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    Posted September 30, 2014 by
    Broomfield, Colorado
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Natural wonders in the 50 states

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    Bugling Elk in Estes Park

    A trip to Estes Park, Colorado, during the fall proves to be quite scenic as well as noisy. Not only are the leaves turning brilliant colors, it is also the time of year the bugling elks can be heard throughout the late afternoon and evening. The mating season of the elk begins in September and lasts through the end of October.

    Between 600 and 800 elk take up residence in Rocky Mountain National Park during the winter and they are not afraid to be seen by the tourists. At any point in time, a motorist can be driving through the park and find it necessary to stop and be patient as the elk take over the roadway. These brave creatures can be seen around golf courses, shopping areas and residential locations.

    The more fortunate bugling elk often have their own harems, especially the ones who consider themselves to be real studs! At times you can witness some exciting battles between the bulls although they tend to attract the females more by showing off their antlers and bodies which can weigh up to 1000 pounds. They release a strong musky odor and bugle to gain attention of the female elk which are referred to as cows. The bugle starts out with a deep tone and goes into a high pitched squeal. Although the older bulls have the loudest bugle, the elk bugling can also be produced by the cows and younger bulls.

    Those who go elk spotting in any season need to be sure to follow all the park safety rules such as staying on the trails and not getting too close for observing and taking photographs. Photographers would be wise to have good telephoto lenses.

    This photograph by Jack Roth was taken at the property of a restaurant and lodge in Estes Park.

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