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What’s That High-Pitched Sound? At This Time of Year, It Might be the Bugle of an Elk

Wonder what that loud, shrill sound you often hear in late summer or early fall on backcountry trails?

Chances are good that it’s an elk bugling. Enjoy the experience.

Check out this brief video clip, filmed by Michael Warner in the Mammoth Hot Springs section of Yellowstone National Park, to hear the sound straight from the elk’s mouth:

I repeatedly heard elk bugling in the distance earlier this month during a hike on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.

What is a bull elk communicating when it sounds off? Research conducted in Rocky Mountain National Park suggests it could be:

  • The bull is in the area with his harem.
  • He is telling the cows that they are straying too far from him.
  • He is telling other bulls that they are too close to his harem.

Below is a clip released by Rocky Mountain National Park of one of its elk bugling:

Have you ever heard elk sound off in the wild?

Posted on at 3:00 PM

Tagged: Yellowstone National Park, elk and national parks

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