Last year, during my Black Hills elk hunt, I experienced one of the most breathtaking shows in nature. I had a front row seat to watch several bull elk serenade their harem of cows. I was unsuccessful in my quest to bag a mighty bull elk, but I was extremely successful in becoming infected with "elk fever". I decided after last year's hunt that I wanted to return to the Black Hills to capture the bugling elk with a better video camera than my iPhone. I did that this past weekend.
The Black Hills' fall foliage was in full bloom on this beautiful fall morning when I encountered two separate bulls and captured some remarkable video of each. The first bull you'll see in the below video walked right up on me as I was following his call in the forest. We surprised each other when the 5x5 bull popped over a ridge that I was climbing. I had just a moment's notice when I heard a branch snap. It took me a few seconds to slowly get the camera on him.
Our encounter lasted less than three minutes before he circled around downwind of me and didn't like what he smelled. I did not follow him because there was another bugle further into the woods.
The second elk gave me plenty of warning. He was bugling as he approached and I captured video from about 75 yards on in. He got to within 15 yards of me and this unbelievable 6x6 specimen gave me the greatest thrill I've had in the Great Outdoors. My encounter with him lasted more than 8 minutes before he walked off into the woods.
These two encounters with the majestic wapiti did not satiate my yearning to capture video of the the forest's most unique serenade. They whet my appetite for more experiences like these.
Enjoy Mother Nature at her finest in the video below. Be sure to turn up the volume to hear the elk's haunting and eerie love song!