cows as much as they will by Sept 8th and on. At any rate we’ve found these bulls will go head over heels for the Slow Play Sequence. — So no matter if you have a herd bull bugling occasionally with no cows in estrus or a silent herd bull with cows that you may know is in a pocket of timber: Your go to tactic is the Slow Play once again. This tactic puts less aggressive herd bulls down Than Most Tactics Combined!
For most hunters hunting OTC Public Lands pressured elk is on the menu, we find ourselves confronted with quiet elk or elk that may bugle once or twice early morning or late evening, how can we hunt those elk? — We may know a general area where some of these elk feed/bed, etc. but there’s no bugling & little cow chatter. How do we lure a bull our way when confronted with these issues, this is a common scenario hunters face every year & possibly only a week to hunt them!
When calling is the answer, consider the Slow Play Sequence! It will take from 10 min to 30 min to run its course. The odds of calling the bull in you know is there is extremely high even without him bugling much! Choose a good tight setup where the bulls approach is in your range before he can see the source of your sequence. Having good cover & wind in your favor is a must!
This is for any bull you’re heard or seen & now they are in the cover!
You will imitate one cow & one bull, no more! I like to get about 200 yards or so, heck I’ve pulled bulls from a 1/2 mile away up & down mountains. — Start with 2-3 soft cow mews, wait 1-2 minutes & repeat with just a little more annoyance added. Wait 2 minutes & start raking a tree/branches/brush, now add light hoof stomps & rustle what’s ever on the ground such as rocks – sticks to add realism for 30 to 60 seconds. Stop raking/rustling & now add 2-3 voice pants & several glunks, give the pants through your bugle tube, this shows excitement over his present situation as he Displays for this cow, you will have the bulls attention now. Wait 15 seconds or so & add 2 soft mews & one single whiny mew, this mew will be much more pitchy & last 1-2 seconds longer than the soft mews, don’t over do the cow calling, no need, it’s the bulls actions that tells the story.— Start Displaying/Raking again for 30 – 60 seconds or so. Give several bull pants & 2-3 glunks with your voice or grunt tube again with low guttural growls with throat/voice inflection, all this is for the cow. Repeat this for 15-30 minutes with a short 2 minute pause in-between your sequence so you can listen intently for a bull slipping in silent!
You have set the scene you are Displaying for a cow coming into estrus! This kicks butt on those lethargic bed bugles from satellites & herd bulls with no hot cows. As the encounter comes to light you may need to get creative in your sounds if your target bull turns vocal. Listen & watch closely for a silent approach from the bull.
If a bull bugles during anytime of your setup note what he’s bugling, is it your cow call/raking-pants & is he cutting the distance. If he bugles your setup be ready to respond with a moderate challenge to stay away but keep raking & give those soft pants showing your excitement building for the cow, this will set the hook. After a few seconds & the real bulls anticipation growing give 3-4 Contact Buzzes, this is the cow inviting the real bull to come on over, in nearly every case he responds with a short come over here bugle to the cow (round-up bugle) it has less less intensity/emotion than a challenge bugle. When he calls the cow his way you now escalate your challenge bugle to a 7-8 in a 1-to 10 scale with 10 being the highest. Get ready with an arrow nocked. Showing this defensive action for the cow on your part tells him you definitely have a hot cow. When done right the bull comes in on a string, rare is the case will he come in down-wind or behind you!
This is how you can turn a nothing situation into an aggressive one & having a chance punching a tag! When doing this method or any method be the elk you are imitating, let them feel your feelings & emotion, make it real!
This Sequence is also in video form demonstrated in the woods on the ElkNut App.
I will add that the App also shares info on hunting Wallows, Water Sources, Treestand, Night Calling, How to hunt herd bulls, etc. There are 26 more Videos to show the sounds & setups we use to attract & put down elk every year & so much more!