Questions I have after this years hunt:
1. Do bulls bark? I have yet to hear one, always cows
2. Do bulls wallow more because of heat or rutting? It seemed like, although hot, I saw less wallowing in early ocotober even though it was 75.
3. Some of the bulls I hear have a really really deep bugle, the kind where I am standing there thinking "there is NO WAY a person can make that sound" all the times I know of it was a mature bull, ever had a young bull make a really deep bugle?
4. Will moose and elk water together at a pond or will the elk avoid the exact spot the moose are, or general area?
5. Do elk avoid stagnant water (drinking)? I noticed that there was much more elk sign where the water was not stagnant (running). Both wallowing and drinking.
Is this pic a wolf or coyote track?
1-Yes, both bark & nervous grunts!
2-They can wallow equally for both reasons. Aug. for heat, as Sept gets close & into Sept. they can be more apt to wallow for rutting purposes a bit more than heat! Oct. is not the best time for wallows!
3-Nothing like a mature bull. When you've heard thousands of bugles it's easy to pick out the mature bulls over younger bulls.
4-Seen both species interact, can't say it's an everyday occurrence but I feel it's quite common.
5-elk will drink stagnant type or wallow water no problem!
imo, bulls wallow much more for rut then heat. if heat was the driving force, cow elk and deer would be doing it too. the fact that it is by far only done by male bull elk as the mating season approaches, tells you something.
regarding the stagnant water, i have never seen elk drink from it. they avoid it for the most part. even on very low flowing seeps, they always drink from where the water is moving the most (freshest).
the other reason they avoid stagnant water is more often then not they have other options, such as a stream that is not too far away.
think about it, if you needed a drink which would you prefer.
The question was will elk drink from a wallow, yes! Do they prefer it, probably not but they do drink from them. At times elk of both genders will approach them drink 1st then roll or splash around or both! You cannot have the thinking of comparing human traits to an elks traits in many instances, they will react differently! Elk can not reason out things as humans can, instead they "react"
Bulls not only bark, they growl, woof, wheeze, squeal and lots more that might surprise you.
2. IMO, bulls wallow more as part of the rutting ritual. However, since their hormones are starting to kick into overdrive, cooling off may be a secondary benefit.
3. Generally, older bulls have a deeper bugle, but like most things, there are exceptions. I've seen large herd bulls that sounded like a young raghorn, and I've seen young raghorns that sounded much bigger than they actually were. Either way, I always investigate and let my eyes verify one way or the other.
4. Don't know. Where I hunt there are both, but I've never seen moose and elk in close proximity, so can't say.
5. Won't say they avoid stagnant water, but I agree given the choice they would probably prefer running water. I've never seen an elk drink out of a wallow, so any guess on my part would be pure speculation.
"Bulls not only bark, they growl, woof, wheeze, squeal and lots more that might surprise you.' EXACTLY, I've had my share bark at me- I'm sometimes pretty aggressive, but this year we had one Sat bull whining almsot crying like a little baby in real low tones.
We had blown out the herd bull by charging in stomping and screaming into the bedded herd [hey- worth a try!] and split them up. We started to cow call to bring them back together and had what must have been a hot cow come to 10' of us with this sat bull whining right on her tail.
My favorite close in sound they make is that popping- like when you hit the end of a grunt tube with the palm of your hand.
1. YES, as others have said any elk sound out there has been made by a bull. They can Mew with the best of the cows too. 2. I think it is more of a habit than anything, but they do like it to cool off. I think it helps with bugs too. Mostly Bulls in the Rut, but I have seen a cow that was covered in MUD so she had to have wallowed. 3. While I am not Elknut (grin) with his experience, I have been fooled before thinking a growler was a big bull only to see a young one step out. 4. Seen both in the same area many times. Don't bother each other in my opinion. 5. NO, they don't avoid stagnant water and will drink from it often. Perhaps just before jumping into it.
Yes, it's common for elk to make many off the chart sounds & I rely on those sounds yearly, ya know when you're out there you gotta be an elk not joe blow hunter! (grin)
When I say you can generally tell a mature bull from a non-mature bull it's all relevant. What one hunter may hear sounds big to him because he has little experience in the elk woods. What is big to you?
As an example to this, I've taken countless hunters out over the years, there are times with hunters with less experience in hearing either bugles or bull sounds in general think what they've heard was a big bull & I'll turn to them & say that was a raggie or small 5 point & they'd say you've got to be kidding me! So you see it's all in what you've heard over the years or what is the situation at hand that ones compare too what they're hearing in the woods then!
I'm not saying a guy cannot be fooled including myself, but for the most part piece of cake to distinguish one from another just like you can identify one sound from another.
I've watched elk shows on the outdoor channels where you hear this huge bull just screaming 4-5 times in the shallow distance & the hunter moves through the timber to get closer & here comes this raghorn & the hunter will say holy cow I would've thought that was a much bigger bull than that from the bugling heard! In actuality that was not the bull they heard at all but what they came across was a satellite that was hanging around or flanking the herd! Things like this are common & guys tag what sound they heard on the wrong bull.
