Re: Elk talk
Elk will bugle during the rut, wolves or no wolves. I've seen that plenty in Yellowstone NP. Less elk will mean less bugling, but not so much on an individual basis, but just because there are less elk. I have done a good bit of bugling and have gotten few responses and I'm fairly good at it, so I've been told. Once in a while, you will catch a bull in just the right hormone moment and he will get really stupid. I had one close a 1/4 mile distance in about 5 min and he was hoping mad 15 yds on top of me. Very rare occurance.
Use your bugle sparingly and dont sound like the biggest dude in the forest. Learn to use a cow call well. You can sometimes locate a bull with a bugle and close the deal with some cow calling if you're good and they dont scent you.
By my experience, weather, moon, time of rut and individual hormone cycle are the big players for bugling. Hot weather will shut them down during the day, but a little cow talk might get one interested. Cow talk is also a good way to cover any noise you might make.