Saturday, September 27, 2014

Buglin’ Bulls

Not all our adventures have involved hiking, fishing and rock climbing, however.  On Tuesday, RV neighbors Rick and Linda joined us to go in search of the elusive elk of Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.  Rick and Linda had seen some of the Wind Cave elk a couple of days before, and we were excited about the prospect of seeing the herd again, and possibly hearing the bull elk bugling as they wooed the ladies.

There were a few thunderstorms in the area, with occasional rumbles of thunder, lightening flashes and a smattering of raindrops.  

Binoculars and cameras at the ready, we drove slowly through Wind Cave, stopping at the fire lookout tower for panoramic views of the park.  

Here are Linda, John and Rick on the trail down from the fire tower.  It’s a fairly steep one-mile loop trail from the parking lot, but well worth the climb!

Then just at the high fence which divides Wind Cave NP and Custer SP, we turned onto one of the dirt roads that lead to the Wind Cave back country.  

Linda was the first to spot them, 150 yards away across the fence, just below the ridge line in Custer SP.  At first we saw only a few cows lying in the shade or lounging under the trees. 

Then, the longer we looked, the more elk we saw.  There were at least two dozen cows and calves.  They came out from behind the bushes and over the ridge.  Then we found out why.  

We heard the unmistakable bugle of a bull elk.  And then we saw him as he came over the ridge and began to round up and move “his” cows along the ridge.  John and Rick could hardly believe their eyes.  He was a magnificent 6x6, sleek and handsome.  It’s no wonder he had a herd of that size.

Several times we heard in the distance the bugle of another bull, but he never appeared.  We watched the Custer herd move along the ridge, then drop below it on the other side.  It was quite an experience, and one we won’t soon forget.

We continued through Wind Cave NP and Custer SP.  We saw a number of bison and lots of magnificent scenery, but no more elk.

No comments:

Post a Comment