As far as elk drinking nice clean creek water or nasty wallow water, just remember this. It's only nasty to us because we wouldn't ever do it no more than would we lick dirt with minerals in it for 30min to 45 min at a time & then lick our chops like it was some sort of pudding! (grin) But elk do this all the time without even washing it down at all. They don't think twice about it but head to these types of areas regularly!
In addition to this we have an area called the "stinkhole" & only God knows why the elk like it & drink from it, it is so putrid in smell (sulfur) it's hard to stomach at times when we go there but guess what? Elk love that spot & drink from it regularly!
I shared 20-30 photos last year from my trail cam that showed all these elk at this very small watering hole & it too stunk like hell, but I've watched them slurp this crap up & have photos of it too as they're licking their lips over this great cocktail! (grin) Maybe some of you remember those photos? I can find them if any would like to see?
So, point being, never under estimate what elk will do or drink, that can surprise or even shock you! (grin)
allow me to correct my mistakes above. i retract what i posted, and my experiences along with the behavior of elk where i hunt are as exactly as paul posted.
Bulls bark. I think they they wallow in pre-rut and rut. You can be fooled by the sound of a bugle, but experience will help. Don't hunt in moose country, so I don't know. In my experience, elk seem to prefer the nasty water.
One note, in yellowstone I observed a HUGE 350 plus bull - his bugle was a full bugle but higher pitched, one I would have associated with a 2-1/2 year old bull - not the monster that stood before me. He was at least 350 and I heard/saw him bugle at other bulls a lot. Man he was big.
Also the elk did avoid stagnant water - there was alway fresh running water around, they did drink and wallow - but drank far more from the cleaner running water - I wanted to be sure other observed the same.
Don, I got some video of cows drinking from an old wallow this year. Funny thing is there was a freflowing stream not 10 yards away! Not sure why they would rather drink the fermented stuff?
I have seen several big bulls that sounded small, especially when they aren't all riled up. I have heard one of the best guides in Arizona say he can't tell how big they are by there bugle.
Gotta say I saw more bull moose than mature bull elk on my WY trip (got back Friday). They definatly can and will use the same meadows, wallows, finger ridge trails.
In 2 years I'll go back with both a moose and elk tag in my pocket.
We killed one bull (rifle) and I passed on a questionalble shot.
Bill in MI
Elk are ruminants unlike our monogastric GI tracts. Ruminants generally can tolerate more organisms in their water due to a significant difference in pH. I have seen many elk drink alot of water from wallows walk around chase a cow and return to drink alot more! Has anyone ever noticed the stagnant ponds that provide water to all those cows along I70 in KS on your way to an elk hunt? Cattle are ruminants as well.
There have been a couple of times in the past 2 seasons in which I've had a bull hang up just on the opposite side of some brush. It's been an interesting experience because you really wouldn't believe the different sounds those things make. Amazing, really. The majority of my elk hunting experience has been hearing them at a distance, then they either vanish or come on in, at which point they either get shot or vanish. These hanger-upers at close range have taught me quite a bit. I don't know how much of it is practical knowledge, but it's been very interesting.
Grunt, pant, snort, bugle, pant, bugle, make a noise that sounds like a big belch, snort, bugle, stomp, rake a tree, pant... loud and crazy! Lot of fun, though. Unfortunately, I can't say I delivered on either one. Last year, I tried to sneak closer and got seen, this year, a cow with the bull mosied around the brush and I got seen.
One thing's for sure, there's nothing like elk. They're pretty unique critter.
Sage, L love your descriptions there! (grin) You really put some thought in that!!!
1. Bulls definitely bark...I'd say 90% of the times I've heard them bark, it has been out of frustration or confusion, not necessarily out of alarm. Their bark is often followed up with some chuckles...
2. My experience would lend more towards the rut kicking in the wallowing. The 2 times I have hunted in Arizona I didn't notice any wallowing until the rut started kicking in. With summer temps in the 90's and 100's, if heat was the reason, one would think they would wallow year round! I do think that the rut causes the bulls to get hot and that wallowing does offer some relief though.
3. I have been fooled both ways by bugles. We almost walked away from a puny sounding bugle in Arizona that turned out to be a 390" bull I'm glad we didn't walk away from. This year, we dropped into an absolute nightmare of a hole chasing a growler. We knew he was going to be a monster...with 25 cows and a bugle to match...he walked out and was barely a 5-point, and a very young one at that!
4. The area we hunt used to have a lot of moose...wolves have changed that, but in the past we often had moose following us grunting while we were bugling at elk.
5. A lot of the wallows we frequent seem to be stagnant, but they are actually water from an underground spring. I wouldn't consider them "stagnant", but they aren't a free-flowing body of water either. Either way, I have seen elk drink out of anything from a mud puddle in a road, to a completely stagnant pond, to a fresh-water river.
lion or bobcat track?
Track is definitely a coyote.
A cat track would have two lobes on the top (or front) of the heel pad, and three lobes on the back of the heel pad. Also, there would be no claw indentations.
A wolf track would be about a lot bigger, about 5-6" in length.
"Do bulls bark?"
I say if they aren't barking at you now and then, you are not trying hard enough. :-)
Seem to have a bull bark at me most years as I get pretty aggressive and blow some stalks. Named one of them "Bob Barker" as he barked probably 25 times as he headed away from me.