Self-Taught Elk Hunter

Self-Taught Elk Hunter
Self-Taught Elk Hunter

Learning mostly by trial, Kristy Titus offers tips to get started

As a child of the Pacific Northwest and growing up hunting the great public lands of Oregon, it’s safe to say Kristy Titus’ truest outdoor passion is elk hunting.

And while she is offering her top 10 elk calling tips here, she is quick to point out there is no quick method of education for calling in that giant bull elk.

“It’s almost all trial-and-error, self-taught stuff,” she said recently while traveling from an elk hunt in Colorado. “I’ve messed up a lot, but I found out early on that is the best way to learn. It’s a thing where you try something and it doesn’t work … ‘Oops. I won’t do that again.’”

However, she said, no two hunts – like no two elk – are ever exactly alike.


“Every elk is going to react differently,” Titus said. “Whether it’s because of the moon phase or the weather conditions or the herd’s mood … it’s always going to be different.


“I try to tell people: There’s no right way, there’s no wrong way. You have to plan your hunt strategy off the information you have at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. I believe that cow-calf communication is the best way to make the most of your time investment. And there are many hunts where I never bugle once. If that bull doesn’t like what he’s hearing, he’s picking up his cows and leaving.


“Gaining experience is best way to try to predict how they will react.”

The key to any successful elk hunt is not calling, Titus said, but the wind and using it to your advantage.

“Wind is always the most critical factor. Always,” she said. “If they smell you, boom, it’s over. If a few of the elk see you but don’t smell you, you still have a good chance at a successful stalk or call setup. You have to work with the wind.”


Titus has appeared on several outdoor television shows, and in 2010 hosted Lethal with Kristy Titus on the Pursuit Channel. Her website is pursuethewild.com.

With some last-minute urging last year from her friend Rocky Jacobsen of Bugling Bull Game Calls – now Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls -- Titus entered the World Elk Calling Championships in Las Vegas with a borrowed bugle and a diaphragm new from the package. Even though she was a little rusty, as she had not picked up a bugle in several months, she took second place in the women’s open division.

Titus said she uses Jacobsen’s calls exclusively.


“I have no [contract] with them, but I endorse Rocky’s calls because I believe in them,” she said. “I’ve found that they work for me, and that’s what everyone has to do. There are a ton of different calls – different sizes, different sounds – but you have to find what’s best for you.”

Titus said she recently returned to the mountains after the conclusion of Oregon’s archery elk season, simply to continue the ongoing process of honing her elk calling skills.

“I just went back up to the mountains to play with them a little bit,” she said. “Just calling and listening. Learning how they react to different calls and different sounds. It’s all about gaining experience, because you can never have enough.”


Click image for photos and tips from Kristy Titus 


Recommended for You

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and learn a new baiting technique. Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...

Perfect for competition or a day at the range. Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Stories

More Stories

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles were most popular with our readers. Stories

Game & Fish's Top 10 Stories of 2018

G&F Online Staff - December 24, 2018

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles...

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust. Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×