John's Journal...

Get in Close to Monster Bull Elk with Your Bow with Randy Ulmer

Why Stalking Instead of Calling

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: In the world of archery, Randy Ulmer of Arizona is one of the most-recognized namesClick to enlarge in the history of competition shooting. But Ulmer is more than a tournament-archery pro. He’s used his tournament skills to become one of the most- efficient and accurate trophy elk hunters. This week Ulmer will help you learn how toget in close to a big bull elk with a bow.

Although Randy Ulmer may bugle to elks early in the morning to determine their location, he seldom deliberately calls an elk to him. He prefers to stalk in close for the shot. "Trophy bull elk are old bulls," Ulmer explains. "These big, 7- to 12-year-old big bulls I hunt have survived many hunting seasons. BecauseI've hunted elk for years, I usually can distinguish between a hunter's calling and a bull's or a cow's call. I believe an old bull can tell better than a young bull the call of a hunter from another elk. I think older bulls take the position that they don't know whether they hear a hunter or an elk, but they won't risk getting too close to find out. I've found often these older bulls will avoid any type of calling."

Ulmer also knows when you call to animals, they come in looking for you. ThClick to enlargeen the elk can spot you easier. Ulmer doesn't want the elk he hunts to look for or expect any type of movement. His entire stalking techniqClick to enlargeue depends on the animal's not seeing, smelling or hearing him. "I will bugle sometimes early in the morning before daylight," Ulmer emphasizes. "I believe the old bulls don't gather harems asfrequently as young bulls. These nomadic, big bulls must travel the countryside hoping to find a receptive cow." Ulmer has learned that these older-age-class trophy bulls travel at night listening for clustered bugling. "When more than two bulls bugle in an area, the older bull will come to this location because he knows a cow has entered into or just come out of heat," Ulmer says. "If I hear a large number of bugling bulls, I believe I'll find an older, bigger bull moving in to breed the cow. This older bull doesn't necessarily stay with the harem waiting for a cow to come into heat. He lets the other bulls announce where they've discovered the hot cow. Because of his size and strength, he can move into the harem and breed the estrous cow. Therefore I go to areas where I hear clustered bugling because I think the old bull will move to the same place. He plans to meet the cows, and I want to meet him."

Tomorrow: How to Take the Trophy Bull

Check back each day this week for more about "Get in Close to Monster Bull Elk with Your Bow with Randy Ulmer"

Day 1: Randy Ulmer’s Day of Elk Hunting
Day 2: Why Stalk in Your Stockings
Day 3: How Randy Ulmer Bags the Bull
Day 4: Why Stalking Instead of Calling
Day 5: How to Take the Trophy Bull


Entry 467, Day 4