An elk bugle is one of the amazing sounds in nature and the tone and volume of the blast is as varied as an elk’s headgear. Old bulls often become “growlers” as they bugle to the point that the whistle is gone and only a grunting groan comes out. Young bulls usually make squealing sounds, a bugle that savvy archers emulate to prompt a herd bull to respond and reveal its location without intimidating it to take its cows and run. I once hunted a hidden valley in Idaho where I came upon a bull with nearly 20 cows. I caught a glimpse of the huge heard bull just as the beast let loose an ovation I can still hear reverberating in my head. It unleashed such furry that the entire valley seemed to vibrate. It bugled
several more times and I closed within 50 yards until a cow caught my approach and the herd spooked. Elk bugles are used to intimidate rivals and to attract cows, and a bull that sounds particularly masculine may lure cows away from a rival with just its voice. When Wayne Carlton first made bugling with diaphragm callers popular, many guides and hunters used boisterous bugles to challenge bulls and entice them to approach and fight. In recent years, hunters have used this tactic to excess and educated elk so that it only works in the most remote areas. As you watch a bull elk raise its head and make that majestic sound at a distance, you are filled with a sense of wonder, yet if the bull is approaching and ready to stab those enormous antlers into a fellow 600 pound beast, wonder can quickly turn to panic. You may hunt elk for a lifetime and never see a sight like this Facebook post, so hold your breath and enjoy this incredible encounter. On cold mornings bulls belch steamy hot breath like dragons and often snot flies from their nostrils. Watch and stay dry.
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