DENVER — There are many things about the Cervus elaphus that Coloradans don’t know. For one, that hard-to-pronounce word means elk -- the North American elk, to be precise.
But to really appreciate the state and all it has to offer, learning more about the majestic forest creatures should be a requirement for Colorado citizenship.
We’re getting into the animal’s mating season, and if you are living in Estes Park, you probably know that already. Many residents are waking up to bugling sounds of the bull elk.
The sound they make during their rut is distinct and serves a purpose. The bull elk is hoping to attract a mate by singing the song of its people. The female will hopefully appreciate the bull’s romantic gesture and come running to him.
The bugling is described by Estes-Park.com as “a surprising, distinctive sound that begins deep and resonant, and becomes a high pitched squeal before ending in a succession of grunts.”
Thousands will be visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park to watch the elk rut. But there are guidelines you must follow to avoid being attacked by the love-hungry bulls competing for fewer females.
The Rocky Mountain National Park has a few tips it published on its website to stay safe when observing the animals:
- Turn off car lights and the engine immediately. Shut car doors quietly and keep conversations to a minimum.
- Observe and photograph from a distance that is comfortable to the elk. If the elk move away or if their attention is diverted, you are too close.
- Stay by the roadside while viewing elk in park meadows. Travel is restricted to roadways and designated trails. Be aware of posted area closures.
- It is illegal to use artificial lights or calls to view or attract wildlife.