Friday, 24 August 2018

Summer is Almost Over: Scouting, Preparing for Fall, and Elk Calls

7:30pm free-handed through binos
Summer is ending quickly and hunting season will soon be here.  Life has a funny way of getting in the way when it comes to things like scouting and preparing for the hunting season.  At the beginning of summer I always have these grand plans to scout every other weekend and really get out there.  This year, like last year, has allowed me few weekends to prepare for the fall.  I really only managed to get out there for one and a half good days of scouting this off-season.  Once, earlier in the spring and again just this last weekend where I managed to spot a moose just at dusk.

My list to prepare for the upcoming season is long and there is little time before I head north on September 16th to try to find an elk with my father in law. Between now and then I have to:

1) Get the range at least twice more.  Once just to practice shooting skills and a second time to put a half dozen fouling shots through my rifle and confirm the zero after a final cleaning.  The first 3 shots after I clean the rifle have a very different point of impact than once it has been fouled.

2) Prepare 5-6 meals ahead of time for the trip.  We usually prepare and freeze meals before trips so that after a long day of hunting there is an easy dinner that just needs to be heated up waiting for you at camp.

3) Learn to ride a Honda 90 dirt bike.  We're considering taking a Honda 90 dirt bike with us to help get us deeper, faster, to help scout this new area we are going to.  The only trick is, I have never ridden a dirt bike before.  We're likely heading up to some trails this weekend.

4) Gear prep and packing.  There is always a lot of gear to go through and decide whether or not it will make the cut and come along or stay at home.  With the trailer, its easy to bring too much gear.  I'm going to try to keep it as light as possible this year, keeping gear to a minimum to help make setting up camp as quick and easy as possible.

5) Practice elk calling.  I've been practicing with a variety of Primos calling products.  In order, from easiest to hardest for me.

Primos Hoochie Mama Cow Elk Call

 Without a doubt, the Hoochie Mama is the easiest call.  You can adjust the length by twisting the black tip in and out to get longer notes or shorter notes.  It is simply a matter of putting your thumb over the hole in the grey bellows and squeezing.  It gives a convincing elk chirp which sounds exactly like the elk communication I heard in the Squamish River valley last winter.  Easy to use.  I hope its effective.
Primos Super Pack Elk Call Bugle

I bought this call in a pack with a DVD on elk calling, the Hoochie Mama, and a Top Pin diaphragm. After watching the DVD it is now really easy to use this call to make a convincing bull elk bugle.  The hardest part is to get to the highest register of pitch with this call, but overall, very easy to use.
Primos Money Maker Diaphragm Call
It took me several days of practice just to be able to make a noise with a diaphragm.  It really felt like I was going to gag for the first long while.  This takes tons of practice to sound good so I decided to keep the diaphragm in my car so I can practice while I am commuting.  It is easier to make bull bugles than convincing cow chirps.  The cow chirps start off well but I can't seem to be consistent about ending them on a low note.  The Hoochie Mama call is what I am trying to copy with this Diaphragm, I would say that I am 70% there.

Primos Long Range Imaka Da BullCrazy Elk Call
I have no idea how to make this one sound right.  It really seems to make a good sound at first, but then when I try to end the chirp, I just can't figure out what I am doing wrong.  I have tried gently sliding the call and tapering off my breath.  It is the hardest of all.  I am no where close to getting a good sound out of this one yet. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Lots to keep busy with until the season opens!

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