August 23, 2011
Elk Calling Champ: Follow the ‘ARC’ to Hunting Success
MISSOULA, Mont.—You might expect a top elk caller to focus his hunting advice on proper call selection, volume, tone, timing or teamwork. But the winner of the 2011 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships says perhaps the most critical step to calling in elk is how you set-up to intercept an approaching bull.
Corey Jacobsen of Boise, Idaho, is the reigning and 3-time world champion elk caller, as well as a consistently successful bowhunter. A mechanical engineer by trade, Jacobsen also operates an RMEF-sponsored website dedicated to elk hunting, www.elk101.com
The site offers many helpful hints and insights to elk hunting.
Jacobsen offers the following key advice on calling elk into bow range:
“Set-up might be the most critical step. It always plays a major role in determining the outcome of a hunt. I can’t count how many hunts have been blown by a bad set-up—too much brush to shoot through, not enough cover to hide in, no shooting lanes, inconsistent wind currents, caught in the open, the list goes on and on.
“I always repeat one word to myself when I’m setting up on a bugling bull: ARC.
“The meaning of ARC is twofold. First, a bull will often approach your set-up by circling downwind. I like to visualize a straight line from the caller to the bull, then draw an imaginary arc on the downwind side. This is the path a bull will likely follow as he comes in. Always try to set up along that arc.
“The second thing ARC means to me is ‘Always Remember Concealment.’ Elk survive by three main senses: sight, sound and smell. Conceal yourself from these senses every time you set up. Set up in front of brush or trees and allow your camouflage to break up your outline (and give you a clearer shot than if you’re positioned behind cover). Clear the area where you set up. This will eliminate the chance of snapping a twig as you shift your weight or draw your bow. Obey the wind! No argument, no excuses. If the elk smells you, the hunt is over. No amount of cover spray, odor eliminating gear or luck will make your scent disappear from a bull’s nose if the wind is going straight towards him. Keep the wind in your favor, always!
“Hunting with a partner is an incredibly effective way to call a bull past your set-up and increase the chances of getting a high-percentage shot. If you’re the shooter, use a rangefinder to determine distances to trees, stumps or rocks around your set-up, thus eliminating any guessing when the elk shows up.
“Finally, be sure to draw your bow only when the bull’s vision is obstructed, when his head is turned or behind a tree. Few things are more frustrating than having a perfect set-up and everything coming together, only to have it all fall apart at the moment of truth!”
In the RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships, amateur callers have 30 seconds to mimic cow and bull sounds. Professional competitors like Jacobsen are required to make specific calls including standard bugles and cow calls as well as breeding calls. Judges score each competitor anonymously. Winners in the six divisions of competition receive prizes and cash ranging from $500 to $2,500.
The 2012 competition is slated for Feb. 2-4 in Las Vegas.
The event helps raise awareness of RMEF elk, habitat and conservation initiatives.