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RMEF: The art of elk calling



This is a contribution to from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for

You might expect a top elk caller to
focus his hunting advice on proper
call selection, volume, tone, timing or
teamwork. But the winner of the 2011
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation/
Leupold World Elk Calling Championships
says perhaps the most critical step
to calling in elk is how you set-up to
intercept an approaching bull.
Corey Jacobsen of Boise, Idaho, is the
reigning and three-time world champion
elk caller, as well as a consistently
successful bowhunter. A mechanical
engineer by trade, Jacobsen also operates
a website dedicated to elk hunting,
Jacobsen offers the following key advice
on calling elk into bow range:
“Set-up might be the most critical step.
It always plays a major role in determining
the outcome of a hunt. I can’t count
how many hunts have been blown by
a bad set-up—too much brush to shoot
through, not enough cover to hide in,
no shooting lanes, inconsistent wind
currents, caught in the open, the list
goes on and on.
“I always repeat one word to myself
when I’m setting up on a bugling bull:
“The meaning of ARC is twofold. First,
a bull will often approach your set-up
by circling downwind. I like to visualize
a straight line from the caller to the
bull, then draw an imaginary arc on
the downwind side. This is the path a
bull will likely follow as he comes in.
Always try to set up along that arc.
“The second thing ARC means to me
is ‘Always Remember Concealment.’
Elk survive by three main senses: sight,
sound and smell. Conceal yourself
from these senses every time you set
up. Set up in front of brush or trees and
allow your camouflage to break up your
outline (and give you a clearer shot
than if you’re positioned behind cover).
Clear the area where you set up. This
will eliminate the chance of snapping a
twig as you shift your weight or draw
your bow. Obey the wind! No argument,
no excuses. If the elk smells you,
the hunt is over. No amount of cover
spray, odor eliminating gear or luck
will make your scent disappear from a
bull’s nose if the wind is going straight
towards him. Keep the wind in your
favor, always!
“Hunting with a partner is an incredibly
effective way to call a bull past
your set-up and increase the chances
of getting a high-percentage shot. If
you’re the shooter, use a rangefinder
to determine distances to trees, stumps
or rocks around your set-up, thus
eliminating any guessing when the elk
shows up.
“Finally, be sure to draw your bow only
when the bull’s vision is obstructed,
when his head is turned or behind a
tree. Few things are more frustrating
than having a perfect set-up and everything
coming together, only to have it
all fall apart at the moment of truth!”
In the RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling
Championships, amateur callers
have 30 seconds to mimic cow and bull
sounds. Professional competitors like
Jacobsen are required to make specific
calls including standard bugles and cow
calls as well as breeding calls. Judges
score each competitor anonymously.
Winners in the six divisions of competition
receive prizes and cash ranging
from $500 to $2,500.
The 2012 competition is slated for Feb.
2-4 in Las Vegas.
The event helps raise awareness of
RMEF elk, habitat and conservation

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