Published August 4, 2022 5:00 p.m
Elk calls are one of the most important tools for hunters, especially in archery season. There’s nothing like hearing the pine-covered ridges come alive with loud sounds as the September sun brings life to the landscape. If your plan for 2022 is to create some sounds of your own—sounds that will hopefully land you a meeting with a bull ready to breed—you need good deer calls in your pack.
One of the biggest mistakes deer hunters make is buying a load of deer in the last town they hit before heading up the mountain, and then trying to perfect their game like talking before they hit. the camp. It won’t work. Get the best deer calls – from deer pipes to reed-style calls to diaphragms – and start learning to talk to elk now.
Things to consider before buying an Elk call
For most product categories, I encourage people to do as much research as possible before they buy. Elk calls are different because you never know which Elk call will sound best to you until you try it. Of course, you want quality calls, and the manufacturers listed below make some of the best calls available, but the sounds they make vary from call to call and caller to caller.
For example, I know a deer ninja – a guy who has won numerous competitions and is deadly at bringing bulls in archery – nearby in the woods – and he sounds terrible in a diaphragm call that I can get him to sing. On the other hand, I can’t try to save my life with the call he uses to dominate the forest and the stage.
Get a bunch of calls and start playing. You will need a good quality tailpipe and I recommend staying away from stretched pipes (very noisy) and those with reeds covering the mouth. You’re calling deer, not playing the fiddle in the high school band. Hoochie Mama is a must, and you’ll want to try a few different open bite style calls. Record yourself making your calls and hear your friends say, “Man, that sounded good.” Over the years, you will develop a strong arsenal that you will use to approach the deer.
Best Elk Bugle Pipe
Why did he make the cut: This bugle is ultra durable and sings. I have been using it in the western mountains for the past two years and have called and harvested many bulls. This tube works with all shutter dials and will help you achieve those custom notes you want to create. It projects great sounds from high-pitched growls to low, guttural grunts and growls.
- Mouth opening 1 1/2 inches
- 21 3/8-inches long
- Weighs less than 12 ounces
- Works well with all shutter dials
- Creates an even air circulation
- Includes camo cover and lanyard
A small, compact scratch tube covered in Sitka Gore Optifade Concealment Subalpine, this call sounds as good as it looks. The 1 1/2 inch mouth opening allows you to close the outside of your mouth tightly so you can channel your air into the mouth tube and create more realistic tones. The inner sound section is narrowed to provide perfect back pressure to help you achieve the right tones and sustain the high notes for a long time. This pulsing tube allows you to have realistic deer conversations and stay away from those flute-style notes that public bulls hear all the time.
The best beginner Elk call
Why did he make the cut: This is the only call you can pull out of the pack without ever practicing with it and sound like a real cow deer. There is no more direct call to action on the market, and the sounds and tones produced are authentic. I’ve finished a lot of bulls—brought them in those last few yards—by reaching into my pocket and pushing the Hoochie’s lamp down.
- 100 percent frost proof
- Fairly priced
- Lightweight and durable
- Stable and accurate sounds
- Inappropriate operation
- Adjustable barrel
- It can go at the wrong time
This hand-held deer call produces fantastic cow deer conversation; you can’t break it. All the call requires is that you point the barrel at the cow sound you’re trying to create (they’re labeled on the barrel) and slowly press the bulb (bottom) down. You can wrap your free hand around the barrel of the call to customize the sounds, but this call sounds as accurate as any I’ve ever used. A simple nudge is all it takes to create the perfect cow deer sound every time, and this call is an anxiety reliever for the beginner worried about breaking.
Best reed style cow call
Why did he make the cut: Practice this call in your truck on the way to work, in the garage when you get home, and then take it to the deer woods and you’ll understand why. The nasal, sexy-sounding call produces incredible cow chatter, especially the estrus moans that drive September and October bulls crazy.
- Super compact
- Band around the cane
- Rope with rope
- Easy to use
- Done for the elk routine
- Produces loud or soft calls
- Estrous nasal sounds
- The color makes it easy to find when it falls
Phelps knows how to make elk calls and this reed-style cow call is a great example of their dedication to helping hunters get close to bulls. Crafted from cast acrylic rod and laser engraved with the Phelps logo, this call looks as good as it sounds. With a little practice figuring out how much pressure to put on the reed to create different voices and tones, you’ll soon know how to sound like a ready-to-breed cow deer.
Best Elk Diaphragm Combo Pack
Why did he make the cut: These are three of the best bull reeds I’ve ever smoked, and Black Magic is responsible for my ability to put several strips of elk on the grill over the years. All three calls produce great bull sounds, and Black Magic and Reaper can also get some cows talking.
- Quality latex
- Fairly priced
- Come to the event
- Cover a variety of deer sounds
- Very realistic
- Latex stretches to match the purpose of each call
- The tape may break at the end of calls
A reasonably priced three-pack, these calls will create real bull and cow sounds. The Black Magic – my favorite – requires very little air to get crisp, clean bugles and quality cow chat. The Reaper is capable of ultra-aggressive scratching and you can create estrous cow sounds with it, but this will take some serious practice. Spellbound is made with double stretched latex to make roaring herd bull sounds.
Best overall Elk call
Why did he make the cut: With this call, a hunter can sound like a roasting bull or produce any cow sound imaginable.
- 90 day warranty
- Made in USA
- Quality latex
- Personal favorite of Jason Phelps
- Versatile cow/bull call
- Built to exacting specifications and standards
- Great for the competition stage or the forest
- Beginners may have difficulty mastering it
Designed and used on stage and in the woods by elk master Jason Phelps, the Phelps Signature AMP Diaphragm Elk Call produces quality bull and cow tones. You won’t find better latex and every call is built to quality control specifications. This call is the perfect option for the hunter who doesn’t want to make a bunch of shutter calls through the woods, and this call will do it all.
I live and hunt in the West, and have field tested every call mentioned above. All have been responsible for calling some deer, but as mentioned earlier, the calls that sound and work best for me may not be for you. You’ll need to invest some money and make a few phone calls to find out which ones work best for you.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What are the easiest phone calls to use?
Primos Hoochie Mama is the easiest call to use because all you have to do is push the bulb. Some bite and blow style calls can be mastered quickly as well.
Q: How far can you hear a deer call?
The distance at which you can hear a deer call depends on the call. If it’s a soft cow chatter, a few hundred yards is the best, but if a bull is tearing up on a clear, crisp mountain morning, you can hear it several thousand yards away.
Q: How do I choose a deer phone on the diaphragm?
Choose a diaphragm call by looking at calls made by a quality diaphragm manufacturer and consider reeds and latex. The easiest diaphragm calls to inflate will typically have a latex thickness of 0.003 inches. More advanced diaphragms, usually more difficult to master, will be 0.005 inches thick.
Question: What time of day do you curl up the most?
The best time of day to hunt deer depends mostly on the time of year. In early September, when the days are hot, the mornings and evenings are the best. During the peak, which occurs in mid-September, bulls can and often will move strongly throughout the day.
Few hunting experiences are as intoxicating as calling a bull on the bowstring. Do it once and you’ll be hooked for life. However, deer woods on public land are crowded, and if you’re hunting open lands for anyone, especially in an area that sells over-the-counter deer tags, your deer talk needs to be above average or you’re going to struggle. . Learn how to master the locator beam—a simple tool with no significant beginning or end—that deer use to see who’s around. Once you’ve mastered the Bugle Locator, search the Internet for videos of live cow deer calls and mimic those sounds in a shutter-style call.