Kifaru International

Elk Calling Part 1

Wildlife biologist Chris Roe owner of Roe Hunting Resources offers science-based information about animal behavior, vocalizations, and their communication on part one of our Elk calling series.

About Chris Roe

I have a degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University and—in addition to running Roe Hunting Resources—am also a managing partner of a separate wildlife management and consulting company. In this capacity, I am fortunate to be able to work on a variety of wildlife conservation and management issues ranging from routine wildlife surveys for capital development projects, to designing comprehensive wildlife and habitat management plans for large property owners. My specialty is the understanding, and utilization, of wildlife behavior to maximize the success of my wildlife and habitat management plans and projects. In addition to my wildlife expertise, I bring to the table a background in range and forest management.

As a hunter, my credentials run even deeper. Starting out as a wide-eyed kid tagging along with my uncles hunting across the farm country of Upstate New York, I have continued to hunt across the country, and credit my passion for wildlife behavior and communication as the basis of most of my success. The only hunting seasons that I missed since those early childhood days were during my assignment in Germany with the U.S. Army. This didn’t stop me from taking after-hour jaunts into the German countryside to observe and discover new aspects regarding the behavior of some of that country’s most notable big game species: the roebuck, red stag, and wild boar.

Study of Elk Vocalizations and Interactions
While knowledgeable about the habits of a variety of game species, my real passion is hunting turkey and, even more especially, elk. Over the past 20+ years, I believe I have become a leading expert in elk behavior, communication, calling, and hunting. My knowledge of elk behavior grew exponentially in the late 1990s when he served as a research field technician on the Upper Eagle River Elk Study near Vail, Colorado. For three years, he hiked Colorado’s backcountry recording the behavioral interactions of wild, free-ranging, public-land elk in their native habitat.

Study of elk biology and behavior to understand elk calls and vocalization for elk hunting Logging several thousand hours of direct observation of physical interactions between elk—from when they entered their spring calving areas, to just prior to the fall rut—I couldn’t help but be exposed to literally THOUSANDS of vocal interactions. Like a sponge, I soaked up every vocalization, interaction—and the result(s) of those vocalizations and interactions—and began to tease out what specific body positions and vocalizations meant, and how the combinations of vocalizations and body language translated into very deliberate and specific elk communication. During the fall of each of those years, I took what I had learned and applied it to my hunting efforts, with great results.

I continued my investigations into elk behavior and communication through the seasons, including winter. Throughout these years, I began to realize that elk were consistently using the same vocalizations and methods of communication regardless of whether it was early spring, the middle of summer, the peak of the rut, or the dead of winter. This shattered my previously held notion that elk use “special” vocalizations during the rut; an idea that is still being taught by many “professional elk callers” today. Study of elk behavior, communication, and calls to improve hunting success
As I continued my investigations over the years, I was able to codify certain vocalizations and behavioral characteristics of elk into what I truly believe are almost “universal truths.” These truths now form the foundation of the educational program found here at Roe Hunting Resources regarding elk behavior and communication.

Since my initial work, I have continued to follow elk through the seasons—from their summer ranges to their winter ranges—and use that ever increasing knowledge not only in my own personal elk-hunting efforts, but now bring it to you, through the resources found here at Roe Hunting Resources. This in-depth, science-based information regarding elk behavior and communication is unmatched anywhere else.


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