What You'll See:
In this sequence, you'll see a relaxed harem and herd bull moving up out of their bedding area and slowly filtering through the timber as they head to their evening feeding area. This sequence offers a great example of the primary principle covered in the "See You First" Behavior video: when relaxed and generally within visual contact with one another, cows don't need to vocalize to one another, and—as a result—typically move silently across the landscape.
Setting the Stage:
Immediately preceding this sequence, elk in the area started to become active for the evening and started moving out of their bedding areas to go out and feed. This sequence begins just as the cows started breaking out of the thicker cover downslope and started moving through the more open and patchy timber just below timberline.
Viewing / Listening Tips:
The vocalizations in this sequence are very quiet. While we increased the audio gain during the actual vocalizations so you could hear them, this sequence is best listened to with the volume turned all the way up or with the use of headphones or earbuds.
As you watch and listen to this video, you'll quickly notice that this particular sequence doesn't contain many vocalizations—and that's the point. Take note of how this relaxed herd bull and his harem moves across the landscape—in mid-September, with other elk around. Also, pay attention to how the bulls respond to one another, when and how often they respond, how intensely, and what the cows are doing the entire time. Keep in mind, these elk are wild, free-ranging animals in an area that sees little to no "hunter pressure," so the elk are free and comfortable to do whatever they want, as much as they want, and as loud as they want. Often, hunters feel the need to frequently call to—or respond to—elk. Consider what you see and hear in this video the next time you're hunting relaxed, or especially pressured, elk.
Vocalizations in parenthesis are made by animals OFF-SCREEN, vocalizations without parenthesis are made by animals ON-SCREEN.
Levels 1 & 2 Contact Bugles, Levels 1 & 2 Dominant Bugles, and mild Excited Chuckles