Friday, November 2, 2007
2002 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
I have gone to Rocky Mountain National Park a number of years in the Fall to be there when the elk are bugling, more accurately its a squeak. These huge bull elk mark out their harems by circling them and squeaking. Granted, it can be heard for perhaps a mile ... but it is a high pitched squeak. The routine is to get up at dawn and drive around listening for the bulls "bugling". Until the sun comes up its quite chilly, often breathing a mist in the air. As I dress I always wonder if its worth leaving a warm bed, but inevitably its not only elk but coyotes, sheep, goats, deer, and few other tourists at that hour. Only once did I see two bulls having a full-on fight, but usually by the time I'm camping there, they all have scars from earlier battles. They have collected all their cows, and on the periphery are the "spikes" which are yearling bulls too young to have the prodigious racks of the alpha males. By 8am all the wildlife have gone to lay down in the tall grass and the action is over until the evening chorus.