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Episode 14

Ups and Downs of Elk

We're back in New Mexico, and joining us is Outdoor Channel's Mitch Petrie. This year's rut is full of highs, lows and good times!

Talking Points

  • Wilbur uses a combination of the Bullet Bugle and the Mewie Grande to call in these elk. 
  • Our Drop Back Caller strategy is the key to this week's sucess. 

Episode In Depth

This week on Primos TRUTH About Hunting we are in New Mexico at our favorite spot to chase Elk. Mitch Petrie from the Outdoor Channel joins the crew, in search of his first elk. Brad & Will came from Colorado where they had a tough time getting on Elk, so Cousin Jimmy decided he needed to come along and make sure some elk hit the ground!
Mitch had his chances throughout the week with multiple close calls and one arrow that harmlessly sailed under the belly of a good bull! Brad is up to bat next, and he is covered up!  Troy and Will are calling, and it doesn’t take long for him to send a Gold Tip right in a mature bull!
Elk hunting is often equipment intensive and having the right tools is very important! There are few things that compare to calling in a giant herd bull, and here are a few tips to help you!
The Dropback Caller technique for calling Elk was discovered back in 1980s by Will and his good friend David Cardin. They were struggling to get bulls to commit the last 50-100 yards when the caller would sit right next to the shooter. At the time  David started backing up, and the light switch flipped! As the bull walked right past Wilbur at 10 yards, in search of the cow further back in the timber, he drew and finally connected!
From that morning almost 40 years ago, Team Primos has been perfecting the art of the drop back caller technique and here are a few tips that will help make you successful!

1. Distance, Cover and Topography: This is one of the most critical aspects when calling elk using this technique. The whole foundation of the strategy is to get the elk to walk by the shooter without having a clue he is there. The magic distance for the caller to drop back is between 100-150 yards. The type of cover & topography you’re hunting also plays a role in the game. If it’s really thick, you won’t have to drop back quite as far because the elk will have to come searching for the sound, and he knows that he’ll have to get close in order to find that cow he hears. It’s also beneficial when you have some relief to work with when calling. If there is a hill or rise you can get behind it makes calling them much easier, as you can move around to position the bull without being seen. It again makes the elk have to come up over the rise to see what he’s hearing.

2. Movement & Placement: A caller that can move around, and position the hunter in between him and the elk is a skill that’s not learned overnight but it’s one of the most important aspects to this technique. Bulls don’t often come in a straight line, and it’s the callers job to get that bull to come right past the shooter. Wind is a big factor in this, especially if you are calling using a crosswind. The last thing you want to do as a caller is bring a bull downwind of the shooter, but rather move behind and to the upwind side so the elk doesn’t smell his fate! By adding that magic 100-150 yards, the caller can move around better without behind seen and if the elk starts to drift to one side or the other, he can move to keep the shooter situated right in the middle.

3. Best  Calls: There are many calls that work, but team Primos always has a few go to calls that help seal the deal in crunch time!
Mewie Grande
This call was actually built using the guts of the Baby Hoochie, and it has found it’s spot in the Bow Vest of the entire team. It’s extremely small, and produces very realistic mews with its open reed design. It’s very versatile, in that you can get really loud mews or cut back and get really subtle chirps.
Hyper Lip Single
This has been a favorite call for many years for Team Primos. It hands down creates the most realistic cow elk sounds plain and simple. It comes with a Tone Converter which helps muffle the sound, and when it’s removed it creates a loud high pitched call that can be heard for hundreds of yards
Bullet Bugle
The Bullet Bugle is a compact bugle tube built with the blue reed system. The blue reed is one of the easiest ways to quickly learn to reproduce the bugle of a bull elk. Not only is it easy to learn, but the sound it produces can vary from a loud “in your face” challenge bugle to the broken whine of a young bull. 
Top Pin
One mistake many new elk hunters make is not keeping a diaphragm call in their mouth when a bull is coming in, even though they aren’t calling. It’s critical to be able to make a quick mew to stop the bull as he walks past, similar to “mehhing” at a deer. The Top Pin is one of the easiest diaphragm calls to create both mews and bugles. It’s also important to have a diaphragm call in your mouth for after the shot. After you shoot a bull, you can cow call and bugle at him, and many times the Elk will stop, listen and fall over dead! Making your tracking job that much easier!