I often get the question- "When do you use an external cow call"?
I use elk calls from the archery elk season opener, to the last day of rifle season. To me, elk hunting is elk calling. I use diaphragm elk calls throughout the year 90% of the time. The other 10%, I'm blowing an external reed cow call. You may ask; why? Here's my take.....
I view every elk calling encounter, as an experiment. I am experimenting with what elk sounds and particular calls, that particular bull reacts to. Once I find which vocalization the bull reacts to favorably, I continue to feed him those sounds.
If you've hunted elk very many times, you know some bulls are just hard to reach. The next scenarios can make a difference in your elk hunt:
Scenario 1 Locating bull elk.
I'm trying to locate a bull from a ridge top. So I test the waters with diaphragm cow calls, and bugles. No answer, or I get a weak half hearted response? I introduce the "Double D" open reed cow call which has a different tone and BAM! The bull answers, or he perks up from his previous lazy bugles. Something about that sound has peaked his interest. Maybe it sounds just like Ol' Betty Lou from last September that he made a couple beautiful elk calve with!
Scenario 2 Fire that bull up!
I've located a bull, and I have closed the gap to him and set up. He's just not answering my diaphragm calls with much interest though. Times like these, I mix in the "Double D". There's something about the tone of an external that can sometimes move the needle for bulls. Introducing that new sound can kick that bulls responses into high gear. I've had it excite a bull tremendously, to the point where he comes in screaming the whole way to me. Hello Betty Lou!!!!!!
Scenario 3 "I cant use elk diaphragms" :(
External Cow calls can take a little practice to master, and diaphragms take even more. For those folks who have a narrow or deep pallet that can't use a diaphragm, or they just can't get past the tickle or gag reflex, externals are a great option. Though they aren't hands free like an elk diaphragm, open reeds are capable of making deliciously accurate elk vocalizations and are appropriate for calling elk during any month of the season.
We currently manufacture two sizes of external ell calls. The original EZE Estrus, and the smaller version- "Double D" MiniX. They are both made in wood and a variety of colors. Our calls are extensively tested in the elk woods, and we're sure you will be pleased with the natural tones they are capable of reproducing.
Author- Dirk Durham
Want to learn how to use elk calls better? Check out the how to use external cow calls video.