By the middle of September in the Rim Country, the early mornings have a crispness to them that gives all a hint that fall is upon us. The early autumn mornings have another tell-tale sign and that is the shrill bugle of a bull elk as the rutting season begins.
Many newcomers to the Rim Country who are transplants from other states have the opportunity to view their first elk at this time of year.
Even for longtime Rim Country residents the bugle of a bull elk gives us an appreciation of where we live in the wilds of the West.
At this time of the year, the dominant bulls start gathering their harem of cows for the breeding season, which will last from three to five weeks. The avid outdoorsmen, who may have drawn a bull elk tag for a future fall hunt, often get an opportunity to view numerous bulls. This bugling call can also aid in locating where the elk are and gives the hunter a chance to determine the size of the bull's antlers.
With the battles between herd bulls and numerous satellite males, often antlers are partially broken and sometimes main beams are totally shattered. The rutting season is serious business for the king of the woods, the bull elk.
If you have never heard the unique shrill whistle of a bull elk in the fall, take an early morning or late afternoon ride anywhere in the Rim Country. Turn your engine off and enjoy the silence of the forests and just maybe you will hear an Arizona wapiti letting all challengers know that he is king.
Don't miss this very brief three or four week window of opportunity of hearing a bull elk bugle.
This weekend, take a walk in the Tonto National Forest and enjoy God's creation.