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Hunterís Specialtiesí Pro Al Morris Wins the 2009 World Elk Calling Contest

Learning How Elk Think

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Hunter’s Specialties is extremely proud of its pro, Al Morris of Payson, Utah, who started working part time for Hunter’s Specialties in 2001 and became a full-time Hunter’s Specialties’ pro in 2005. Not only did Morris and his partner, Click to enlargeGarvin Young, win the World Coyote Calling Contest this year, but Morris recently won the 2009 World Elk Calling Contest, making him the first person to win two World Calling Contests in separate species events. Contestants in the professional division must make specific calls, such as cow and calf calls, barks, whistles, growls and screaming bugles for the judges. The World Elk Calling Championship helps raise awareness of elk habitat and the conservation initiatives of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Question: How can you know what a bull elk will do before he does it?
Morris: I’ve called in more than 3,000 elk and have lived with these animals so long that I’ve learned to read their body language. I’ve listened to their voices enough to understand what they’re going to do. For instance, Eddie Salter, a former World Champion Turkey Caller, lives with turkeys like I live with elk. So, he can tell you when a gobbler is about to come to you. There’s no way you’ll know how Eddie can tell you that. When a turkey is 300-yards away, Eddie knows when that turkey will move within gun range, because he’s watched, called and hunted turkeys for Click to enlargeyears. When I see and hear an elk 1/4- to 1/2-mile away, I can determine by his body language and voice whether or not he’ll come within gun range.Click to enlarge

Question: How can you tell from an elk’s voice that he’ll move to within gun range?
Morris: An elk’s voice changes pitch and gets what I call an eerie sound when he comes to you, and his calling becomes much-more intense. I can tell by the pitch and the tone change of an elk’s voice if he’s coming to a hunter. I’ve learned that when a bull changes the pitch in his call, I can call back to him with a fighting-cow call and usually bring him into my hunter within 10 minutes. I’ve done this on several of the Hunter’s Specialties’ elk videos. I’ve tried to learn the language of the elk, but I still don’t know what they’re saying, such as, “I love you,” “You’re bothering me,” or “Shut-up.” But I do know that I can go through my calling repertoire on Hunter’s Specialties’ calls and generally find a call that will trip the bull’s trigger and get him to come to within bow or gun range.

Tomorrow: Secrets of Elk Calling

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunterís Specialtiesí Pro Al Morris Wins the 2009 World Elk Calling Contest"

Day 1: How Al Morris Became a Calling Champion
Day 2: Al Morris’ Favorite Calls
Day 3: Calling Judges vs. Calling Elk
Day 4: Learning How Elk Think
Day 5: Secrets of Elk Calling


Entry 501, Day 4