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Jim Zumbo’s E-Z Cow Call Review

When you have made a critical mistake in elk country and have really blown it, you find how unforgiving elk can be. Maybe intolerant is a better word, but nonetheless elk will vacate an area in grand style when something sets them off. Unlike the whitetail that will rarely leave a small core home range (small being a relative term), elk can leave the county before stopping or returning to a disturbed area. When all get-out breaks loose and your hard work seems to be slipping through your fingers, there can be some salvation in being prepared with a simple tool that has proven to stop a retreat before all is lost.

In name, a cow call is not all that it implies. It is not a “cow call” per se but an audible piece to elk that mimics the cow elk’s natural communication with other elk and calves. Cow talk is a very real thing and the life blood of the herd as they try to move as a unit in some of the thickest and most challenging country on the planet. Thus elk, both male and female, are sensitive to communication from other elk and will almost always respond to that communication in one way or another. Not to say that blowing a cow call will get a cow elk to respond with a bleat or mew back at you, but it will invoke some response if only in the form of a quick look, a slowing of retreat or even a complete stop from a dead run. This can be of immense value when elk hunting and needing just a few extra seconds to get a shot off.

Authors wife shoots elk while using zumbo cow call

The E-Z Cow Call by elk hunting legend Jim Zumbo is just the tool to have, not only in your arsenal but gripped firmly between your teeth when you penetrate those elk strongholds. The name of the call is perfect, E-Z, as I am not sure that cow calls get any easier to use than this call. A very small profile plastic construction that utilizes a rubber band and clamping pressure from your teeth allows most any novice to talk like a cow elk.

I have been using this call for over a decade and have owed four or five of them in that span. The call is very light weight, durable and easily concealed and cleaned. Many folks cannot tolerate a reed call thus the E-Z Cow Call is an excellent alternative. Cream in color, it may not match your camo attire, but it certainly makes up for it in its usefulness. What I like even more than the style, design and ease of use, is that elk communicate with cow talk 365 days per year, that is not true of bugling which is where many hunters invest in communicating with elk. It is a fact that pressured elk can and will avoid bugling, but will always have the need to communicate.

The E-Z Cow Call has served me well in not only hunting situations, but as an outdoor photographer as well. Fleeting shots were not a norm for me when doing wildlife photography as most were done with animals that were in a slightly more controlled environment such as a National Park, but as any good photographer knows you need to have correct angles and poses to have a real “seller”. The use of the cow call has handily prompted the looks and turns needed to get those shots.

When it comes to hunting, on more than one occasion I have been able to stop a fleeing herd of elk with some cow calling technique; on others the call soothed the jittery group into staying put long enough to work a hunter into position for a shot. I was fortunate enough to get personal one-on-one training on using the call from Jim many years ago at the Sports Expo in Denver, where the Zumbo’s religiously manned their booth and developed relationships with the hunting community. I quickly learned that while I was making the calls correctly in pitch, that I was overdoing the volume by leaps and bounds. Jim suggested that I likely sounded like the biggest cow in the forest and directed my volume level to where it should be. I immediately saw the impact when I hit the high country on my next scouting trip. By dropping my effort in what seemed to be trying to bring in elk from Wyoming to Colorado with a cow call, my success in communicating went up.

I have used the E-Z Cow Call in so many different scenarios with success that endorsing it with a huge thumbs up is a no brainer. This call has been extremely useful to me as a guide, in my personal photography, as a Photography Professor at my local College, during field lectures as a tour guide in Rocky Mountain National Park and as an outdoor seminar speaker over the years. I have found that you can indeed wear one out, which has contributed to the four or five I have owned. The rubber band will eventually deteriorate and need replaced. I have never been able to find an exact rubber band that would fit the piece perfectly to get the original sound, so I always have simply bought a new one. I did find, in ordering a new call recently that a replacement band is available. You’re more likely to misplace the call than wear it out any time soon, that being the other reason for the number of calls I have owned. In fact I have misplaced my current call after a successful cow elk hunt this past November, prompting my recent order.

The price is very reasonable, currently at $9.95 +S/H and makes the E-Z Cow Call a solid investment in success. Available through Jim Zumbo’s website, I recommend grabbing a couple of these units and maybe even a book on cow talk techniques, as I mentioned before, cow talk is utilized all year long in an elk herd and bugling only during certain times of the year if at all. Give the E-Z Cow Call a try, I think you will agree.

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