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Chris’s Philosophy on Calling Strategies

While I count myself blessed in where I live and in the opportunities I’ve had so far, traditionally I was never one of those people who is able to hunt multiple states every year and take off multiple weeks to go hunting somewhere.  For the bulk of my life - and over most of my hunting experience - I was limited to after-school forays a couple of times a season (in Upstate New York and Wisconsin), or maybe a weekend here or there (while in Washington State during the military, or during my early years in Colorado).  Excluding the season I spent as an elk guide for a licensed outfitter in 2000 (where I spent a whopping ONE DAY hunting for myself), it wasn’t until I started my own business back in 2001 that I was finally able to starting taking "a whole week off" to go hunting.

And like many of you, most of the hunting opportunities I’ve had have been limited to public land, in what we here in Colorado call “Over the Counter” units, meaning that ANYONE can go to a license agent, buy a license, and go hunt.  While it’s great that I can do that, and that I can hunt for a variety of species, here in Colorado a LOT of folks enjoy that opportunity!  If I’m not mistaken, Colorado hosts the greatest number of hunters per acre on public land of any western state.

Given these limitations on my time and on the places where I could hunt, I wanted to maximize my success.  But running around the hills just calling a lot - while successful from time to time - often ended up with me calling in more hunters than animals.  Worse yet, when I got elk or turkeys fired up and bugling or gobbling a bunch - while it was definitely a blast - it also broadcast to the world where the animals were.  Ultimately, it ended up putting more hunters in my spots than animals on the ground, with all the extra hunters in my area spooking the very animals I had worked so hard to find.

For one reason or another, I’ve always been able to find animals wherever I’ve hunted.  Maybe it’s been my background in wildlife biology and my knowledge of habitat.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky.  In the early years, the trick wasn’t FINDING animals, it was getting one on the GROUND, and a tag filled before all the other hunters found my spots and messed me up.  Early on, I started to develop a philosophy that if I could locate an animal, slip in quietly, and work it in a way that WOULDN’T get it fired up to the point of bugling or gobbling too much - if I could simply tell an animal what it needed to hear to come in nice and quietly, or at least QUICKLY - I could fill more tags in less time, without “educating” all the hunters around me.

Using the information and knowledge I gained from elk studies and other learning experiences - which I share in the Instructional Video Series - I started to perfect my “stealth” philosophy, and gradually came to realize great success.  Not only was I filling more elk tags, but I was finding little hidey-holes that were productive, year after year.  SCORE!!!  To a large extent, the same goes for turkey hunting.

Today, I’m committed to the philosophy of using very specific strategies, with highly TARGETED vocalizations, to call in elk with the LEAST amount of calling from ME as WELL as from the animal.  While some may construe that as meaning I’m an elk hunter who relies largely upon listening and “spot and stalk”, that isn’t the case at all.  I believe that in MOST cases, elk - properly approached and called to - can be called in for a shot by the SAME person who will do the shooting!  I almost always call in my OWN animals for the shot.  I’m not stalking or ambushing them, and I’m not relying on a team of friends calling behind me.  For turkeys, it's just the same.

For other critters - or in cases where the animal I’m calling to is going to be vocalizing a bunch - my philosophy is, “Get ‘em in as fast as you can, and if possible, get ‘em in on the first try!”  While that probably sounds like what MOST people want to do, I strive to make sure that whatever set-up I choose, whatever calling sequences I make, and whatever vocalizations I use, they’re TARGETED, and geared specifically toward that end.  I take my hunting seriously; on public land, very rarely am I afforded an opportunity to “mess around.” 

For me, I try to make sure that I "...Make the Right Call" in every opportunity that presents itself.

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