Home Forums Campfire Forum Bugling in June

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    • SDMFer
      Post count: 54

      Just curious if anybody else has ran into a similar situation. Basically I was out and about doing what I call work and in the process watching about 75-100 cows and calves milling about a large wet meadow. I had kind of been ignoring the herd while I was working when out of the adjacent timber came what I thought was a chuckle. I played it off as my mind playing tricks on me, or some new cow sounds I’d never heard before. However, a little while later a bugle from the same timber stand, followed a while later by another and then another.
      The bulls I’ve seen in the area are still in velvet and I’ve yet to see any with/near the cows and calves.
      So, has anybody else ran into this? and if so, anybody willing to venture a guess to why this bull was fired up in June? As it has me a bit confused (as well as excited for September).

    • T Downing
      Post count: 233

      SDMFer, I have experienced similar events as you have a few times over the years. I don’t believe that the bugles we hear are actually a fired up bull, in other words, I believe that it is elk talk summer style, not the good old fashioned kind that occurs in Aug/Sept. About 30 years ago, I was out and about with my father in the mountains of New Mexico, we were doing some scouting/training and we witnessed a huge herd of cows and calves (75+) come across about a dozen velvet covered bulls. The elk talk was absolutely amazing, mews, chirps, bugles, and brief chuckles. That said, we were fortunate to be able to watch the whole encounter and the bulls did not act like rutting elk, it was really like a social gathering. Interesting… I have always wondered what Valerius Geist would think of these summer vocalizations. T8)8)

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      Unless you actually see a bull bugling in summer, it’s most likely cows. As soon as the cow/calf herds form after the late May-early June calving period I start seeing and hearing this most every year. It’s usually a “boss” cow that’s actually herding the others in one way or another, taking on the roll of a rutting bull. I’ve never heard a cow chuckle but have many times heard and seen them do a straight, high, 2- or 3-note basic bugle. In situations with really big herds, as T has noted, you can get all sorts of excited vocalizations going on, all year. In Yellowstone’s Pelican Valley I’ve watched and listened for hours as herds in the 200-animal range do their thing. The only bulls I’ve seen bugle in summer have been spikes and generally the cows do a better job of it. I talk with Val on a regular basis and will run this past him for more detail. For instance, perhaps lead cows bugle in summer because they enjoy a mild burst of post-natal testosterone production. That’s pure speculation of course. Thing is, cows bugle in summer, that’s well known. There must be a physical, likely hormonal reason for it. my2scents dp

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      I’ve heard summer bugling in the Big Horns. I assumed (you know what that means)it was somewhat akin to turkeys gobbling on nice days in January.

      Interesting about the cows….

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      T — I sent my response, above, to Dr. Geist (for those who don’t know him, he’s widely considered the leading expert on the deer of the world, esp. elk) and he said … “I have nothing to add. Great reply!”

      But then, the salmon are running on Vancouver Island where he lives, and he’s distracted. Val always has something interesting to add. 😀 dp

    • L82HUNT
      Post count: 27

      I asked a good friend of mine who is a guide and rancher in the Gunnision area he spends alot of time on both private and public land about this. Heres his reponse

      Yes cows do make a a bugle sound. And I see and hear it alot. The cows with all there calves will be hearded up, the lead or head cow will bugle to gather and move the heard. I will ride up into a bedding heard on the horse, the elk have no real fear of the horse or me unless i get off, a cow will bugle short but bugle and the heard will get up with there calves and move on. I have seen bulls bugle not just spikes, they seem to shadow the cows and calves in the spring, early summer a cow will bugle and most likely a spike will respond, I have seen larger bulls in the dark timber bugle on cool mornings or nights, I do not think there is a good reason why, maybe they are just feeling good.

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