Sometimes late in September or early October, DH and I like to
make the hour and a half trip to
Grand Teton National Park in . Wyoming
We leave early so we can be on the
of String Lake
As morning light warms the peaks of the mountains
and works its way down into the canyons we can hear what we’ve come for.
It is one of the wildest sounds in nature—the call of the
Elk. Rocky Mountain
photo by Bruce Becker of Outdoor Photographer magazine
At this time of year the big bulls sport a full rack of antlers.
They are out to prove their strength, gather a harem of lady elk
and father the next generation to be born in the spring.
This is truly survival of the fittest.
Dominant bulls stomp through the forest challenging all contenders to a fight.
The high singing call sounds more like a whistle but it’s called, “bugling.”
Although bull elk can be bigger than a horse they aren’t much of a threat
to people as long as we can stay out of their way.
DH and I weren’t alone at the lake. There are always a few other photographers
there hoping to get a picture of the big animals.
One year as we walked along the trail
a big bull fleeing some photographers ran across our path
and splashed out into the shallow lake.
There he proceeded to scream a challenge to other elk in the area.
At that time all I had was a film camera with not much of a lens.
The pictures I took were blurred because of the dim morning light
and also from the shock of such a close encounter.
This time the only elk we saw were on their way up a distant ridge,
but in the trees across the lake we could hear the voices of
at least three bulls. There may have been more.
It was hard to tell as the squeals and grunts
echoed up the mountain sides. While we listened we could also hear
the crashing of antlers and breaking branches.
The action happened out of sight in the forest.
However, the commotion disturbed a bull moose.
As he wandered off to find a quiet place to get a meal...
I was able to snap a few photos.
With the coming of daylight the elk bugling subsided
so DH and I returned to our car and a trip to town for our own breakfast.