Elk Bugling Programs at Wind Cave National Park

Herd of several Rocky Mountain Elk in a field
Rocky Mountain elk herd

NPS Photo by Charlie Baker

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News Release Date: September 9, 2010

Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Rangers at Wind Cave National Park will be leading programs this September to listen for the bugle of the Rocky Mountain elk. The elk's high-pitched whistle heralds the arrival of fall and the mating season of the Rocky Mountain elk. 

Throughout the month of September, rangers are giving brief interpretive programs about elk before leading a caravan to a nearby pullout to listen for them. These programs are offered Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings through September 25. Participants meet at the Elk Mountain Campground Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and are encouraged to bring a flashlight, a blanket to sit on, and to dress warmly.  

"Fall is a great time of year to visit and explore the prairie and forested areas of the park," said superintendent Vidal Davila. "If you never have heard an elk bugling off in the distance, it is truly one of the more unique animal sounds of the Black Hills."  

The fall ranger program schedule also includes Natural Entrance Tours of Wind Cave throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to bring a light coat or sweater and good walking shoes. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and involves 300 stairs, most of which are going down. The park visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through September 25 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 26 through October 16.  

The park's winter interpretive schedule begins on October 17 with tours of the Garden of Eden at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. and visitor center hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

To hear a recording of an elk bugling, visit the park's website at https://www.nps.gov/wica/naturescience/elk.htm. For more information, call the park at (605) 745-4600.


Last updated: December 29, 2017

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Hot Springs, SD 57747


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