Past Meetup

Elk Bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Meet Event Host, Dan H. for a second tailgate party scheduled to listen to the elk bugling! September-October marks the annual elk breeding season, which is also referred to as the elk rut. As huge bull elks prepare to attract female cows, they let out bellows, which range from deep tones to high-pitch squeals to grunts. Dawn and dusk tend to be prime viewing times for spotting elk and the best time to hear elk bugling.

Wildlife Watching Etiquette

Elk gather in the open meadows and are easily visible when left undisturbed. During the elk rut, please do not venture into the park's meadows between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. and stay on roadways and designated trails. Look for postings alerting you to areas that have been closed. You can easily sight and watch them from the roadsides.

Please remember that wildlife are the natives in this area and that we are the visitors! Wildlife are very keen on "personal space." In other words, they're happier if you keep your distance. Bring your binoculars or telephoto lens to get a close up view of these majestic creatures. If your presence causes the elk to move away, then you are too close. Within the park, you may be cited for harassment of wildlife if your actions affect the behavior of an animal in any way.

As soon as you park, turn off your car lights and engine. Shut car doors quietly and speak softly. Don't use headlights or flashlights to illuminate or entice wildlife.

Cost: $20 per car - park entrance fee, unless you have a RMNP/National Park Pass.

How to Find the Group: Meet the group at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at 3:00pm sharp. Allow extra time if you want to go in the visitor's center or use the bathrooms. We'll promptly leave at 3:10pm and drive to a designated viewing area in the park. There we'll set up our tailgate pot luck and just "listen" for a few hours. Binoculars are a must and don't forget your camera!

Potluck: Bring a small substantial potluck dish to share plus your own water/drink, plate, cup, napkin and utensils.

What Else Should I Bring? Bring a camp chair, flash light/head lamp and warm clothes.

This is a popular event in Rocky Mountain National Park, so expect to be amongst lots of cars and people. Please be patient if it takes us a while to find a good spot to park.

See you there!