Calling and Decoying Elk

Oct 29 , 2020


Tom Diesing

Calling and Decoying Elk

The Calming Effect


For the first 20 years of my bow hunting career I never used or carried any sort of decoy in my backpack. Looking back on all those hunts there are countless times I lost elk within that 60 to 70 yard distance. They would hang up and freeze, eyes fixated on the spot the call came from. They were high on alert and in a matter of seconds gone and never to be seen again. Seeing is believing when it comes to elk calling especially inside of 70 yards. I always caution hunters that take my classes to be very careful and limit your calling inside that 70-yard range. Elk have an uncanny way of pin pointing exactly where a call is coming from at 70 yards and under. Inside this distance, if they hear a call they want to see an elk! When they do not see an elk they become very focused, tense and high on alert. You can see it in their body language and typically at this juncture of a hunt the elk is gone in a minute or less. I typically tell people if an elk is doing what you want him to do inside of 70 yards then let him walk in quietly, don’t give your position away. The problem with this is sometimes they get bored and veer off in another direction. Since I started using decoys 12 years ago things have changed a bit with this scenario. I still do not call a ton inside of 70 yards but I do when I have to. If a bull is getting bored, I will redirect him with a cow call.  He still snaps his head up fast trying to pinpoint my location, but now he looks past me and sees a cow elk standing there. This my friends is a game changer! He gets the validation he is looking for “I heard an elk and I see an elk”. You can actually see him relax through his body language I call it “The Calming Effect”. All of a sudden, a bull goes from high on alert to putting his head down, looking away, nibbling on some grass as he walks towards the decoy.  The bulls focus becomes the decoy this gives a bow hunter time and more opportunity to draw your bow without being detected.  In my experience, “The Calming Effect” is worth its weight in Gold!  I typically use the Montana Decoy’s but there are some great ones on the market. Check them out! A decoy is a great thing to add to your elk-hunting bag of tricks!


Keep’em Sharp

Tom Diesing – Mile High Note Game Calls

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