With so many elk calls on the market today, selecting the right elk calls from the diaphragm, external reed cow call and bugle tube can be a daunting task.
The diaphragm call is the most critical and versatile call that you can utilize in the field. There are many brands of elk calls out there to choose from, but I have found that Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls are the most realistic and easy to use calls on the market, plus, they win more World Championships than any other call.
There are two main types of diaphragms, the tone top and the palate plate diaphragm. The tone top has a rounded plastic top that fits in the roof of your mouth and the palate plate has a square metal or plastic top that also fits in the roof of your mouth. My suggestion is to purchase both varieties and see which one you like best. If you have a small mouth palate, be sure to check out my new Pursue The Wild Series, Wild Fury diaphragm or the Mini Master by Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls.
The diaphragms versatility allows you to make cow sounds as well as bull sounds in conjunction with a bugle tube. The size and shape that your bugle tube has will determine the sound range that your bugle can create. Bugle tubes come in a variety of overall tube dimensions and are designed to afford varying levels of backpressure depending on the manufacture. Backpressure is what allows you to hold those longer notes and octave changes over a greater period of time without feeling like you are running out of air.
Other options to consider are the mouth opening dimensions, the addition of the twist and turn tone selector to sound like a small, medium or large bull elk or the integration of the V.E.T.T. System or Volume Enhanced Tone Technology like found in the Wild Frenzy bugle is designed to create true, easy to obtain elk sounds.
For those of you who have a gag reflex and cannot use a diaphragm, check out the Conqueror Mouthpiece which can be used with the Select-A-Bull bugle in lieu of a diaphragm. It is easy to use, simply bite and blow to make the bugle sounds. You can still add a vocal growl with the Conqueror which keep realistic guttural sounds to your bugle.
Last but not least, the external reed cow call is great for those that have a gag reflex and cannot use a diaphragm. The external reed cow call like the Ignite-Her-Wild is designed replicate a variety of cow sounds. It is much easier for me to create high volume, pleading cow calls with the external reed than with a standard mouth diaphragm.