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How to Call Bulls: Bugling vs Cow Calling

When elk hunting, it is important to know the difference between bugling and cow calling in order to call in an elk. Because both of these are emulating actual elk sounds, they will attract elk in different ways.  At Liberty Game Calls, we want you to be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible for your elk hunting trip. That's why we have put together this quick breakdown of bugling vs cow calling, and how each can be used to your advantage. Continue reading to learn more!

What Are Cow Elk?

Cow Elk  are the female elk in a herd. They typically travel in herds of six to twelve elk and can often be seen with their calf by their side. Cows are generally more docile than bulls.  During the rut, a single lead cow is the leader of the herd.  A group of cow elk accompanying a bull elk is known as a harem.  

What Are Elk Bulls?

Elk bulls are the male elk in a herd. Depending on whether the bull is a satellite bull or a herd bull, they can travel alone or in small groups and can often be seen patrolling their territory. Satellite bulls are typically younger elk that have not yet been able to establish their own harem, while herd bulls are older elk that have a harem of cows. Elk bulls can be very aggressive, especially during the rutting season. 

Estrus Calls

Speaking of rutting season, estrus calls are particularly impactful during this time of year. Estrus calls are designed to imitate the sounds that elk cows make when they are in heat. Because elk bulls are looking to mate during rutting season, these calls will attract them. Cow calling, in general, is the act of imitating the sounds that elk cows make to attract bulls. Elk cows make a variety of sounds, including bleats, grunts, and whines. These sounds are used to signal their location to bulls, as well as to let bulls know that they are ready to mate. Estrus calls can be used all year round, but they are most effective during rutting season.

How to Use Elk Bugles

Bugling is the primary way that elk communicate with each other. It is a high-pitched vocalization that elk use to attract mates, warn others of danger, or assert their dominance. The sound of a bugle is meant to imitate the sound of a bull elk challenging another bull elk for its harem of cows, that’s why they are used by hunters to attract elk. By imitating the sound of an elk bugle, hunters can bring elk in close enough for a shot. Like cow calls, this bugle can be used all season, but it is most effective during the rutting season.

Now that you know the difference between elk bugles and elk cow calls, as well as how to use each, you're ready to start planning your elk hunting trip! At Liberty Game Calls, we have a variety of elk calls that are sure to give you the edge during your hunt. Contact us today to learn more about how these calls can help!