Lost Trail Bugling Elk Orchestra

  • November 01, 2017
  • Posted by Noah Blanton

It’s five o’clock in the morning, and the inside of my tent is frostbitten. Outside, somewhere not too far off in the distance I can hear a cacophony of bizarre melodies and various other noises. In the meadows of the Lost Creek Wildlife Refuge, this was the call of the male Elk, otherwise known as its bugle. Like the classic call to arms as heard in tales of boot camps, and boy scout retreats, this was our morning alarm, convincing us to crawl out of our lukewarm sleeping bags into the icy valley to begin our day’s’ work, but not without a warm breakfast and a cup of coffee (for those that did need it!).

According to our Project partner Beverly, the orchestra of Elk bugling that we would hear off and on during the night until the early morning was a sign that the Elk mating season, also known as the Rut, had begun. These Elk were apart of a population of 200 - 300 elk that live on the Wildlife Refuge, and we would often see them grazing on the grasses in the meadows during the hours of the early morning. I remember being in absolute awe of the activity and harmony of the wildlife on the Refuge.

Our project on the refuge was a restoration project. We helped with restoring an old stream that ran through the valley long before the railroad came through this part of the country. Our role in the project was to put up exclosures alongside the streambed and to plant native species in the exclosures. These exclosures would prevent Elk, deer, and other browse from eating the freshly planted natives. The trees we planted included: dogwood, willow, aspen.


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