One of the most peaceful alpine hobbies that we know about is the sport of elk calling, or bugling. Elk call to each other by a series of loud, scream-like, vocalizations that can be heard for miles. Especially during mating seasons, male and female elk are attracted to each other’s bugling. As a general rule, elk are attracted to the loudest most frequent call from the opposite sex.
Artificial bugling tubes are sold at various sportsman supply stores. A person can use one of these devices to attract an elk to their position, allowing for an up-close encounter. We, at the Lodge at Red River Ranch, have a couple of suggestions if you are interested in pursuing the hobby of elk calling.
Elk call to each other most often in the mornings and evenings. These are the best times to try calling. Remember that elk calling takes persistence. As one of the top experts said on the subject, “Elk are social animals. They’re constantly calling, talking and jabbering to each other. You’ve got to convince those elk that you are another group of elk. The big man who calls in up to 70 bulls a year says, I stay on the calls. You have to call a lot and often because elk call a lot and often.”
Be sure to get out of your truck, and move into the forest. Elk will avoid most vehicles. Also it is imperative that you stay downwind from the elk. After all, “[Elk will] hear you three times, see you twice, but only smell you once.”
Keep a safe distance from the elk you attract. Various experts recommend twenty-five yards as a safe distance. Be respectful of these animals, because, while usually docile, they can occasionally be unpredictable.
Elk calling is a sport that requires patience and practice, but the rewards are obvious.