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Elk Rut Sounds
May 03, 2018

Know Elk Rut Sounds From a Distance

Are you ready for the Elk Rut ?

There is a video on the link above of two bulls that end up fighting. Both of these bulls first talk to the cows present before they engage with each other. Memorize the high-pitched bugle with chuckles. (Talking to cows.)

Talking to the Cows

The challenging bull across the river is making a serious play to take cows from the herd bull. He calls to them to come across to him, so he doesn't have to fight. His high pitched cow calling bugle with chuckles, is an attempt to do just that.

The current herd bull then speaks directly to "his" cows with a similar sounding high pitched bugle with chuckles. You hear a distant "here I am bugle" (locator/communication bugle) from a third bull. He's on his way, but he is not a serious challenger. He's just a drive by cow thief!

Warning Bugle

The current herd bull is badly wounded. He's limping seriously from a previous fight. The third bugle you hear, by the current dominate herd bull, is done to warn the challenging bull away. It is a much deeper warning bugle with growls. If you hear that sound from a distance, you know there is more than one bull present. He would love to avoid a fight, too. But, that is not going to be avoidable.
Learn more about elk verbalization from Elk Nut Outdoor Productions.
Notice the posturing of the herd bull. Walkng parallel to another bull is an intimidation posture. The herd bull has strategically decided the fight will take place in the water. He's not going to let that bull out of the water without locking horns.

Once they lock horns in the water, despite his very sore leg, the current herd bull manages to keep his head higher than the challenging bull. The challenging bull is having to hold his breath more than the herd bull. The herd bull tries to keep the other bull's nostrils under water.

The herd bull then pours on the steam to make the other bull use up his oxygen! He goes into oxygen debt because he's holding his breath too much. He unlocks and runs in order to be able to breath. The herd bull was tired and wounded, but very experienced. He might have lost this fight, if he had not kept it in the water. He's a smart bull. He knew how to use the water as a weapon against this fresher, uninjured challenger.

This is over for the moment, but the other bull will be back to try again, as long as a cow is at or near estrus. He might even be the bull who hurt the herd bull already.

The third, smaller bull that comes in is also talking to the cows. He has no intention of fighting. He just wants to steal a cow. He does that nervous bark a couple of times. Probably because he's scared of getting his butt kicked. Maybe to command the cows to run, which they do.

Many Fights to Come

The tired, wounded bull may not be able to hold on to those cows through the day or night. Keeping a harem together by any bull is tenuous against such challengers. On top of that, they have the additional pressure of being hunted by those of us that are higher up on the food chain! In addition to the pressure of the elk rut, they have the added stress of hunters trying to send pieces of lead, or sharp, pointed sticks through their lungs!

Relax and Rebuild

The most peaceful time for a bull is right now. Spring green-up is expanding dramatically every day. Bulls are recovering from a long winter, longer than usual with more snow here in Montana. They are building back the muscle they lost during last year's rut right before harsh winter conditions set in.

It won't be long until fall is here! Read more about the rut and watched the video described above on this page .

Prepare Yourself for an Athletic Endeavor

Elk hunting (or any big game hunt) is an athletic endeavor. Make sure you can do what you want to do. If you're already in good shape, take it to the next level with our Hunting Fitness training recommendations.

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We have all of Sitka Gear's products with free shipping. The new Apex is a piece that employs the benefits of merino wool and nylon designed for demanding big game pursuits. The merino-nylon blend offers natural moisture and odor management as well as comfort and noise reduction.

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As always, feel free to Contact Us here. Or, call or text 1-406-431-0876. We'd love to talk to you.

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The springtime view of the mountains near our home in Garrison, MT

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