Talking to the animals is a great fun. Some hunters can carry on a good conversation, using their calls, in the backyard, but talk too much afield. These Loudmouths simply talk too much!
Elk and Spring Turkey hunting are pretty much the same strategy. You use a Gobble call, or Bugle, to locate the Gobbler or Bull. Once you have a bead on their location, shut up and move! The goal is to get as close as you can before making any more calls.
When getting close for elk, make sure that you are down wind of the elk. The scent needs to be coming into your face. Remember that morning thermals move air uphill, as it warms, and in the evening, the opposite occurs. You can position yourself for a perfect ambush.
For Gobblers, I have found that they are easier to call uphill, same level, or down a ridge to the point. Calling them downhill, across a watershed, or across an open field never seem to pay off.
You will never beat the eyes of a turkey, or the nose of the elk. Gobblers can catch a movement faster than any other critter in the forest. An elk can smell you a mile away. For turkeys, stay still, and for elk stay downwind. You could bath in non-scent spray and still get busted.
Elk don’t mind noise. They make a lot of noise as they move. Once to about 100 yards, slow down and move easy. Use your puffer to check the wind. No calling yet.
Once you get so close that you can smell the elk, hear the elk, and can hear calls, set up. Hunt in front of a tree or cover. Weapon ready. Pick a spot where you have trails or clear shooting lanes. Now is when you call.
This is the time for a soft cow call. Throw the call in the direction that you want the bull to travel. I prefer a diaphragm call for both turkeys and elk. You can call while holding your weapon at ready. A soft set of clear chirps, or Kee Kee runs, will get the bulls attention. Now, shut up and wait!
Usually, this is when a hunter over calls. They lack patience. Let the call do its job. The cow, or hen, call needs to tell a story. The Gobbler or Bull is coming in to have sex so Be Sexy! Display a sexy attitude in the tone of your call. The soft call should be enticing. Who wants to hook with a Big Mouth, that never shuts up?
Place your decoy where you want to shoot. Hen decoys should be looking away. Cow decoys should just have a butt, no head. Face it toward where you think the bull is coming from. You need to be off to the side, and down wind of the kill zone. If you have scent, place it near the decoy, not on you!
Use your cupped hand to throw your call to the side, in the direction of the decoy. You want the bull, or gobbler, to pay attention to the decoys, not you. Call sparingly.
If you are hunting with a Buddy, place them in front of you about 50 yards. You want to see what they are doing so you can call accordingly. If the bull, or gobbler, is hanging up, mimic their calls, but no bugles or gobbles. Back up a bit and make sound in the leaves or drag branches onto a tree. If they think you are leaving, they will become the impatient ones.
Keep the decoy with you. If you need to move, hiding behind it gives you cover. Hold the decoy like a shield and move left, right, or back. Again, the no head decoy is best. Your buddy, in front, needs to be ready to shoot as the bull or gobbler focuses on you and your calls.
20 yards or less is the best range. The whole point of calling is to get them in close. Take your first best shot, then call immediately after. The Bull will stop and look back, instead of running off. A proper double lung shot will often drop the bull within 100 yards.
Now that the Bull or Gobbler is down, feel free to be a Loudmouth! You have something to celebrate.