Editor’s Note: Steve Byers of Delta, Colorado, has been talking to elk and hunting elk since he was 3-years old and began cow calling to elk with his natural voice at age 5. But by the time he turned 13, his voice changed, and he started using diaphragm calls and bugles. Much of Byers’ knowledge and training in the art of elk hunting came from his dad.
I’m almost 50-years old, and I started elk hunting with my dad 45 years ago. Today, I still mix in a little bit of cow calling with my natural voice when I’m using a diaphragm cow call. Besides cow calls, I can chirp and bugle with my natural voice. But to be honest, my natural voice isn’t very good at bugling.
I’m somewhat different from most elk hunters when it comes to camo patterns. I prefer to wear Mossy Oak Brush (https://store.mossyoak.com/camo-patterns/brush). Mossy Oak Brush is a very-open pattern, and I hunt open country and numbers of sagebrush flats. One minute I may be out in the sagebrush, and the next minute I may be in oak brush. Then, the elk may move into the aspens. So, I need great versatility in the camo pattern I use. I like the fact that Brush doesn’t have a lot of dark shadows in the pattern, since I feel there are enough shadows and shades in the places I hunt. As an elk hunter, I tend to stay in the shadows when I’m hunting.
I have a guide service called Bullseye Bowhunting (http://www.bullseyebowhunt.com). We hunt in western Colorado in Units 62, 64 and 30. I take about eight bowhunters every year. My very first bow was a hand-me-down from my dad, a Bear Polar 66-inch recurve bow. I started shooting that bow when I was about 4-feet tall. Because of the size of the bow, and since I was so little, I couldn’t shoot it upright. I had to cant the bow and learn to shoot like that. But I shot that bow until I was a teenager. Every bow that my dad gave me was a left-handed bow, because my dad was left handed. I shot left-handed, until I was about 16. Then because I’m right-handed, I switched over to a right-handed bow.
Right now, I’m shooting a right-handed PSE bow. I have three teenaged sons, and when they can’t find their bows, they get my bow.
You can read John E. Phillips’ latest book on hunting elk, “Elk – Keys to 25 Hunters’ Success” and learn more at https://www.amazon.com/Elk-Keys-25-Hunters-Success-ebook/dp/B07F3CNTX2 for Kindle and print book versions. You can see John’s other elk books at http://johninthewild.com/books#elk. You can download a free app to enable you to read this book on your computer or your tablet. You also can download a free book, “Miz Denise’s Outdoor Cooking – More than 35 Recipes for Elk and Mule Deer,” at https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/rtJ6fD5m97CYhMXd. For free elk recipes, visit http://johninthewild.com/free-books/.