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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The crazy energy inside an elk herd during the rut, including bugling

Elk mating season is iconic here in the Rocky Mountains. Big bull elk posture to gather as many cow elk into their harems as they can. Part of the posturing is the eerie high pitched bugles of mature bull elk. While bugling they usually adopt the unmistakeable pose shown in the next photo.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to watch the rut. The animals are not hunted there, and consequently, they tolerate people watching them. Also due to the lack of hunting, the bulls are huge there!

We went to observe the elk at the park a couple of times this fall, and we watched huge bull elk from very close. This guy was incredibly successful in attracting and keeping the cow in his harem.

At one point, he decided to drag his antlers through the grass. It's part of the mating ritual.

And then he ate grass while he had grass hanging from his antlers.
Now that's a sexy combo, don't you think?

One of his cow elk looked at him with puzzlement.

While I took most of my elk photos at the Park, some elk were closer to home. I captured their activities with my trail cam. I made a short video of an elk herd  who was foraging in a pond. Multiple bull elk were nearby, and they were bugling. Moreover, the herd was jumpy and suddenly fled as a herd a couple of times in the video. If you want to hear the bugling, be sure to have your sound turned on.


  1. it#s so beautiful to see this mighty guys so close!

  2. Hari Om
    oh yeah, he's a looker alright! YAM xx

  3. they are stunning in that pond and the bugles sound more like squeals. as big and beautiful as the bulls are I expected a really loud roar... the photos are so beautiful. and wow on getting to eat from your own antlers and I LOVE the cow. the expression on her face is priceless

  4. Such amazing faces and a terrific way to shout it out!

  5. Those bulls do look a bit silly with that grass hanging from their antlers. You sure got some cool footage of them in the ponds.

  6. LOL I love grassy come hither look!
    Hugs Cecilia

  7. FYI
    COMMENT above and this FROM MY iPad w no problems. Blogger was in a “mood” yesterday
    Hugs c

  8. The pond alone is like a Monet painting. Maybe there was a slight earthquake for them to scatter at different ponds at the same time. Bugling, magnificent men, and grass adornments, he is mighty!!!

  9. Definitely a sexy look when grass is hanging from your antlers. LOL They are such gorgeous animals!

  10. What a fun look at the herd! I could watch elk for hours...Especially during rutting season!

  11. Such majestic creatures and yet the sound is akin to a cat being pulled through a knothole during rut season. It almost always makes the dogs do a head tilt. 😁

  12. That's grass draped over the antlers makes quite the fashion statement. The sound of the bugling was not at all what we had expected.

    We were out walking Misty and Timber yesterday afternoon and came across a coyote lingering in a driveway along our route. He stopped and stared at us, backed up a few feet, then made us very nervous as he started a forward movement. Luckily he just stopped again and stared. We did a quick turnaround to head the opposite direction and then crossed the street as well.

  13. Such a haunting sound. I used to climb up to the top of Signal Mountain and listen to the elk bugle at sundown. This brought back beautiful memories. Thank you

  14. That is so amazing! They are so majestic! And the bugling is something I've never heard before!

  15. the bugling is amazing!
    Hazel & Mabel

  16. The bugling sounded different than I expected; but when my hubby heard it he knew exactly what it was! :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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