By Don Laubach
Complex techniques for searching and calling elk.
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Additional resources for Elk Tactics
There were around twenty-two head of cows that comprised the group and just six calves with them that survived. For the most part, I usually stayed quite a ways away from them when I observed them. There were also three bulls that stayed close to these cows and calves and associated with the herd, but they often stayed lower on the mountain than the cow-calf group. It was easy to figure out their summer pattern. It revolved around where the elk would feed and where they'd water. If you knew where that was in the area, it was pretty easy to keep track of them, just as long as the herd wasn't bothered.
The little lesson of that elk path made me realize that, in effect, just about all the elk we're hunting are old-timers and long-timers to the country in which they live. They've been doing their thing here and in other parts of elk country for generations. There are things in that country that sustained the elk's ancestors and continue to sustain the existing generation of elk. That the elk still use these trails, and are thriving by using them, must mean that elk are the same creatures they've always been.
Successful hunters have had to climb higher and higher andstop here for a nosebleedhigher yet. The elk have learned to listen for telltale sounds of hunters, as well. One of those telltale sounds might be the slightly metallic sound of a willow rapping against the aluminum handle of a compound bow. It might be the corrugated step of a heavy-treaded boot sole rubbing over rock-hard mud. It might be the click of a plastic snap on a pack. It might be the rip of a Velcro closure being opened. It might be just about anything that isn't a natural sound.