If there is one key point to hunting elk and being successful - it's getting good at asking the question, "WHY?"
Why do they bed where they bed?
Why do they feed and move at certain times during the day?
What stimulates a bugle?
Anything that we can't put an immediate finger on as a cause should make us ask, "Why?"
The question "Why?" in all things elk leads to figuring out how to be more successful come fall season. For me, calling with the how/why they respond is my personal and essential WHY question.
One common thing I hear is how a hunter will have an active bugling bull elk that suddenly runs off when using cow calls.
This is the oldest story I hear
Call Shy Elk
More often than not, I hear the excuse that the bull is call shy. Or that he's been pressured by too many hunters.
Certainly, these factors can be an issue. But, in my experiences, there's a bit deeper reason at play here. The reality is that the bull doesn't just "run off."
The reality is - the cows in the herd pack their bags and head out in the face of what they consider to be competing cows that are also ready to breed. It's the cows that run away from that pressure, and they take your target bull with them.
"If you're calling from a distance and the bull answers like crazy, only to haul-butt when you get close, it may NOT be because he's call shy."
One Key Takeaway For Calling Like A Cow Elk
Since this is a blog post, and apparently it's not supposed to be a long, drawn-out dissertation, there is ONE key thing to focus on regarding your cow calling. When you're in close, trying to seal the deal, and trying to get a shot - don't call like you're a mature, lead cow. Call like you're an early season cow or calf.
In the herd, calves get away with murder on the mountain. Lead cows don't seem to pay much attention to obnoxious teenagers. But, there's still a lot of energy they generate within the bulls without creating a lot of pressure on the cows that are ready to breed.
Pressure And Cow Elk Calling
That word, pressure, is the second word you need to start applying in your thought process. Everything about calling in any species is 100% about why they respond - or why they don't. When you say something, it's ALL about the pressure it creates.
And remember that it all creates pressure.