Cause for silent bulls/minimal bugling

by Idaho Steve
(Hailey, ID)

I'm hearing from a lot of bowhunters out there in both Idaho and Montana that the bulls are bugling less and less, and cow talk is even becoming increasingly quieter.


I'm wondering what all your thoughts are.

The most common theory I've heard is that the elk are keeping silent to prevent wolves from pinpointing their location. Maybe that is a contributing factor.

But I've also heard that it's actually the human calls--both their sophistication and frequency of use, that has had the most impact on silencing the herds over the past couple years. As human calls have become more and more frequent and perfected over the years, bull elk are wising up and no longer responding to bugles, or even cow talk.

Some scientists suggest that the bulls that are surviving the hunting seasons, and the rut, are the ones who are remaining silent. The bulls that are bugling and responding to the calls are dying. Therefore, the surviving bulls are passing on the "silent" gene to their offspring. In effect, we're seeing evolution occur in front of our eyes.

I'm also wondering if this year, with a bright moon dominating the month up until later this week, the herds have been silent more during the day because their overnight activity is so feverish. Basically they're bedded from sunrise to sunset because their up all night partying.

Any feedback would be great!

Thanks!

Comments for Cause for silent bulls/minimal bugling

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 25, 2011
Vocal Bulls Today
by: Dave, Elk Hunting Tips (MT)

Same here. Lots of bull talk going on. My bulls are well-trained at this point (by me) to be wary of cow calls. I'm going to try some bull talk along with estrus whines. Maybe some tree raking. i wonder how they would react to rattling? I've never tried it with elk. Mainly because I haven't bought a rattle bag and horns are too big to carry!

I hope they're still talking tomorrow. Seems like about 10:30 they are still going, but by 11:00 I am taking a nap on the ground, in silence. I am even watching the time and working hard to make it happen before 11:00 comes.

Sep 25, 2011
So much for silent bulls
by: Anonymous

They were screaming their heads off this a.m. Heard at least five different bulls bugling through the morning. Called a 5x5 bull in to about 30 yards. He busted me as I peaked out behind a tree. Then worked a spike, who appeared to get bumped by a larger bull. Both played with me for about 15 minutes before they moved on. Never got either closer than about 40 yards. No harvest but a great day!

I have video of the first bull--you never see him in the vid but he's screaming his head off. I'll post it when I figure out how. ;)

Sep 24, 2011
Silent Bulls
by: Dave, Elk Hunting Tips (MT)

So do I. Steve! Which one of you guys posted about "pinching" the trigger between thumb and forefinger? (Equal pressure between the two.) It helped my bow shooting a great deal! It's actually an easier thing to picture with a release than a rifle, because the thumb and forefinger are so close together. It really improved my consistency. I'm glad to have learned it.

By the way, bulls learning to shut up when humans call is "adaptation", not evolution. They'll still be elk, just smarter!

Sep 24, 2011
Too funny
by: Anonymous

"I remember going along on an elk hunt in Utah 40 years ago. Those guys actually took brass heater hoses and made little whistly sounds that called in elk." -- Classic! Good stuff....

Thanks for the response/input Dave. I learn more every time I'm on here.

Best site ever!!

Sep 22, 2011
Educating Bulls to Calls
by: Dave, Elk Hunting Tips (MT)

You're absolutely right, Steve. I didn't mean to minimize the fact that bulls have learned to be careful when they bugle and what they do in response to calls. I remember going along on an elk hunt in Utah 40 years ago. Those guys actually took brass heater hoses and made little whistly sounds that called in elk.

I do, however, think that it is not "passed on" to the next generations. I easily called up three bulls last year. One for me and two for someone else. They came walking right up!

As I whined about on the hunt blog: https://www.elk-hunting-tips.net/elk-hunting-2011-blog-your-progress.html, I did it again earlier this season, then blew it!

I hunted the same herd, and suspect called in the same satellite bull today. He was much more wary today. He sneaked in, rather than stomping in. I hope he forgets by next year. (I doubt it!) It is indeed my experience, in my area anyway, that bulls where I hunt learn each season, but start out a little gullible until they age.

I am not saying that bulls forget. The herd bull is staying on the OTHER side of the fence where I can't go. He is very smart and that's why he is the herd bull! He remembers! Does he tell the other bulls? I don't think so. I think maybe cows lead other elk in the herd, though. Bulls just are like teenagers and go after the girls with a little more reckless abandon. They have to, in order to reproduce.

Sep 21, 2011
Trends ...
by: Anonymous

Hi Dave,

I don't mean to suggest all of a sudden this year the bulls have picked up on calls and are staying quiet. I just keep hearing this year after year that bugling is getting quieter and quieter. I was more curious about the overall trend, say over the last 10 years.

