Archive for Bugling Bull

Bull Getting into a Frenzy!

Posted in Bugle, Bugling Bull, Bull, Patience, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Rut, State Game Lands, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by bobshank

The fall rut in Pennsylvania is filled with amazing action and mysterious sounds. Bull elk work extremely hard to make their presence known and remind other competing bulls that it will not be easy to dislodge the king of the hill! Just spend one evening out on the mountain during the fall rut and you will receive far more entertainment than Hollywood could ever offer. There is no place like the mountains, especially during the fall months.

This particular bull was the current king of a section many refer to The Saddle on Winslow Hill. This recently reclaimed tract of State Game Lands 311 is a favorite of elk viewers who are accustomed to seeing bulls like this one. I came across him while he was lying down and resting. Bulls expend a tremendous amount of energy during the rut, so even brief rests are essential. I need to practice a great deal of patience as this bull was taking a rather long rest. Patience is always key in wildlife photography.

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, he stood up. Now this might seem like a rather uneventful maneuver to the uninformed, but to a knowledgeable elk viewer, the act of a bull standing up is anything but uneventful. Warning: this might get a little PG-rated since we are talking about the rut, aka the breeding season, aka elk sex! Geez, I didn’t just say that; did I?

This first standing up image shows clearly what all careful elk viewers see when a bull elk begins getting into a frenzy to show dominance and attract cows. The bull will begin to scratch the ground with his antlers and he will also urinate on himself to display his dominance and attractiveness to any cow who is interested. I find this an interesting dating procedure to say the least!

Because this bull was getting into a frenzy in a recently reclaimed field, the grass was green and tall, as you can clearly see in this image.

A frenzied bull almost always bugles, too. This is a mysterious and interesting sound that elk viewers long to hear. The bugle sounds a warning to any bulls who might be considering a challenge. It also alerts cows to the bull’s presence and location, which is important as a bull constant tries to keep his herd of cows in check. Again, this is a very tiring and demanding process that goes on day and night for many days!

The bull will also stretch his hind legs to get the kinks out from lying down so long. It’s sort of like when we get up out of our recliner and need to stretch to get moving again. I always find it entertaining to watch and observe the many different facets of elk behavior. It never gets old for me and I keep learning more and more about these incredible mammals!

As the frenzy is dying down and coming to a close, at least temporarily, the bull will deliver another mighty bugle before moving on to the next task in the rutting behavior.

It will happen again, so be ready! Watching the bulls at this time of year is something I enjoy tremendously. I cannot imagine not spending some time in the mountains to observe and photograph this fascinating behavior. It truly is worth more than a thousand words! If you never observed the rutting behavior in the fall, you owe it to yourself to travel to Elk County, Pennsylvania from mid-September to mid-October. It can yield the sights and sounds of a lifetime!

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Bugling in an Unusual Pose

Posted in Bugling Bull, Elk County, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by bobshank

This bull is bugling in the fall rut as many bulls do, but I was struck by his somewhat unusual pose in this photograph.

His back legs are spread out slightly, which created an interesting angle in his left rear leg. The bugling posture is typical, with antlers tilted backward. I am not sure exactly what it is about this photograph that I like, but I do like it. Do you?

Frustrated Bull

Posted in Bugling Bull, Elk Country Visitor Center, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Preparation, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2011 by bobshank

You cannot see it in this photograph, but there is an entire field of cows very close to this bull. The problem for this bull is that none of the cows are ready to mate. So, this bull is frustrated.

I’ve watched bulls in the rut for many years now and there is a pattern which repeats itself over and over. A bull will follow a cow, sniffing to see if she is in heat. Typically the cow will trot or run away. This leaves the bull frustrated and almost every single time he will bugle at this exact moment. This is the time to be ready with your camera, which is exactly what I did here in this photograph.

Watching and observing animals is not only enjoyable, it can teach you to be prepared for the best photographic moment!

Bugling Bull

Posted in Bugling Bull, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , on October 6, 2011 by bobshank

There is nothing quite like an ear-pereicing bugle to roll across a brisk fall day!

If you haven’t heard this unique sound in nature, you owe it to yourself to find a way to be in a place where you can hear it. There is nothing in all of nature like it. It is impossible to describe with words and even this photograph cannot even come close to hearing the sound in person. You just have to hear it for yourself!

I came across this bull because I first heard him bugling. I was just on my way for a walk, barely out the door, when I heard a bugle. Knowing the area well, I followed the sound and located this bull feeding in a meadow with two cows. It was mid-afternoon on a rainy day but the clouds opened up a little bit and some rays of warm sunlight washed over the scene. It looked magical.

Eventually, this bull had enough food in his stomach and he wandered into the woods and laid down to chew his cud. I know enough about wildlife photography to know that spending time with subject is imperative. Time, lots of time, is required to completely document and photograph these majestic mammals. In this case, for example, I could have left after the bull wandered out of the warm sunlight washing over the meadow and moved into the much darker woods where many small trees obstructed most clear views of this bull. Move on or stick with him? I chose to stick with him. And this is the photograph I eventually captured. I am very glad I stayed with him!