Elk often seen near Piingree Park in Colorado

Elk often seen near Piingree Park in Colorado

I got this pin at the Welcome Center in Loveland, Colorado. It certainly represents the wildlife of the wild areas of Colorado. I travelled several times through Loveland up to Fort Collins, and then up in the mountains to Pingree Park for a music conference. My last visit to Fort Collins was in 2012, but since a fantastic musician, Bob Mollison, has retired from directing that choral group. During the September-October mating season, bull elk stage their own passion play. The characteristic rutting call of bulls can be heard from just before dusk to dawn. Head into Rocky Mountain National Park and stop at Horseshoe Park. There in the early evening, you will find local volunteer guides called the Bugle Corp on hand to provide insight and information. In the last few years, some elk have moved into town (Estes Park) and onto the golf course for their rut. The typical bugle of the bull elk is a surprising, distinctive sound that begins deep and resonant, and becomes a high pitched squeal before ending in a succession of grunts. As you stand in Horseshoe Park, Moraine Park or Upper Beaver Meadows you may hear one or more bulls bugling and you’ll notice the variations. You may be fortunate enough to see a bull elk rounding up his “harem” in one of the Rocky Mountain National Park’s montane meadows, or in town on our golf courses and lawns. Bulls have various levels of experience in herding. Some are “studs” and others are wannabes. The stud is the bull that is clearly in command. There may be other competitors nearby, but they can’t compete with the mature bull’s display of antlers and his bellowing bugle. This swashbuckler gathers and cloisters his cows with apparent ease. Often other bulls stand on the sidelines, watching with obvious frustration. Even those who have managed to corner a cow or two watch helplessly as their prospects evade them and run toward a growing assembly of cows, yearlings and calves which have gathered near another bull. You may also notice a bull with broken antlers or half a rack—the result of competitive battles between bulls.

Location: 13-A4

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