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Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

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Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby JohnFitzgerald » 04 18, 2013 •  [Post 1]

Question ask by PackInLight.

by PackInLight » 04 18, 2013 • [Post 4]

I have a feeling theres gonna be more newbs(relatively) on this string but i'll give it a shot.
Two years ago we hunted the 2nd week of september and got on a big herd of 40 cows and maybe 4 satellites. Tons of bugling and cow talking (it may have helped that I was making herd sounds?). Last year, same week, came up on smaller herds with almost no focalization. Did hear a couple lone bulls sounding off( at least that's what it sounded like) in the evenings. It was just really weird to come up on herds that were dead silent. What's up with that?
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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby JohnFitzgerald » 04 18, 2013 •  [Post 2]

This is just a guess by I think more cows, more chance some have started dripping(estrus cycle) thus firing up the bulls.
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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 19, 2013 •  [Post 3]

In a nutshell, cows dictate the show. When there is at least one hot cow (heat/estrus) in the group bulls will compete for her attention & represent themselves as "breeders" - They do this vocally & by physical appearance. When multiple cows are in heat/estrus things can get chaotic & it's a bugling/cow calling frenzy at times. The opposite is true here, no hot cows very little bugling & calling in general when the two are compared. Cows will come into estrus & ready to be bred for 12hr-16hr & then they are out, we as hunters rely on cows coming into this estrus for best bugling/rutting times. Fact is you experienced both ends of rutting & non rutting! --- Dates for rutting times are merely a time frame for hunters to be in the elkwoods, the days cows come in & out can be a crap shoot from area to area, the more time we can be out there during Sept the better our chances are we will experience rutting action every year!

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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby >>>---WW----> » 04 19, 2013 •  [Post 4]

My experience is that cows are much more vocal when the herd is on the move or at night. This is their way of keeping track of the rest of the herd and also their calves.

Bulls can bugle anytime the choose. It doesn't take a hot cow to make them do it. Otherwise, why would it be that you can hear them sound off in July.
also the pre rut is an excellent time to bugle bulls. They will answer and often challenge. By pre-rut, I mean the time period between when the bulls have shed their velvet and when the first cows actually come into estrus. Bulls bugle more as testosterone levels rise. But, the intensity sure cranks up when that first cow gets hot.

Its kinda like the old Indian joke. Two indians talking back and forth. One says "how" and the other says "chance" ! He already knows how, he is just waiting for a chance.
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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 19, 2013 •  [Post 5]

Yes, both bulls & cows will communicate year around with bugles & cow calling, it doesn't require rutting phases for elk to do this. The difference here is the Topic starter is referring to "rut fest or breeding activity" type action not social contact communication.

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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby PackInLight » 04 20, 2013 •  [Post 6]

Thanks for the insight guys. I just got the ElkNuts DVD/CD/Playbook this week which gave me some more ideas on this. Thanks Elknut! Statistically speaking the large herd we ran into in year one should have at least a couple older cows coming into estrus right? So even if you had one or two out of the 40 in estrus, that may be enough to get the herd bull and satellites fired up, thus firing up the rest of the cows/spikes. The smaller groups we were running into last year were just quietly feeding. Maybe those smaller groups just didn't happen to have a cow in estrus, keeping things relatively calm. What was weird though was there wasn't any cow talk at all in those small herds. Just complete silence as they ate. We had three different encounters with herds ranging from 5 to 12, and every time they were just silently feeding. No cow talk whatsoever. But, then again maybe it isn't "weird" and there just isn't much of a need to talk when their chowing down stationary in the wide open where they can maintain visual contact.
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Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby Solitude » 04 21, 2013 •  [Post 7]

PackInLite
For me and where I hunt I definitely run across more silent groups vs vocal.
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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby Trophyhill » 04 21, 2013 •  [Post 8]

weather can play a role as well. if it's hot rutting activity can take place at night.
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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby ElkNut1 » 04 22, 2013 •  [Post 9]

PackInLight, yes, even a single cow in estrus can excite the whole group, this is very common. When in an area with lots of cows several can be in & out of estrus at the same time inciting rutting action for many consecutive days. It is more common to come upon cows or see them in a quiet non vocalizing manner that to hear them talking to one another. As a whole cows are not very vocal in many instances, on other encounters you can't shut them up! (grin) When a couple nursery groups get together they are very chatty & this happens at night quite often.

Cows cannot choose when they come into estrus, when a cow is in she's in for 12-16 hours, she can be leading up to this days in advance & the bulls know it, this excites them & they will bugle in an advertising way for a cow or cows attention. Night fall or daytime, hot or not when cows are in estrus there will be action! The more bulls the more bugling.

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Re: Elk Vocals Different from Year to Year

Postby tdiesel » 04 22, 2013 •  [Post 10]

also if hunting pressure puts one herd on top of another it seems to really light things up. sometimes a couple days after the opening weekend is when i hear the most chaos and even noted elk(or at least the bull) from a different drainage probably 1 1/2 miles away showed up and caused quite a tussle.
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