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Scenario 4

While still-hunting along a high mountain bench you come across a muddy wallow and fresh elk sign. The area reeks of rutting elk. What would you do?


Danny Moore

I would bugle first to see if a bull is still in the area. If I have no results, I would set up a trail cam and try to find out what time(s) the wallow was used, size of bull etc. NOTE: Trail cams cannot be used in MT when the season is open.


Paul Medel

Lots of options here! I would log this spot down in memory or GPS/Map for sure. Great ambush site for future elk hunting in the days ahead! But 1st I'd get back to 50 yards & scream a course type short location bugle wanting to know if anything was around. We've had bulls come thundering in at this! If nothing, proceed to the wallow and beat around splashing (light to fairly violent) with a stick & do some raking, some pants, and another good scream. All of this should last no more than 5-6 minutes. Then I would walk off 50-60 yards and give another scream as if I was leaving then get back over there & setup with no more calling! If early in the morning I'd stay aprox an hour, if midday then 2-3 hours, if 2-3 hours before dark, I'd stay till dark! It's possible a bull could have sounded off at a reasonable distance from my 1st bugle and if so, I'd play it by ear. There's a good chance I'd go right at him!


Paul Medel II

With this you would have two options. If I have a lot of time on my hands I would find a good spot down wind from the main trail coming in and wait it out. Maybe even for a few days. If I don't have a lot of time I would create a lot of noise in and around the wallow and do some threatening bugles trying to make it sound like another bull has moved into the area. This should get a response if the sign is really fresh. From there I would stay with bugles and try to really piss off the other bull. Elk are territorial and this should provoke a reaction from the herd bull.


Al Morris

That is one of the greatest signs that elk are living right there, right now. I usually get a long branch and start raking and ripping the wallow. I cant tell you how many bulls-and cows I get to run into a wallow area just by sounding like an elk in the wallow. If that doesn't get a response, I then do a calling, or rattling sequence to see if I have a bull willing to reveal his location in proximity to the wallow. If there are no close elk, I move on but I will check a hot wallow two or three times a day if my loop on the mountain makes that possible.


Corey Jacobsen

I don't have a lot of patience for just sitting at a wallow unless I know exactly when they're coming in (via trail camera). I like to be more active/aggressive and follow them with the hopes of making something happen sooner than later. If I know where they're bedding, I'll work my way up to their bedding area, trying to get a response and working them from there. If not, I'll follow their trail, giving out a location bugle every few minutes until I can get a response. Being aggressive certainly isn't the best option in every case, but I've found that it does create more opportunities, and the thrill of calling the bulls in definitely outweighs the other options in my book!


Rob Sherman

First thing I would do is go into my calling sequence.  I always start out passive and increase intensity as I go along.  If a bull is close, I don't want to blow him out of there.  I start out with cow/calf mews.  If this doesn't get a response, then I'll give a few small bull squeals.  If I still haven't got his attention, then I'll hit some full bugles and grunts, along with some tree raking.  Regardless of which calls I use, I vary the cadence and intensity.  I am a firm believer that the more emotion I put into my calls, the more apt I am to get the desired results...a bull that commits.  If none of this works, then I would put up my treestand over the wallow or on the main trail leading to the wallow, whichever gave me the best set up.   

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