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How to Hunt Public-Land Elk with Dieter Kaboth

Day 3: Dieter Kaboth Says You May Run-Off Public Land Bulls

Editor’s Note: Dieter Kaboth of Orofino, Idaho, a member of the Hunter’s Specialties’ National Pro Staff and longtime avid elk hunter, is a four-time World Champion elk bugler. Although Kaboth has hunted elk many times on ranch land, he primarily hunts public lands. He’s called-in hundreds of elk but only has taken 52. Most of the time he’s calling-in elk for friends and family members.

Click for Larger ViewIf I go out in the early-morning hours, bugle to a bull, get an answer, and then bugle again, the next time that bull bugles, he’ll be moving away from me, nine out of 10 times. Probably that bull has cows with him and prefers to be a lover rather than a fighter. So, he’ll lead those cows away from what he believes to be another bull. He doesn’t want to get into a fight and possibly lose those lady friends he’s worked so hard to attract and collect.

Click for Larger ViewAnother reason you’ll run-off the bull you’re trying to take is because most elk hunters follow the same pattern as every other elk hunter. They’ll drive down the roads, bugle and wait to hear elk bugle-back. They assume they can cover more territory and have a better chance of finding bulls using this tactic. However, remember, more than likely, the elk already has had hunter encounters. When he hears a bugle coming from a main road, he’ll move to another location. The bull you’re calling to may have gotten into a fight recently. Whether he’s won or lost, he’s still carrying injuries and doesn’t want to aggravate them by getting into another fight. Most commonly, if a bull bugles as he’s moving away from you, he’s probably got cows he doesn’t want to share with you.

One of the ways you can get into that bull’s mind is to do what he does. Make the bull think you’re intimidated by his bugling, and start walking away from him. I’ll often run 200- to 300-yards away from a bull that’s bugling to make that bull think I’m another bull elk and believe he’s a bigger, badder bull than me, and I don’t want to fight him.

Click for Larger ViewIf I move away from the bull and start bugling, I’ll send my hunter to the bull and attempt to keep the bull bugling by staying away from him and moving back and forth, while my hunter slips-in close enough to get a shot. As my hunter moves-in closer to the bull, I’ll ask the hunter to begin to cow call. I want to create an illusion in that bull’s mind that he has run off another bull, but that the bull has left one of his cows behind, and now she’s calling to him.

Click for Larger ViewMany times as the bull comes-in, he’ll circle downwind, and the hunter may have to back-up to get a shot. By using the walk-away tactic, the bull knows: you’re not a hunter because hunters bugle and move-in; you’re not a bigger, stronger bull; you don’t want to fight because you’re moving-away from him; and you may have a cow or a small harem of cows, and for some reason, the cow you’ve left behind wants to now become part of his harem, if he’ll just come and round her up. This tactic is very productive on public lands, because it’s a strategy very few, if any, other hunters use.

PHD ElkSecrets for Hunting ElkFor more information about hunting elk, check-out the new Kindle ebooks by John E. Phillips, “PhD Elk” and “Secrets for Hunting Elk,” both available by going to and typing in the names of the books. Too, you can download a free Kindle app to read the books on your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: How to Rifle Hunt Bull Elk on Public Lands with Dieter Kaboth

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Hunt Public-Land Elk with Dieter Kaboth"

Day 1: Dieter Kaboth Explains Bowhunting Elk on Public Lands
Day 2: Dieter Kaboth on the Elk’s Keen Ability to Smell – Especially on Public Lands
Day 3: Dieter Kaboth Says You May Run-Off Public Land Bulls
Day 4: How to Rifle Hunt Bull Elk on Public Lands with Dieter Kaboth
Day 5: Hunting Pressure Makes Elk Move with Dieter Kaboth

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Entry 674, Day 3