The distinctive call of a male elk (known as bugling) is the sound of fall in many parts of the United States, but if you've never been able to witness the elk rut for yourself. you might be surprised what it actually sounds like.
That's why the US Department of the Interior has shared a video on Facebook that shows one particular bull in fine voice. The clip, which you can watch below or find on the department's Facebook page (opens in new tab), is a great example of the surprisingly haunting call that can be heard from dusk until dawn during the animals' mating season.
As the National Park Service (opens in new tab) explains, elk can be found bugling throughout September and into early October, often beginning at twilight. If you're lucky enough to be in elk country and have found a good listening spot, turning off your car engine and sitting as quietly as possible will give you the best chance of hearing them. You're more likely to hear them at a distance than up close.
Keeping your distance from elk allows them to behave naturally, without unnecessary stress, and helps avoid interactions that could be potentially dangerous for humans, animals. or both. Guidelines from the NPS advise staying at least 25 yards (23 feet) from elk at all times. If any animal changes its behavior as a result of your presence, it's a sign that you're too close.
This is particularly true during the rut, when males are more unpredictable and potentially aggressive than usual. It's much better to appreciate the animals from afar using a long lens or binoculars. For more advice, see out guide how to enjoy elk rutting season safely.
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
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