Editor’s Note: Scott McGann from Emmett, Idaho, is part of the Mossy Oak Western States’ Big Game Pro Staff. “My wife, Kami, and I are both on the Mossy Oak Big Game Pro Staff and have been for 9 years,” McGann says. “At the beginning of elk season, I do the calling, and Kami does the shooting. Once Kami fills her elk tag, I get to hunt.” Together this team has taken 17 elk. Kami has been bowhunting for 8 years and has harvested four elk. Scott has been hunting 25 years and has harvested 13 bulls.
If I can find a bull to hunt, I'm convinced I can call him. Now having said that, let me also explain that I haven’t called in every bull I've ever found. I exclusively use Bugling Bull Game Calls that I get from Rockie Jacobsen. Recently the company has changed its name to Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls and Supplies. I think those calls are the very best elk calls on the market today.
My go-to call when I get a bull in really close is a call that some people call the hyper hot, but it’s really a whiny estrous cow call. I've used that call several times and had bulls come charging in to me. When I've been hunting with friends, I've blown that call several times. They’ll usually say, “Why do you use that call? It doesn’t even sound like an elk.” I always tell them, “Trust me. When a cow is in heat, she’ll make that sound.”
I put on a hunt every year with the Hunt of a Lifetime. I'm the West Idaho chairman for the Hunt of a Lifetime organization. We take youngsters with life-threatening illnesses on their elk hunts of a lifetime. About 5-years ago, on one of these Hunt of a Lifetime hunts, my hunting partner, who had heard me give me that whiny estrous cow call, was with me. We were watching a herd of elk down in a canyon. For some reason, one of those cows in the herd must have just gone into estrus, and she gave that hyper hot whiny sound like the sound I make. My partner looked at me and said, “Holy cow! There’s that weird sound (elk call) that you do.” I smiled and answered, “Yep. I told you that when a cow elk comes in estrus she gives this sound.” Five other elk hunters were sitting on the side of a mountain with us, and they heard that cow give that estrous call. Every one of them looked like they’d been hit by lightning. They looked at me and said, “You really do know how to call elk, don’t you?”
We appreciate how the Idaho Game and Fish Commission allows us to hunt in any unit that we want to hunt in for these Hunts of a Lifetime. They allow us to take these kids to that unit to try and call them in elk. We have a ranch close to where I live that is in a controlled hunting unit that homes one of the best herd of elk in Idaho. This area is a trophy draw unit. We get to take those special kids in that area to call in big elk for them. The hunt is a lot of fun for me and my buddies, because we get to help these kids hunt in the best unit in Idaho. Even though we don’t pull the trigger, we get to call bulls in for these special hunters. So far, our chapter of Hunt of a Lifetime has been 100 percent successful on calling in elk for these special kids.
Usually, we only take one youngster per year on a hunt. The State of Idaho gives out five elk tags for the entire state that we can use to take five youngsters hunting. However, this year our chapter had two youngsters from Louisiana - 11-year old David and 14-year old Cassidy - who had met 3 years ago at St. Jude Hospital in Tennessee when they were in cancer treatment together. They had heard about the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation and wanted to go on a Hunt of a Lifetime together. So, the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation called and asked me, “Would you be willing to take these two youngsters together on a hunt of their lifetimes?” My answer was, “Absolutely.” But unfortunately, both children fell ill again with their cancer at the same time they were supposed to go on this hunt. So, neither one of them could make it. Their hunt was postponed from 2013 to 2014. But last year when they were supposed to have hunted with us, St. Jude wouldn’t release them, because they were still undergoing cancer treatment. But this year, 2015, both youngsters came out at the first of October, and we had a great time with them.
David is being raised by a single mom with no dad involved in his life. Cassidy is being raised by her grandmother, because her mom and dad aren’t involved in her life. So, we had David, Cassidy, a mom, a grandmother and six guides all hunting together. We had 10 people sitting on the mountainside when Cassidy took her elk at 162 yards. Her bull was a really-nice 6x6 herd bull. David shot his bull – a 6x6 at 65 yards with a .308 rifle.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack and recipes for cooking elk and mule deer, you can download free books from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.