Editor's Note: Hunter's Specialties pro Dieter Kaboth is a longtime elk hunter and caller.
During rifle season, there’s more human encroachment in the woods than at any other time of year. If you’re an elk down in a draw and suddenly hear an unusually large number of vehicles on the road and ATVs cranking-up, or you’re heading to the meadow where you’ve been eating and see four-wheelers and tents everywhere, plus campers hooping, hollering and building fires, you’ll be nervous, too. Then when you start hearing, ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ all around you, you’ll become really nervous.
I don’t want to be like all the other hunters who’ve made the elk so nervous and spooky that all these animals want to do is get away from all those noises. I start walking through the high country cow-calling. I don’t want to bugle because I’m concerned that some hunter may use his riflescope instead of his binoculars to look and see me. I always wear hunter orange. Remember that elk are herd animals, and they’ve learned that there’s safety in numbers. Pretending to be a nervous bull elk, I want the company of other elk, so I’ll have more eyes, ears and noses around me to detect danger. Therefore, the more elk sounds I can produce, the greater my odds are for calling elk to me, because I’ll sound like a herd of elk moving. Too, as I walk through the woods hunting elk, I’ll kick over rocks and break and rake limbs. Elk are big animals, and they make noises as they move through the woods. As a hunter, you’ll also make noises, but instead of sounding like a hunter, try to sound like a herd of elk.
I’ve had bulls and cows sneak up on me because they’ve wanted to be with what they think is a herd of cows. I’ve called-in many bulls through rifle season by not using a bugle at all but by simply walking through the woods, using a variety of cow calls and sounding like a herd of cow elk. I prefer Hunter’s Specialties’ Fight’n Cow call, since it produces a low, nasally tone that sounds like a mature cow. Too, I can cast that call a long way. I also can calm the call down a little and use it very subtly. With my diaphragm calls, I can sound like calves and younger cows. I’ll mix all these different cow calls into my calling program to create the illusion of a herd on the move.
In a herd of elk, there’s a hierarchy, and often the most-mature cow will lead the herd. The Hunter’s Specialties’ Fight’n Cow call sounds more like a mature cow than any other call I’ve ever used, and I’ll often blow it louder than I do the diaphragm calls, the Squeeze Me calls or any other Hunter’s Specialties’ elk call. Bulls and cows both are more inclined to follow a mature cow than they are to follow a calf or a younger cow, which is the reason for my calling sequence.
Although the Fight’n Cow call is my main call, I support it with other types of Hunter’s Specialties’ cow calls and diaphragms to give the illusion of a mature cow leading a herd of other cows. Remember, the other cow calls are important to use because in every herd, younger calves and cows are a part of the herd and also will be calling. So, I set up my calling scenario for the Fight’n Cow call to be the lead actor and the other cow calls to be the supporting cast in this play I’m presenting for the bulls.