Lots of folks around here are quick to blame wolves, which I'm sure contributes to the silencing. But I also hear a lot about the effect of calls. I was just curious what others thought. As for this year, like you said it seems like the moon has played a big role. Hope to spend the weekend camping near them as that may be my last chance. Season closes the 30th and work is busier than expected for this time of year. Bummer on one hand (not as much time out there as I'd like) but good on the other end ($).

By the way, cool stories in that thread you directed me too. I sure would love to get out with someone who has as much experience as you.

Sep 19, 2011
Calling Elk
by: Dave, Elk Hunting Tips (MT)

Hi, Steve. I am hearing less noise this year, but it did pick up Saturday. The moon had a good bit to do with it, I think. They were pretty noisy today.

The bulls didn't just figure it out in one year. I heard lots of talk last year. The rut seems somewhat quieter this year, but again, possibly the moon. I do know that when I hear coyotes, I hear more elk. Coyotes know when wolves are there. So do elk.

The rut goes on, but sometimes they do it a little quieter. I have heard plenty of rut talk until about 10:00. Called two noisy bulls in one right after the other yesterday about 10:30. Learn from my mistake here: https://www.elk-hunting-tips.net/elk-hunting-2011-blog-your-progress.html

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Share Your Elk Hunting Pictures, Stories, Comments or Questions!.



Shop Our Store

Elk Tips Outdoor Gear Logo

406-431-0876

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

E-mail Address
First Name
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Quick Elk Hunting Tips and Updates.


Search This Site Here:

Hunting Gear Reviews

ASAT Camo
ElkNut Outdoor Productions
Bugling Bull Game Calls
HECS Stealthscreen
Montana Decoy
StringSling Bow Sling
Skull Hookers
Safari Sling Rifle Sling
Clip-Shot Mini Camera Mount

ASAT Camo

Free U.S. Shipping On ASAT Camo


Bugling Bull
Game Calls


ElkNut Productions

Free Shipping on
ElkNut Products Here


HECS Stealthscreen:
A New Type of Concealment!

HECS Stealthscreen

$149.99-$199.99,
Including U.S. Shipping


Montana Decoy Elk/Deer
Available Here!

Montana Decoy

$59-$109.99 Free Shipping!


The StringSling:
Best Bow Sling Design!

String Sling Bow Sling

$29.95, Including U.S. Shipping


Clip-Shot: 1 oz. Camera Mount

$21.85 Free U.S. Shipping


Skull Hookers

Skull hooker

$34.99 & 59.99 Free U.S. Shipping!


The Safari Sling:
Best Rifle Sling Design!

Safari Sling Best Rifle Sling Available

$27.99 Free US Shipping


Share your elk hunting pictures and stories on our Facebook Page!

Go to Forums


Forum Topic Discussions:


How often should I use my cow call?, I am new to the sport of bow hunting elk and my question is how often should I use my cow calls?

295 yard kill with a Kimber Montana 325 WSM, by Don from Dallas: My ELk did not even twitch once. He was dead when he hit the ground.

325 WSM is worth considering, Palmer Lake,CO: I believe that the .325 WSM is the ultimate elk caliber...

30-30 for Elk? : I have a 30 30 with 170 grain round nose bullet. Will this work to shoot an elk ?

(More comments about Best Elk Rifle below)

Submissions

2013 elk bow hunt around Pagosa Springs: by Bobby (Little Rock , Arkansas), looking for someone to join my DIY hunt!...

Unique Elk Talk by Idaho Steve (Hailey, Id ), In the middle of the night, a herd of elk came traveling through the drainage and right past my tent...

Smelly Elk Areas? by Jimmy (New Mexico), I've come across many areas that just stink of elk, literally. I have heard two somewhat contradictory stories...

DIY Gear List Must Have's! by Craig (Florida) "Here are some of the items I use on my DIY hunts in the CO backcountry..."

Elk and Deer Hunting and Mountain Bikes, by Skip Shepherd (Tucson, AZ)~ At 67 I am thinking a lot about investing in a mountain bike to get back into remote areas...


Solo archery hunting -- tips for calling/set up?, by Idaho Steve (Hailey, ID )~ I hunt by myself a lot...I'd love to hear your thoughts on strategic set-ups when solo hunting and calling.

Non- Lead Bullets for Elk?, by Dave, Elk Hunting Tips.Net (Garrison, MT)~ What do you ballistics guys think about the use of non-lead bullets for elk? According to this story...

Rage Broadheads by Chris, ...my buddy gave me a rage practice tip and when I shot it you could not pick out the broadhead from the field points. I was sold...

Recent Submissions:

Finally filled the freezer..., Colorado Rockies~ "I was bummed when I got to the property and no elk, nor any hoof prints in the snow. ...I pulled each of the elk into shade then started gutting..."


