Editor’s Note: 36-year-old Justin Losee from Draper, Utah, has been hunting elk for 20 years and has harvested 13 elk, but he also guides for family members, friends and friends of friends. A Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for the past 5 years, his favorite Mossy Oak patterns are Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Mossy Oak Brush.
I call aggressively, I pursue the elk aggressively, and generally I want fight with an elk to know that he is cowered and to cause him to run off. To call and hunt aggressively, you have to get within 120-150 yards of the bull. I want to be in his living room. If I call to a bull, and he bugles back, he is saying, “Okay, I know you’re out there, and I’m over here. So what? You are calling from across the street, and you haven’t come to my house yet.” When I start calling to a bull, I continue to bugle to him as I’m closing the distance to him. When I’m bugling and walking to the bull’s house, I make that bull start thinking, “I’ve got to find out where my cows are and gather them up because that bull is either coming to try and steal my cows or to fight. Then I’ve got to find a place to put my cows, if that bull wants to fight.” I believe that until you get in to the bull’s house (120-150 yards from him), he is not really concerned about you. But by bugling and going straight to that bull, I will let the bull know that I’m in attack mode, and he is either going to fight me or move his cows away from me.
Most elk hunters will bugle to a bull and then switch over to cow calls to try to lure the bull within bow or gun range. I’m assuming that the bull I’m talking to already has cows, and he is not concerned with me, unless I continue to bugle and go straight to him. I want the bull to know beyond any question that I’m coming for him to fight and for me to take his cows, and that he’ll either have to fight me or run away with his cows. I also want him to know that I’m the baddest bull in the neighborhood, and I don’t intend to back down.