Every September I spend nearly every day hunting over the counter elk areas on public land across the west. I encounter my fair share of eager public land elk hunters and I do my best to go the different direction and can usually have successful hunts even with other hunters in the vicinity.
However at least once a season I run into someone who likes his or her elk calls way too much and this can affect everyone hunting an area. I am in no way saying you shouldn’t call, because I call to elk all the time. Still there is such thing as calling too much and I would say overcalling is a big reason why many people aren’t successful on their elk hunts.
Elk hunting videos can be very entertaining, but the harsh reality is most of today’s mass produced videos don’t paint an accurate picture of elk hunting that the average hunter will experience. They’re filmed on private ranches where quality management and limited hunters create an environment for maximum opportunity. The point I am getting at is that these shows feature excessive calling and elk eagerly responding to the call. This will rarely be the case on public land hunts.
When it comes to public land, most times less is more. Call just enough to keep the interested and curious as you move toward them. For the most part elk don’t call excessively, so trying to emulate them is your best bet. Focus on making good elk sounds and only calling when necessary and your hunts will likely be more successful.
Zach Bowhay is a well-known outdoor writer/content producer who has years of experience in the hunting industry and brings wealth of knowledge from the field.