Early season Shiras calling?

BigPig

Very Active Member
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2,591
Has anyone had any luck at all calling prior to say 9/20 or so? Of course I’m not talking about calling and getting a bull to come charging in early in Sept, but will they maybe grunt back or anything that might reveal a location? Is it worth calling at all? Or could that do more harm that good?
 

jims

Long Time Member
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3,111
I guess a lot depends upon the area you are hunting but where I hunted in the Bighorns the bulls don't hole up in deep dark areas compared to possibly other regions in Wyo where there is deep, dark timber. The shiras I hunted in Wyo were on the run searching and smelling cows the day after they shed their velvet! I watched and called in a gob of bulls early. They would search for a cow.....go up and smell them....and head on to another cow. Once cows go into estrous the same bull will likely stay with the cow.

When bulls are on the move searching for cows they are more than willing to come into calls. I do more cow calling and whacking branches on trees than bull grunting. Bulls can hear cow calls and branch snapping a lot further than bull grunts. Sometimes it may take a while for them to travel because they can hear these from long distance. If you think about it, a bull's antlers are almost like a mega-phone bringing sound to their ears...and they have excellent hearing!

With that said, a lot depends on the area you are hunting, weather, etc. Moose don't like hot weather so that may slow down the rut and their activity. Cooler weather may prompt them to start searching for cows! My preference is to hunt them early when they are mobile vs trying to find them when they are less mobile staying with an estrous cow. Obviously once a cow is bred the bull will be looking for another cow.

I certainly wish my season would have started earlier because I saw bulls all summer long in the same areas. Once they shed their velvet they totally moved miles from where they hung out all summer. I knew this was going to happen and luckily I knew approximately which directions they moved. It was super important to take advantage when you saw them after they shed velvet because they could be 5 to 10 miles away the next day.
 

BigPig

Very Active Member
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2,591
Thanks. That’s great advice. I’m hunting central ID so there’s plenty of timber and thick willow drainages for them to hide and that’s what it seems is happening so far. The only bulls seen so far are two small ones and only their heads were sticking out of the willows. Seen a few cows and plenty of sign tho. And it’s been really hot. In the 80’s. Having a hard time digging one out, but I know they are around somewhere.

I was hoping to have a nice bull found by now so I could get on him in the predictable summer pattern once the season started, but the odds of that happening are starting to run slim. That’s why I was wondering if and when I should try some pre rut calling. Just trying to get a bull to give himself away at this stage.
 

jims

Long Time Member
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3,111
It’s tough when hot and they have cool places to hang out. Possibly look for sign and call on the fringes in those areas.
 

yotebuster17

Active Member
Messages
197
I haven’t had the best of luck calling in shiras ever, let alone early. I would figure out places you can glass early and late, or let the leaves fall off and do the same then. Won’t hurt to call, I’ve just found they tend to lay there and not bother with coming in.
 

Battlewagon

Member
Messages
5
The bull I killed in ID in November was found by responding to grunting Sept. 1. He went MIA throughout Sept. and Oct. Showed back up in exact same spot on Nov. 14.
 

nontypical

Long Time Member
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3,555
Absolutely. Horny bulls will come running. I called one within bow range the first time I ever tried calling. He changed course and came in on a string straight uphill. It was his lucky day as he was a younger bull. I have since called others while not hunting and gotten immediate response from them. Don't give up on the tactic. It works.
 

hawkbill

Very Active Member
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2,395
Nothing is going to come to your calls when it’s been pushing 90 to 95 degrees for the last month. It’s to early to be calling, the Bulls are still hanging together. For me the best time to call is when the Bull and Cows are together, you can get some really hot action, Sept 25 thru Oct. 20, enjoy you have a very long season.
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jims

Long Time Member
Messages
3,111
I really think once it cools down a bit and bulls start wandering smelling a cow here and a cow there is about the easiest time to call them in with cow calls. They can hear cow calls for a mile while bull grunts only shorter distance.

Once bulls are on an estrous cow they stay with them and you have to literally go out and find them rather than having them come to you. Obviously once a cow is bred the bulls are wandering trying to find another cow.

I called in around a dozen bulls on my shiras hunt. Every one of them was with cow calls and whacking/rubbing trees. Once they got close bull grunts plus branch rubbing got them to come in closer.

Find fresh sign or cow moose and try what I mentioned above.
 

nontypical

Long Time Member
Messages
3,555
If you haven't been calling because someone said it wouldn't do you any good before Sept 20...you are missing out big time. Hopefully you've been calling. Bulls are ACTIVELY with cows here in Wyoming, and have been for at least the last 10 days.
 

Zeke

Long Time Member
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9,952
Agreed!

They've been trolling for cows for a week+ or more down here in Utah.
Almost every cow has some size of a bull hanging around them as we speak.
It's darn sure not too early to call now!

The last bull I called in, while actually hunting, was up on a ridge in Wyoming and we could hear it walking around above us but couldn't see it. That thing came on a string to cow calls and poked his head around the bush at 13 yards. Yep, good enough and one arrow later, he never made it out of sight. He made B&C awards and P&Y.

Good luck to all who have a tag in their pocket!

Zeke
 

Silentstalker

Very Active Member
Messages
2,946
I called in multiple bulls this week on my hunt. They are actively looking for a fight! Grunting and raking with an old dried out scapula brings them in close!
 

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