Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bugling Elk: Once You've Heard One You'll Never Forget

The setting is Wind Cave National Park around sunset.  The wind is blowing gently from the south with temperatures in the 40's.  And there you begin to hear it, the medium clear note begins to gradually rise to a high pitch.  Then, BAM!  (No, not Emeril Lagasse?!) But BAM! That high pitch turns into a shrill scream, followed by a series of short grunts.  It's rut for the Rocky Mountain Elk found in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  It's time to round up the harem and bugle away.

Black Hills Photography, wildlife photography, elk photography, South Dakota, Cervus elephus, Rocky Mountain Elk

The first set of antlers of a young bull elk start growing as soon as a year old.  They tend to be spikes only 10 to 24 inches long.  The antlers are shed each year in early spring.  By age four, a young bull carries the usual 6-point antler characteristic of a mature bull. 

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