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Bicycles and bugling elk

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Oct 11, 2010

Did you know that elk bugle? Their bugling noise is part of rut or mating season.  Someone else took this video showing an elk bugling. It is one of the videos available online that shows the bugle within the first few seconds of the video.


Three of us rode to Estes Park, at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, and we were lucky enough to get within 50 yards of a bull elk and his harem. Lucky and cautious.




Certainly we were lucky to see them; however all of us know how aggressive bull elk can be during rut. You can do an internet search on elk during rut and find them tangling horns with each other as well as attacking cars that they deem as a threat to their harem.


Watching the herd across the river from us dining on lush golf course grass, river grasses and drinking water from the Big Thompson River, we were filled with awe and respect.


It wasn’t long after I took the photo above that we heard the bugle of another bull on a hillside about 300 or 400 yards away. That bugle made the bull nearest to us exit the water, circle his cows and take a protective stance on the side of his harem closest to the potential intruder.


Once in position, he returned a bugle as if saying, “I’m ready for you buddy. Just try to come close to my harem and I’ll show you what I’ve got.”


We decided that while the bull was distracted watching the other bull in the distance, we would make our way down the bike path and back towards Loveland. A cyclist would be no match for an angry, protective bull elk.


(Below are a couple of shots of Scott Ellis and Bruce Runnels on the ride up to Estes. The Estes trip was Bruce’s longest ride in eight weeks, after his emergency surgery to remove 45 inches of small intestine. That’s another story…)



Scott Ellis above, on the approach to the second set of switchbacks above the town of Glen Haven. Below, Bruce Runnels makes the climb look easy.


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