Wounded Veteran Elk hunts, by Joshua FL), I am a disabled veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and have always dreamed of hunting elk. I am posting this to see if anyone would know of any elk hunts free to disabled vets....

First Elk with a Bow, by Ryan H. (Colorado), ...Finally after many years of hunting with a bow "I got er did"!

First Elk!, by Tater (Sheridan, Arkansas) I took the advice I received from this website and was successful…I wanted to Thank You and Your Forum and the folks that share on here for the knowledge and information that helped me find an elk I was quite happy with.


Questions

Any success in Unit 14?, by: Dave (MI), "I'm planning on doing a DIY in Unit 14 for 2012..."


Share Elk Hunting Secrets


Bugle in Herd bulls, by Swiltbank (Az) The key to calling in a herd bull is to get into his bedding grounds and threaten his herd. Start off sounding like…


Best Big Game Rifle?

Best Rifle Caliber?, by Buglemup (Superior, MT), "I've been reading what people have been writing about rifle calibers and here is what 16 years of guiding elk has taught me."

7mm Remington Magnum, by Dean (Helena, MT. USA) I use my Liberty Ruger M77, 7mm Rem. Mag. for antelope, deer, elk... Comment: "What do you guys think about the idea of hunting elk with a 270? I also know a guy who kills elk with a 243."


338 Marlin Express, "Light, fast shooting, hard hitting, manageable recoil, and for a lever gun - very accurate."


Guns I like for Elk, by Mountain Walker (Kootenays east B.C. Canada),"I think the gun you shoot Elk with should be one you shoot a lot with... "


.35 Remington, by Bill Smith "...my .35 Rem appears to have dropped a medium deer flawlessly, but I now have serious doubts as to its capability to take an elk."


Arizona Elk Hunting

Where to hunt in Az unit 3B?, by Cliffjumper (Tucson, Az) ~ I got a late bull muzzle loader hunt in Arizona unit 3b. Does anyone know how to hunt bulls in the late season?...

First time elk hunter hunting Arizona unit 6A , by Rob Marchio (Omaha, Ne)~ I'm a first time elk hunter hunting Arizona's unit 6A. I'm planning on staying in the Pine Grove campground...


Elk Hunting Colorado

Help needed for 1st DIY Hunt w/Son, by Patrick (Parker, CO), "I was looking for some advice on my 1st DIY hunt for 2014 in CO with my 13 yr old son. I have countless hrs going over stats, topo maps & Google Earth"

Elk Hunting Colorado in 2013, By William (Midland, TX) "I am planning an elk hunt next year in Colorado and I wanted to know if hunting Gunnison National Forest..."

Unit 60 Elk 4th Rifle Season Nov 13-17 Either Sex 2013, By Chester "...Any general advice about the unit would be appreciated!"


Idaho Elk Hunting


Elk Hunting Idaho Unit 8 8A 11, This is my first year seriously trying to track down some elk. Is there anyone that has hunted in any of these units and can give me some friendly advice? Mitchell, Moscow Idaho

Elk Hunting Pocatello by Cameron (Pocatello) Where is the best place to elk hunt around Pocatello, Idaho? I'm a student at ISU and I'm looking for somewhere around here to hunt next season.

How is the elk hunting in unit 30A in Idaho?, by Terry (Richland Center, WI) Has anyone archery elk hunted in unit 30A in Idaho? What can you tell me about the area?


Elk Hunting In Montana

Hunting in Western Montana, by Mike A. (Alabama)

I did not draw a tag for Missouri breaks where I have hunted in the past. Having to start over and try western Montana.


New Mexico Elk Hunting

New Mexico Unit 49, by Silas (Los Alamos, NM)

If anyone has tips on areas to start scouting, I'd really appreciate it.

First Elk Hunt First Elk Hunt, by Big "R" (NM)

I finally got drawn for a late elk hunt in Unit 28, north of Road 506 and south of the boundary line of the Lincoln National Forest...


Elk Hunting Nevada

Cow elk in Nevada's unit 222:

"Any good places known in unit 222?"

Northeast Nevada Early Elk hunt, by John (Carson City,NV)

"Any suggestions on what areas I may see some signs of elk?"


Questions from Novice Hunters

Retired USMC MSgt Needs Advice, by Ken Wing USMCRET (Bealeton, Va)


Big Game Recipes

Popcorn VenisonPopcorn Venison with Maple Syrup?

Elk or Venison Steaks Grilled to Perfection Here's how to turn them into steakhouse steaks!

Spice-Crusted Grilled Venison Roast Recipe This Spice-Crusted, Grilled Venison Roast recipe works great for any red meat roasts, including elk, deer or beef roast...

Corned Elk Recipe You can easily make corned venison and elk, moose or corned beef from these instructions...


My wife's website: